Trav­el­ling life

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - INTERVIEW - Interview by Sarah Ewing

How of­ten do you travel?

At least 70 per cent of the year. I’ve just got back from a week in In­done­sia and I was in Kerry re­cently and then I’m back to Asia for a few weeks. Be­ing away is hard when you’ve got a wife and three young kids, so my time at home is sacro­sanct. I try to bring my fam­ily with me when it’s fea­si­ble, such as when I’m in Europe and it doesn’t con­flict with their school­ing. Re­cently we had a hol­i­day in Por­tu­gal where we rented a pri­vate villa with its own pool. It was re­ally re­lax­ing and we ate lovely, fresh lo­cal food.

What do you need for a perfect hol­i­day?

For fam­ily breaks, some­where less than three hours away by plane is ideal.

Your ear­li­est mem­ory of trav­el­ling abroad?

I’m the youngest of seven children and Mum and Dad ran a café, so we never re­ally trav­elled abroad when I was lit­tle. Hol­i­days were mostly in Ire­land, vis­it­ing rel­a­tives or on week­end breaks, and once we took the ferry to Pon­typridd in Wales to visit cousins. The first time I got on a plane I was around 12 and went to Manch­ester. It was so ex­cit­ing.

Favourite trip?

When I went to Dubai with the fam­ily last year where we stayed in an amaz­ing ho­tel right on the beach on the Palm Jumeirah. The kids had a blast. The weather was fan­tas­tic. We vis­ited a mas­sive wa­ter park and Fer­rari World, in Abu Dhabi, then went up to the top of the Burj Khal­ifa. The panoramic views were in­cred­i­ble and I loved its ar­chi­tec­ture, which is an in­ter­est of mine. I’m a mas­sive golf fan and keen player, as are the kids, and luck­ily the Abu Dhabi Cham­pi­onship was on, so we got to see Rory McIl­roy.

Your favourite golf course?

The Jack Nick­laus course in Pearl Val­ley, out­side Cape Town, where I played with the lads from Westlife when we were on tour. It’s by the Si­mons­berg moun­tain, near Stel­len­bosch, which is known for its winer­ies and na­ture re­serves.

Do you get any child­free hol­i­days?

My wife sur­prised me for my birth­day in July. I’m a huge fan of the band the Back­street Boys, so she or­gan­ised for us to fly to Las Ve­gas to see them in con­cert. I got to meet them back­stage and have a drink with them.

Your favourite place in the UK?

I love Lon­don – one of the great­est cities in the world. It’s such a melt­ing pot of cul­ture, ar­chi­tec­ture and his­tory. There’s so many places to eat and shop. I never get tired of driv­ing down the Mall and see­ing Buck­ing­ham Palace – it’s such a spe­cial place. I used to live in Sur­rey, so I know my way around Lon­don, but I still un­cover new bits. Some­times when you’re liv­ing there, you don’t ap­pre­ci­ate what’s on your doorstep.

Most mem­o­rable travel ex­pe­ri­ence?

In 2003, my wife and I stayed at the Hil­ton in the Mal­dives for our hon­ey­moon. We were in our own pri­vate villa on stilts and Sir Paul Mc­Cart­ney was also stay­ing in a villa nearby. I once bumped into him walk­ing along the sandy, tree-lined path to the spa. He took one look at me and started belt­ing out the Westlife cover song Mandy that we’d just re­leased.

Best piece of travel ad­vice?

Al­ways know where your pass­port and phone are when you’re trav­el­ling. I reg­u­larly for­get them on the plane and have a mad panic to get them back.

Favourite meal?

Nasi goreng – it’s an In­done­sian dish that has fried rice with prawns and chicken in soy sauce with a fried egg on top. I have it sev­eral times a week when I’m trav­el­ling in Asia and it’s gone in min­utes.

Your best cure for jet lag?

I’m in Asia at least once a month and I try to stay on Ir­ish time. I’m never in one place long enough to get set­tled into its time zone, so it seems health­ier to keep my body clock the same. I don’t fight jet lag and just sleep when I’m tired. It can mean that I have break­fast at 3pm or din­ner at 11pm.

Shane Fi­lan Singer

Your travel es­sen­tials?

Lap­top for watch­ing Net­flix, mould­able gel earplugs to help me sleep and re­dox sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins to keep my im­mune sys­tem tip-top.

What do you hate about trav­el­ling?

Be­ing away from fam­ily, be­cause I miss them.

Where next?

I’ve never been to Moscow and it looks beau­ti­ful.

Shane Fi­lan has fond me­mories of ex­plor­ing Ho Chi Minh City, above; and en­joyed a great fam­ily hol­i­day in Dubai, above right

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