Don’t feel too bad for travel writer and broadcaster Simon Reeve.

He may have the best job on telly now, but he had some pretty rubbish ones up until then.

“Oh I’ve had some pretty terrible jobs,” he says. “From stacking shelves in supermarkets to sitting in a room with three blokes for a half a morning photocopying secret Government documents. I basically went out for lunch and never went back.”

Today Simon is known as the BBC’s “most adventurous traveller” going on far flung adventures all over the world.

Despite filming a new series where he journeys from Alaska to the far tip of South America, this autumn he will be a lot closer to home.

Following a sell-out UK theatre tour last year, the presenter will return to the stage to recount tales from more than 15 years of travelling to the most remote and extreme corners of the planet.

Simon will be describing his best and worst moments from across the globe in a show that also includes exclusive multi-media footage and a 20-minute Q & A session.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

From being chased by pirates, hounded by the KGB and bombed by Colombian barons, Simon has travelled through more than 120 countries and his BBC documentaries have sold to more than 60 countries around the world.

So what inspired the intrepid explorer to create a new live show?

He says: “I’ve had some magnificent adventures and met some of the most inspiring people on the planet.

So obviously I’ve got lots of tales from my travels, and this show is a tremendous opportunity to share them with audiences across the UK

“There’s a lot that I see and film that never makes it into the programmes, so there’s also behind-the-scenes stories to tell and footage to show. I also like doing things that are a bit challenging and nerve wracking, and performing a live show is certainly a challenge that should get the ticker going. I like that adrenaline rush.

“We never set out to be journalistic with our programmes. Trying to get back to the idea of having real experiences and learning from them. We just wanted to go on proper adventures.”

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

As well as his life as a travel broadcaster, Simon will be talking about how he got into it in the first place.

“I wanted to remind people that starting from nothing doesn’t need to stop you from achieving your dreams,” he explains. “Everyone seems to think that to be on TV you need to have got straight As at public school, but I don’t come from a media family or a wealthy, travelling background, and I left my local comprehensive with basically nothing and went on the dole.

“I started work in a mailroom. I never went to university.

I’m hoping to inspire people to climb a hill they thought was too challenging. Live the life you want to live because time is short

“If your goal is to break out of a rubbish job, I’ve done that. It is possible. Have faith and just do it.”

Simon assures me adventure was not part of his upbringing, far from it, as his family only went abroad once, when they took a ferry to France to go camping.

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

“I didn’t get on a plane till I was working,” he says.

“When I was growing up, people didn’t travel in the way they do now. People have forgotten that. I remember the first Spanish and Greek restaurants opening in London during the late 1970s.

“That was the result of British people taking Freddie Laker-type flights abroad. I only came to travel and adventure as an adult.

“I grew up in tropical Acton in West London. My adventures were restricted to riding my BMX and my grandmother’s magical mystery tours. She would take my brother and me in her car when we were very little to explore exotic, unknown places, like Hounslow. Sometimes we even got as far as Chiswick.

“She used to take me and my brother out in her car exploring exotic West London.

“We were allowed to say, ‘Go left grandma, what’s down there?’

“It showed me something fundamental about myself. Most of us love knowing what’s over the hill or around the corner - whether that’s in grey West London in the Seventies or the Peak District or the Amazon.

“It’s encoded in our DNA. I see it in my own son, who’s seven. Travel has made us humans and as humans we are travel.”

Watching Simon charm people from a myriad of different cultures, it’s hard to believe he was once a shy, depressed teen, who dropped out of school with no prospects or hopes for the future.

In his memoir, Step By Step, he detailed his remarkable rise from the dusty post room of The Sunday Times newspaper to the nation’s TV screens, via several investigations into terrorist groups and a very prescient pre-911 book about Al-Qaeda.

From almost dying of malaria in Gabon, to playing polo with a dead goat in Kazakhstan, his travels have literally been life-changing.

But it was climbing a mountain that, according to Simon, saved his life.

“I’d had a lot of mental health counselling in my teens,” he explains. “I was struggling with life and I’d flunked out of school, had no girlfriend and was in a very bad way. It’s a painful memory.

I woke up one morning and I decided I needed to do something. It was very specifically a journey - the act of putting one foot in front of another

“I followed some advice a woman in the DSS office had given me, which was to take things hour by hour, moment by moment, step by step.

“I scraped enough money to get the train to Glencoe in Scotland and I started climbing this hill, which became a bit of a mountain, which became an epic journey.

“The sun started to go down and I only had my trainers and a shower curtain cagoule. But I was driven by this urge to achieve something. If I hadn’t been on that journey, I honestly don’t know if I’d still be here.”

And that sense of adventure continues today, and not always in a good way.

Simon adds: “In terms of sheer terror, my worst moment was staring down the barrel of an anti-aircraft gun in Mogadishu in Somalia. Extreme experiences are where the strongest, most powerful memories can be found. They are life affirming and we need more of them.”

l An Audience with Simon Reeve is at Charter Hall, Leisure World, Colchester, on October 25 at 7.30pm.

For tickets go to