Dom Joly: A fortnight in Chernobyl is my idea of a holiday

Share
Related Topics

I've been looking back at my life, this past week. I'm not in therapy or anything, although hints to this effect are constantly being sprinkled all about me by the people who know me best.

I've been editing some of the best bits from my various DVDs with a view to writing some kind of "show and tell" lecture that I can tour the country with. In some senses it's no more than a slightly ambitious version of a bore showing their friends all their holiday snaps. You know the type, he turns up with some kind of amateur slide-show and you have to sit through an hour of every single move he and his wife made on their recent birdwatching holiday to Costa Rica.

I'm fortunate in that travelling for television nearly always puts you into extraordinary or at the very least interesting situations. On top of which you have the benefit of a professional team recording your "holiday snaps". If the truth be told, I now find travelling without the back-up of a production team a big let-down. It's like once you've turned left on a plane – it's always difficult to go back.

Travelling with a TV show comes with all sorts of fringe benefits. You have a ready-made gang to hang out with. Camera operators and sound people are very much of a uniformly gregarious type – they have to be to survive and be rehired. As well as this bunch of instant friends, you normally get a local fixer. Not only are they the butt of most of your jokes, they also get you into places usually well out of bounds to tourists. You're allowed into national monuments before hoi polloi and always travel about in some fun and "colourful" vehicle as television doesn't like mini-buses. Basically you are very spoilt.

It's only when I look back that I realise how lucky I've been to have so many extraordinary experiences. Just a random flick through my visual travel archive revealed mini-helicopter rides over the Australian Outback in search of rogue crocodiles, standing on top of the Grand Canyon with a huge rocket strapped to my back, the Taj Mahal at dawn, skiing dangerously down a volcano in Nicaragua on sharp black ash ... I've realised that my entire comedy career has been geared around blagging as many foreign trips as I could. Now it's all so clear – I've just been trying to steal Michael Palin's job by pretending to be a comedian and sneaking up on him on the blind side.

I've always had wanderlust – when I was a kid I wanted to visit every single country in the world (I still do) and I used to memorise all the capitals. I now do this with my own kids and wonder whether I'm somehow imbuing them with my wanderlust. It's a strong family gene; Stacey travelled around the world for 15 years or so before settling down with me. I wonder whether our kids will be able to travel as much when they're older?

It's most likely that climate change will completely change travel patterns. And maybe that is no bad thing. I am writing a travel book this year called The Dark Tourist. It tackles my penchant for visiting slightly macabre destinations. I'm off to some places that I really thought I'd never see – Guyana, Rwanda, Chernobyl – and I'm stupidly excited about all of them, partly because they're a bit off the beaten track.

I like the road "less travelled", in Robert Frost's words.

Maybe in the future tourist traps like Spain and Greece will become exotic destinations again as package tours disappear. I've no idea, but I do know how fortunate I am to live in a time when I still can travel to all these weird and wonderful places – especially if it's being paid for by a TV company.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Analyst - London - £22,000

£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chel...

KS2 Primary Teacher Plymouth

£21500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...

Primary Teacher Cornwall

£21500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teachers ...

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album