GRIFF Rhys Jones is not a born traveller who has wanderlust on his shoes.

What he has become is hungry for travel, hungry to see more and knows in order to travel you have to keep moving - forward motion is everything.

Looking up some inspirational quotes about travel, ahead of speaking to Griff Rhys Jones, I came across one from Hans Christian Andersen who said: “To Travel is to Live” .

When talking to Griff for this interview he was talking about travel and the effect it has had on him and he quoted Confucius when he said: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

This quote might not make a lot of sense when looked at on the page or out of context but link it with the fact Griff is a ‘romantic traveller’ who would hark back to and appreciate The Grand Tour which became popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.

It was a more romantic era of travel, when the upper classes travelled to, among other locations, Rome, to learn and look at all the culture the city had to offer.

In some sense, this is what Griff wants to get from his travels; certainly, culture in the meaning of learning but also a chance to discover, experience and see for himself and get across to the viewer that sense of wonder.

Griff said: “I don’t think I ever had wanderlust until I started travelling; now, I am never satisfied.

“When I grew up, even though my dad was a doctor, we never went abroad, it was not done.

“I first got the opportunity to go overseas due to a school trip which took me to Denmark.

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“I am now 64 years old and I am travelling more than I have ever done.

“It wasn’t until the BBC asked me to make travel programmes that I really started to travel.

“One of the programmes I want to make is a Dad Challenge, which challenges dads to get their family through a holiday.

“Giving them challenges to do every day like building a sandcastle on the beach.”

But, why all this talk of travel with the comedian?

Well, following the successful tour of “Jones and Smith”

last year – his one-man, standup and story show about his partner, his untimely death, their relationship and the onset of ageing - Griff Rhys Jones is going back on the road this spring to explore the subject of travel.

Where was I? takes as its starting point some of Griff ’s personal jaunts from the last fifteen years.

He has sailed a boat to St Petersburg and around the Med.

He has travelled in Morocco, the Galapagos, India and Australia.

But, mostly, he has ventured forth to work for TV, making Greatest Cities, A Slow Train to Africa, In Search of the Black Rhino, Burma and The Forgotten Army, several series of Three Men In A Boat and programmes on mountains, rivers, lost routes and tribal art.

Griff said: “I believe if you are a traveller then you are more of an explorer and, as such, you would be travelling alone like a Paul Theroux or a Bill Bryson.

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They seem to like nothing more than the click of the garden gate and then they are off.

“They are there own solitary observer and can find their own serendipity.

“I’m a romantic at heart when I travel.

“I had the opportunity to travel to Vienna, a place which I had not been to, but I would only go to it if I could go by train.

“I found out I could do this on a Sleeper if I first went to Cologne.

Doing the journey allowed me to think I was Somerset Maugham or Graeme Green.

“It was the myth which I enjoyed.

“I also like approaching a country or a city by boat.

“There is nothing more exciting as approaching a location by boat like the Greek Islands or Copenhagen.

“Airports can be very bland and boring “It is really important to go and see other things.

"Humanity, by nature, is driven by being uniformed and something like Coca-Cola is everywhere.

“It is like the uniformity of everyone having a mobile.

“What I am looking forward to is the discovery of something which is different and unique.

“If you go to New York it all looks familiar.

“The streets are wider and the buildings taller, but if you start to travel outside the city and go up state New York to Connecticut, you start seeing things which are different and make you say ‘Oh, boy, look at that’..

“I am more of an urban explorer, I like to walk and walk and walk and suddenly find myself looking a gasometers and garages.”

In his show, Griff Rhys Jones: Where was I?, he’s going to look behind those “making of ” snippets for the real truth about TV travel.

He has wandered from The Torres Straight Islands to Mali, from Moscow to Dar Es Salam, ridden “the train of death”, jumped from a burning boat in the Galapagos, sat with tribal elders and been ordered off their island.

He has unwillingly climbed up mountains and abseiled down waterfalls, gone window cleaning on New York skyscrapers without a safety rope and clambered through Manchester’s most demanding sewers.

And all without the help of Bear Grylls.

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He will be telling plenty of funny stories but also musing on the nature of travel itself - about the differences between travel and tourism.

Why do we go? What are we searching for? What do you need to pack? Why does television demand jeopardy, incident and immersion?

And what exactly does that mean for your sanity?

Why does it all have to be so arduous? It’s the truth about making travel television. And the truth about wanderlust. And he has never lain on a beach with a cocktail in his life. Isn’t it time for a holiday?

Why do holidays have to be improving and what’s the point of looking at ruins?

What are all us old people doing taking gap years? And, most important of all - how to get an upgrade.

Every aspect of the mania to leave home will be under consideration and some for the armchair traveller, too.

Speaking about what he has learnt about himself via all his travel, Griff said: “What I have learnt about was I have a terrible hunger to do more. You get to a certain age where you want to keep moving.

“One of my earliest big journeys was getting into a small boat - not a yacht, I might add - and sail all the way from Faversham, in Kent, to St Petersburg.

“But the main thing was we never lost sight of land and could stop off wherever we thought it would be good to see.

“I am not one of these gung-ho sailors. I was asked if I would like to be part of a crew on a clipper going from South Africa to Rio for 13 days. But ,by the twelfth day, I would be bored out of my skull and keep asking them if that was Rio yet.

"At times when I am travelling I like to read a paper. When I say I am going to get a paper, my wife asks me why and I say I like to read a paper when I am on holiday.

“But when I am away from civilisation I can do without a paper and just enjoy the company of people who know nothing about Brexit or what it means.

“As a BBC traveller and not a first class traveller like Sir David Attenborough, I have to start making my programmes a half-hour after arriving and, if necessary, we have to film it in the hotel garden.

“If things go wrong for Sir David Attenborough, then the BBC make a film about what went wrong. What I think I need to be with a television programme is to be a guide.

“There can be historical facts which can be done with a voiceover but what I think you need to show is the environment and enthusiasm.

“Sir David Attenborough is one person who generates and shows that level of excitement with what ever he does.

"I like to show things like the person who sells your ticket at the station and running or getting on a train.

"I like to show the truth so people get the whole experience.”

During our half-an-hour chat, he told me a story of what happened to him when he was in the Sahara.

He explained he found this stall where he haggled for hours for this carpet.

And, finally, when he got to 4am and had got the price he wanted, he went to pay. At that moment, the man pulled out a credit card machine.

One the most magical experiences Griff said he enjoyed was in Finland.

Taking up the story, he said: “The coast of Finland was a magical experience being on the water and seeing the fir trees on the mountains.

“It is a place I want to go back to.”

Now, he is looking forward to telling his audience all about his travel tales by telling his stories of what has happened in front and behind the camera.

You can catch him in his new show Griff Rhys Jones: Where was I? at two venues in the county.

Join the star of Not the Nine o’clock News, Smith & Jones and Three Men In A Boat as he airs stories, anecdotes, reminiscences and outright lies - from 40 years of travelling - down rivers and up mountains, into Africa, out of India, and across the arid wastes of the BBC canteen. It’s a career, if you mean bouncing chaotically downhill without a map.

See Griff at - The McMillan Theatre in Bridgwater on January 20.

Tickets cost £18. Buy online at or call the box office on 01278-556677.

- The Octagon in Yeovil on February 10. Tickets cost £19.

Buy online at or call the box office