My Life In Travel: John Humphrys

'A hotel in Africa offering good tripe and onions is to be applauded'


First holiday memory?

Going from our home in Cardiff to Aberystwyth for a few days when I was five or six. It was memorable because we went on the bus – working-class families didn't have cars in those days – and I was sick all the way there and all the way back.



Best holiday?

Seven weeks crossing the US with my (then) small family: across the southern states, down to Baja California, up the west coast and back through the northern states. We had an enormous station wagon, so the kids could sleep in the back through the boring bits, and we carried a big canvas tent and mostly camped out. The most exciting bit was when a big black bear set about licking the grease off the metal tent poles while we slept inside, and almost brought it down on us. His mouth was so close to my head through the canvas, I swear I could smell his breath.



Favourite place in the British Isles?

West Wales. The Pembrokeshire coastal walk is heaven.



What have you learnt from your travels?

Nothing. I make the same mistakes all the time.



Ideal travelling companion?

My eldest son, who's as keen on walking as I am. Now I'm working on my youngest – but he's only seven, so it will take some time.



Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

None of them, really. I've bought a place in the Peloponnese, which means I can swim in the mornings and walk the hills in the afternoons. It's perfect – at least it will be when it's finished. If you want a quiet life, I do not recommend building a house in Greece. I'm promised it'll be finished by Christmas: they just don't say which year.



Greatest travel luxury?

Books, which are both a necessity and a luxury. But a private jet might be nice. (Not that I'd ever use it.)



Holiday reading?

You name it. But it's always nice when a new Le Carré comes out.

Where has seduced you?

The Peloponnese. It's the perfect combination of glorious coast, glorious hills and glorious history.



Better to travel or arrive?

What's to like these days about travelling? After 20 years on the road – sometimes away for nine months of the year – I told the BBC that was it. No more. I did go to Iraq for Today last year, but that was an exception. Correction: THE exception!



Worst travel experience?

The last one. It doesn't get better.



Worst holiday?

Probably a long weekend in Istanbul when I picked up the worst stomach bug I've ever had. It was my own fault for swimming in polluted water. It was a hot day and there were some scruffy kids swimming off a pier in the middle of the city, so I jumped in. The locals looked at me as if I were mad, which I was.



Worst hotel?

Most of them. I dislike staying in hotels, because it reminds me of work.



Best hotel?

I spent a lot of time at the Meikles Hotel in Salisbury, Zimbabwe, and grew surprisingly fond of the place. Any hotel in the middle of Africa that can offer good tripe and onions is to be applauded. I haven't been back since Mugabe set about destroying the country.



Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I like the West Wales coastal path for walking, and my own bay in the Peloponnese for swimming.



Best meal abroad?

At Harbour House B&B, in Hobart, Tasmania. There are few hotels in Tasmania, so almost all tourists stay in guest houses, which range from semis to stately homes. It's a fantastic way to get to know a country. It was Sunday night, so everywhere was closed and the landlady cooked us lobster that her husband had caught that morning, with salad from her garden.



First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Panic. And then, like most others I suppose, set about trying to make it as similar to home as I can. Funny that, eh?



Dream trip?

I've done too much travelling to have any left, but I suppose I'd like to get to the summit of Everest. A couple of years ago, I got to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but there's something pretty powerful about the prospect of standing on the roof of the world. Sadly, too many people are doing it.



Where next?

Wales and the Peloponnese over Christmas.



'In God We Doubt: Confessions of a Failed Atheist', by John Humphrys (Hodder & Stoughton, £18.99)

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
newsChester Zoo have revealed their newest members
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
The video, titled 'A Message to America', was released a day after Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has overrun large parts of Iraq, threatened to attack Americans 'in any place'. U.S. officials said they were working to determine the video's authenticity
i100
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape