We’re not sure what the collective noun is for a group of intrepid travellers: a compass? A bivouac? An adventure?

This week’s Adventure Travel Show at Olympia brings tent-loads of the world’s greatest travellers together to tell inspiring tales and bite you with the travel bug. But, lucky us, we’ve been chatting to them ahead of the big event, and here are more of their best and worst travel experiences, together with the where and when of how to catch them this weekend:

Philip Young (Historic-rally driver)
Sunday 26th January – World of Adventure Theatre
13.15 – 13.45

Best: Exploring Rorke’s Drift and Isaldwana and finding a soldier’s button.
Worst: Crossing Libya non-stop, and mostly in the dark, last year.

Hilary Bradt (Lecturer, tour leader, author and 35-time visitor to Madagascar)
Saturday 25th January – Adventure Auditorium
11.00 – 11.30

Worst & Best: There have been so many! Two can be combined: being lost in the jungle of Madagascar for three days and reduced to eating roast insects (large, juicy ones). Then reaching civilisation again and having a really good meal. But that’s just one example out of a lifetime of good and bad.

Mark Middleton (Oasis Overland)
Saturday 25th January – Incredible Journeys Theatre
11:45 – 12.15

Best: My first big trip out on my own in Alaska. I wanted to stand on a mountain without another person or a man-made object in sight and I did it in Denali National Park. Wow!

Worst: The toilets at Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side (if you can call them toilets). Not much makes me baulk, but they were horrendous! Fantastic view though!

Stuart Bartman (Karibu Safari)
Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January – Discover Africa Theatre
14.00 -14.30 – Sat
14.45 – 15.15 – Sun

Best: The best experiences are meeting really amazing people on safari. From people involved in setting up the Hubble Telescope to Hollywood movie directors and royalty.

Worst: Many years ago, I was accompanying a friend who is the head ranger of a game reserve, doing animal counts. I ran into a thicket of bush to flush Kudu and came face to face with a very annoyed buffalo. The buffalo charged without hesitation and I ran back to the vehicle and dived through the window a split second before the buffalo impacted the Land Rover.

Brian Milton (First man to microlight around the world)
Sunday 26th January – World of Adventure Theatre
15.30 – 16.00

Best: On a microlight flight to Australia for that country’s bicentenary, I was wrecked on a Greek island and had to glue the aircraft back together. I also came under the patronage of King Hussein, had a number of out-landings in the Saudi Desert, and fell into the Persian Gulf 32 miles from land on Christmas Day 1987 in the middle of the Iran/Iraq War. I was rescued by helicopter but 6 hours later went back into the sea to rescue the aircraft. I got it to fly again in 5 days and, after more incidents, flew it to Sydney. That Christmas Day evening separating $2,500 in sea-soaked bills and laughing merrily at the thought that the flight wasn’t over was just terrific. That’s the subject of my talk at the Adventure Show this Sunday: ‘Not Giving Up’.

Worst: The worst experience was a few days later, over India, when I was haunted by a Djinn (a spirit of Islamic legend able to take human or animal form) for 3 days. He urged me to throw myself overboard from 5,000 feet without a parachute.

This was genuinely the most frightened I have been in my life. I banished him by thinking of all the beautiful girls I knew and summoning their images when the Djinn shrieked at me. I resolved never to identify these girls. The book I wrote about this adventure was ‘The Dalgety Flyer’ produced by Harry Potter’s publisher, Bloomsbury.

Lewis Clarke (World record holder and youngest person ever to trek from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole)
Saturday 25th January – Adventure Auditorium
10:15 – 10.45

Best: Arriving at the South Pole just last Saturday! After 7 weeks of 9 hour days and only one full day off, I was utterly exhausted. Spaghetti bolognaise and a heated tent have never been so welcome.

Worst: I was swimming in the sea in France and got really badly stung by jellyfish. It was absolute agony and my dad had to drag me out of the water with the jellies all over me. A woman came along to ‘help’ and rubbed sand into my skin and that made it even worse. I still have the scars on my belly!

Richard Harpham (Adventures from cycling London to Marrakech and the Sahara)
Saturday 25th January – Discover Africa Theatre
10:15 – 10.45

Best: Being around the wildlife in Canada and Alaska has been a very spiritual experience and one that I believe has been a complete privilege, to see animals such as moose, wolves, bears and whales in their natural environment. It is a great connection to nature and our heritage. A very pure signal as opposed to emails and mobile phones and the 24 hour modern pace of life.

Worst: My worst moments have to be put into perspective – there is always someone worse off than yourself. I suffered anaphylactic shock whilst cycling and kayaking London to Marrakech which was unpleasant and itchy.

You can read more about Richard’s adventures at thespareseat.com,
big5kayakchallenge.com, inspiredlife.org and richadventure.smugmug.com

Organise your adventure holiday to Australia

Got your travel juices flowing? Join us at the Adventure Travel Show this weekend (you can still get 40% off standard ticket prices when you use the voucher code here). And if you’re ready to organise your adventure holiday to Australia, start your planning here.

View more Adventure Travel Show travellers’ tales
View more Australian travellers’ tales
View the Global Grapevine blog