It's all about the backstreets, isn't it? Whether it's Hong Kong (pictured), Shanghai or Dubai, it's the backstreets of those cities that are the most fascinating. That's where I like to think we find what's 'authentic' - a term in itself that's up for discussion, right? But to really see how people live, we need to get off the high streets and stylish boulevards. I'll admit I love my galleries, restaurants and shops, but I also like to leave the chic streets and get lost. The more I travel the more inclined I am to leave the guidebook at the hotel and just take a map and phrasebook. I'm bored with the term 'off the beaten track' (can we try to find another?) but getting off the tourist trail and wandering around an everyday neighbourhood, even an unfashionable suburban mall, can be just as compelling, don't you think? My favorite big cities to get lost in would have to be Hong Kong, Beijing, Dubai, Damascus, Mumbai, Marrakesh, Milan, Venice, Antwerp and Amsterdam. What are yours?