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
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: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

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

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

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?