My Life In Travel: Clive Anderson

Sophie Lam
Saturday 01 March 2008 01:00 GMT

First holiday memory?

Travelling on a sleeper train from London to Scotland, to stay with my grandparents on an island off the west coast of Scotland. We didn't go very far when I was a child, so we'd either holiday in Scotland or Devon.

Best holiday?

I have had very good times in East Africa, particularly in Kenya and a holiday with my children in Tanzania. I enjoyed the combination of wildlife, beaches and charming people. A couple of years ago, I went to Brazil on a journalistic assignment, which I thought was fantastic. I went on a boat up the Amazon to villages off little tributaries. We were taking justice to the communities, so we'd sleep in hammocks on the boat, get off, do some justice and party through the night.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I am attached to the west coast of Scotland – it's gorgeous to look at and challenging. You have to contend with the possibility of being blown away or rained on. And in the summer months you can be eaten alive by midges.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I remember being in China and realising how irrelevant not even Britain is, but also Europe. We're just another remote country that hardly impinges on some places at all.

Ideal travelling companion?

Woody Allen. I think he'd be a bad traveller, but entertaining. I've always wanted to interview him but haven't succeeded so far, so that would be a good time to pin him down.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm pale-skinned so I don't feel at my best on a beach. I like a bit of culture – if there is a ruin or a hilltop town particular to the place I'm in, I'll seek it out. I've done quite a few documentaries, which forces you to do unusual things such as interview people or investigate a story. It's also about meeting people other than the charming hotel receptionist.

Greatest travel luxury?

I take a kikoy with me, which is a piece of cloth from East Africa that you can wrap around yourself. It's good for a towel, an emergency item of clothing, a sheet or to tie around your head if you're getting sunburnt.

Holiday reading?

I'll take a guidebook to the place I'm visiting, then maybe a book that is set in or related to the place plus, ideally, a lengthy novel.

Where has seduced you?

I have been seduced by East Africa and Brazil. I also visited Greenland a couple of years ago, a place that surprised me.

Better to travel or arrive?

The getting there is often irritating; I get wound up by visa applications, form-filling and hanging around at airports. But that's ungracious of me, because it's now possible to fly to the other side of the world in 24 hours, which was unthinkable years ago.

Worst travel experience?

I got an awful bug on the Kenyan coast one New Year's Eve and was fantastically ill for the best part of a week. Until then, I was a bit devil-may-care about travelling and now I'm rather paranoid.

Worst hotel?

A hotel on the south coast of England, which had a Fawlty Towers air about it. It was completely bound by things you couldn't do. It seemed to be quite successful, maybe because it had a slightly nostalgic B&B feel to it.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I did a television programme called Britain's Favourite View and I spoke about Hadrian's Wall. There is a walk you can do along it, which I intend to do properly. It's on an escarpment with a majestic view. I have enjoyed walking along the West Highland Way.

Best meal abroad?

I had a fantastic meal in Shanghai. We ate a banquet, which consisted of 10 or more courses. At the beginning of each, the waiter would explain the history of it, and what the food symbolised. The food was great and there was a warm feeling of hospitality. However, I didn't realise that if you finish your food, they'll keep bringing you more because they think you haven't eaten enough. Also, once the meal ends, everyone promptly leaves – there is no lingering over coffee.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

It depends where I am. If I'm in Spain, I'll look around the villa to see if the pool is full of water; if I'm in a hotel, I'll check the bed. I suppose I check that everything is all right.

Dream trip?

I would like to see more of Brazil and I haven't seen anything else of South America, so I'd like to do an extensive tour, taking in countries such as Argentina and Chile.

Favourite city?

I like New York. There are similarities with London that make it feel rather like home, but at the same time it's slightly fictional. I also enjoyed visiting Calcutta, even though there's a lot of poverty there.

Where next?

I might be going to New York, Scotland and Corsica, although nothing is set. There is discussion about a holiday in northern India.

Clive Anderson hosts 'Whose Line is it Anyway?' The Series 1 & 2 DVD box set is out now (£29.99)

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