My life in travel: Ben Cohen, former professional rugby player

'Mauritius ticks all the boxes for me'

First holiday memory?

A place called Jávea in Spain. My parents used to rent a villa there every year. It was really undeveloped at the time. There was a long stretch of beach which I always remember lying on with my family.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Devon and Cornwall are very nice, but I do like the glorious countryside too. I think that Northamptonshire, where I live, has some of the most gorgeous countryside. When the sun shines, there's no better place.

Best holiday?

Mauritius. I've had fantastic times there with friends, family and now my children. I've been nine times, but I stayed at a new hotel called Long Beach on my last trip, which was a bit more modern. All the facilities were really up to date and the food was absolutely outstanding. I can be a fussy customer sometimes, but that ticked all the boxes.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Fly direct. It always helps if you can. Also, it's good to be well equipped on your travels. Things like having suncream is important, because getting caught short can be more trouble than it's worth. I completely ignored my own advice on a recent trip and ended up looking like a lobster for a photoshoot.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

When I was younger, I liked to be active on holiday. Then, as my career kicked in and I was playing rugby professionally, I actually liked to just sit around. Now I'm retired, it's reversed again, so I'm up keeping the kids entertained all the time. Holidays aren't about me these days – they're about letting them have a good time.

Greatest travel luxury?

An iPad. If you're sitting in the boot of a plane, there might not be entertainment, so having your own is a real luxury. Especially if it's a long flight, you want the time to go as quickly as possible.

Holiday reading?

I'm really into audiobooks. When I was playing rugby, I used to commute from Northampton to Manchester every day, which is about 140 miles, so I started listening to audiobooks. Particularly if you get one read by Stephen Fry, or a good narrator, they're brilliant.

Where has seduced you?

Turkey. I go back every year and stay at the Hilton in Dalaman. They've got a waterpark for the kids and the hospitality is amazing.

Worst travel experience?

My first holiday with my wife. We went away to Bodrum in Turkey. My wife was sick every day. The flight was awful and the transfer took about four hours.

Favourite run?

I recently ran around the BeltLine in Atlanta. It's an old railway track that loops around Atlanta. It's really opened up and revolutionised the city. They've done a fantastic job with it.

Best meal abroad?

Table Fifty-Two in Chicago, which is owned by the great Art Smith, who was Oprah Winfrey's personal chef. It's all food from the American South. They do the best fried chicken and also this sweet potato with maple syrup that's unreal.

Favourite city?

Los Angeles, especially Santa Monica and Malibu. You can live in sunshine all year round. It's nice to be able to say "I'm going to barbecue this time next month" and know what the weather will be like.

Where next?

LA, Portland, Atlanta, New York, back to Atlanta, San Francisco and then home. I'm doing a lot of work in the States with my anti-bullying foundation. After that, Turkey with the family.

Ben Cohen is a former professional rugby player. His StandUp Foundation raises awareness about the damaging effects of bullying (standupfoundation.com).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

    £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced PSV Coach & Minibus Drivers

    £12500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Drivers wanted for a family run...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
    Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

    Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

    David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
    Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

    Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

    A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
    10 best DSLRs

    Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

    Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash