Interview: The Curious Ben Fogle – The Travel Hack

Interview: Curious Ben Fogle - Travel Hacks

”If you were a biscuit, what would you be?’

“I’ll be the Hobnob. It’ll have chocolate in it, but it’ll have half as much chocolate, so it’ll be a bit naughty, but not too naughty.”

There was a pause, silently asking myself why I had just asked Ben Fogle what kind of biscuits he would make. (Thanks to his Facebook followers who insisted on asking me.) He knows it’s a trick question and will be forever judged by his answer.

Thankfully, he has the perfect response. Chocolate Hobnob. Everyone loves it, no one hates it, and it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon with a cup of coffee. He also managed to make it slightly healthier than usual.

As we all know, Ben Fogle is just Mr. Perfect. He’s charming, handsome, educated, funny, philanthropic, and one of the most well-traveled people I’ve ever had the pleasure of talking to. Oh, he’s an adventurer. He is a professional adventurer. How cool is he.

Interview: Curious Ben Fogle - Travel Hacks

For those of you who don’t know much about Ben Fogle (this is for Americans), let me give you a little background information.

Ben was born in London in 1973 and studied Latin America at the University of Costa Rica and the University of Portsmouth. He spent several years in Latin America working on turtle conservation projects in orphanages in Honduras and Ecuador.

In 2000, Ben volunteered to appear on the BBC reality show Castaway, where he was stranded on a deserted island for a year with 36 other people.

This brought Ben into the public eye and he has since worked on various shows for the BBC including Animal Park and Countryfile, as well as making numerous documentaries including Prince William of Africa.

Ben was announced as a successful travel and adventure broadcaster on the BBC’s popular adventure show Extreme Dreams.

Ben has achieved some of his own extreme dreams, most notably setting a British pair’s record for rowing across the Atlantic in 49 days with James Cracknell and racing to the South Pole with Cracknell. This is what I did.

Ben is a passionate activist. He is chairman of the National Parks Campaign and an ambassador for WWF.

In 2012, Ben teamed up again with James Cracknell to cross the Oman desert and more recently joined ITV’s Countrywise as co-presenter.

Ben is a brand ambassador and destination expert for Celebrity Cruises, so I had the opportunity to speak with him. Earlier this month, I traveled from Venice to Croatia aboard the Celebrity Her Silhouette, so I’m here to find out more about Ben’s cruising experience.

Ben Fogle and Celebrity Cruises

Interview: Curious Ben Fogle - Travel Hacks

Ben told me about his first moment on a cruise ship, which I can completely relate to now.

[quote_simple]When you step onto the ship, the scale of a miniature city opens up before your eyes, giving you a surreal experience. They literally have everything you could imagine on board and more. But for me, it was always about the destination. I’ve traveled to Malta, Sicily, and Napal, and this is where cruises really shine. You won’t be able to visit all these destinations in a 3-day overland trip. Well, it’s possible, but you’ll always be at the airport or hotel.

[quote_simple]You are essentially in a hotel on the move. It was a highlight for me as I love destinations, variety, spice and making the most of my time. The fun of a cruise is going to places you wouldn’t normally go. You end up with an itinerary that takes you to places you’ve never heard of and completely changes your perspective on the area. And that’s what’s so amazing. We tend to be creatures of habit and Celebrity Cruises can help you discover new places and discover eclectic, extraordinary and unique destinations. [/quote_simple]

[quote_simple]I was really surprised by the diversity on board. I had the impression that it would be difficult to find your own space, but there are many places where you can truly feel alone. The boat I was on had its own lawn with cabanas and hammocks on it, which I used as a means of escapism. [/quote_simple]

Ben is a “professional adventurer” so I would like to discuss his career choices (I’m secretly hoping he shares the formula on how to land this role!) and what adventures and adventures are for him. I asked what it was.

[quote_simple]I don’t think anyone intends to be an adventurer or a traveler. I spent much of my childhood in Canada and loved the outdoors and being near water. I love being close to nature and it makes me feel alive. I have always wanted to travel and add excitement to my life. [/quote_simple]

[quote_simple]My life, like most people’s, has been full of strange and wonderful things. I would describe myself as an adventurer because I am always looking for new adventures. But adventure doesn’t always have to involve crossing the poles or rowing across the ocean. Adventure can be anything out of the ordinary. [/quote_simple]

Make Me a New Face

Ben talks about his proudest project, Make Me a New Face, a documentary about a team of volunteer plastic surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital. They traveled to Ethiopia to restore the faces of children who had been devastated by Noma disease. Ben spent six months off and on in Ethiopia while the team performed life-changing reconstructive surgery. If you have a chance, please check out some of this documentary on YouTube. It has been both heartbreaking and amazing to see the difference this amazing team of volunteers has made.

Quick questions

What can you not travel without?

tablet or iPad (unless you receive a lot of office email)

What is your favorite travel book?

Ben doesn’t really have a choice, but he told me he loves travel books, both factual and fictional. Because travel books can really enhance a destination. Here are some of his favorite works, but we found out that he has read literally hundreds of books and has a true passion for literature.

stone cutting

Interview: Curious Ben Fogle - Travel Hacks

poison wood bible

Interview: Curious Ben Fogle - Travel Hacks

Any work by Gabriela García Márquez

Can you describe yourself in 5 words:

Curious, optimistic, happy, fulfilled, and.. curious… Did I mention I’m curious?

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I share my experiences aboard Celebrity Cruises.

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