Simon Calder owes his love of travel to his parents - and in particular their decision to move to Crawley, a new town in Sussex. He was born beside the A23 on Christmas Day, 1955. By the time he was six, he realised that there was very probably more to life than this. Fortunately, that summer he joined the Woodcraft Folk (www.woodcraft.org.uk). They promptly organised a camping trip to the Lake District, and Simon was hooked.
Later that same year ... the USSR decided to send some nuclear warheads to Cuba, President Kennedy threatened retaliation and Simon's parents realised that Gatwick airport, two miles away, was in the line of Soviet fire. So they took the family to Gatwick, and boarded a plane to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Simon has been grateful to Fidel Castro ever since.
The next significant age was 13, when he (Simon, not Fidel) travelled abroad for the first time, on a school day trip to Dieppe in northern France; unfortunately, learning Russian, not French, was compulsory at his school, so communication was tricky. He also learned the fine art of free travel by starting to hitch-hike. More than three decades later, he is still thumbing his way around the world, augmented by cycling.
Simon's first job was a cleaner for British Airways at Gatwick airport. He later worked as a security guard frisking passengers. It was during the long gaps between flights (this was a while ago) that he began to write budget travel guidebooks, starting with the Hitch-hiker's Manual Britain. When not frisking or writing, Simon was reading Mathematics at Warwick University.
He became travel editor for The Independent in 1994, and shortly afterwards began presenting for BBC-2's Travel Show, until the programme ended in 1999. He now contributes to the Holiday programme on BBC-1. He regularly comments on travel issues for national and local BBC radio and TV stations, and presents one-off travel programmes for BBC Radio 4.
In 1997 Simon married in Las Vegas and they have two children.
Simon Calder is an English Travel Writer and Broadcaster. He is available for hire for Corporate Dinners and events, After Dinner Speaking, Awards Host and Presenter.