What was your earliest or childhood ambition?

I had a wild, rather lonely childhood in a remote country estate in Ireland, where I learned about enduring solitude.  I hated the English schools I was sent away to.  My main ambition was to escape from conformity and get as far away as possible from my own kind.  This generated a wanderlust in me, which I have never lost.

What ambitions do you still have? 

As I approach advanced old age, but luckily with all my marbles and still very fit, I realise how much I still want to do and how little time I have left.  There are several more books in my pipeline and a lot of travelling planned.  I’m no longer capable of extreme physicality, but I do like to test myself a bit in tropical environments.  I also find that I appreciate the finer things in life, like good food and wine, more now, and this does affect my choice of destinations.

Ambition or talent: Which matters more? 

Everyone is talented in some way.  It’s all about ambition, but this should mean fulfilling one’s potential to the maximum, not just trying to outdo others.

If your 20-year old self could see you know, what would he think? 

He would be amazed that I was still alive.  I never expected to live this long.  He would also be pretty astonished at what I have achieved without apparently trying very hard.

If you had to rate your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?

9. There have been a few deep sadnesses at losing good friends and, especially, my remarkable first wife, Marika, who did so much before dying at 44 after almost 23 years of marriage.  A very few relationships have gone sour but, astoundingly, almost everything else in my life has gone far better than I could have expected – or deserved!

In what place are you happiest? 

At home on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.  I believe that to be a fulfilled traveller one should have a strong tap root drawing one home.  I am convinced that I live in the best place in the world.

Do you consider your carbon footprint?

Very much so.  I have a wind turbine and an array of PV panels, which generate together the equivalent of 33 average households’ electrical consumption.  I have one fully electric and one hybrid car and I am about to install Tesla storage batteries, so that we will effectively be off grid.

How often do you travel?

Four or five times a year.  Always with a purpose: either leading a tour, researching a book or lecturing.

The one essential you travel with? 

My wife.  She is much better organised than I am and sharing experiences with another more than doubles the pleasure.

Your best piece of travel advice?

If travelling adventurously, always go with a local, take their advice and do as they do.

What advice would you give to young expeditioners wishing to follow in your footsteps? 

Always try and make your expedition have a useful purpose.  Just showing how tough you are is, ultimately, unrewarding.  The world badly needs adventurous and inquisitive people who contribute to understanding how it works.  Much of this research can be done in exciting and, sometimes, dangerous places.  This is what true exploration is about.

What motivates you to do what you do? 

We only have one shot at living a full life on this incredible planet of ours.  It is deeply irresponsible not to make the most of it.

Who has inspired you to do what you do?

The great explorers who first began to reveal the world’s huge diversity.  Alexander von Humboldt and Alfred Russel Wallace stand out.

If you could do it all over again, is there anything you would change? 

Not much.  I have been extraordinarily lucky.

Robin has recently published his new book, Finding Eden. A Journey into the Heart of Borneo. To travel in the company of Robin please enquire about the Malaysian Borneo group tour departing summer 2018.