Navin Chowdhry: My Life In Travel
'There are such implications for prejudice if you don't see other cultures'
Saturday 15 July 2006
First holiday memory?
A trip to Delhi when I was about three; we went for a couple of months to visit family. I really loved it and have been back since.
I went on holiday on my own for the first time last year. I'd split up with someone and just finished a big job, so I went to Sardinia. It was one of my best holidays because it was so relaxing and there were no compromises. I stayed in a remote villa with a great view.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
I love the Lake District; it's so beautiful and inspiring. People forget how beautiful Britain can be.
What have you learnt from your travels?
You can appreciate so much about the world if you travel. It would be great if you could take under-privileged kids abroad because there are such implications for ignorance and prejudice if you don't see and learn to understand other cultures.
Ideal travelling companion?
I'm off to Cape Cod with my mates for a wedding in a couple of weeks, so that'll be fun. We'll probably go off to Las Vegas for a few days afterwards and I'm really looking forward to spending time with them.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I'm not one for sunbathing because of my complexion but I like swimming in the sea. I enjoy culture, too, but there's so much you can learn about culture without sightseeing.
Greatest travel luxury?
I like reading when I'm abroad but there's something very beautiful about keeping things simple and just soaking up the surroundings with someone you care about.
Where has seduced you?
The most beautiful place I've been to in Europe is Corsica. It is idyllic and I've never seen the Mediterranean that colour anywhere else. Otherwise, it would be India, particularly Kashmir - visiting is a life-changing experience.
Better to travel or arrive?
I hate travelling, especially if it's for work - it's a bore.
Worst travel experience?
I was flying to LA for a job and there was a lot of turbulence. Everything fell out of the kitchen into the aisles and the lights went out. The pilot told people to sit down wherever they were and people started screaming. It felt like it lasted for about 20 minutes, although it probably didn't. I was convinced we were going down.
I spent three months in Tunisia for a job. The people were lovely but the whole experience wasn't a happy one.
When we were kids, we stayed in Paris in a grotty hotel, but other than that I can't think of any great offenders.
The Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi, the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai and the Leela Goa - the hotels in India are lovely.
Driving through the mountains in Corsica and Sardinia was amazing. I could just drive around, stop off and jump in the Med.
I'm a really big fan of London. I also like the old part of Barcelona and, although it's a cliché, there's just something about New York. I love the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village - it feels like a movie set.
Best meal abroad?
When I was about 16, my aunt and uncle took me to a little hut in Delhi where they made rumali roti, which is Hindi for "blanket". It's like a chapati but the size of a towel and there's a real skill involved in making it. You dip it into a curry and it was amazing. Nothing has compared with that meal.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
Check out the minibar.
I want to visit the Himalayas, because I've heard such great things about the region.
To the States for a wedding.
Navin Chowdhry stars in 'Sinchronicity' on BBC3, tomorrow at 10pm
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