'Tenerife isn't for me': Ben Fogle on adventure travel
The TV presenter, adventure travel enthusiast and former ski rep tells RUPERT MURRAY why he loves Morocco and why Tenerife isn’t his kind of place.
Having rowed the Atlantic and trekked to the South Pole, Ben Fogle has become one of the most high profile adventure travellers of the 21st century.
He has just made a documentary on Captain Scott and hopes to make one on Everest mountaineers Mallory and Irvine in the near future.
Earlier this month he spoke at the Destinations show in Earls Court, where Aspire caught up with him to find out where a man who has tackled some of the greatest challenges on earth spends his holidays.
Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?
I love Morocco because it is exciting, not too far away and very beautiful.
Where is your least favourite destination and why?
Somewhere like Tenerife or Larnaca. I have been to both and while they suit some people, they aren’t my kind of place. I like to go away to get away from people.
How do you decide where to go on holiday?
Weather and distance. I spend a great deal of time flying all over the world for my job, so I try and keep it to a minimum for holidays. Likewise it seems silly to leave Europe during the summer.
How do you research your holidays and how do you book them?
The Adventure Company is a perfect place to get inspiration, but I read magazines, travel supplements and travel books. I’m always looking for ideas.
Do you ever use travel agents?
Sometimes. It depends on what I’m looking for. Often it’s just flights, in which case I use the airline directly, but if I need a guide or hotel, I’ll go through an agent.
Do you think anyone can experience the world the way you have?
Absolutely. The latest research has shown that people are looking for more adventurous holidays. They want to have an experience to remember, a tale to tell and photographs to show. Any of the things I have done are possible for everyone if they have the inclination and the money.
Do your holiday choices alter depending on who you are going with?
Sometimes. Having a one-year-old changes things. I’m not going to take him to altitude or a malarial zone, which cuts out a number of destinations. My wife loves adventurous travel but we also enjoy a little pampering.
What is the greatest travel-related experience of your life?
My first visit to Machu Picchu in Peru when I was 18, nearly 20 years ago. Peru was in the midst of a civil war so we had the place to ourselves. It was ‘otherworldy’ and blew my mind. It’s changed a lot.
Which travel dreams are you still keen to fulfil?
I’d love to do an open boat journey across the Pacific islands.
What are your plans and projects over the next few months?
I’ve just made a documentary about Captain Scott for the BBC and hope to make one about George Mallory and Andrew Irvine [who disappeared on Mount Everest.
Have you had any holiday nightmares?
I was bitten by a rabid dog in Ecuador and had to have a series of excrutiatingly painful injections into my stomach.
Do you think the travel industry has a responsibility to look after the destinations it visits?
Yes, just look at Machu Picchu. It’s not ruined, but it won’t be long.
Are your holiday and travel decisions shaped by the desire to be ‘responsible’?
In some ways, but I’m also acutely aware that making a film about somewhere or writing about it automatically increases footfall, which can change the dynamic of a place.
If a friend came to you and said they had £5,000 for a two-week break, where would you advise them to go?
Papua New Guinea. It’s the most incredible place I’ve ever been. Totally unexploited. And I’ve probably just ruined it by telling you all.
Have you ever worked in the travel industry?
I was a ski rep in France for several seasons. They were happy days. It was more apr??s than ski, though.
If you were stuck on a desert island, which three luxuries would you choose to have?
My family (including dogs), a crate of sunscreen and a