“Look for the ugly things in a beautiful place, and the beautiful things in an ugly place” – Simon Reeve
In all my bustling of commuting to London at the moment, I actually manage to squeeze in a day at the Luxury Travel Fair in London a few weekends ago where I met my all time travel idol. Now, I know what some of you may or may not be thinking – I’m a hostel convert, budget airline enthusiast and have slept on the floor of a laundry room in Louisana, what on earth was I doing at a LUXURY travel fair! Well, I shall tell you! I found out via twitter that Simon Reeve – my travel journalist idol- was doing a talk there so I HAD to go! Plus, I had a weekly train ticket to London so it seemed like one of those situations where it would have been silly no to go.
After trying some free samples of world teas – China Oolong and Apricot White Tea, both very lovely but the Apricot tea satisfied my sweet tooth – the clock hit twelve, the ‘expert talks’ area was filled and Simon Reeve made his way on to the stage with Thea Darricotte, Condé Nast Traveller Retail Editor,
If you do not know who Simon Reeve is, he has filmed numerous travel documentaries with the BBC, for example the Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, The Equator, Holidays in the Danger Zone, The Indian Ocean, and what I watched after he spoke so extensively about, Places That Don’t Exist – which is a fascinating documentary about countries whom consider themselves independent but are not recognised as so by the UN.
Simon Reeve is known for his down to earth attitude, charm, humour and just generally being a good lad and he did not fail on panel. After noticing his button was undone on his shirt he laughed and said ‘let me just get in to proper attire’ and told a great story about how he got captured by the KGB in Georgia when trying to film a military base – he and his team were released after his translator/guide told them he was related to a royal, which funnily enough, is actually true.
After waiting around a bit – hands shaking and mouth stuttering – I managed to talk to Simon Reeve personally. One question I asked him was ‘How do you find a new angle when visiting a country?’ and his answer was perfect
Look for the ugly things in a beautiful place, and the beautiful things in an ugly place
Another great bit of advice he offered was about scuba diving. Simon admitted that he had put off learning to dive for years, thinking snorkeling could suffice, but after starting work on the Indian Ocean documentary it was obvious that diving would be an essential part of the footage – so he took his PADI diving course in wet, cold Blighty and said he regretted not learning sooner as:
Diving is the closest we will ever get to visiting a new planet
Since writing this post I was so inspired by Simon Reeve that I decided to do a Try Dive with my University’s Scuba Diving society. I had a really great time, even if it was in a swimming pool and it was easier than I thought it would be! Getting fully PADI certified if definitely on my RTW to do list!
Here are some photos from the day