My life in travel: Paul Young
'It's like someone drew the town of Santa Fe and it came to life'
Saturday 19 July 2008
First holiday memory?
My childhood holidays were always bucket-and-spade ones in Devon and Cornwall; we used to go to places such as Paignton. I never travelled abroad with my parents. The first time I went abroad was to Mallorca, with a friend's family when I was 14.
My favourite holidays are RVing around the south-west of America; we did it in 1995, 2000 and 2005, and my kids have grown to love it. I think it stems from when my dad used to take us camping, but the great thing about RVing is moving around and packing so much into the holiday. Sometimes it's five or six hours of boring driving, but when you arrive it's great.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
I'm rediscovering the joys of the south of England. I've got a friend in Southampton and my songwriting friend lives in Gosport, so I seem to be going down there a lot at the moment. There's a lovely area around Sandbanks and Poole; I'd love to start windsurfing again down there.
What have you learnt from your travels?
How to cook. I have discovered so much great food while touring and then tried to recreate it when I am back at home.
Ideal travelling companion?
It'd have to be Bruce Springsteen if I was on an RV trip, because he's an absolute authority on the US. I was lucky enough to do a bike ride with him once in California and he knew so much about the history of the place.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
During one of our road trips, we were on the beach in Mexico and jet-biking on Lake Mead at the Hoover Dam – that's the beauty of it. I love being by water. I go back to Bellagio on Lake Como every year, because I've become very good friends with a hotelier there. Swimming in the lake is wonderful.
Greatest travel luxury?
My laptop and speakers, so I can watch a DVD, play music or get on the internet.
The first thing I do when I pick up a book is fall asleep, so it takes a long time to read one.
Where has seduced you?
I used to say I'd retire in Italy, but then I went to Santa Fe in New Mexico. It's like somebody drew the town and it came to life. Even the petrol stations are made from adobe; it looks like something out of The Flintstones. Also, the food is great there – my favourite is Café Pasqual's.
Better to travel or arrive?
When I'm RVing, it's the travelling that I enjoy. Planes I could do without, though.
Worst travel experience?
A tyre blew when we were on a road trip in the middle of nowhere in 1995. It was in the days when you couldn't get a signal easily on a mobile phone. We had to hobble along at 20mph to the next town.
I think places such as Barbados are very over-priced. I'm in no rush to go back to places like that. All you do is lie on a beach and go out to eat expensive food.
As far as amenities and character go, some Italian hotels can be very dreary and characterless and quite cold.
The best are those in Dubai – I stayed at one with a split-level bedroom and a piano in it.
Swimming in Lake Como is always a pleasure. Also, when we jet-skied on Lake Mead I couldn't believe how warm the water was. There were huge carp that were diving all over the place.
Best meal abroad?
I've come close to crying twice in Italy, the food was that good. We had lunch in a restaurant outside of Rome and the owner told us to come back in the evening so he could cook for us. He produced about 14 small plates. One was some spinach with an almost raw egg on top, which had the most amazing taste. I don't know what he did to it.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
I open the windows of the hotel room to check the view and get some fresh air.
I'd love to travel more in South America. I've been to Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina for shows, but I've never seen much of them other than the venues.
I still love London. It has been a really vibey city since the Sixties and is multicultural, with great parks and clubs.
Lake Como this summer, which is all I've got time for.
Paul Young's album 'No Parlez' has been re-released to celebrate its 25th anniversary. He is touring the UK this summer on the Here and Now Tour ( www.paul-young.com)
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