My Life In Travel: Bruce Oldfield

'I love Colombia for its flora and fauna, and its sense of danger'
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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?

First holiday memory?

My first holiday memory is of a caravan site in Crimdon Dean, County Durham. I loved it there with the bracing North Sea and the wind lashing the sand. I was six or seven and remember wearing hand-knitted woollen trunks, which just got bigger and longer each time I came out of the sea.

Best holiday?

It was probably my first trip to Barbados about 10 years ago. I loved the full-on glamour. It was the first holiday of that kind I'd ever had.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I once drove from Newcastle to the Scottish Borders. I got to a place called Carter Bar, which is a path on the hills that separate Scotland from England. It started to get darker and then to snow, but as I reached the top and looked down into Scotland it was sunny. The place seemed to have a feeling of Macbeth to it and the scenery was rather spectacular. It felt like a sort of epiphany.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I have learnt how to edit my wardrobe. I tend not to take too much with me.

Ideal travelling companion?

My iPod. I've got about 4,000 tunes on it.

Are you a beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Beach bum. I do a lot of travelling for work and probably the most interesting places that I've travelled to were work-related, but I like to sit and relax on a beach when I'm on holiday.

Greatest travel luxury?

Having massages when you arrive somewhere. I'm quite tall and as I've got older I have become quite stiff in the legs and hips. After a seven- or eight-hour flight I find that I need to be pummelled a bit.

Where has seduced you?

Colombia. It's got such wonderful flora and fauna. Bogota is high up on a plateau in the Andes, which is stunning when you fly in. There is a real contrast between the wealthy and the poor that's quite striking and a sense of danger, which I quite like. I fell in love with the geography of it all; it is a stunning country.

Better to travel or arrive?

It's certainly better to arrive. Travelling can be quite uncomfortable. However, during the 1990s I had a shop in Melbourne and I used to travel over there about five times a year. I remember sitting in the air for 24 hours and quite enjoying spending all that time in a plane. I think arriving and having a massage and a vodka and tonic is the best part of a journey.

Worst travel experience?

Trying to escape Mumbai; I hated it with a passion. But when I arrived at the airport they said I didn't have a reservation.

Worst holiday?

It was to Mykonos in about 1978, because I had sciatica. The only thing that eased my back pain was walking, but it was incredibly windy, which made it really difficult. I also had real difficulty getting off the island and I spent the following two days with a fever in the Britannia Hotel in Athens.

Worst hotel?

It wasn't the worst hotel but it was certainly the worst room, and it was at the Chateau Marmont in LA. The room was absolutely disgusting, it looked like every rock band ever had stayed there and done everything imaginable in it. I was eventually upgraded to a cleaner room, which was much better.

Best hotel?

The Villa San Michele di Fiesole in Florence. I went about seven years ago with some Japanese friends. It's an old monastery on a hillside. There's a wonderful long terrace where you can dine and look down on Florence.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I love walking through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with my dog.

Dream trip?

I'd love to go to China. I love their culture and their design.

Favourite city?

Sydney. I love the fact that its temperature is good year-round. It has the feeling of a city, but at the same time it is slightly suburban. It's also by the sea, which is a big selling point and I really admire their indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Where next?

Thailand, to Chiva Som.

Bruce Oldfield is a fashion designer. His autobiography 'Rootless' is published by Hutchinson, £20

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