My Life In Travel: Gladstone Small, former England cricketer
'The beauty of cricket tours is you can explore'
Saturday 11 December 2010
First holiday memory?
My first trip away from home was a cricket tour in 1980 as a 19-year old. We went to Sydney, Tasmania and New Zealand. It was a little bit daunting, but I was with a bunch of 15 or 16 other guys, so I learnt quickly.
A family skiing holiday in Obertraun in Austria a couple of years ago. I had been to St Moritz to play ice cricket on the frozen lake, but this was my first time skiing; to see my kids flying round the slopes while I was pulling myself out of the snow was great fun. I haven't done it since because my knees are a bit dodgy, but I'd love to go back.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
It's a toss-up between the Lake District and the Cotswolds. I live quite close to the Cotswolds and there are lovely villages, country pubs and great walks around there. I'm more of a walker than someone who lies around on the beach.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I like a beach as long as it has shade, but I'm not into bungee jumping. I like mooching around to see what's going on with a bit of gentle sightseeing thrown in.
What have you learnt from your travels?
How pleasant people really are. And also about the food of different cultures and how different flavours taste.
Ideal travelling companion?
It would have to be somebody like Michelle Wie – I love golf!
Greatest travel luxury?
A navy blue Hugo Boss linen suit.
I'm not a big reader, but I do enjoy taking something like a John Grisham novel, along with some golf and lads' magazines. And music as well – I enjoy anything that I can understand the words of.
Where has seduced you?
The one place that stands out is Sri Lanka. It reminded me very much of where I was born – it has a flavour of the Caribbean although the culture is obviously different, particularly in the hill country. I've only been there with cricket, but I've managed to take in a bit of the place on days off. That's the beauty of cricket tours – you can usually get away for a day or so to explore the country you're visiting.
Better to travel or arrive?
Travelling doesn't fuss me. I look forward to the experience ahead so I can usually sit back and relax. However, I don't look forward to the trip back home.
Worst travel experience?
I've experienced a few dodgy flights. The worst was over the Great Australian Bight, where great white sharks lurk in the murky waters. We flew through a huge thunderstorm and all I could think was that I hope the plane didn't go down there.
Best meal abroad?
You can't beat flying fish, rice and peas at Surfside Beach Bar on the west coast of Barbados, while the sun is setting.
Ideally, somewhere with a golf course. However, the Cape Grace in Cape Town doesn't have one but is a lovely hotel in a great location with very attentive service. Everyone seems to know you as soon as you've arrived.
I've stayed in one or two places in India and Pakistan in the early days of my career, where there were a few friendly cockroaches and rats trying to share my room.
I enjoy walking in the Malvern Hills, riding in the Derbyshire Dales around Buxton, and my favourite drive is in the Lake District along Lake Coniston.
A lot of my travel is with cricket so there are lots of places I still haven't visited. I'd love to go to South America. I've been to Guyana but I'd like to go to Brazil, Argentina and Chile – that would be sensational.
Sydney; it has an absolutely stunning location and the water dominates the city. There is a great connection between the land and water. Everything about the place is lovely. And the Aussies aren't bad, either.
I'm in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney for the Ashes; then it's back to the UK and then probably to India for the Cricket World Cup in the spring. I'll be in the major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
Gladstone Small is cricket consultant for ITC Sports and is currently hosting the tour operator's clients in Australia for the Vodafone Ashes Test Match series ( itcsports.co.uk).
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