What is your first holiday memory?
What is your first holiday memory?
I was brought up in what was then called Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in East Africa, which felt like a holiday at the time. We came back to England when I was about six and my first holiday memory is of skiing in Davos, which was pretty novel for me. Going from East Africa to Kent to Davos was a series of leaps.
What has been your best holiday?
I love going back to Africa. I really enjoy safaris and I try to take advantage of trips to South Africa when I'm following the cricket now. I have been to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, and my honeymoon was a safari in Kenya. Africa is a recurrent theme.
Are you a frequent traveller?
I travel a lot for work covering cricket around the world, so I have to try and tie in work and family. Quite often my wife and children can come out and see me. For instance, I recently spent two months in the Caribbean, the middle of which coincided with the school holidays. My family flew out and we spent three weeks together in Barbados and Antigua, which was great. When it works like that it's brilliant.
What is your favourite place in the British Isles?
The easy answer is home, which is Hampshire. We don't really holiday in Britain. The summer is my busiest time and I'm away for two-thirds of it around the country, so when I'm not working I like to go home.
What have you learnt from your travels?
Lots about food, people and cultures and how different countries work. Without wanting to sound too clichéd, travelling does open your eyes to an awful lot of things. Playing cricket against all kinds of people and nations means you are introduced to different sorts of hospitality. There are always people who are keen to entertain you and I've experienced some superb hospitality all around the world.
Are you an independent traveller?
I try to be independent for obvious reasons. If you spend a lot of time in the public eye then it's nice to have your own space. Conversely, travelling with an organised tour means that there are always people on hand to help you and make your life that little bit easier.
Who would be your ultimate travelling companion?
Given the time we spend apart, it would be my family.
Are you beach bum, culture vulture or adrenaline junkie?
A mix of the first and last. Family holidays tend to be either on the beach or skiing. My cousin and his sons are red-hot skiers and we tend to trail behind them. My children are very keen skiers too. When I'm covering the Caribbean for work it means my family can have a beach holiday. It's just a question of what fits.
What luxury would you never travel without?
A corkscrew, although you can't get one through airport security now!
To where have you lost your heart?
There is a lot of romance about going on safari, where the environment is so different to leafy Hampshire. When we left Africa in 1963, one of the last things we did was take a tour of the north including the Ngorongoro Crater, which is the most amazing place. It's an extinct volcanic crater that is large enough to house a lake and a great number of animals, from elephants to lions, flamingos and rhinos, which are its permanent residents. Returning there five or six years ago for the first time since leaving Africa I had a real sense of anticipation as we approached. It is an extraordinary place - Africa in a bowl.
Is it better to travel than to arrive?
Not at all. Travelling is a hassle, even if you do it at the right end of the plane. Travelling is not what it was. Trains and boats are great, because you have time to sit back and relax. I travelled on the Orient Express and on Rovos Rail in South Africa, which were both brilliant. You can sit back and actually enjoy the process of travelling.
What has been the worst thing that has happened to you on holiday?
I lost a hire car on a lake in St Moritz. It was a small accident and a bit of a misjudgement - I had to abandon it on the ice and by the time I came back in the morning it had sunk. That was rather an expensive night out.
Where is the most under-rated place you've been?
A lot of my former colleagues weren't keen on touring in India and Pakistan - they found it hard work. However, it's changed remarkably over the last 30 years, and has become more Westernised and efficient. When I first went, trying to call England was and all-day event, but now it's pretty straightforward. The whole country has moved forward very rapidly. The Taj Hotel in Bombay and the Oberoi in Delhi are marvellous and the comfort levels are extraordinary - it's so different to when I first went in the 1970s.
To where would you emigrate?
If I had to then I would go to Australia, if they'd have me of course! I have probably spent around five years of my life there. It feels comfortable and it's a great country. Sydney is spectacular.
Where would be your trip of a lifetime?
I'd like to take a vehicle and a tent around Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The world ends tomorrow - where do you regret never having been?
Europe is curiously undiscovered for me. The venues we normally go to are a bit further afield. I have never been to Vienna, Barcelona, Prague, Budapest and a lot of those really wonderful traditional cities.
Where are you going next?
To the south of France for a week with my family and friends.
David Gower is a commentator for the current NatWest Series of one-day internationals featuring England, New Zealand and the West Indies, broadcast live on Sky SportsReuse content