The Travel Diaries

12/28/2021

Amazing Thailand with John Torode - Destination Special

Season 6
On today’s destination special we’re travelling far away to the warmer climes of South East Asia. To a country renowned for its opulent monuments, ancient ruins, floating markets, palm-fringed tropical beaches, turquoise seas, lush jungle, sumptuous cuisines and a people so friendly that the country is nicknamed The Land of Smiles.Of course, today we’re heading to Amazing Thailand.I’m thrilled to say that chef and TV presenter John Torode returns to the podcast, having been so passionate about his extensive travels in Thailand back in Season 5 to share his Thai travel diaries, from Bangkok the bustling capital in the middle of the country, to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the mountainous north, to its famous jungle-topped tropical islands that lie off its two golden sand coastlines in the south.And then, I am joined by the wonderful Kay Plunkett-Hogge. Kay is a cookery writer, travel journalist and broadcaster who is Thai, she was born and raised in Bangkok, bi-lingual, and she now lives in the mountains of Chiang Dao, which is in the Chiang Mai province of the country, and she spoke to me from her home there.I have never been to Thailand - it's somewhere I've always wanted to go, and so I ask Kay, as someone who has lived in Thailand most of her life, where I should go and what I should do on my first trip there. She takes us through a fantastic two week round trip itinerary for first timers, beginning and ending in Bangkok, as well as sharing some of her favourite spots and hidden gems.John Torode's Destination Recap:Pak khlong talat (Flower Market Bangkok)The Thai House, BangkokPeninsula Hotel, BangkokChiang MaiChiang RaiKing’s Project, Chiang RaiHyatt, Chiang MaiSouthern Thai islandsKay Plunkett-Hogge’s Destination Recap:Chiang DaoBangkokChakrabongse Villas, BangkokOld Chinatown, BangkokChiang RaiPhu Chaisai, Ching RaiChiang DaoChiang MaiPhuong Tong Restaurant, Chiang MaiOld day train, Chiang Mai to BangkokPhuketBaan Bayan, Hua HinAksorn Restaurant, Bangkok100 Mahaseth (Si Phraya), BangkokMadrid Bar, BangkokIsanPhanom Rung Historical ParkWhat an incredible flavour of an incredible country, thank you so much to both John and Kay for sharing their knowledge and passion for Amazing Thailand.If you’re inspired to find out more about Thailand, visit fanclubthailand.co.uk and check out your favourite travel magazines and newspapers who will no doubt offer some comprehensive destination guides.And come and follow me on Instagram - I’m @hollyrubenstein.Have a very Happy New Year and thanks so much for listening.
12/21/2021

Fantastic Finland Christmas Special with Tracy-Ann Oberman - Destination Special

Season 6
Today, we’re embarking on a journey to the far north of Europe.To a place of summer midnight sun and the magical northern lights of the winter.The Land of a Thousand Lakes.A place where saunas are as common as cafes. And, with just a few days to go until Christmas, I imagine it’s a hive of activity given that Lapland in the north of the country is the home of Santa Claus and his elves.Of course, I’m talking about Fantastic Finland.And I’m joined by two wonderful guests today to help bring this diverse and beautiful country to life. First, we’ll hear from the actress Tracy-Ann Oberman. You’ll know Tracy-Ann from shows like EastEnders,Friday Night Dinner,It’s A Sinand Ridley Road. She has a special connection to Finland, which she'll tell us about when she shares her Finnish travel diaries, coming up.And then, we’re joined by Finland Destination Expert, and food and travel writer, Bre Graham, who has travelled extensively around the country, and shares so many brilliant different recommendations and tips, for places to visit, stay, eat, and what to bring home in your suitcase.Tracy-Ann Oberman’s Destination Recap:Temppeliaukio Church, HelsinkiRestaurant Nasinneula, TampereMuseum Centre Vapriikki, TampereSuomenlinna, HelsinkiMoomin World, NaantaliBre’s Recap:Löyly Helsinki sauna, HelsinkiGoodio Chocolate Factory,VantaaNolla Restaurant, HelsinkiFinnish LaplandLake Inari, SápmiAlbina Ravintola & Viinibaari, Kallio, HelsinkiSt George Hotel, HelsinkiLapland Hotel, HelsinkiIf you would like to read more about Finland head to visitfinland.com.If you enjoyed today’s episode don’t forget to subscribe. And come and follow me on Instagram - I’m @hollyrubenstein. Have a very Happy Christmas and thanks so much for listening.
12/14/2021

Brian Chesky, Airbnb Co-Founder & CEO

Season 6
Today’s guest is the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, an interview that has been years in the making, and a real honour.For billions of us, including myself, Airbnb has completely changed the way we travel. It opened up people’s homes, creating an army of Superhosts in the process, bringing tourists and locals far closer together. It’s no short of lie that Airbnb created a travel revolution.So you could say today’s episode is both Brian’s and Airbnb’s. For a CEO of his magnitude, it’s clearly hard for him to separate the two. The story of how Airbnb came to be, is not what you’d expect. Brian went to design school, he’s an artist, and came from humble beginnings. In fact, it was cereal boxes that first got Airbnb off the ground - you’ll have to stay tuned to hear Brian explain more about that, as part of the fascinating and surprising twists and turns on the path to Airbnb’s global domination.Brain’s answers are very philosophical and a goldmine of both travel and business wisdom. As he says himself, he was a host before he was a traveler and many of his answers reflect that mindset. Travel for him is about getting into a locals POV. You won’t get luxury hotels, you’ll get stories of people and experiences.We also hear at the end how Airbnb are pivoting to drive the next revolution in travel.I hope you enjoy it.Destination Recap:St Louis, Missouri, USARhode Island School of Design (RISD), USALos Angeles, California, USASan Francisco, California, USAFlatbush, Brooklyn, New York, USATokyo, JapanThe Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco, California, USAIf you want to follow in mine and Brian's footsteps and become a host on airbnb you can go toairbnb.com/hostto sign up, and try outairbnb.co.uk/askasuperhostto speak to other UK hosts for advice.Thank you to today's sponsor, DK Eyewitness. Find their guides on special offer at wordery.com - simply enter the code DKEYEWITNESS at checkout for a 10% discount.If you’re enjoying the podcast, then it would be wonderful if you could leave a rating or a review on your podcast app - it really makes a big difference because it helps other people to discover the podcast.And to hear future episodes as soon as they’re released don’t forget to hit subscribe or “follow” on your podcast app of choice.To find out who’s joining me on next week’s episode, come and follow me on Instagram, I’m @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you.If you can’t wait until then, there’s always the first five seasons to catch up on, with guests from Sir Michael Palin and Jo Malone, to Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Raymond Blanc.
12/7/2021

Michel Roux Jr

Season 6
Today, I’m joined by a legend of the culinary world, the chef, restaurateur and broadcaster, Michel Roux Jr. Michel was practically born in a kitchen when his mother went into labour during service at his father’s restaurant. He’s the son of Albert Roux and the nephew of Michel Roux, brothers who revolutionised the restaurant business in the UK when they opened Le Gavroche in 1967, famously becoming the first establishment in this country to gain one, two and then three Michelin stars. When his father retired in 1993, Michel Jr took over the world-famous restaurant, quickly becoming a household name on TV shows like Masterchef The Professionals, Remarkable Places to Eat and he now has a new TV show, set in Provence, which he’ll tell us all about. Chefs tend be very well travelled, and Michel is no exception. His travel diaries take us on a delectable journey from Lyon to Hong Kong, The Seychelles to Las Vegas.Destination Recap:ScotlandShipbourne, Kent, EnglandFairlawne Estate, Kent, EnglandParis, FranceLyons, FranceHong KongAberdeen, Hong KongWest Coast of USASpago Restaurant, San Francisco, USAChez Panisse, San Francisco, USAThe SeychellesBird Island, SeychellesMarie Antoinette restaurant, Mahe, SeychellesLas Vegas, Nevada, USAMacauArdèche, FrancePont Sant Espirit, France IndiaSouth AmericaWatch Michel Roux's French Country Cooking as a boxset exclusivelyon Discovery+.Thank you to my sponsors -The Tourism Authority of Thailand welcomes you to join them for Visit Thailand Year 2022 - Amazing New Chapters. Find the A-Z of amazing things to see and do in Thailand and the latest travel advice atwww.fanclubthailand.co.ukNaladhu Private Island, an exclusive luxury island resort in the Maldives. Visitnaladhu.comto find out more and book that trip of a lifetime.To find out who’s joining me next week, follow me on Instagram, I’m @hollyrubenstein. If you can’t wait until then, there’s always the first five seasons to catch up on, with guests from Sir Michael Palin to Heston Blumenthal.
11/30/2021

Bill Bailey

Season 6
Today I’m joined by the much loved comedian, musician and actor, Bill Bailey. Known for his hugely inventive stand up, he’s of course such a familiar face on our TV screens, spendingseveral years as team captain on the long running music and comedy BBC panel show, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, making regular appearances on QI and Have I Got News For You, and most recently being crowned the champion of Strictly Come Dancing with partner Oti Mabuse, last year.Bill kicks off his travel diaries having just returned from an incredible trip to Iceland, so he tells us all about; he shares his love of Indonesia where he spontaneously eloped with his wife, and travels back to each year; as a gigging comedian he has discovered every corner of the UK, so he reveals some British hidden gems that could be on your doorstep, and he shares his tips for Strictly this year.He joins me from his West London family home, which he shares with a menagerie of pets, including five rescue dogs, a cat, a parrot, a snake, ducks and hens, which you will occasionally hear laying an egg in the background. This is a really fun one!Destination Recap:Reykjavik, IcelandAkureyi, IcelandBubble Hotel, IcelandWeston-super-mare, EnglandBath, EnglandSaunder’s Foot, South WalesMarseilles, FranceArgentinaIndonesiaSumatra, IndonesiaWest Papua, IndonesiaThe Ridgeway National Trail, EnglandBarbadosBaqueira Beret, SpainSitges, SpainBarcelona, SpainPatagoniaNamibiaKamchatka Peninsula, RussiaBill Bailey’s En Route To Normal tour kicks off in Plymouth on Sun 12 December and runs through to mid January.All the tickets and dates can be found atwww.BillBailey.co.ukIf you’re enjoying the podcast, then it would be wonderful if you could leave a rating or a review on your podcast app - it really makes a big difference because it helps other people to discover the podcast.And to hear future episodes as soon as they’re released don’t forget to hit subscribe or “follow” on your podcast app of choice.To find out who’s joining me on next week’s episode, come and follow me on Instagram, I’m @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you.If you can’t wait until then, there’s always the first five seasons to catch up on, with guests from Sir Michael Palin and Jo Malone to Heston Blumenthal and Nadiya Hussain.
11/23/2021

Giovanna Fletcher

Season 6
Giovanna Fletcher is one of the UK’s most successful women’s fiction authors. She's the host of Happy Mum, Happy Baby, the chart-topping podcast which sees her interview celeb guests about the highs and lows of parenting. She and her husband Tom Fletcher, from the band McFly have a huge YouTube presence where they perform together; and she’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’s reigning champion, the Queen of the Castle. To say Giovanna is multi-talented, is quite the understatement.Giovanna has been travelling since a very young age as her dad is Italian, so she tells us about her annual trips to visit her family in Italy, she and Tom are a kind of obsessed with Disney and she brings to life the magic and joy of holidays at the Disney parks, and much of her new book is inspired by travel, by the country of Peru. We also chat about her love of trekking; her advice about travelling with three young kids; and what is was like to interview Kate Middleton and the whirlwind of press that came after.Giovanna’s Destination Recap:Valva, Campania, ItalyParis, FranceDisneyland Paris, FrancePeruWalt Disney World, Florida, USAJade Mountain, St LuciaWatergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall, EnglandThree Mile Beach, Cornwall, EnglandTenerife, SpainMt Kilimanjaro, TanzaniaMadagascarAppalachian Trail, USAHolly’s Destination Recap:Belmond British Pullman trainGiovanna’s new novel, Walking on Sunshine, is out now in hardback, priced £14.99If you’re enjoying the podcast, then it would be wonderful if you could leave a rating or a review on your podcast app - it really makes a big difference because it helps other people to discover the podcast.And to hear future episodes as soon as they’re released don’t forget to hit subscribe or “follow” on your podcast app of choice.To find out who’s joining me on next week’s episode, come and follow me on Instagram, I’m @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you.If you can’t wait until then, there’s always the first five seasons to catch up on, with guests from Sir Michael Palin and Jo Malone, to Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Raymond Blanc .
11/16/2021

Steve Backshall

Season 6
Steve Backshall is a BAFTA-winning presenter, writer, explorer, naturalist and all round daredevil.His big break as a broadcaster arrived when National Geographic offered him the post of Adventurer in Residence and he’s been taking on some of the toughest challenges on earth ever since, gracing our TV screens with shows like Deadly 60, Expedition, and The Lost Land series. On this episode you’ll hear that Steve’s great passion is discovery. Discovery of new places and new animal species - whether that’s uncovering never before seen ancient human art work in a Borneo cave, tracking snow leopards in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, coming extremely close to death while kayaking in Bhutan or diving with sharks in his new show, Shark with Steve Backshall. Holly’s Destination Recap:No. 15 Great Pulteney, Bath, EnglandThree Mile Beach, Cornwall, EnglandSteve’s Destination Recap:ZimbabweColombiaWest PapuaBhutanWales - Gower, Pembroke, Snowdonia, Breacon BeaconsScilly Isles, Cornwall, EnglandCoastal Pembroke, WalesCoastal Penzance, Cornwall, EnglandBimini, The BahamasKyrgyzstanBorneoBrazilSurinameShark With Steve Backshall continues on Sunday at 8pm on Sky Nature, Sky Showcase and is streaming on NOW TV.Thank you to today’s sponsors:Freddie’s Flowers -Get your first two boxes half price, at just £12.50 each with the code TRAVEL50The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa To hear future episodes as soon as they’re released, don’t forget to hit subscribe or “follow”. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And there’s always the first 5 seasons to catch up on, with guests from Michael Palin and Rick Stein, to Jo Malone to Hugh Bonneville.
11/9/2021

Jessica Nabongo, first black woman to visit every country in the world

Season 6
Jessica Nabongo is the first black woman in history to have visited all 195 countries in the world. On top of that, she travelled to 89 of these countries solo. All by the age of 35. She’s an influencer, photographer and businesswoman, and shares with us what she learnt throughout this epic journey.From Tuvalu and Eritrea to Turkmenistan and Djibouti, Jessica’s travel diaries literally take us all over the world.Destination Recap:Punta Mita, MexicoUgandaQueen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda,Lamu, KenyaJapanMt Fuji, JapanHiroshima, JapanBali, IndonesiaNamibiaIslamabad, PakistanLahore, PakistanIran especially IsfahanColombiaCubaMerowe, SudanSenegalEritreaMasawa, EritreaTuvaluLake Assal, DjiboutiThe Door to Hell, TurkmenistanSouth SudanMoldovaBelarusTashkent, Samarkand & Termez, UzbekistanVenice, ItalyGreenlandSantiago de Cuba, CubaFor more of Jessica’s adventures you can pre-order her first book on Amazon. It will be published by National Geographic and is out in May 2022. In the meantime, you can follow her onInstagram @jessicanabongo. Jessica's new project,The Nabongo List:is a new luxury, travel membership that gives you the best in local, luxury and unique experiences all around the world, curated by JessicaA big thank you to today’s sponsors for their support of the podcast.DK Eyewitness - What better way to find that next adventure than with a DK Eyewitness book? Get new editions of their award-winning DK Eyewitness and Top 10 travel guides, or for the intrepid explorer, there’s Outdoor Europe. Click the link, or visit your local bookshop.COMO Hotels and Resorts - COMO's collection of14 luxury boutique hotels and resorts are in some of the world's most desirable destinations. A new hotel has been announced for 2022, COMO Le Montrachet in Burgundy, France. Find out more about COMO's beautiful hotels and resorts by visiting Comohotels.comAdnams - The home of premium gins. Get 10% off your first purchase with Adnams using code TRAVEL10.Freddie’s Flowers -Get your first two boxes half price, at just £12.50 each with the code TRAVEL50 at freddiesflowers.comBritish Airways x Visit Florida - Book your trip with confidence at BA.com/FloridaAnd to hear future episodes as soon as they’re released don’t forget to hit subscribe or “follow” on your podcast app of choice.To find out who’s joining me on next week’s episode, come and follow me on Instagram, I’m @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you.If you can’t wait until then, there’s always the first five seasons to catch up on, with guests from Michael Palin and Heston Blumenthal, to Sir Ranulph Fiennes to Hugh Bonneville.
11/2/2021

Clare Balding

Season 6
Today’s guest is a broadcasting legend. Whether it’s the Olympic Games, Paralympics, horse racing, Crufts, Wimbledon or so much more, Clare Balding has risen to national treasure status. She’s also a best-selling author, radio presenter and podcaster, in case you didn’t think she was busy enough!Covering so many major TV events has taken Clare around the world, and then some. Her travel diaries take us from Mauritius to Costa Rica, Italy to Iona. She tells us how she once won her weight in champagne as a horse jockey; as a dog lover like me she shares her favourite dog friendly spots in the UK; we hear her take on the future of Emma Raducanu, and about the time the Queen turned up at her house for breakfast. All that coming up on The Travel Diaries.Destination Recap:Chamonix, FranceAspen, Colorado, USAMauritiusFour Seasons Hotel, MauritiusSydney, AustraliaMelbourne, AustraliaRio de Janeiro, BrazilAustraliaNew ZealandCosta RicaHotel Punta Islita, Costa RicaCubaLewa, KenyaGalana, KenyaTofauti charityLucknam Park, Bath, EnglandWhatley Manor, Wiltshire, EnglandHolbeck Ghyll, Lake District, EnglandRosa Alpina, The Dolomites, ItalyPuglia, ItalyUmbria, ItalyIona, ScotlandNorthumberland, EnglandWigton, Scottish Borders, Dumfries and GallowayElephant Corridor, Sri LankaBanyan Tree Mayakoba, MexicoBaltic Sea CruiseFjord CruisePanama Canal CruiseThe Amazon CruiseSouth Pacific CruiseAlaska, USAA big thanks toMandarinOrientalHyde Park, London for hosting us for our interview.Book your winter or Christmas staycation and enjoy MagicalMandarinMoments of delight from £740 per night.To book your dream villa holiday visit The Thinking Traveller.The Thinking Traveller's collection of luxury villas across Italy, The Greek Islands, Corsica and Mallorca are some of the best properties out there for a villa holiday and come in all sizes, whether you're travelling as a couple or for a big family reunion.Freddie’s Flowers -Get your first two boxes half price, at just £12.50 each with the code TRAVEL50 at freddiesflowers.comBritish Airways x Visit Florida - Book your trip with confidence at BA.com/FloridaTo find out who’s joining me on next week’s episode, come and follow me on Instagram, I’m @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you.