My Life In Travel: Ray Mears
'There's nothing worse than trying to sleep when someone is snoring'
Saturday 30 April 2005
First holiday memory?
Making sandcastles somewhere in Britain. I can't remember where, but it was sunny and it was wonderful.
I don't take many holidays, but I've had some very good trips. I really enjoyed visiting New York, as it's so different to what I normally do. New York is such a great city and it's certainly a world away from the bush.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
I can't tell you, because everyone would go there. I want to keep it as it is.
Ideal travelling companion?
Genghis Khan. I think he'd be really entertaining and a journey with him would be a real rollercoaster ride. Otherwise it would have to be Captain Cook ( below), for his sense of adventure and knowledge.
What have you learnt from your travels?
To have faith in people.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
Beaches are like hell. Culture is interesting but I am definitely not into adrenalin sports when I'm on holiday, because I get enough of that when I'm working.
Greatest travel luxury?
These days it would be an iPod or some noise-reducing headphones, which are great for plane journeys. If I'm not travelling conventionally, then I always make sure I take a pair of earplugs in case someone in the group snores. There's nothing worse than trying to get to sleep in a room where someone is snoring.
I don't really get the chance to read when I'm travelling for work. When I do, I like to read all sorts of things, but I prefer factual books to fiction.
Where has seduced you?
Canada. It's such a beautiful country and I really like the people. British Columbia is particularly stunning.
Is it better to travel or arrive?
To arrive. There's nothing worse than being stuck on an aeroplane, even with the best crew. It's especially bad if you're travelling in economy. The people who designed economy seats should be made to sit in them for a decent length of time. I like travelling at ground level on trains and in canoes, though.
What is your worst travel experience?
Filming; it's a form of aversion therapy for people with wanderlust. There's nothing worse than arriving at an airport with 21 boxes of equipment between two or three of you, checking in last and getting on the plane last.
The Darwin Hotel. It calls itself the Raffles of Australia, but in reality it should be bulldozed. I arrived late at night after spending a month in the bush and there was a disco blaring. When I got into bed it broke, the air conditioning didn't work and the fan was incredibly noisy. I then decided to get up and have a shower, only to find that it was also broken.
The Hyatt in Jakarta. It does what a hotel should and I had a very pleasant time there. I once stayed at a lovely hotel in Cornwall where the staff wore morning suits and called you by your first name, which was lovely you don't find many hotels like that anymore.
What is the first thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
I normally go to the toilet! If I'm in the bush I set up my camp and light a fire.
Best meal abroad?
A Porterhouse steak at Mulligan's in New York. It was absolutely delicious.
London; it's just magic.
It's a holiday to a special place, but I'm not telling you where that is as it's my secret.
Where to next?
I'm home for a while, because I've been away working most of the year.
Ray Mears' DVD 'Bushcraft Survival: Series One' (£19.99) is in selected shops now
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