I met Simon Reeve, the BBC Travel Documentary presenter and the most interesting travel wizard since Michael Palin on the sidelines of the 2017 Adventure Travel Show. He was there to speak about his new shows about Turkey and Colombia and I went to speak to him afterwards.
He is much taller than I imagined and had a nice firm handshake. Before any of you get your hopes up though, Simon Reeve is married and has a happy wife and child! Anyhow, it was super easy to talk to him, he is very down to earth. He was talking to a couple of other visitors when I arrived, one of whom gave him a jar of jam as a way of thank you for shooting a travel documentary about Italy! See image below. There was another girl talking to Simon Reeve about his other documentary about Greece, so it was almost like a fan queue! Without much further ado, here is an excerpt of the conversation.
What motivates you during your work as BBC Travel Documentary Presenter?
Every experience is different and obviously I’ve got a mortgage to pay and you know it’s a job! But joking aside, every single moment we are away, we are learning something new, and honestly I do not get bored ever!
And also, it’s such a privilege apart from anything else. It is also the most amazing way of filling your brain with memories and experiences. And you know, I’ve done crappy jobs, I’ve come from a humble background, so I know this is special and I know it is different.
I know when you are doing it as a traveler, as a tourist or whatever, it is also pretty brilliant – the most inspiration that anything can give. You know, people get way too easily sucked into working 9-5, quarterly results, paying the mortgage, living some dream. So if you are thinking about it, just give everything else up and get out there and have incredible experiences because you ain’t gonna get those on the northern line!
Of course, there are experiences to be had on the northern line, but those will never be as exciting as bouncing around on a bus in a Brazilian territory on your way to the jungle!
There are also the parties and friendships you make on a journey and those are things you won’t find anywhere else.
How do you travel when you go privately with your family?
Do you mean when I have to pay? – he asked laughing. My wife speaks fluent Greek and she loves Greece so I normally say ‘yes, dear’ so we normally go to Greece. She is half Danish so we often go to Denmark, but we are not massive long haul travelers. We have a five year old son so we are happy to stay at home, especially me because I am travelling so much for work. A bit of home time is highly desirable for me but my five year old is now starting to say: “Daddy, you know those lions in Africa” and things like these, so we will need to start taking him to more exciting places soon.
What is your top five must see for 2017?
Top 5 for 2017? That is tricky! Flipping heck!
Well then top 3 then!
I don’t know…if this is for just 2017, but generally Madagascar, for example, is very beautiful. But you know, for me now it’s more the places where I wouldn’t go. But if you’ve not been to Madagascar it’s definitely worth a visit.
Have you been? He asked me.
No – came my answer.
How about Tajikistan?
Well, goodness me – he laughed – there is also Columbia, it is really opening up now. Russia, I think it’s also really up and coming. I think it is also opening up and the more I learn about it the more I want to see.
And what mode of transport will you choose?
We will go partly on the train I hope because Russian airlines and helicopters are frankly a bit questionable in my opinion, so definitely on the train and roads.
So where in Russia are you going to travel?
Well, we are going to cross the entire country. We are going to start in the Far East, in Kamchatka. Then to Vladivostok and Irkutsk and then back towards Moscow and St Petersburg.
And my great advice to Simon Reeve: By the way, there are some pretty good travel guide books here about Russia if you want one…
– Yeah, thanks mate, I think that’s taken care of, we’ve got quite a few already but thank you…! 🙂
And this is how our chat endeth! I will definitely log in to watch his latest documentary on iplayer this weekend!