This month, TLE caught up with the lovely Laura Hamilton from Channel 4’s ‘A Place in the Sun’. She told us all about her travel stories, like when she went galloping around the pyramids in Egypt and when her parents took her on holiday to a nuclear power plant in Wales.
Tell us about your first holiday memory?
Some of my earliest travel memories were camping and caravanning with my parents – it doesn’t sound glamorous but I was a lot of fun. We would literally pack up on a Friday night and go exploring somewhere different for the weekend, and I think this is where my love of exploring came from. We spent a few summers in Cornwall, then we started going to the south of France and exploring there. The funny thing is my dad had a small camcorder and I used to get my brother to be the cameraman and I would present a tour of the campsite. Little did I realise back then it’s what I would end up doing for a job!
What did a travel mean to you growing up?
Travel growing up meant meeting new people and learning about a place. Travel is so educational and I love the fact I have been able to film and travel with my children since they are three weeks old. They have seen a lot of Europe, been to South Africa where they have flown over Table Mountain in a helicopter and even visited a Township. They have been to a few Caribbean islands, The Maldives, Dubai and seen some of America. They’ve also been skiing a few times – not bad for a 3 and 4 year old! My favourite quote is “The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page”.
Tell us about a special holiday moment when you were a child?
I remember by parents taking me to a nuclear power station in Wales! I remember going back to school after the Easter holidays and all the other kids saying they had been to all these beautiful places and when I told them I have been to see slate mines and a nuclear power station they were shocked. It was a little odd but it was really educational and that is what’s great about travel – wherever you go!
Tell us about your favourite encounter with someone from a different country?
I visited Morocco and spent a night sleeping in the desert in Marrakech in a tent with the Bedouin tribe – it was a fantastic experience. Very basic and pretty cold at night, but watching the sunrise was pretty magical.
Tell us something you’ve never told anyone before (about a trip you’ve been on)?
When I was 21 I travelled to Taba in Egypt with a boyfriend. He got an ear infection and we had to stay longer than planned. We didn’t want to stay in Taba for any longer and I was desperate to see the pyramids but we didn’t have the correct visa. We got chatting to a local man in a coffee shop who said he would take us to the Israeli Border to get our visas and then take us on a personal tour to Cairo. It was a bit mad to be honest as we did it and I didn’t tell my parents – anything could have happened! We had the experience of a lifetime with a local. We galloped on horses around the pyramids and he took us to his family home for dinner. I’m not sure I would be happy if my children did what I did.
Who do you think would make a great travel partner?
I can’t think of anyone better to travel with than my husband and children. Learning and discovering new places together, and making memories is so precious.
How much does travel influence your food?
I love all kinds of food and I’m often inspired to cook different dishes when I get home from my travels. One of my favourite dishes to make is Pad Thai. I love Thailand and Pad Thai is an easy dish to recreate. I love making Paella too and my husband loves making curry. We spent three weeks together in India and experienced some of the most amazing cuisine ever.
What’s your type of international cuisine?
Probably Indian food but the food you eat in Indian is quite different to the westernised curries you get in the U.K.! I love tandoori king prawns.
Where’s your favourite country or city?
That is such a difficult question to answer as it depends what I want from a trip. I love the Maldives. I’ve been five times and I think it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth to just relax. However, Sri-Lanka is one of the most amazing places I have been to and offers so much for a small country. City wise I would say Stockholm – it’s pricey but stunning. I’m heading to Budapest soon so maybe that will be the new favourite – I’ve heard the architecture is stunning and the food is amazing and it’s good value for money.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?
I actually love where I live at the moment. I’m only 15 minutes from Gatwick, 40 minutes from Heathrow, 20 minutes by train to London and 25 minutes to the coast. It’s the perfect base to travel.
Do you think it’s important that people explore the world?
Absolutely. I think as a generation we are so lucky with how accessible the world is. It’s so important to see how other cultures live, their traditions and what they eat. Sometimes travelling also makes you appreciate home and that is equally as important.
What are you currently working on?
I’m busy filming A Place in The Sun and currently working on a few new ideas that I have in development – some of course are travel related. It’s my passion!
Laura Hamilton presents A Place in The Sun on Channel 4 and runs her local coffee shop and deli, ‘Lord Roberts on The Green’ (www.lordrobertsonthegreen.com).
For more information visit www.laurahamiltonofficial.com.