My Life In Travel: Sean Hughes, comedian

'My dream trip would involve gorillas'

First holiday memory?

We were quite poor so we'd go to see my granny; there were no brochures involved. My first proper holiday was when I was 14 and I was sent to the Isle of Man to babysit for a week. My abiding memory was of going on the go-karts. I pretended I had been on one before but I didn't even know where the brakes were. I got flagged down but I didn't know how to stop it.



Best holiday?

Trekking to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda. I did it about five years ago and I'd happily go every year. One of them touched me – which they're not supposed to – but it wasn't frightening. I think I look a bit like a gorilla so they must have thought I was part of the family.



Favourite place in the British Isles?

Edinburgh, mainly for the festival, but for other reasons too. It's the place I have been to the most in the UK and it has personal significance. I also love Devon and Dorset, but who doesn't?



What have you learnt from your travels?

I travel a lot on my own and I'm very good at it, except for mealtimes when everyone struggles. You have to go out to dinner with a magazine so you give off that "I'm not lonely" vibe.

Ideal travelling companion?

Myself. Things take forever when you're travelling in any kind of group.



Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I have Irish skin so I love the idea of the sun, but it doesn't like me. So, sadly, I look for Irish bars – not to hang out with other Irish people, but just to watch the football.



Greatest travel luxury?

Tranquilisers, because I don't like flying. However, once you've done your first trip to Australia you realise you can't be in a state of panic for 24 hours. I find airports very tedious and depressing though.



Holiday reading?

I have hundreds of books at home which I haven't read, so I take a selection of them and don't read them. I also take unread weekend newspaper supplements.



Where has seduced you?

There's something very special about New York. I'm always aware that people know who I am in London, but nobody does in New York. I have been about five or six times and it's just beautiful. I feel like I know it myself now.



Better to travel or arrive?

One thing everyone should do if they are somewhere with good weather is hire a scooter; it's a great way to see a place and you feel like Steve McQueen.



Worst travel experience?

Being in Galle, Sri Lanka, when the tsunami hit. I was staying on the ground floor at The Lighthouse hotel and when it hit us at 9.10am I was in the shower. I was booked in for a massage at 9.30 and the massage area was completely obliterated. I was literally 20 minutes away from death. But I feel lucky because the water came in at an angle and we survived, but so many villagers behind us didn't.

Worst holiday?

I did some filming on the Isle of Man and I really didn't like the place. I later did a stand-up show there and it was brilliant. We went to a bar afterwards and someone came up to me and asked: "Are you that Jewish comedian?"



Best hotel?

A very quirky hotel in Stockholm, which only had two floors but a choice of five musical genres that could be played in the lift – including jungle music.



Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive

The train journey from Edinburgh to Aberdeen is spectacular but then, unfortunately, you're in Aberdeen at the end of it; unless you're looking for oil it's not a great place to be. Biarritz is a brilliant walking town because it's so compact. They have good seawater spas there.



First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I hate the mass surge of people wanting to carry your bag at the airport, so I have to meditate to get myself out of the building in a calm state of mind.



Best meal abroad?

One of the reasons I don't like going on holiday is because I'm vegetarian so I find eating out really difficult. Even in Sri Lanka, I found that the hotels didn't cater much for vegetarians. I have wanted to go to South America for years but that's the one thing that puts me off. What fun am I going to have eating beans every day?



Dream trip?

It would involve gorillas or monkeys. In Uganda there's a chimpanzee sanctuary on an island called Ngamba. You get there by speedboat, passing the equator on the way. There are just two tents there; we stayed and got to go out with baby chimps in the jungle. There were four of them jumping on us and play biting, which hurt quite a lot. As soon as I started grooming the hair on one of them, he was completely relaxed. That was a magical moment for me.



Favourite city?

I love Melbourne. I've been about six times for the comedy festival and it's a great city.



Where next?

To Edinburgh, for the festival. I'm sure I'll be paying hotel prices for a very dodgy apartment, but I love doing it.

Sean Hughes is appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with his new stand-up show 'Sean Hughes – ducks and other mistakes I've made' at the Gilded Balloon, from 4-19 August (tickets: edfringe.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

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence