TOM HAWKER

More used to ex­plor­ing the world, the much-loved TV trav­eller is stay­ing closer to home this au­tumn, tak­ing his theatre show – fea­tur­ing in­spir­ing tales from his ad­ven­tures in more than 120 coun­tries – around the UK

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Upfront - An Au­di­ence with Si­mon Reeve

♦ PRO­DUC­TION ED­I­TOR ♦ Chat­ting to Si­mon Reeve about why trav­ellers hate hav­ing him on their flights

You’re trav­el­ling around the UK this time – that’s quite un­usual for you.

I’ve trav­elled around the coun­try a bit – per­haps more than most – but not as much as I’d like. The BBC has al­ways said my niche is trav­el­ling abroad, and if it works, it works. I’ve gen­er­ally gone with it.

Your tour cov­ers ev­ery­where from Ex­eter to Ed­in­burgh – will you throw in a few mi­croad­ven­tures, per­haps?

I love the mi­croad­ven­ture idea. I think we have to squeeze ev­ery drop of life out of our short time on this planet. It’s tricky when you’ve got chil­dren but we’ve given it a good go, with bivvy bags and wild camp­ing. Maybe I should be do­ing a mi­croad­ven­ture af­ter my event in Dundee; maybe I should get out into the High­lands. You’ve put the seed of pos­si­bil­ity there now!

What do you hope peo­ple take away from your show?

A will­ing­ness to be pushed a lit­tle bit fur­ther out of their com­fort zones. The tour is go­ing to be about why peo­ple should travel: life is shock­ingly short and we’re liv­ing dur­ing a golden age of travel. Peo­ple should take the chance, as much as they can, to fill their lives with a bit of mean­ing, with soul, with a jour­ney.

What has been your own mo­ment of pure travel bliss?

The one that’s leap­ing into my head is look­ing over Lake Nakuru in Kenya, which is home to about a mil­lion flamin­gos. I was with a guy and a guard who were telling me so much in­for­ma­tion that, to this day, helps form my thoughts about con­ser­va­tion, hu­man en­croach­ment on wild ar­eas and the value of tourism. It was like hav­ing the best lec­tur­ers while in one of the most beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tions on the planet.

What else have you been up to lately?

Film­ing a se­ries called The Mediter­ranean. We’ve gone from Malta on an an­ti­clock­wise jour­ney around one of the most im­por­tant patches of water on the planet, the sea around which end­less civil­i­sa­tions have risen and fallen. A few peo­ple have said to me that it sounds a lit­tle bit tame com­pared to the other se­ries. But I tell you, we’ve had some ex­treme sit­u­a­tions: from visit­ing the Gaza Strip to crawl­ing down a Mafia es­cape sewer in south­ern Italy while on a sur­veil­lance mis­sion with Ital­ian spe­cial forces. Very event­ful so far.

And you’ve been writ­ing an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy at the same time?

Yes. It will be called Step by Step. There will be a few sto­ries in there but a lot of it is about grow­ing up and the chal­lenges that I faced. When I left school, things got very dark. I found my­self very un­sure about what I was go­ing to do and whether I could go on – I had a lot of coun­selling when I was a teenager. It was quite cathar­tic to go through it all; I’m keen for peo­ple to know that there are ways out.

And fi­nally, do peo­ple get wor­ried when they recog­nise you in a place?

I did get that film­ing in Cyprus a cou­ple of months ago. On the plane fly­ing out, there were some Brits who were say­ing: oh flip­ping heck, maybe if you’re go­ing, we shouldn’t be go­ing there on hol­i­day!

“Take the chance, as much as you can, to fill your life with mean­ing, with a jour­ney”

tours the UK from Septem­ber to Novem­ber 2018, with more dates in March and April 2019; see www.si­mon­reeve.co.uk

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