I recently got the chance to see one of my heroes speak live to a small audience – the great Michael Palin! It was a great opportunity and one found purely by chance while looking for tickets for something else! Hurrah for fate!
Now for some, you may only know him from his Monty Python days and films but here in the UK he is a TV legend taking viewers around the world on his many travel shows. He started back in the 80’s with Around the World, a trip tracing the route that Joules Verne’s hero Philleas Fogg took in Around the World in 80 days. Of course for any modern traveller not being able to take normal modes of transport equates to hilarious consequences. From then on Michael Palin has gone on to host several other journeys around the globe, including Pole to Pole, Himalaya and Sahara.
This particular talk was a fund raising event for a local library called the Keats Community Library, that is run by volunteers and completely dependent on donations. Michael is a Patron of the library so of course offered his services. Taking place in a slightly odd venue, the lecture theatre of the London Royal Free Hospital, the 350 strong audience waited patiently for Michael Palin to come on stage. For the next hour and half we listen to and laughed with our host who took us through the 25 years of travels that he had been on courtesy of the BBC.
It was amazing to watch him speak, he is so confident and fluid and spoke for such a long period of time without notes or aids. This is a man completely comfortable speaking to an audience and one with a brilliant memory. He recounted tales, names and places as if he had been there a couple of days previously – if only we all had such amazing memory recall!
As someone who works in travel and is continuously planning her own explorations of the world it was brilliant to see someone speak so passionately about the things he had seen and done. I remember the first time I saw one of his travel shows on TV it was so different to anything else that had been on previously. Here the presenter was taking on this journey into the unknown, he was at ease with people and was making mistakes. He genuinely seems to enjoy what he is doing and meeting people along the way. It was this enthusiasm and passion that really drove me to go into travel and explore the world as much as possible, seeing the wonders of the world and meeting so many fabulous people.
If you ever get the opportunity to see Michael speak then go, he is wonderful to watch and listen to!! Otherwise go and watch one of his travel shows (maybe with a side order of Python) and get inspired to go somewhere amazing!