Blue Peter Presenter and Photographer Barney Harwood sat opposite me at my dinner table and began to share his wonder with life, travel and filming on Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef for Blue Peter. Working and staying for 12 weeks on what is known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. This was the place he developed a desire to deepen an interest in photography, as he was surrounded by limitlessness nature on a daily basis. As he learnt to scuba dive and interact with the wildlife and his surroundings.
Another of his most favourite places in the world is the rain forest of Costa Rica.
“There’s a sacredness about it, which you don’t know exists. You get this feeling you’re not aware of. You get a sense of something different and then you try to work out what it might be. Which I think is part of the journey of being abroad.“
Barney had been staying for a while in a local campsite on the outskirts of Southend on Sea in his camper van and sharing with me the freedom travel provides him with. Being a Presenter means that much of what Barney does, involves being told what to do, where to stand and even what to wear, during the filming of the show. So his camper van is a physical expression of his freedom – a way he can pack up and quite literally hit the road. Just like a tortoise, with his house on his back. He can get away quickly and enjoy his own company, meet up with friends and spend time in nature taking photographs.
Barney’s new toy at the moment is a drone – always wanting to be a pilot when he was a kid, but not being able to because of his need to wear glasses – he has had to find another way to fulfill this ambition. Building model aircrafts and helicopters with his dad, has allowed him to embrace using the drone easily and combine his love for flying with his love of photography.
Our conversation felt lightly philosophical in nature as we explored how travel is a great way to develop yourself as a person. Come out of society and engage with other cultures and life. Engage with the wonder of living fully. His passion for personal development obvious.
New York, ironically, considering his love and passion for nature, is his most favourite place in the world. Yet Barney can’t quite place his finger upon it, what exactly it is, that attracts him to this vibrant, buzzing city and culture.
All I know, is that as I sat opposite this interesting and articulate man, I desired to stay for ages and explore the universe, its workings and our place in it with him. As he shared with me his interest in going back in time, to exactly the same moment as where he was in the here and now and seeing what it was like. I’m sure he would want to do this camera in hand!
Barney excited and enlivened my philosophical nature during our conversation, so much that I’ve hunted down a Philosophical group in my home town, to enjoy more in-depth discussions, such as I had the joy to experience with him. Who knew, I’d feel this way after meeting up with a Blue Peter Presenter.
Just wish I’d asked him for a Blue Peter badge. Oh well… another time!