My Life In Travel: Dave Gorman

'It's cheaper to buy a pair of socks almost anywhere in the world than it is to do hotel laundry'

Adam Barnes
Saturday 28 February 2004 01:00

What's your first holiday memory?

In 1976, the year of the drought, when I was five. My father was driving us to Abersoch in North Wales and decided to make a detour so that we could look at a reservoir ... that was empty. We were kids and wanted to get to the beach. There weren't any tears, but we managed a bit of a tantrum.

Where did you spend your childhood summers?

Mainly North Wales. We used to go there every year for a couple of weeks and stay in a caravan called Norway, owned by a friend of the family.

What's been your best holiday?

I've taken very few holidays as an adult. I've done a lot of travelling, but most of it has been work-related. This New Year, however, I went to Stockholm with friends. From our restaurant we had a view of the square in central Stockholm where people congregate and throw fireworks at each other.

Are you a frequent traveller?

Last year I travelled about 100,000 miles. I flew between England and America several times and went to Australia twice. Most of it was doing what became the Googlewhack Adventure, and the rest was telling people about the Googlewhack Adventure.

What's your favourite place in the British Isles?

I love the north Cornish coast. My perfect scenario is me and a friend on a beach, with no one around.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Be prepared to throw your underwear away. When I was on the Googlewhack Adventure, I had no idea where my next destination would be or how long I would be in any one place. So I started travelling without check-in luggage - the speed with which you move through an airport with only hand baggage is fantastic. It's cheaper to buy a pair of socks almost anywhere than it is to do hotel laundry.

Are you an independent traveller?

Yes. Generally, I buy a flight online and often get a hotel sorted when I get there. It's completely unprepared and I quite like that.

Who would be your ideal travelling companion?

I have done a few journeys with a tour manager called Rupert Potts, and we do sometimes find ourselves giggling at the back of an aeroplane like schoolboys. That's always a pleasure.

Are you beach bum, culture vulture or adrenaline junkie?

I don't sunbathe. I want an experience. So I'm either a culture vulture or an adrenaline junkie.

What luxury would you never travel without?

A book. Absolutely. Ipod definitely, but a book first.

What do you read on holiday?

Fiction, mainly. I've just read Black Box, by Nick Walker; I liked it, but it did involve plane crashes.

Where have you lost your heart?

I've had a fling or two. I took a helicopter flight over Sydney harbour with a girl I'd spent a week with. That was a beautiful way to end a beautiful week.

What's the worst thing that's happened to you on holiday?

After a very drunken night in Austin, Texas, I woke up the next day with a tattoo. It's a picture of a Texan driving licence with what's meant to be my face and my details. Tattooed onto my left arm. I was so frustrated with being asked for ID when I went into any bar in Austin that, having got into a bar, I got incredibly drunk. Then got the tattoo.

What's the most over-rated place you've been?

Vegas. It's the most ghastly place in the world.

What's the most under-rated place you've been?

I think Britain's coastline is spectacular and I like sitting in a windswept little tea-room while the wind rages outside and the rain lashes the coast.

Where would you emigrate?

One place is New York: I lived there for three months and could happily have stayed. I just slotted in very easily. And Melbourne, for similar reasons.

Where would be your trip of a lifetime?

I would love to go to Tokyo. And I have a real hankering to do the Trans-Siberian Express. I've been told to do it from China to Russia, because that way you get Chinese food. You cover so many thousands of miles and such extreme landscapes.

Where are you going next?

Leeds. In about an hour. For a book-reading.

Dave Gorman is a comedian and the author of 'Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure'

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