My life in travel: Nina Campbell
'One should always travel with a pillow, a shawl and a candle'
Saturday 17 May 2008
First holiday memory?
I went to Bognor when I was about three or four with lots of friends and our nannies, who would take us to the beach. I think our parents went somewhere warmer!
I love going to Scotland, particularly near Inverness or Nairn. I like the wildness and the days of nothing to do except planning picnics, dinners and card games. There's something about Scotland that makes you not mind when the weather is bad – you have no expectations.
What have you learnt from your travels?
That you never know what's around the next corner.
Ideal travelling companion?
Someone calm and as interested in the place as I am. They have to be intrepid, but enjoy a certain amount of comfort. I wouldn't want to be with someone who is excited by discomfort, or who is very brave. My ideal companion is a bit of a hedonist.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I enjoy beach holidays, but I get a bit bored and I don't particularly like sand. I like being warm under an umbrella in the shade. Holidays have to be relaxing. However, I like to be near something to look at, either a lovely building or pictures, or a shop where I can seek things out.
Greatest travel luxury?
One should always travel with a small pillow, a shawl and some room spray or a candle to make the hotel room smell nice.
I read a lot when travelling and I quite like to read books that are related to the surroundings so that I get into the feel of what's going on around me.
Where has seduced you?
I'm going to India next month and I've got a wonderful plan that sounds rather seductive. I'm flying to Delhi to see friends and then I'll go up to a spa hotel in the Himalayas, then to Rajasthan where there will be lots of shopping and looking at things.
Better to travel or arrive?
I'm afraid travel has been ruined these days by Heathrow. Arriving is a great relief.
Worst travel experience?
I remember going to northern Italy with my mother, which was a bit of a disaster. My godmother owned a travel agency and she sent us off somewhere near Florence – it all sounded wonderful. The pictures we saw beforehand looked beautiful, but they weren't at all representative of the hotel we arrived at. It was dirty and I got ill and, mercifully, had to come home early. It proves that you shouldn't trust photos because you don't know whether they were taken by a man standing on the other side of a sewer. I always ask the opinion of people who have been there before.
So far, it has to be Begawan Giri in Ubud, Bali. I had massages with gardenia oil and they'd fill the swimming pools with rose petals. It was all incredibly peaceful and the food was delicious. My room had an outside bathroom, which I thought was lovely, too.
Best walk/swim/ ride/ drive?
I love being driven by someone else and seeing beautiful countryside unfold, particularly in Scotland. I expect walking the Himalayas will be really outstanding.
Best meal abroad?
I had an amazing meal many years ago in Brussels at a restaurant called Le Rugbyman. It was the most fantastic lobster I've ever eaten.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
I'm really dull – I unpack because I long for the room to be my own. Then I'll send for a cup of tea and have a bath.
I've been to Brazil, which was fascinating, but I would like to go to other countries in South America, particularly Uruguay, because I hear the beaches are fantastic.
I don't think of cities for holidays. However, I get very excited about New York, where my daughter lives. Quite often I take some time off work and we just enjoy looking at things there together.
To India, which I'm expecting will be wonderful.
Nina Campbell is an interior designer. Her shop is at 9 Walton Street, London SW3 (020-7225 1011; www.ninacampbell.com). Her new Jet Set Gift Service delivers presents anywhere in London within 100 minutes of ordering.
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