HE'S been enthralling TV viewers with his exploits on Sunday evenings for several years and last night we got to see the man himself on stage (at the same time his latest adventures in The Americas were being broadcast on BBC2).

Simon Reeve has made a career out of visiting some of the world's most dangerous destinations. He has travelled to more than 130 countries. He's been chased by pirates, bombed by Columbian barons and nearly died of malaria.

In person, he exhibits the same infectious passion, humility and cheeky 'boy next door charm' he displays on screen.

Casually dressed in a checked shirt, combat trousers and trainers, Simon revealed how his teenage years had been blighted by alcohol, gang crime and mental health problems. He left school without any qualifications and ended up on the brink of suicide.

But it was some timely advice at his local job centre to just take things step by step (the title of his latest book) that inspired him to conquer Scotland's Glen Coe – and with it his demons.

Getting his life back on track led to a job in the post room of The Sunday Times and his big break as a journalist and author.

During the course of the evening we got to see some behind the scenes footage and background stories of his TV travels.

The second half of the evening included a lively Q&A session and he also guided us through the contents of his suitcase which included armoured underwear and his trusty axe.

But despite his encounters with dangerous terrorists and war lords, he said the biggest threat to our world is climate change and talked about the benefits of responsible tourism.

He wrapped up the evening by imploring the packed theatre to take advantage of the golden age of travel.

"Travel is cheaper and safer now than it has ever been, so take chances. Things will go wrong - that's OK. Often it makes the experience more memorable.

"Remember that overall the world is a safe and welcoming place. Don't wait. Life is short. Adventure is out there. Do it while you can - do it now!"

We certainly got our money's worth. Inspirational stuff!