Storyteller Rob Caskie has made a career out of his ability to capture the imagination of his audience through famous stories of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. He tells us about his inspirations and regrets
Q: What was your earliest or childhood ambition?
Like most young South Africans, my earliest dream was to become a game ranger. That quickly changed into becoming a vet but sadly my grades at school simply weren’t good enough.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
The thrill and satisfaction that comes from transporting an audience via the power of a story well told. The challenge, too, of making history interesting and engaging appeals enormously.
Q: Who has inspired you to do what you do?
The principal inspiration came from the late David Rattray, but friends and family encouraged me strongly to “give it a go”, when every nerve and sinew screamed “RUN!”
Q: If your 20-year old self could see you know, what would he think?
Good God – look at him now! Having studied Agricultural Economics, the very idea of telling stories for a living appeared simply outrageous. In fact, the idea still appears outrageous.
Q: If you could do it all over again, is there anything you would change?
Yes, I would certainly have had more real concerns, and fewer imagined ones. I would have spent more time watching roses grow and suns set….
Q: In what place are you happiest?
The mountains. Time spent in the high Himalayas is unequivocally the greatest experience of my life, and my soul swims when close to the mountains.
Q: Do you consider your carbon footprint?
Q: The one essential you travel with?
Q: Your best piece of travel advice?
Spend some time walking or cycling a new destination – to get a feel for the place. And don’t isolate yourself from the locals.
Q: What tips would you give to young people wishing to follow in your footsteps?
My advice would be to concentrate on listening generally, but particularly to storytellers and speakers. We can learn from each and every one of them. Good storytelling requires some experience of life. Be yourself, learn from others, but don’t copy someone else.
Rob Caskie will be speaking at the inaugural Beyond Travel Festival at The Royal Geographical Society, London, at 11am on Sunday 18th September 2016. For more information, visit www.steppestravel.co.uk/about/beyond-steppes-travel-festival.