There are so many – walking in the Pyrenees, travelling back from Venice on the Belmond Orient-Express, cruising around Cuba, staying on a houseboat in Kashmir, seeing dolphins in the middle of the Indian Ocean, doing a private backwater cruise in Kerala, watching the beautiful sunsets in Santorini – the list goes on. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that give you the most pleasure. Enjoying chilli eggs for breakfast sitting in the garden of the Sun House in Galle in Sri Lanka is definitely up there.
How does travel help broaden your mind?
I love the sense of discovery, getting to experience different cultures, different cuisines, meeting different people – that element of surprise and spontaneity. You never know who you might meet – some of my closest friends are people I met while travelling.
When travel restrictions are lifted, where would you go to avoid the crowds?
Top of the list will be Italy. I love the Amalfi Coast, in particular, Ravello. It is still relatively unspoilt, so you can walk around its medieval streets without the crowds of nearby Positano. It is steeped in history, has a fantastic cultural scene and, of course, stunning views. The Palazzo Avino is a magical place to stay or the Belmond Caruso.
How are you immersing yourself in armchair travel?
My favourite films are Il Postino, set on the beautiful Aoelian islands, and Cinema Paradiso, set in Sicily. Travel Man is my favourite TV travel show – I find presenter Richard Ayoade very entertaining. I love books that give you a sense of place, even though they aren’t travel books as such, for example, books by William Dalrymple that show India in a bygone age or Haruki Murakami’s books that are set in Japan. Two of my favourite books are As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee, an account of his travels through Spain, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez – a magical book set somewhere near the Caribbean Sea and the Magdalena River.
If you could be at any hotel right now, where would it be?
It would have to be Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. I love the “no news, no shoes” concept as it forces you to immediately remove yourself from the craziness of our everyday lives, take a step back, think about the important things in life, about how beautiful our world really is and how blessed we are. It’s a stunningly beautiful resort with super friendly staff and some of the best food I’ve had anywhere in the world. I also love the fact that is leading the way when it comes to sustainable tourism.
If you could dine in any restaurant tonight, where would it be?
It would be Quattro Passi in the pretty fishing village of Nerano along the Amalfi Coast. Surrounded by olive trees and bougainvillea, the terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy an aperitif overlooking the beautiful bay. Food wise, chef Antonia is a genius at using the freshest local ingredients to create simple dishes of Michelin-starred standard (he has two stars). The linguini with zucchini is just heaven on a plate.
The full version of this article appeared on Carrier, which you can read here.