Five Questions for... Tim Woods

(above: Mole National Park, Ghana)

The next in our series of mini-interviews with the editors, designers, writers, photographers and illustrators of Elsewhere is with our Copy Editor Tim Woods:

What does home mean to you?

At present, ‘home’ is still England, despite having lived elsewhere for nearly six years. But the exact place in my country of birth varies. For official purposes, it’s my dad’s house in rural Suffolk. When talking to people in Berlin, it’s Brighton: my last place of residence in England and a place that people have heard of. Strangely, Wiltshire – where I grew up – feels less like ‘home’ with every passing year. I don’t see the possibility of ever living there again, so it has become the backdrop for happy memories rather than any current sense of home.

Where is your favourite place?

As for most people, it’s impossible to choose just one. So my most recent favourite place is Mole National Park in Ghana. I spent two fantastic years in the country and this scrubby land in the far north was the pick of many highlights. There’s thousands of birds to gawp at, and the elephants come and drink from the hotel swimming pool. Perfect.

If I’m allowed two, then second is the west coast of Scotland on a sunny, midge-free evening with the tent already up and the stove bubbling.

What is beyond your front door?

A memorial to Rosa Luxemburg, a famous figure on Germany’s left. She lived in our building on Cranachstraße in Friedenau early in her life, and people regularly stop at the memorial to place flowers throughout the year.

The front part of our building was, until quite recently, a brothel (it’s now a beauty salon) and we also found a swastika painted on the ceiling of our ‘secret’ cellar when we moved in. Ours is a flat that comes with a good dose of intrigue.

What place would you most like to visit?

Northern Mali. I was lucky enough to visit the south of the country for work last year, and it was just as wonderful as I had hoped it would be. The recent war means the north remains off-limits to foreigners, but it’s top of the list as soon as that changes. Lake Turkana in Kenya and the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda are second and third. I’m a big fan of travel in Africa.

What are you reading right now?

‘About a boy’ by Vikram Seth. I bought it about 15 years ago, quite possibly to leave strategically placed in my student house in a futile attempt to look learned and well read. At Christmas I decided I should actually start reading it. It’s good. Long, but good.

Tim is the co-founder of Car Free Walks, a website of UK walks that can be reached by bus or train. He recently moved to Berlin with his partner after two years in Ghana, during which time he blogged about the ups (beaches, football, hiking) and downs (power cuts, incessant heat, lack of food for veggies) of life in Accra and beyond.