My Life In Travel: Gail Porter

'I'd like to travel with Billy Connolly – he'd keep me laughing all the way'

First holiday memory?

Mum and Dad used to take us camping around Ireland in a Volkswagen van. We went with friends so there were usually about eight of us. There were lots of roadblocks and men with guns at the time, but we were too young to understand what it was about; we had the best time.

Best holiday?

Staying at the Reethi Rah resort in the Maldives. My boyfriend James and I went two years ago, and it was just amazing. We stayed in a water villa and we'd pull up the blinds and open the doors in the mornings and jump straight into the sea.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

My home town Edinburgh. It's so cultural, vibrant and beautiful. It's lovely being in a city where you've got the sea, as well as a castle and a palace. I really like the New Town and Grassmarket areas, and the Royal Mile, with its great little pubs hidden down little streets. I'm not a big fan of the new Scottish parliament building, though.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To keep a journal. It's easy to think you'll never forget your memories from holidays and trips abroad, but inevitably you do a bit. I've kept a journal for my daughter, Honey, because she has been travelling with me since she was four months old and has been all over the place.

Ideal travelling companion?

Michael Palin and Phileas Fogg for their travel knowledge, and Billy Connolly because he'd keep me laughing all the way around the world.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I like a bit of everything. I get bored if I stay on the beach the whole time. There wasn't much else to do in the Maldives, but we went out on on catamarans. Otherwise, I like to see a bit of culture.

Greatest travel luxury?

A Diptyque Opopanax candle, just in case I end up somewhere dodgy; they smell really comforting.

Holiday reading?

I read about five books in the Maldives.

Where has seduced you?

I was in Uganda at the beginning of the year, with Fair Trade, and I loved it. I visited the mountain coffee farms to see how the money is being used, and it was so green and beautiful. I also loved Cambodia, where I worked in orphanages. I found the culture and the history fascinating.

Better to travel or arrive?

I prefer to arrive, but my daughter loves flying and finds airports exciting.

Worst travel experience?

I took Honey to South Africa, where I was working with an animal charity, and we were in a twin-prop plane that had to make an emergency landing because of bad weather. My heart was in my mouth, but Honey was shouting, "This is brilliant, Mummy!".

Worst holiday?

I stayed at the Hilton in Tobago just after it had opened, and it was having teething problems. I'm not a fan of big corporate hotels and it felt completely wrong in a place like Tobago.

Best hotel?

The Reethi Rah, for pure luxury. Le Touessrok in Mauritius is wonderful, too, because the people in Mauritius are lovely. When I travel for a charity, I tend to stay in local B&Bs – much more fun.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

If I had limitless amounts of money, I'd go back to Tasmania. I stayed in an eco-lodge on top of a hill, and when I woke up in the morning, I'd go for a swim in the ocean. We'd also get up at six in the morning to go trekking, and saw an amazing array of wildlife, from Tasmanian Devils to possums and kangaroos.

Best meal abroad?

In Cambodia, I had the classic hot-and-sour soup, which almost blew my head off. I have very sensitive skin, so it made me go bright red, and all the locals laughed at me.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I have to unpack and make sure everything is in order. I'll have read a guidebook on the plane, and I write itineraries so I don't miss anything.

Dream trip?

I'd love to go to China, and I'd also like to see the Amazon and the Congo, but the Congo is extremely dangerous. A friend filmed a documentary there and said it was the only time he'd feared for his life.

Favourite city?

Edinburgh. I go up every couple of months, and I always go for the festival.

Where next?

To Glasgow and Aberdeen, and then I'm hoping to take Honey to Vietnam and Cambodia to revisit some of the orphanages I worked in.

Gail Porter's autobiography, 'Laid Bare', is published by Ebury Press, £16.99

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas