You can’t escape life, Watson
Travelling puts a different spin on one’s real life, says British comedian
MARK Watson is a British comedian. He has written a few novels – Bullet Points, A Light-Hearted Look At Murder, and Eleven – including Crap at the Environment following his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over the course of a year. First holiday memory? Dad brushing my teeth and telling me we were about to move to Canada for a year, so I should probably pack a bag. It was more of a job exchange than a holiday, to be fair. My dad’s a teacher and got a post at a school in rural Alberta. Best holiday? My wife and I went to Italy with all my siblings and parents in 2009, for a traditional Eurocamp trip.
It was some years since we’d attempted a proper family holiday and it could have been disastrous, but it was delightful.
We stayed near Venice on what I’d regard as the ideal campsite: one without much actual camping, where you’re in a mobile home.
What have you learnt on your travels?
That you can be happy, or miserable, in exactly the same way wher- ever you are. Travelling is not an escape from your real life, just a way of putting a different spin on it. Ideal travelling companion? My whole family. Not everyone can say that, but the Watsons are a pretty tight bunch.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
When people say they’re not into sightseeing, I immediately lose respect for them. It means they’re more interested in themselves than in the world around them. The “adrenalin junkie” label doesn’t apply. I have a pretty stressful job, so I don’t need to contrive adrenalin-heavy situations. Greatest travel luxury? Flying business class. I’ve done this a few times when other people have been paying. I’m quite fond of flying at the best of times, but business elevates it to a different level. Where has seduced you? All hot places. There’s nothing quite as seductive as a warm evening with cicadas chirping and people eating outside. Being a skinny, cold-blooded creature, I’m a huge fan of warm climates. I’d have made a good Italian, except I hate Parmesan. Better to travel or arrive? Despite my love of flying, it’s quite obviously better to arrive. If you enjoy the travelling more, then you’ve chosen your destination very badly. Worst travel experience? When I was 10, we went on a trip to Aberystwyth, Wales.
It rained all day, the steam train we’d come for wasn’t running and I said the day was crap and got into trouble. Then my parents forgot the keys to the holiday cottage and we had to break in. Best hotel? I’ve got fond memories of L’Hotel in Paris. It’s where Oscar Wilde died, but they can’t really be blamed for that. It’s chic in that Parisian way that normally intimidates a scruffy person like me. Worst hotel? When we were penniless students, my wife (then girlfriend) and I were in London for the night and found a hotel in our budget. The temperature was about 42 degrees, the sheets were dirty and the “minibar” was a fridge with just one Twix in it. Best meal abroad? Carnivore, outside Nairobi. My wife and I were on our honeymoon. It was an extreme-sports version of the all-you-can-eat concept, where you had a little flag on your table and they brought you food until you hoisted it in surrender. We thought it was a joke until we saw it in action. Favourite city? Melbourne. It has everything, without making a fuss about it. It normally comes near the top of “most livable cities” polls, and rightly so. I’d live there myself, except my family would object to making 10 000-mile trips to see me. Where next? My hit list: (1) Egypt; (2) Brazil; (3) Japan. – The Independent
FAVOURITE: Watson says he would live in Melbourne if he could.
JOKER: Mark Watson