'A Holiday Is a Crucible for Personal Relationships'

By Lam, Sophie | The Independent (London, England), May 29, 2010 | Go to article overview
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'A Holiday Is a Crucible for Personal Relationships'

Lam, Sophie, The Independent (London, England)

My life in travel Ben Miller

Ben Miller is an actor and comedian

First holiday memory?

Going to Menorca when I was about seven. It was my first foreign holiday and I remember drinking chocolate milk and lying in my bunk bed at night listening to people outside playing the guitar and singing. It was so exciting. I can also remember my father swimming in the sea and catching a diseased fish with his bare hands and bringing it back up the beach to us.

Best holiday?

About four years ago we went to a place called Cazenac in Perigord, France, for New Year with a bunch of friends. I think of myself as a bit of a gourmand and I ate my body weight in foie gras there; it was brilliant.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I feel almost evangelical about Cornwall. When I was 16 I hitch- hiked around Tintagel and Bodmin Moor with a school friend called Richard Davenport and we had a great time. I've always found Cornwall such an exciting, bonkers, beautiful and completely occult province.

What have you learnt from your travels?

There are two trips that changed me. The first was Inter-railing as a student through Italy to the Mediterranean then going off the map a bit through Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and back up through Spain. I had a fantastic time, particularly in Algeria where I first experienced Muslim culture.

The second trip was what they now call a gap year but what we used to call a year off. I was 18 and went to college in Alta Loma in the San Bernardino Valley in California and had such a brilliant time. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

Ideal travelling companion?

A holiday is a crucible for personal relationships. My ideal companion is often someone who wants to do the same things as me. Alexander Armstrong and I have had very good holidays because we have the same interests of cigars and foie gras.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I've done a bit of all three, but I prefer to get off the beaten track and find my own way a bit, which is a boring and middle-class thing to say. The last adventurous holiday I went on was to Brazil. I went to Rio and along to Buzios; I found Rio very exciting because you had to work things out for yourself.

Greatest travel luxury?

Staying in a really nice hotel. There's an odd camaraderie in hotels that you don't get anywhere else because you're in a little bubble. I like the soullessness of living in a hotel - I'm not far off people like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen who lived in hotels for months on end; it really appeals to me.

Holiday reading?

Reading is the main thing I do on holiday. I try and read novels because I don't get the chance usually.

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