Maxim Behar from the Travellers Club
Maxim Behar is an internationally recognized PR expert, entrepreneur, writer. Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Seychelles in Bulgaria. His M3 Communications Group, Inc. is a partner of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, the world's leading PR company. A tireless traveler and explorer with a taste for the good life, tech gadgets and innovation, Maxim defines himself as a man of the world.
Where in the world has your heart remained?
Where not. In Iceland, in Botswana, in Seattle... On two places forever. In my native city оf Shumen and, of course, in my beloved Seychelles. I'm overwhelmed special chills at the entrance to Shumen, when I see the monument to top of the plateau, and as soon as the plane touches the runway at Victoria airport.
When was you last travel?
To Vilnius, Lithuania. 32 years after I sent reports from the city surrounded by Soviettanks and helping the brave Lithuanians to defend their independence, the President of Lithuania awarded me a special order... 32 years!
What do you always carry in your luggage?
I usually travel with a lot of luggage: a laptop, tablet, lots of chargers and spare batteries, a lot of cosmetics, clothes to change, at least a couple of ties and as many shirts and suits... Plus a Kindle with over 1000 books on it.
Where do you enjoy staying?
I'm not picky, but size of the room is important - just because I travel with a lot of luggage. I've stayed in five-star hotels in London, where dilemma has been which to stay in the room - me or suitcase, because there's no room for the two of us...
What makes a hotel good?
Cleanliness and the small but important things - comfortable pillow, coffee machine with capsules in the room, not lavish but tidy breakfast.
How many days a year do you travel?
There have been years when I've traveled around a hundred thousand miles and spent over 220 days on the road. The pandemic changed that dramatically and now I'm slowly regaining rhythm.
Your favorite food outside Bulgaria?
Depending on the country I'm in. To be light, tasty, and always with a good local wine.
Your first travel memory?
When I was in first grade, we went to Romania from school. I lived in Shumen then and it wasn't far - a bus to Ruse. In 1963, Shumen was grey, the shops were empty, there was bread, cheese, canned food... or at least that's what I remember. Suddenly I found myself in a lit and alive capital Bucharest and absorbed every shop window. I bought a present for my mother the chef's apron and my older sister a pencil sharpener.
Your brightest memory of the trip?
Oh, they are hundreds. But here's something quite fresh from last year's trip with my wife Veneta to Santiago de Compostela. For two weeks, we walked 20-25 kilometers a day in the Spanish mountains, forests and met amazing people, overcame various obstacles - physical and emotional, tried great wines. Sometimes out of fatigue we didn't have the strength to walk 5 meters, but in the morning, we would get up at 6 o'clock and the legs were walking. The nature, the introductions, the conversations, the photos... everything had nothing to do with what we had seen so far, no matter how much travelled. Our chests took in the strong emanations of the eucalyptus trees we passed, and it recharged our batteries. We slept in twelfth-century castles in the middle of the fields, in clean and tidy dormitories, five-star hotels and small shacks. I remember every moment and soon we will continue this journey, but by a different route.
Beach, mountain, or city?
I have no answer. I go wherever is necessary. The endless Seychelles beaches with white as flour sand attract me just as much as the black lava fields of Iceland or the dusty Chinese inter-villages roads. Romance is everywhere if there's a real good person by your side to share the experience.
By the window or by the trail?
Always by the aisle.
Sweet or salty?
Book or laptop/tablet?
Tablet. It's irreplaceable! Holds thousands of books, lots of movies, my impressions, notes files for my next book.
Where do you not want to go back to?
I would go back anywhere - even to Indian villages sunk in poverty, or to the troubled Nigerian resort of Calabar, where I didn't leave the hotel for ten days, because every day bandits kidnapped foreigners for ransom.
Where to now?
We have planned Vietnam and Peru, but also a few beautiful, unknown places in Bulgaria that we could go for a long weekend.
Published in Voyage Magazine