Where the experts holiday: Sean Conway, endurance adventurer

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Sean Conway became the first person to swim the length of Great Britain, from Land’s End to John O’Groats – via Ireland. Conway left west Cornwall on 30 June 2013. 135 days and 900 miles later, the 32 year-old  reached the Caithness coast and in doing so raised over  £6,000 for War Child –  a charity that provides aid to children living in war zones. Here the endurance adventurer and author spills the beans on  South Africa, Spain and why he’s adverse to sunshine



What do you like to do on holiday?
I haven’t been on ‘holiday’ in a while. I tend to go back to South Africa and spend time with my Father – I’m not good at being on holiday. I’m that annoying person who always wants to go for a cycle or a long walk. Also being of the ginger variety means that I don’t have the best relationship with sunshine,  so that rules out any beach holidays.


Where did you last go?
South Africa to visit my Father but the last proper ‘holiday’ so to speak  was to Spain with my sister and her boyfriend, a few years ago. We had fun, but I did get bored of just sitting on the beach.


South Africa

Do you know where you’re going this year?
I’m lucky that I get to travel for work and give talks all over the place. Aside from work trips, I’m planning a few mini adventures in the UK and Europe. Apart from South Africa, I won’t be going anywhere too far away.


Of all the destinations you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
I have a special affection for Namibia as I love deserts. Namibia feels like the moon at times and the vastness makes you feel very insignificant. I like that.


Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
I’d love to go to Japan. Not to the cities but to the countryside so as to  find out more about samurai warriors.


In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
My country? Well I live in the UK so my piece of advice would be to go to Clovelly. It’s a seaside village in Devon that is owned and run by one man. It’s idyllic with cobbled streets and the people who live there, have a very interesting way of life.


How do you plan your trips? (Guidebooks/website/agent/recommendations etc)
I’m not one for planning per se but I do love Lonely Planet guide books. I always try and take one with me.


How often do you go away?
I try and make sure that I have one BIG adventure every year, but still try and squeeze in as many smaller, cheaper adventures  as possible.


Who do you travel with?
I mostly tend to travel by myself.


Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
The internet has made it easier to discover and learn a lot more about places. I think people will start uncovering ‘hidden gems’ in greater numbers – and  thus making them not ‘hidden’ anymore. I don’t have a problem with that though, as long as we respect the environment we are in. The world is there for exploring. Let’s go explore it.


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