Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
Name: Simon Reeve
Title/bio: Presenter of multiple BBC television series including Indian Ocean and Tropic of Cancer
Born in: London
Currently living in: London
1. Where would you rather be right now?
I’m fine here, but if you dragged me away
I’d love to explore West Africa.
2. Famous person (dead or alive, real or
fictional) you’d most like to go on a trip with:
Jason Bourne. Stuff would happen.
3. Tourist must-see you think is actually a
Stonehenge. And Florida theme parks.
4. Everyone asks what’s #1 on your list of
places you want to go before you die. But what’s your #3?
5. You’d be mortified if people knew you did
what when you travelled?
I enjoy airline food, sometimes just for
the comedy value. I was on a flight in Central Asia once when the in-flight
meal was a single apple and an egg – between three of us.
6. Your most stranded, “oh-my-[deity]” travel
In Patagonia a few years back a volcano
exploded on the other side of the Andes. The ash was everywhere and it was hard
to breathe. We drove east across Argentina wearing swimming goggles and
facemasks through a post-apocalyptic landscape.
7. Best (or worst) person/people you’ve had to
sit next to while travelling:
A man with sharp elbows who also sold
colostomy bags and wanted to discuss his latest offering. He was definitely the
worst. That was before I discovered the magical world of earplugs.
8. Strangest meal abroad:
Zebu penis soup in Madagascar, grilled
squirrel and fried caterpillars in Laos, or sheep’s brain and camel hump in
Saudi Arabia. It’s never as bad as it sounds or looks. Eyeballs are delicious.
I get great memories, and it’s part of my job.
9. If someone was visiting your town, what’s
the one thing you’d show them?
I’m London born and bred so I’d take
them on a walk on Hampstead Heath during the day and party at Passing Clouds
in Dalston at night, a down to earth club and music venue with a great vibe.
10. Travel-related invention you wish
Large wheels for my 30kg expedition
11. Your most embarrassing travel faux
Endless. I used to attempt the local language
and was always getting into trouble. The most dangerous was when I nearly
caused a riot in a market in the Caucuses by asking a woman selling apples
whether she had a penis.
12. Material thing you miss the most when away
My sofa. And clean water from the tap.
13. Most unique souvenir:
I was adopted by a family of Dayak
former headhunters in Borneo. They gave me a ceremonial sword with notches
indicating how many heads it had taken. I have it on my wall, but it still
makes me shudder.
14. Best celebrity encounter while
Travelling around amazing Somaliland
with a guide called Yousef who was a war hero. We’d pitch up in a village and
people would tumble out of huts shouting his name.
15. Most unusual item you have travelled with:
Boxers ( a type of armoured underwear), a flak jacket and helmet while in
16. Coolest mode of transport you’ve
Donkey cart from Kyrgyzstan into
17. The place you don’t want anyone to know
about but are willing to divulge here:
Symi, off Rhodes. An island with the
most beautiful harbour in Greece.
18. Travel-related film or book that inspires
you to pack your bags:
19. The travel story you’ll never stop
Being arrested by the KGB in the
unrecognised state of Trandniestria, next to Moldova. Our fixer managed to get
us out of the cells by telling them I was related to the Queen. They gave us
cap badges as souvenirs.
20. Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice
Don’t sit by the pool. Get out of the
hotel and explore. Drink local, eat local, meet locals. Care about their lives.
Don’t be tight with your tip. And wear a seatbelt.