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Nick Compton on Mumbai, playing cricket on Everest, and his life in travel

'Taking a good photo is as exciting as playing cricket'

Cricketer Nick Compton is playing for England in the Test series in South Africa
Cricketer Nick Compton is playing for England in the Test series in South Africa

I grew up in Durban.

It was hot, humid and very sporty. That's very much the culture in South Africa. It's a very outdoorsy lifestyle, similar to Australia. Sport's a major part of the culture there; rugby and cricket. Growing up, everything revolved around whatever season it was and whatever sport was being played at that time.

People pay fortunes for the kind of things I did growing up.

My dad's very involved with nature conservation in South Africa so we had lots of weekends at such places as Sodwana and Kosi Bay, which is up in the north coast towards Mozambique. It's incredible when I look back and think of some of the experiences I had as a child. I was spoilt. Although there are some beautiful parts of England there's no doubt that the access I had to wildlife and to these different areas of South Africa was amazing.

I liked the anonymity of London when I moved.

London is a very exciting city and a fantastic place to come to, and, for me, it was all new and fresh. I came over at the age of 15 because I got a scholarship to Harrow School. When I was [at home] in South Africa, you kind of know everyone. In London you don't have that, everything was a lot bigger, a lot more exciting. I was homesick, but I realised the opportunity of going to a school like Harrow and the chance to fulfil a lifelong dream of playing international cricket over here in England was the way forward, so it was something I had to get through.

Photography is therapeutic.

I get a buzz from taking a great shot of a person or an aesthetic or textures and colours. I think I particularly enjoy going to places like Dubai, India, Morocco, places where you're away from that first-world Western culture, where the colours are so much more vibrant and people's faces tell a great story. I'll probably get as excited taking a good photo as I do playing a good cricket shot.

Cultural caché: Nick enjoys visiting lively Mumbai

Mumbai is great.

If you're going to approach it like you would New York or something, it's very different. It's culturally rich, it's busy, it's smelly, it's dirty at times but there's a lot going on, so I love it.

The food in Bali is incredible.

It's very natural, very fresh and very health-oriented, so it really appeals to my lifestyle. I've just got back from 10 days there with my girlfriend. It was very cool, low-key, with straw huts, nice big pools, just a chance to chill out. I did a bit of yoga and meditation; it was a nice way to switch off and really get healthy.

I once played cricket at Everest Base Camp.

I walked to Base Camp for the PCA Benevolent Fund in 2007. We played the highest ever game of cricket at the time. It was just breath-taking. I think the major lesson I learnt was that it's not a race, it's not about ego, it's not about who's the best walker, it's very much about staying with yourself and your breathing. I can't remember who won the match; it was the PCA [Professional Cricketers' Association] versus the Sherpas. I think cricket was the winner.

California isn't fake.

Everyone said it was really tacky but I found it was everything but that. I thought it was a really cool lifestyle; the people were very real, very intelligent and interesting.

I ate barbecued chicken hearts in Brazil.

They were quite tasty actually; if you closed your eyes and didn't know, it was quite nice.

I enjoy getting away for a long weekend in the South-west.

I've spent five years playing for Somerset and living in Taunton; parts of Devon and Somerset are absolutely beautiful.

Cricketer Nick Compton is playing for England in the Test series in South Africa. Etihad Airways is the team's official airline (etihad.com)

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