My Life In Travel: Meg Mathews

'I went to Sao Paulo for the Grand Prix - the shopping was brilliant'

First holiday memory?

I was born in Guernsey so we'd go to Alderney frequently when I was very young. We used to stay in a tiny hotel and the lady who owned it would baby-sit while my parents went out.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Sark in the Channel Islands. There are no cars, and the coastline is amazing.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That it's hard to do long-haul in economy having travelled first class.

Ideal travelling companion?

My daughter Anais. I don't think I've been on holiday without her since she was born. When she was three months old she went to Ibiza, then when she was five months old, it was LA.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm definitely a beach bum, but when I'm with my mum she'll have me walking around places like Venice, soaking up the history.

Greatest travel luxury?

I've got a really old Hermès cashmere blanket, which I always stuff in my handbag. I hate aeroplane blankets because they smell so horrible. I also love Aromatherapy Associates travel packs, because they keep me hydrated.

Where has seduced you?

Angkor Wat. I watched the sun setting from the back of an elephant, which was amazing. There was something about the way the light caught the massive temple and the smells. It was also slightly eerie because it was so quiet.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. I love stepping off the plane when the heat hits you - that's one of my favourite parts.

Worst travel experience?

I went to Mykonos in about 1984 and ended up staying for six months. I lied to my parents and told them that my bag had been stolen. My mother told me to go to Athens where she'd send me money to get home. When I arrived there was about £40. That meant I had to get a coach to London, which took three days. My mother told me it was because I had lied to her.

Worst holiday?

In about 1992 about 10 of us went on a package holiday to the Gambia. We were allocated a two-star hotel that was run by Germans who were hideously racist towards the staff. There were cockroaches and the food was disgusting.

Best hotel?

Any Amanresort. I've been to three and have loved every one. Every now and again I get out the brochures and fantasise about them.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

My favourite walk is around Holkham Bay in Norfolk. My favourite drive was one I did with my parents in a 4x4 from Cape Town to Namibia, through the Kalahari Desert, across Botswana and then back to Cape Town. My favourite swim was off Maui in Hawaii with whales swimming nearby.

Dream trip?

I'd fly to New York with my parents, my fiancé Kris and Anais in a G5. We'd stay at The Pierre in a suite overlooking Central Park, which would be covered in snow. We'd then fly to the Bahamas where we'd stay at D Villa in Nassau then pop over to Harbour Island and stay at Pip's Place. After that we'd fly to Rio and stay at the Copacabana Palace for New Year, then go to Punta del Este in Uruguay.

Favourite city?

Sao Paulo. I went with my mum for the Brazilian Grand Prix. The shopping was brilliant, it has beautiful churches and we went to all sorts of places like Ayrton Senna's grave and parts of the favelas. It's an incredible place and I'd like to go back for a bit longer.

Where next?

To India with the charitable organisation Brooke (www.thebrooke.org), which encourages the world's poorest communities to keep their animals healthy.

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<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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