My Life In Travel: Edith Bowman, TV presenter

'I had a bees' nest in my room when I was filming in Mexico'

First holiday memory?

Skiing. My parents worked in the hotel business so we'd only get a few weeks off to go on our holidays, once in summer and once in winter. I learned to ski from the age of three, which is something I really want to pass on to my son, Rudy. I remember going to a place called Filzmoos in Austria, then we went to Anzère in Switzerland every year thereafter. I loved it.

Best holiday?

Probably the one I've just come back from in Mykonos. We went with friends and their little girl who is two months younger than our son. We had a lovely mix of pool-side, beach, nights out and quiet alfresco meals.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Apart from my hometown of Anstruther on the east coast of Scotland, I'd say the area around where the parents of my partner [Tom Smith, lead singer with Editors] live on the edge of the Cotswolds. I love the enchanted forest-ness about it; you can find these little hidden glens and lush green tapestries to lose yourself in. Great pubs with good ales to catch up with friends in and challenging walks make the perfect weekend away.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Packing – I used to be the worst and always take way too much. I'm not sure when the pivotal moment was, but now I can pretty much go anywhere with a small trolley.

Ideal travelling companion?

A good book and an iPod. I have done a fair bit of travelling on my own; with my partner being in a band, I've spent a lot of time travelling to wherever he is for the weekend. I've also gone skiing on my own, done a road trip from LA to Mammoth, and visited New York and a few European cities alone. Nothing beats getting lost in the world of a good book with a fabulous soundtrack.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Having presented a few travel shows, I have become less lazy on holiday; it has encouraged me to go out and explore. The perfect holiday will involve all the above.

Greatest travel luxury?

Getting an upgrade and getting into one of those amazing airport lounges. The Virgin lounge at Heathrow is like being on holiday in itself. I'll get there hours in advance to take advantage of the facilities. I put on the pounds even before I've left the country.

Holiday reading?

I like a biography and a good recommendation from friends. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was my last read, in Greece.

Where has seduced you?

New Zealand is breathtaking. I was there about 10 years ago filming a Rough Guide to New Zealand and it was the most wonderful country I've been to. It's a shame it's so far away. It has everything, from Ninety Mile Beach on the North Island all the way down to Porpoise Bay in the Catlins.

Better to travel or arrive?

I get a real sense of adventure from travelling. Also I'm a sucker for airline food – I got really upset when they started passing out rubbish sandwiches on planes.

Worst travel experience?

I went to Mauritius with an ex-boyfriend and he got a terrible head injury when he tried to dive off a jetty, James Bond style. We can laugh about it now, but it wasn't so amusing at the time as he came towards me up the beach with blood pouring from his head.

Worst hotel?

I went to Mexico for a BBC3 show called Roadtripping. It's a great country, but like every great country it has its diabolical hotels. We stayed in one in Taxco, a silver mining town towards the south of the country. Until I stayed there, one thing I'd never had in my room was a bees' nest.

Best hotel?

I've been lucky enough to stay in a few. I love the Hotel Arts in Barcelona; the Hotel De Russie in Rome was breathtaking; but I think Soho House in New York is perfect.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

A few years ago my cousin got married in Mammoth, California. I flew to LA and stayed with a friend for a few days then drove for five hours on my own through the Mojave Desert. I loved the adventure of being on my own but also the landscape, which changed as I got further up the mountain. I left LA to the sounds of NWA's "Straight Outta Compton" and arrived in the beautiful snow-peaked ridges to Midlake.

Best meal abroad?

I was filming in Florence and we asked a friend of our local fixer to book dinner for the crew. The restaurant didn't have a menu, they just brought us the most exquisite food I have ever tasted. I have no idea what was in the pasta, but it was orgasmic. We all still talk about it and think it might have been a figment of our imagination, because no one can remember the name of it.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

If I'm in a hotel, I always look through the list of services available and check that the television works; I have no idea why.

Dream trip?

I'd really like to do the West Coast drive in the States, not being rushed for time and seeing Big Sur, stopping at quirky little motels then splashing out on a luxurious spa along the way. A bit Thelma and Louise, but with my two boys.

Favourite city?

New York. I have a love affair with it every time I go but I never get to spend as much time there as I would like. Whenever I go I'm almost sick with excitement.

Where next?

We are planning to go to New Zealand and Australia over New Year for a few weeks. I've never been to Australia, but I've got my fingers crossed. Then hopefully snowboarding next season.

Edith Bowman presents Glastonbury from 8pm today and from 10.45pm tomorrow on BBC 3. For coverage across BBC radio and TV, see bbc.co.uk/glastonbury. She will also be covering T in The Park for BBC Radio 1 on 9 July from 1pm and BBC 3 from 10-12 July.

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