My Life In Travel: Chris Packham, BBC wildlife presenter

'I fantasise about going camel trekking in Libya'

First holiday memory?

The first time I travelled overseas, my father took me to Le Havre in France for a day. We went overnight on the boat and then stayed for a few hours and came back; I had a temporary passport which I still have tucked away somewhere. The enduring memory is having my photograph taken in front of a white Citroen DS, which at the time was the closest thing to Captain Scarlet's SPV that I could imagine.

Best holiday?

I've had the good fortune to travel a lot for work. My stepdaughter Megan and I have been lucky enough to go to Antarctica, twice. Going there with her has been my greatest privilege.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

If you want to know where my heart is most palpably beating it would be where I live in Hampshire, particularly the New Forest. Recently I was leaving for Guatemala just as the beech leaves, hazels and bluebells were opening – accompanied by birdsong, it's the best time of the year.

Ideal travelling companion?

I've enjoyed travelling with Megan probably more than anyone. I've done my best to drag her to as many corners of the planet as possible. To see her response to things is tremendously rewarding. We don't do five-star holidays; we sleep in cars and tents. The objective is to show her the world, not cosy middle-class Hampshire.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I've learnt a lot about the human species, particularly the need to show humility at all times. You meet individuals from completely different walks of life with whom you have so little in common, but you are the same species. There's something reassuring about trekking through a rainforest to meet a tribe and they laugh, cry and smile just as you do.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I have to say with no pretension, culture vulture. I've could never do a beach holiday – the ultimate evils for photographic equipment are sand and salt water. As for adrenalin, I'm a hedonist but generally I'd rather mooch around an art gallery or a bunch of ruins.

Greatest travel luxury?

Being able to take my 500mm lens. If I had £1 for every argument I've had at the check-in desk about the weight or size of my hand luggage, I'd be a rich man.

Holiday reading?

I recently read Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday. It's ideal for flights, because I don't watch movies on planes with a screen the size of a cigarette packet.

Where has seduced you?

Marrakech. It was one of those places I'd always wanted to go and when I went in the 1980s, I felt like I was in Arabian Nights. It was beautiful.

Better to travel or arrive?

When you go through the States in transit you can stand for several hours just to get from one plane to the other – I don't know what kind of paranoid mentalities generated that inconvenience, but it's not one that I enjoy. However, I never forget the extraordinary privilege of travel.

Worst travel experience?

Endless delays, broken aircraft, baggage not turning up – all of those problems are amplified by the frequency that I travel. The worst experience now is the tension I feel about getting my stuff somewhere, and the preoccupation with weighing and measuring and persecuting passengers just to fleece them for more money.

Worst holiday?

I went to Hawaii to see a peculiar set of birds that you can't find anywhere else on earth, and also because I read a book about surfing called Walking on Water. I went with a girlfriend after a hurricane so we couldn't travel to the island with the birds, the surfing championships were cancelled, nobody would accept my credit card and Waikiki was like an American version of Blackpool.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in Watamu, Kenya. I looked at it and left straight away. The door was hanging off the hinges because it had been smashed open so many times and the shower was squalid.

Best hotel?

My girlfriend and I did a bit of a tour of Ian Schrager's hotels in the States, which was very opulent. The Royalton and The Hudson in New York are very nice.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

Driving along the Rio Grande in Texas in a convertible in winter was very rewarding. There was nobody there – just those long roads stretching to the horizon.

Best meal abroad?

Tuna, rice and a cold Kingfisher beer at a beach shack in Chapora, Goa – it was just sensational.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I try and find somewhere with local colour and start taking photos. I like eating in street markets and that sort of thing.

Dream trip?

A trip I fantasise about is a camel trek in Libya to go and see ancient friezes. In 1990 there was a trip to go and do that, but I was faced with an alternative which was to re-enact Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. My friend unwisely convinced me to do the latter; it cost me three months of my life.

Favourite city?

Rome. I like the fact that you can just about walk to everywhere, going from one great moment in history to another, stopping for ice cream en route.

Where next?

I'll be in Britain until the end of November making programmes. One place I failed to get to last year is Siberia, so I'll try and get a visa then go and photograph tigers in the snow.

Chris Packham co-presents Springwatch, Mon-Thurs on BBC Two at 8pm. An exhibition of his photography will be staged at the Photographers' Gallery in Holt, Norfolk, 26 July-14 August (photographersgallery-holt.com).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'