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Featured Traveler: James Fisher of Roadtrippers

By Kim Fortson

Nov 1, 2013

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Even though James Fisher grew up partially in the English countryside and partially on expeditions in the African bush (his family ran an overland company in Africa), he has long been fascinated with America. A road trip through the country’s backroads inspired him to create Roadtrippers.com, a travel platform solely devoted to traveling on the road. Roadtrippers.com specializes in offbeat finds and sites worth the detour, and anyone who has checked out the company’s Facebook page knows the team’s knack for finding attractions where you’d least expect them (who knew there were secret waterfalls in Ohio?). Here, James shares his favorite American festival, the meal he’ll never forget, and how travel has influenced his life.


See Roadtrippers.com’s Cincinnati Wanderlist.

Right now I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio, though I would much prefer to be in a beaten-up old Land Rover off-roading my way across the continent!

Occupation: Founder of Roadtrippers.com.

My next trip is to the Deep South.

My last trip took me to Suffolk, UK (home sweet home!).

My first international trip was a six month trans-Africa overland trip. I was very fortunate that my family ran an overlanding company called Hobo Trans Africa so I spent much of my youth adventuring through Africa.

Most treasured travel souvenir? A little wooden “see, speak, and hear no evil” monkey ash tray from the Congo. When I was a kid it reminded me of my Gran’s brass one back home and I missed the old gal.

How has travel impacted your life? In just about every way. I grew up on the road. I suppose one major thing is that I developed a way of thinking that led me to reject a linear, formal education.

Is there an experience that has specifically transformed your life? That first US road trip set off a chain of events that led me to start Roadtrippers.


The three founders of Roadtrippers.

Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met on a flight or while traveling? I sat next to a doctor who was studying human levitation in the Philippines once; he was a weird fella.

Three things you can’t travel without: Shoes, pants, shirt. The less stuff the better!

Favorite alcohol you can’t get in the U.S.: Konyagi! Otherwise known as “fire water,” Konyagi is an east African liquor that is similar to gin. The ingredients are simple: a fine spirit, Konyagi flavour, and de-ionised water. It makes a cracking G&T.

Who will you never travel with again? My little stuffed animal called “Friend.” I lost him somewhere in the jungle when I was a kid. I miss that dude!

Favorite hotel: I tend to veer much more towards Airbnb these days, but I should say Belle Grove in Suffolk, UK—though that would be a pretty shameless plug, because I helped build it!

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Favorite restaurant: Oh that’s a hard one. One place that stands out is Elizir in Essaouira, Morocco. It’s like a retro junk shop upstairs in a little medina house. It serves modern Moroccan and Mediterranean food, but they have this great starter plate that has four pastes, each with a different flavor type that harmonizes with the others in hundreds of interesting ways when combined differently. It is really well done, I have never had anything quite like it since!

If you’re in Clinton, Montana at the start of August, don’t miss The Testicle Festival. Thousands of drunk-as-hell Montanans converge to eat four and a half tons of bull gonads over four increasingly regrettable days.

Working is the best way/place to connect with locals.

Where do you always take out-of-town friends? Here in Cincy I would take them to the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club. It’s a super unpretentious, anything-goes dive bar on a barge out on the Ohio River.

Biggest travel mistake? I accidentally booked a flight home from Nairobi a month too late, so I got stuck there with no money doing odd jobs at a campsite for lodging and food. When I eventually got to the UK after 30 hours of flying, I fell asleep on the train I had to jump and ended up miles from home in middle of the night. I had to sleep on a bench in Lowestoft. Oh, to be young and broke.

Travel has taught me almost everything!

Photo courtesy of Roadtrippers.com 

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