"I've been to Alaska with Barack Obama and Kenya with Julia Roberts"

The ex-SAS adventurer has had some high-profile travel pals and once had a narrow escape halfway up a mountain in New Zealand.

Growing up on the Isle of Wight, every trip home from boarding school was like a holiday. There was something about the ferry ride, even in winter, that felt as if we were going on an expedition. I used to spend days climbing one tree in our garden, and practising my karate against its gnarled trunk. I loved being outdoors. Not a lot has changed.

When I was 18, I travelled to India with my best friend, Watty. We flew into Calcutta and it was a shock seeing humanity in all its loud, terrifying chaos. After that we went north to the Himalayas, riding on the roofs of trains and camping in the rainforest.

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