My life in travel: Monty Panesar

'Vancouver was beautiful – I liked the way the city is built around the scenery'

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The Independent Travel

Monty Panesar is an England cricketer. He is currently in Australia ahead of the Ashes Series, which starts later this month in Brisbane

First holiday memory?

My parents taking me to Walt Disney World in Orlando. I'll never forget the first time I saw the Magic Kingdom. We spent a couple of days in the pool because it was so hot and that gave me a massive grin from ear to ear.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I like mountainous areas, like the Lake District or the Peak District, because I feel there's a lot of energy there. There's so much chaos at sea level, but when I go up high I feel calm and connected with nature.

Best holiday?

The South of France. I love the relaxed environment and the food. I went with a group of friends when we had just finished our final year at university. The views are amazing and we loved the whole entertainment side of things.

What have you learnt from your travels?

It gives you an opportunity to be alone and in isolation. You get time to ask yourself questions about where you want to be in life, which I find empowering. There are no appointments and no deadlines to meet. It gives you a chance to reflect on where you are emotionally and physically.

Ideal travelling companion?

Someone with good hygiene. I don't want to wake up in the morning and have rubbish in my room. You want people to have open minds and adjust to the situation if plans change. Also, I like travelling with people who have a good sense of humour. A positive outlook gets you a long way.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I went to Antigua with some close friends and we had a great time doing all the watersports as well as taking in the culture and the food. I liked blending in with the Caribbean way of life.

Greatest travel luxury?

Self check-in desks at the airport, so you avoid the queues; and a suitcase on wheels.

My life in travel: Monty Panesar

Holiday reading?

When I'm playing cricket, I like to read positive books. But when I'm away from it, I like novels that I can get into. I'm reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand at the moment, which is about an architect trying to make it through the world. He moves away from his normal job and goes up the ladder. It's a very masculine book, about power struggles and reaching the top.

Where has seduced you?

Vancouver was brilliant. It's one of the most beautiful cities I've been to in the world. I stayed at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel and I fell in love with the city there. It's very close to the Rockies, too. I like the way the city is constructed around the natural scenery.

Worst travel experience?

Staying in a really grotty B&B in Camden when I had one of my first jobs as a window salesman in London. I remember thinking: “I can't do this all my life. I need to get out of this and do something better.”

Favourite drive?

Through the Rockies, from Vancouver to Calgary, in a motorhome. The landscape was beautiful and being with friends in a motorhome was like travelling in a hotel on wheels.

Best meal abroad?

Big, long lunches in Milan that go on for hours, like they do in that part of Europe. I loved the pizzas and the pasta sauces there.

Favourite city?

Sydney. I was there playing cricket and training for a few months. I loved the beaches, the lifestyle, the café culture and the restaurants.

Where next?

New York. I've never been before. I want someone who knows the city really well to tell me what I should see.