Simon Reeve
Wanderlust Travel Magazine|January 2022 / Issue 218
Recently voted Wanderlust readers’ Travel Personality of the Year 2021, Simon Reeve speaks to George Kipouros about his new book, Journeys to Impossible Places, the effect of the pandemic vis-a-vis his passion for travel, and what really matters in life
By George Kipouros
It’s been a tough time for everyone since spring last year, but for all of us with the travel bug there’s been an added layer of difficulty. You seem to have experienced the pandemic with mixed emotions, as you describe it in your new book, Journeys to Impossible Places?

There’s no getting around it – it’s been a difficult time for all of us. And yet the pandemic gave me the opportunity to look back and reflect, like for many of us, and write Journeys to Impossible Places as a very cathartic experience and an explanation for my son.

I suppose the problem for me is that I know how wonderful the world is, I know the experiences, memories, opportunities, sights, tastes, encounters that are there to be had. That becomes an addiction in a way, once you know you want to get back out there and have more of that. The world is so vast, so magnificent and so full of dramatic experiences it is hard to be told you can’t have them. And to add to that, for a very long while we didn’t know when we would be able to restart travel.

In the book, you mention that you had a poster of a beach in your room as a teenager, of an exotic location that you really wanted to be in one day. But it was only a dream, your travel adventures didn’t come until a little later…

For nearly half my life, I didn’t really travel, so I didn’t yet know what I was missing. There was a part of me that had a yearning, but I don’t think it was so strong. I didn’t understand the impact that travel would have on me, how profound the effect and emotions would be when travelling. I just imagined perhaps the heat of the sun and the feeling of the sand on my feet and the turquoise sea.

But I didn’t yet appreciate everything else that came with travel, particularly the people and the full spectrum of the experiences that travel could offer. It was only a little bit later that I did and then grasped it with both hands. Once I started, I’ve always wanted more and more!

At some point early on in the book you do however question the impact that travel has had on you and your physical well-being, the constant travel, the exhaustion, the risk-taking…

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