We recently held a Twitter Q&A with TV presenter and adventurer Simon Reeve, and he gave us some brilliant insights about the Caribbean, his travel style, and what it's like to be on the road for more than 10 years...
Which country most surprised you when you visited in terms of being different from expectations?
Haiti really surprised me with beauty and a warm welcome. So many people had warned us about Haiti, especially in the Dominican Republic! But it was stunning; the team and I were blown away. That’s not to say you should ignore the poverty, but there’s another side as well: Haiti has amazing history and scenery.
The mainland of Honduras was a shock as well, as I hadn’t fully realised how violent it is. That said, it's beautiful off the coast – I dived the Mesoamerican Reef.
Related content: Discovering the real Haiti
What jobs can UK residents get to help Haiti rebuild its infrastructure?
They need long-term help, a long-term plan, and the complete structure of a functioning state. We need to send teachers to transfer knowledge and invest in the next generation. We definitely should get involved, because European powers helped to create the situation they’re in.
What do you think makes a good travel journal?
Buckets of flair, authenticity, imagination, and passion.
Is there anywhere in the world you haven't been that you would still like to go to?
Hell yeah! I've been so lucky – 110 countries and counting. But there are so many places I’d still love to visit: Russia, Canada, Japan, Senegal, Bolivia, New Zealand, Iceland, Papua New Guinea, Iran, Zambia, Yemen, Costa Rica, Chad... We live in such an amazing world!
Related content: 100 greatest travel experiences
What is the one luxury you take with you on all adventures?
The ONE?! I take loads! Pictures, flapjacks, teabags, a bit of chocolate (just for the team of course…)
How do you see the world before and after you travel to so many stunning places?
Obviously my travels have opened my eyes and mind, but I think they’ve left me with more questions than answers. I’ve been travelling extensively for more than 10 years, and I’ve certainly seen the world changing in that time. I see the planet as a very organic place; everything is connected – culturally, politically, geographically. Everyone's our cousin. Everything is inter-dependent. We screw with it at our utter peril.
If you weren't an adventurer and journalist, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be scribbling books that nobody reads... Never become an author, unless you can’t stop yourself!
Do you make notes as you travel or do you remember experiences and write them up later?
I’ve got one of the world’s best TV teams following me around making a permanent record! I’ve got a memory like a sieve, to be honest (but at least that means everywhere feels fresh and new!). I made notes on the road while writing my Tropic of Capricorn book, and tried mp3 dictating in the car but my team couldn’t stop laughing...!
You seem to develop meaningful relationships with your guides. Do you ever keep in touch?
I try to keep in touch, but it’s hard. Email helps!
Guides help make the journeys what they are. They give travellers such unique experiences – guides have a local brain and interpret so much more than just language.
How important do you think it is for children to travel and see the world?
It can transform them. Just don’t let them sit by a pool – get them out doing things! I think they need to know how lucky they are, and travel can help them realise that. Tap + fresh water = privilege! I can’t wait to take my lad to amazing places. I'm keen to go to Bangladesh and show him its beauty and also the reality of living conditions for most humans.
Related content: How travel helps your kids become the adults you want them to be
Simon's current TV series, Caribbean can be found on BBC2 on Sundays at 8pm
Main Image BBC/Craig Hastings