My Life In Travel: Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer
'I'm a nature junkie: I love the wilderness'
Saturday 26 June 2010
First holiday memory?
Going to the North Sea coast of Belgium. I was born in Brussels so we would go to the seaside for our holidays when I was a child. My overriding memory is of the sand dunes.
The most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life is Vanuatu in the South Pacific, which used to be called the New Hebrides when it was a British and French colony. My husband and I have a boat and we sailed around the islands for 10 days about a month ago. The sea and the vegetation on land were so beautiful and hardly anybody goes there so we almost had it all to ourselves. A lot of the time people were living without electricity, but I found it to be such a decent and attractive way of life.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
I love Oxfordshire because I went to boarding school there and also the wilderness of Scotland, which I find incredibly magical.
What have you learnt from your travels?
It's impossible to travel and not to learn. I love the fact that you are learning every single moment of every day when you are in a different place or country. I get a lot of inspiration for my work from my travels.
Ideal travelling companion?
First and foremost it would be myself, because it's easier. Otherwise I love travelling with my husband on our boat; and Christian Louboutin is great fun to travel with – I enjoy travelling with people who are curious about life.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
None of those, I am a nature junkie. I love the wilderness.
Greatest travel luxury?
A great pair of hiking boots because I love walking. It's the best way to experience a place.
I love to read, particularly autobiographies.
Where has seduced you?
So many places. I fell in love with Indonesia the first time I went there. I started in Bali and then travelled all over the islands. The Komodo islands are pretty amazing.
Better to travel or arrive?
I like the feeling of going more than anything else. I love long trips and the condition of being in no-man's land between two places.
I have a very short-term memory when it comes to bad experiences; I tend to forget them.
Claridge's in London is my favourite hotel in the world. I have been staying there for 30 years because it is the one place where you really get the feel of a grand hotel and life that doesn't exist in other hotels.
I've hiked so many places in the world, including Machu Picchu and other great walks. However my favourite hike was climbing Stromboli, just off Sicily. There was something about climbing up the volcano that was more magical than any other walk I have done.
Best meal abroad?
Anywhere in Italy; the food is simply fantastic wherever you are.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
I unpack and then I go out and explore. I like to get lost in the streets.
I haven't been to Mongolia and the Gobi desert, so that's where I'd love to go next.
New York, but I also love Shanghai, Hong Kong and London. I love the scent of New York and the fact that you can get anything you want there. There's a feeling that anything is possible.
I'm leaving London, then flying to Fiji for a holiday on our boat: I can't wait.
Diane von Furstenberg has designed a new series of hotel rooms inspired by her travels at Claridge's in Mayfair, London ( claridges.co.uk )
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