My Life In Travel: Liz Bonnin, TV presenter

'The more I travel, the more I want to see'

First holiday memory?

My mum was born in Trinidad, so we used go to there twice a year to see family. I have fond memories of island-hopping with my cousins and aunts and being by the beautiful Caribbean sea. Every time I go, it feels like returning home, even though I've never lived there.

Best holiday?

New Zealand. My sister and I hired a car and drove down from the North Island to the South Island. We skydived over Lake Wanaka and swam with wild dolphins in Kaikoura. We stayed in beautiful B&Bs with scenery that ranged from forests to wide expanses of landscape that looks almost like Mongolia. It really was the trip of a lifetime, discovering one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The Cairngorms. When I went the sun shone every day, which was very unusual. I was filming a documentary about Scottish wildcats and came across a pair of wildcat kittens. Also, Rathlin Island, off the coast of County Antrim in Ireland. I went scuba-diving there and saw conger eels amid shipwrecks. The British Isles are second to none when it's a beautiful day.

What have you learnt from your travels?

The more I travel, the more I want to see. I think travelling is one of the most important things everyone should do in life. I went to Honduras for the first time recently and experienced that absolute thrill of not knowing what to expect.

Ideal travelling companion?

My sister. We're very different but very close. We've never had a fight. She's a wonderful companion who has inspired me to explore new places.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Sometimes I just need to get away to the nearest hot place with a suitcase full of books and do little else except swim in the sea. Other times, I'm into exploring wildlife, trekking in Patagonia or jumping out of planes in New Zealand.

Greatest travel luxury?

A cashmere shawl I own that's the size of a blanket. I wrap it around myself three times when I'm on a plane. When I got off after Honduras, you wouldn't have recognised me – I looked completely dishevelled, swathed in this huge blanket.

Holiday reading?

I read a lot of science and wildlife books for work, so when I go for leisure, I like to catch up on novels. I recently read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, who also wrote The Kite Runner. And I also really enjoyed The Elegance Of The Hedgehog, a beautiful book about a little girl and a courtier who live together in Paris, by French novelist Muriel Barbery.

Where has seduced you?

India. The first time I went I was freaked out by the utter difference. But as much as it's filthy, overcrowded and there is sheer poverty – there is absolute beauty in some of the villages. It's also where I saw my first tiger in a national park in Madhya Pradesh; I'm obsessed with tigers. That trip is what inspired me to do my MA and natural history programming on the BBC.

Better to travel or to arrive?

I enjoy flying. It's a little bit of escapism, where you cannot get access to your phone or contact anyone. I tuck in under my blanket and watch movie after movie. But I still get butterflies and a smile on my face when I land.

Worst hotel?

A tiny place in Egypt. We were driving between two oases in the middle of the desert and were absolutely filthy and dying for a shower. It was the only place I'd been to where the shower was dirtier than I was. We went for a few beers to get through it, got into bed, and I woke up in the morning with a massive spider bite on the middle of my forehead the size of a small country. We had breakfast outside and there was a pool with a layer of larvae on top of it.

Best hotel?

A tiny little B&B called Mas de la Beaume in Gordes, Provence. It's set in one of the most beautiful old towns in the world. It's the screensaver on my phone because it's what my dream house would look like. It's a converted French farmhouse with little old stone rooms – lots of character and utterly beautiful.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

A walk along the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland. There's something very spiritual and powerful about that place. Also, driving through Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh, in an open-top 4x4 looking at the trees and the blue sky; and swimming in the Caribbean, near Sainte Anne in Martinique. The water is clear and utterly warm. There's nothing like it.

Best meal abroad?

Whenever I go back to Trinidad, I make my family stop for a prawn curry roti at the Hot Shoppe shack near Port of Spain. Also, eating grilled fish with Indonesian dipping sauce, greens and sticky rice on the balcony of the Kumara Sakti [a yoga retreat in Ubud, Bali] with the best vegetarian food I've ever eaten in my life.

Dream trip?

I'm besotted with South American culture, language and music, so I'd love to spend six months there. I've been to Argentina but I would love to travel through Brazil and Chile. I've always dreamt of getting to know the continent better.

Favourite city?

Rome. I love the romance of it: the peeling orange paint on green-shuttered buildings, the attitude to food and spending hours at lunch tables with friends and family. It's a beautiful city to stroll around.

Where next?

I'm going to Botswana to film the elephant migration and some meerkats for the BBC with a show called Animal Einstein. I've never been on safari, so it's another privileged outing.

Liz Bonnin presents 'Egypt's Lost Cities', available on BBC DVD (£20.42).

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
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
  • Get to the point
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

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before