My life in travel: Jeff Stelling

'I defy anyone not to fall in love with the orang-utans of Borneo after seeing them'

Jeff Stelling is a journalist and television presenter for Sky Sports. He appears in the latest Gillette Soccer Saturday DVD, which is released on Monday

First holiday memory?

Going on day trips to racecourses in the north of England, especially Thirsk, Ripon, Redcar and York. Dad used to let me pick out a couple of horses and make the smallest bets humanly possible. We didn't have much money as a family, so it wasn't a case of being big gamblers, but it was just a way to get to see somewhere different.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I don't want it to seem like my life revolves around gambling, but I love Chester and York – both of which are beautiful cities with fabulous racetracks.

Best holiday?

A road trip along the west coast of America. We travelled through California from San Francisco to San Diego and everything in between, stopping at all the usual tourist spots, such as Alcatraz and Universal Studios. It was the first time we'd gone on a family holiday there and my children were the sort of age where they absolutely lapped it up.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Never travel with an out-of-date passport. We learnt that lesson when we were going to Barbados. We were just about to board a Virgin flight, when the check-in person pointed out that my son's passport was out of date and we hadn't noticed. The airline said they would fly us there, but they couldn't guarantee we would get in. So the eight-hour flight was spent with my wife and I glowering at each other and arguing about whose fault it was.

Ideal travelling companion?

A good book. On a long flight, I like to read, sleep and maybe take in a movie. I find flying long-haul is great for catching up on things.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

A nice golden beach, every time. I loved the beaches in Kenya, although it was tricky to set foot on them for more than five minutes before someone was trying to sell you something. Once, we could see the guy approaching us, so we waded chest-deep into the sea and he came in with us.

Greatest travel luxury?

Business class, when you can afford it. It takes all the stress and strain out of travel. We went to Borneo during the summer, which door-to-door took us 33 hours. You couldn't have contemplated it unless you're in a nice airline bed.

Where has seduced you?

Borneo, which I loved because it was so different. Even if you're not an animal-lover, I defy you not to fall in love with orang-utans. The hotel we stayed at was the Shangri-La Rasa Ria, which has a rehabilitation centre on-site, but then we went out to see them in the wild as well.

Worst travel experience?

Coming back from Atlanta and I just knew, when I saw this guy coming down the aisle, that he was going to be sitting next to me. He was flying to Berlin via London to join the German State Opera and he definitely had an opera singer's girth. He was a charming guy, but he made Pavarotti look small by comparison.

Best hotel?

We stayed at Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees on Lake Maggiore in Italy, which was like living in an art gallery. It was absolutely beautiful.

Favourite swim?

It definitely wouldn't be the time I had to be rescued off the rocks in Barbados, which my kids never let me forget about. It was pathetic!

We were snorkelling not very far off the coast and the kids wanted to go back, but I was struggling. So one of my sons alerted somebody who swam out with an airbed and helped me back in front of all these people. He's become a life-long friend since.

Best meal abroad?

A restaurant in Barcelona called Botafumeiro. It's tucked away down a side street and it's cavernous inside. If you get there before 11pm, you're too early. They do fantastic food: ham, anchovies, you name it, they have absolutely everything.

Favourite city?

Paris. I was lucky enough to have a spell working there on a very regular basis for a couple of years, which gave me the chance to get away from some of the tourist areas and find some fantastic restaurants. I loved the lifestyle and I didn't really encounter too much of the infamous Parisien disregard for the English. It's a beautiful city with beautiful buildings.

Where next?

Brazil for the World Cup next year. Hopefully, I'll be able to bring my family out too – although it takes place in school time – so we can spend some time together out there.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Travel
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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen