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Simon's hatred of nature after travelling


How to be a travel writer
Redmond O'Hanlon Writer
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Writing is... takes more energy than anything else, seems to me. You've got to be far more fully engaged than when you're doing anything else, certainly than when you're actually travelling. Not at all sure I want to go through any of that anymore.

[Q] So the writing, not the travelling, is the difficult part?

Oh yes. Anybody can travel, but you have to absolutely imagined back where you were travelling, and feeling things far more powerfully than you did then, otherwise what's the point? That's why I wrote at night. You can't be doing with a knock at the door, and so on. I mean, you're there, seeing the anaconda.

And you plan it, of course, like a novel, before you go. You know what you want your beginning and middle and end to be. But your characters are these bastards: they get up and walk right out of your plot. You can't control anything. And you're ridiculous, deluding yourself, if you think you're actually able to change things happening or stop things happening or... well, especially somewhere like the Congo. Can't be done. But it was wonderful. Incredible, unexpected life. But when I was four years old, I wanted to write. I had a big block of paper and I'd put on it what I thought were letters. The story always ended with this tiger in the garden that nobody else had seen.

British author Redmond O’Hanlon writes about his journeys into some of the wildest places in the world. His travels have taken him into the jungles of the Congo and the Amazon, he has faced some of the toughest tribes alive today, and has sailed in the hurricane season on a trawler in the North Atlantic. In all of this, he explores the extremes of human existence with passion, wit and erudition.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Congo

Duration: 2 minutes, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: July - September 2008

Date story went live: 11 August 2009