The Daily Telegraph - Travel

Travelling life


Frank Gardner Journalist and author

How often do you travel?

I go abroad about once a month, mostly for work. More by accident than design, I do two or three long-haul trips every year. I recently went to Saudi Arabia to see their air operation centre and got to go up to the northern desert near the Iraqi border. I’ve also done some skiing in Verbier – I use a sit-ski (a wheelchair without the wheels which balances on a mono racing ski) because of my injuries [Gardner became partially paralysed after being shot while reporting in Saudi Arabia in 2004].

What do you need for a perfect holiday?

I’ve had some lovely family holidays in Italy and Thailand, both of which are great and boast wonderful cuisine. I look for a combinatio­n of a beach for my family and a jungle for me. I’m not particular­ly bothered about sunshine; I’m more of a jungle and mountain person. I’m not a big fan of European beaches.

Your earliest memory of travelling abroad?

Moving to The Hague when I was six with my diplomat parents. Holland seemed incredibly exotic, and I lived there for three years, and went to school there. The excitement of travelling to another country left a lasting impression on me. For family holidays as a child, I remember going to Totland Bay in the Isle of Wight, and visiting Exmoor and seeing a stag hunt.

Your most adventurou­s travel experience?

I’ve done a lot over the years but the first one involved flying to Manila after seeing an advert for a £100 one-way trip there during my gap year. I headed up to the highlands of Luzon and found myself among tattooed Filipino tribespeop­le wearing loin cloths and boars’ tusks in their hair. I was invited to the funeral of the village headman. He lay there rigid, with flies crawling in and out of his mouth, as people chanted around him in the hut. It was the first time I’d ever seen a dead body and I rememberin­g thinking: “This time last year I was sat in the school library, revising for my history A-level!”

The most remote place you’ve been?

Socotra, an island off the Yemeni coast. It’s difficult to get to, and the Yemenis don’t encourage tourists to visit – but it has some unique fauna and flora, existing nowhere else, which has developed in isolation from the rest of Africa and the Middle East.

Your most luxurious travel experience?

Visiting Baros, a beach resort in the Maldives. It’s a tiny island, with beautiful thatched huts and amazing food.

Your worst travel experience?

Being stuck in Recife in Brazil in the Nineties with bad diarrhoea while trying to catch my flight. Every time I got near the front of the queue at the airport I had to dash to the loo.

Best piece of travel advice?

Travel light – I only ever take a small rucksack, whether I’m travelling to Borneo or Berlin. I never, ever check any luggage.

Your best health tip for travelling?

I only have two glasses of wine on a long-haul flight and try to remind myself to drink more water. A few years ago I did a crazy

 ??  ?? Globetrott­ing Frank Gardner has seen the unique flora of Yemen, above; this summer he visits Papua New Guinea, above right
Globetrott­ing Frank Gardner has seen the unique flora of Yemen, above; this summer he visits Papua New Guinea, above right
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