Frank Turner: My life in travel

'A guy was sprawled naked in the hotel corridor. We decided to sleep in the van'

Musician Frank Turner performs at Kendal Calling in the Lake District from 1-3 August (kendalcalling.co.uk).

First holiday memory?

I have an uncle who lives in the north-west Highlands of Scotland, near Drumbeg. My mum and dad would shove the whole family in the car and we'd drive up there from Winchester to spend a summer running around the lochs and mountains.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I'm an adopted Londoner. I have family connections with Holloway and I love it around there. I'm doing everything I can not to quote Samuel Johnson here, but the man had a point.

Best holiday?

A few summers ago, I walked the South Downs Way, from Winchester Cathedral to Beachy Head. It was amazing – I didn't take photos, I went on my own. I turned my phone off and it was blissful.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Life as a touring musician has taught me self-reliance. If you're out on the road, with no money, no back-up plan, no safety net, then you just have to solve problems as they arise.

Ideal travelling companion?

My production manager, Graham, and I have been touring together for over a decade now and we still haven't killed each other, so I think that's a pretty solid vote of confidence.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

A bit of a beach bum – I like to sit by a pool with a good book and a cocktail and do nothing when I'm on holiday – and a bit of a culture vulture. Recently, I was in Budapest for the first time. I studied Eastern European history at university and was pretty much able to tour guide myself using things I learnt then or since. It was great.

Greatest travel luxury?

A proper bed. I spent years crashing on the floor, in the back of vans or sofas on a good night. These days, I'm often in a tour bus bunk, which has its own appeal, but is pretty cramped.

Holiday reading?

Recently, I've been reading Tom Holland's Herodotus and a fascinating biography of Houdini. I also read a lot of travel writers – Paul Theroux in particular fills me with a raging desire to travel more.

Where has seduced you?

Prague managed to steal my heart in a day on tour, my first time there. It was enchanting. I felt like I was chasing the ghosts of Kafka and Havel.

Better to travel or arrive?

To travel. The real Zen of travelling is to give up on arrival as a concept. Life on tour is a long succession of one-day stops.

Worst travel experience?

I spent a long time touring right at the bottom of the scale – taking the train with a guitar case, playing squats and house shows. It had its own Woodie Guthrie-esque charm in places, but there were some pretty miserable nights as well.

Best hotel?

I don't really care about hotels that much. It's a place to sleep. If it's warm and quiet, and the bed is comfortable, great, but I like to get up and out of there as soon as possible.

Worst hotel?

I remember pulling in to a hotel in Liverpool to see someone selling drugs out of the downstairs window. When we went inside to check in, there was an unconscious naked guy sprawled in the corridor and no one at reception. We parked in a lay-by and slept in the van instead.

Favourite drive?

The Pacific Coast Highway in California is one of my favourite bits of road – the scenery there is sublime.

Best meal abroad?

I once spent five weeks driving across the US playing shows with my friend Chuck Ragan. We started in Portland, Oregon, and finished in Gainesville, Florida – his hometown. The whole way, Chuck was telling me that the steak we'd eat in Gainesville was the best I'd ever have. It got to the point where it was boring to hear about. Then finally, on the last day, we had that steak. Best piece of meat I ever ate.

Favourite city?

Other than London, I have a lot of time for Austin, Texas. I have a lot of road friends in town and there are good places to eat, drink and watch bands.

Where next?

I'm on the road now in the US and have a busy festival summer. I'm always keen to break new ground. I've never been to South America, but I get a lot of fan mail from there, so I'd love to work my way south sometime soon.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Day In a Page

    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
    The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

    The fall of Rome?

    Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
    Glasgow girl made good

    Glasgow girl made good

    Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
    Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

    Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

    Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
    The landscape of my imagination

    The landscape of my imagination

    Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories