My Life In Travel: Zane Lowe, DJ and BBC Radio 1 presenter
'It's never quite as much fun without the family'
Friday 03 February 2012
First holiday memory?
Driving to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand from my family home in Auckland. I remember being packed into my dad's car and it being really hot, because there wasn't any air conditioning. I loved being by the ocean, though, and that mixture of being active and inactive on family holiday. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit.
The Maldives. I went with my wife before we had children and it was paradise. We had to reach our resort by seaplane and it was just that remarkable combination of real, pure isolation with the unfettered access to the ocean.
Another favourite was a holiday last summer, with my family. We rented a place in Cornwall for a week because I was playing at the Boardmasters Festival, and then we flew off to Antigua for a beach break in the Caribbean.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
Cornwall. We had a family holiday in Portwrinkle a couple of Christmases ago during the snow storms. It was the most unbelievably life-affirming, perspective-changing experience, watching the sea crash against these brutal, jagged rocks. I absolutely fell in love with the place.
What have you learnt from your travels?
It's harder to switch off and relax than you think. As I get older, I have to prepare myself in advance for a holiday because it takes a while to stop thinking, and stop concentrating on other things. Especially when you have children; you have to just enjoy every single second that you spend with them, and make the most of that uninterrupted time, with no distractions.
Ideal travelling companion?
My family. If I'm travelling on tour, and there's the option to stay on for an extra day, I'll always choose to come home as soon as possible. It's never as much fun without them. I'd rather be packing up the car at home for a road trip with my wife and boys.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I could go away to the most remote beach in the world and sit there for two weeks, and still not feel bored at the end. If you're going away just as a couple, without children, then you can't beat the Maldives. It's the single greatest place on earth to go and do absolutely nothing except be in each other's company.
Greatest travel luxury?
My music. I always download or buy a whole load of new records before I go away. Normally, I'll line up a combination of old and new, ones that I've wanted to listen to in more detail or that I haven't had a chance to hear yet. It used to be a CD wallet stacked full of music, but now I just take my iPod.
I'm a sucker for biographies. I lose interest in fiction quite quickly, but I love inspiring stories about other people. I found Rob Lowe's surprisingly interesting. I'm not really a big fan of The West Wing but it was given to me by a friend and it proved a great read.
Where has seduced you?
Amsterdam. It's got a great relaxed feel, with some of the best food, architecture and apartments. I always enjoy going there.
Better to travel or arrive?
I like the feeling of being in transit and the sense that it makes you more difficult to get hold of. It leaves you very much in the company of the people around you, so you have to focus and devote your time to them. It makes it a communal adventure.
Worst travel experience?
The first time I went to Ibiza, with my wife. I was DJing there and we arrived on the 2am flight, totally underprepared. We booked a package and didn't realise that we had to bring most of our own bedding.
There were two separate beds in our hotel room and we got woken up on the first morning by some guy in our room, fixing the sink. We didn't know where to go or what clubs were good. It turned out OK in the end, because after a few days we settled down and made the most of it.
A place I stayed at during the Benicassim Festival in Spain. I got a last-minute booking and arrived at a hotel down near the beach. There were dead cockroaches on the stairs, and my room just had one light that flickered, a TV that didn't work and curtains that looked rotten. There were bloodstains on the floor and a real sense of waking up the next day, and not wanting to talk about the night before. It was shambolic.
Carlisle Bay in Antigua. If you can afford it and you want to treat yourself, go. It's really stylish and well-designed, but also amazing for small kids. You feel like you can go on holiday with your family and not sacrifice your own enjoyment as grown-ups.
Oakura Bay in Northland, New Zealand. I remember swimming there when I used to go back every summer and it being one of the greatest things ever. There are great waves and the scenery is amazing.
Best meal abroad?
The food in Los Angeles is insane, but I also love a restaurant back home called Prego in Auckland. They serve fantastic, local produce. I've been going there for years with my parents, so I've grown up eating there.
India, or anywhere in Asia. I haven't really been before and would love to explore with my children and introduce them to some new experiences.
London. I love the contrast between old and new architecture; the fact that it's an industry-oriented place but that you can still be part of a neighbourhood; that it's just one of the most artistically and culturally vibrant cities in the world; and there's always something going on.
I'm off to Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia on tour, which I'm really looking forward to. It'll be a great chance to hang out with some old friends and meet other DJs.
Zane Lowe is performing at the Snowbombing Festival in Mayrhofen, Austria (9-14 April; snowbombing.com).
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