Archive for Celebrities

Richard Branson’s Ever-Expanding Universe

Richard Branson Interview Virgin Galactic

I had the ‘lightning strikes’ chance to interview Richard Branson for a second time. I first met with him on-board Virgin America at the time of the then-new airline’s inaugural LA/New York flight. This go around,  on the precipice of his Virgin Galactic commercial launches, I chatted with him for a cover story for Delta Airlines’ Sky Magazine’s April 2014 issue, which is now out… Check it out below…

Richard Branson has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he carries it as if it’s draped casually over one shoulder—befitting a man whose workday is punctuated by tennis and kite surfing on Necker, his private Caribbean island. And he will temporarily shrug off that weight when he and his children, Holly and Sam, are thrust into zero gravity at the edge of space during the inaugural launch of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo this year—making them the first private space-bound passengers in history.

After a series of delays, the press-fueled pressure is on. Such are the unpleasant side effects of trying to conquer this world and the next—from climate change to banking monopolies. “The program has taken longer than we’d expected,” the Virgin Group CEO admits dryly, “but it is rocket science, and rocket science, as we’ve discovered, is difficult.” It’s a challenge Branson is happy to take on—even for a mere 30 seconds of bobbing around in 4.5 g loads—as the long-term ramifications are vast.

Clearly, others are willing to do whatever it takes to hitch the ultimate ride as well—wheelchair-confined physicist Stephen Hawking chief among them. “[The space flight] is going to be challenging for him and for the people who go up with him,” says Branson. Environmental scientist and author James Lovelock will face his own set of hurdles going into space at 95. “He’s keeping himself as fit as he can to make sure he can enjoy it.” The list of luminaries who’ve paid the extravagant $250,000 ticket price for a chance to follow in Branson’s free-floating footsteps reads like the table of contents of an issue of Vanity Fair, which has added to the media scrutiny.

The British entrepreneur dismisses the notion that Virgin Galactic’s flights will merely be joy rides for billionaires, citing the history of the first transatlantic flights. “It cost the equivalent of $250,000 in the 1920s to fly across the Atlantic,” he says, “It was those people who could afford it who were the pioneers and enabled hundreds of millions of people to fly across the Atlantic in the years since.” The roughly 800 individuals who have bought Virgin Galactic tickets so far, concedes Branson, are “all wealthy people, but without them our program would never have gotten off the ground.” Besides which, he is already brainstorming a way in which thousands of everyday people, “cleaners, dustbin drivers, coal miners or whatever, will have a chance to go to space.” The modest goal: “to democratize space travel.”

For decades, space tourism has been positioned as the next big thing in travel—from journeys to the moon to space station hotels. Although Branson doesn’t yet have any plans to launch a trendy five star in the stars, Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America in New Mexico, designed by British starchitect Norman Foster and his team, certainly looks the part. And that’s not all: “We will be building a very sexy spaceport hotel in New Mexico next to our spaceport,” Branson divulges.

In the meantime,  a bit closer to home, Virgin will launch… Read My Full Richard Branson Article on Delta Airlines’ Sky Magazine Website

Famous Adult Third Culture Kids

Manu Chao

Isabel Allende, Writer

Christiane Amanpour, Broadcast Journalist

Julian Assange, Wikileaks Founder

Manu Chao, New World Music Artist

Khaled Hosseini, Afghan Novelist

Milla Jovovich, Actress/Musicial Artist

Viggo Mortensen, Actor/Photographer

Barack Obama, United States President

Hugo Weaving, Actor


More Third Culturism: 

The Julian Assange Traveler

The Julian Assange Wikileaks Traveler

The Wikileaks Founder’s Gotten Around in More Ways Than One…Follow His Trail Around the World

Love him or hate him (and there doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room in-between), Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is a man on the move–some might say, on the run.

Even before he founded the infamous website which has hosted classified U.S. intelligence cables, Assange’s life was decentralized. The son of parents who ran a traveling theatre troupe, he grew up moving around a lot. In some ways, the Australian multinational is the prototypical Third Culture Kid.

Let this worldwide tour of some of the locales Assange has called home (or temporary home) give you ideas for your imminent and/or future travels. Been there? Done that? Not in the style of a global espionage fugitive and nomad, you haven’t.

Queensland, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Our humble tale begins in the birthplace of Mr. Assange, the state of Queensland, in New South Wales, Australia.

Technically, he was born in Townsville, but I prefer to begin the tour in a more magnificent location.

Townsville is in fact adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, which is of course one of the ‘seven natural wonders of the world,’ according to many sources including CNN.

The closest airport is outside Prosperpine. You can always fly into Brisbane which is 386 km from the Reef.

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne Australia Travel

This is the location of Assange’s alma mater, the University of Melbourne. It’s also the site of a police raid on his home when he was accused of computer hacking in 1991.

Melbourne has a reputation, near and far, as Australia’s culinary capital. Of course, new states are always upping the ante.

Melbourne is also the original location of top Australian chef Neil Perry‘s Rockpool Bar & Grill.

Tanzania, East Africa

Tanzania East Africa Travel
If you’re looking to drop out of Western civilization and to do it in style, why wouldn’t you want to live, for a spell, in Tanzania?

Though I can’t personally see Assange climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I could see him trekking through the Serengeti or ‘global masterminding’ in Zanzibar.

The latter was good enough for Princess Diana’s designer.

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi Kenya
In Assange’s famously outed Ok Cupid dating site profile, he says: “I like women from countries that have sustained political turmoil.” That explains why Kenya would have appealed to him as one of his home pit-stops.

Tribalism and elections have fueled political and social unrest in this East African Nation.

Undoubtedly he got into some fun hitting the nightlife circuit in Nairobi’s Westlands and River Road quarter.

Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm Sweden Travel
Ah Stockholm, herein lies the center of all of Assange’s legal troubles and his ‘sex by surprise’ accusation. It is doubtful that he stayed in many hotels here. Anna Ardin’s apartment was cozy (and free) enough.

Had he been more adventurous (and intuitive) he would have doubtless stayed at the boutique and chic Berns Hotel in Stockholm.

The famous old hospice hosted celebs back in its day. Room 431 served as a dressing room for Ella Fitzgerald and Marlene Dietrich.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik Iceland Travel
Assange is said to have rented a house here. So he would have never experienced the stunning harbour views at the 101 Hotel in Reykjavik.

Perhaps he popped into the B5 Bar and Bistro for drinks and night revelry. You never know who you might bump into there.

Famous Rejkjavikker Bjork has been known to return to her home town and frequent some of the watering holes and clubs.

London, England

London England Travel

Last stop, London. Well, there’s never really a last stop for a Third Culture Kid like Julian Assange. But this was where he was last seen and apprehended–if we could call it that.

There’s simply too much to do and see in London to not make a long sojourn of it–court order or not. If I received a chunky book advance like Assange did I’d stay at Blakes Hotel in SW7 and visit hip Shoreditch and Stepney Green for the cool galleries and bistros.

I’d also become a member of the SoHo House or Hospital Club and mingle away.


Also in ‘Third Culturism’: