My parents mostly took me on adventure holidays when I was growing up. They really inspired my love of travel and our family trips weren’t your average beach holiday. My dad came from an impoverished background so being able to travel was really important to him. It’s where he learned about the world and our place in it, and he wanted to educate us through travel. He did a lot of research into where we used to stay, which wasn’t necessarily where other people would stay. Nothing glamorous, but totally practical. Some of my most memorable trips include trekking with orangutans, sitting on the beach when my dad was chased by a huge Komodo dragon (he could barely run away because he’d burnt his feet so badly) and hopping on boats at every opportunity. My family are quintessentially English so we must have looked quite funny, with our backpacks full of survival gear.
Because of that upbringing, I don’t go on many traditional holidays. My idea of fun has always involved driving or racing. I recently took part in the 1000 Miglia Experience UAE, the open-road rally. It was originally a 1,000-mile race in Italy, but they stopped the race in it’s original format in 1957 after it was deemed too dangerous and now it’s a much more managed experience in Europe, as well as licensing it out to the UAE. We managed to drive through about seven UAE states, all in the desert. One of the rules is that you have to drive a pre-1957 car, so I drove my 1950s Jaguar. We managed to do it in four days, which was tricky as you don’t have a sat-nav so have to rely on a giant booklet of instructions they give you, as well as your own sense of direction!
I have a knack for turning any holiday into a road trip. My parents used to chuck us in the back of a car when we were kids and we’d hop around Europe – sometimes with my grandparents, too. We’d drive to go skiing, over mountain passes and generally off the beaten track. If I could go on a road trip this summer, I’d head straight to Italy as there’s so much to see. I also know a good road trip playlist has to feature a lot of soul and Motown. That’s what I was brought up on.