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The Travel Diaries

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:



Holly’s Destination Recap:



Giovanna’s new novel, Walking on Sunshine, is out now in hardback, priced £14.99


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. 


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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 .

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  • Sophie Morgan, Disability Advocate & Presenter

    56:31
    Sophie Morgan is a TV presenter, Conde Nast Traveller columnist and disability advocate. When she was 18, on the night she received her A level results, Sophie crashed her car, and was left instantly paralysed from the chest down. Everything she had dreamed for her life was instantly forgotten and her journey to rediscover herself and build a different life began. “I want to go to some extraordinary places, meet some extraordinary people and do some extraordinary things", she wrote from her hospital bed the day she was discharged. But as a recently injured paraplegic woman, she would go on to face barriers as complex and nuanced as her impairment itself. In her words: “When it comes to travel, total satisfaction can be hard – if not impossible – for disabled people to find.” Sophie first appeared in BBC Two’s show Beyond Boundaries which followed 11 disabled people on a 220-mile trek across Nicaragua, alongside another previous podcast guest, Amar Latif. After that, her career on TV grew, and she became one of the first female wheelchair users globally to host on TV, playing a part in transforming the representation of disability on screen, as the lead presenter on Channel 4's broadcast of the Summer Paralympics, fronting her own prime-time travel series, documentaries as well as being a regular panelist for ITV's Loose Women. She’s currently spearheading the global disability rights campaign Rights On Flights which has taken her to the White House to meet the President, and we talk a lot on today’s episode about accessible travel and ableism - it’s an issue that has been hugely overlooked in the travel sphere for too long, and hearing Sophie’s experiences as a wheelchair user, on planes in particular, but within travel more broadly, really opened my eyes to the significant change that needs to take place to make travel accessible for everyone. Having said that, Sophie has been travelling literally non-stop for the last year, I mention it at the start of the episode all the places and adventures that she’s been on recently, so not only will today’s episode open your eyes to things you may not have thought of before - it will also fuel your wanderlust for your own future adventures. Destination Recap:The Whitehouse, Washington DC, USAFrench AlpsBiking trip across the USAWyoming, USAIdaho, USACotignac, FranceScotlandCaliforniaXimuwu, Greater Kruger, South Africa Seville, SpainNicaraguaAntarcticYou can read Sophie’s Conde Nast Traveller column 'Beyond Barriers’ in magazines and online now.
  • Kenton Cool, Mountaineer & Adventurer

    56:47
    Today, we're diving into the awe-inspiring world of high-altitude adventure. Our subject is a man whose name is synonymous with daring expeditions and summit triumphs, the legendary climber and adventurer, Kenton Cool.With 17 successful ascents of the mighty Mount Everest to his name, along with many other mountain peaks around the globe, including the ‘seven summits’ – the highest mountains on each of the seven traditional continents, Kenton is not just 'cool' by name, but by nature.You’ll have heard him mentioned on previous podcast episodes - with Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Ben Fogle - Kenton has accompanied them on some of their most challenging ascents. Ben Fogle, Summited Everest with Kenton, and he led Sir Ranulph Fiennes up the North Face of the Eiger and to the summit of Mount Everest, too.Kenton's adventure-filled life began in the UK, but he quickly found his heart in the Himalayas. He brings to life some of his most incredible adventures, and the valuable lessons he learnt along the way. Destination Recap:AlaskaHubbard Glacier, AlaskaSkagway, AlaskaWest Wales, Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire The Presili Hills, Pembrokeshire PakistanMt EverestNepalPeshawar, Pakistan BhutanColorado, USACape Town, South Africa European Alps in Summer Megeve, Switzerland South Africa Antarctic Peninsula North side of Everest Darjeeling, India Tibetan Plateau You can find out more about their performance initiatives here: www.incoolcompany.comThanks so much for listening today. If you'd like to hear more from the podcast don’t forget to hit subscribe, or if you use Apple Podcasts to press follow so that a new episode lands in your podcast app each week. If you want to be the first find out who is joining me on next season come and follow me on Instagram I’m @hollyrubenstein, and you’ll also find me on Threads and TikTok, also @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you. And if you can't want until then remember there’s the first nine seasons to catch up on, that's over 100 episodes to keep you busy there. Don't forget that all the destinations mentioned by my guests are included in the episode show notes here on your podcast app, and listed on my website, thetraveldiariespodcast.com
  • Greater Palm Springs Perfection - Bonus Episode

    40:58
    Hello and welcome to this bonus Destination Special of The Travel Diaries. Yes, I am back for a second time this week, as we continue to celebrate California and all it has to offer, today bringing to life one of my personal favourite spots, Greater Palm Springs. I was there in 2019 as part of a much bigger US road trip, which took me through all of California, and it’s one of the places I think about most when I’m daydreaming about far off lands. It’s nestled in the heart of California's Coachella Valley, a couple of hours drive from LA, and it’s a desert oasis that's been capturing the hearts of travellers for generations. It’s where 1950s celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley spent their weekends, played golf at championship courses, and wined and dined the desert night away. With that Rat Pack spirit still lingering in the air, it has a unique allure that draws you in from the moment you arrive. Picture an elegant city framed by the towering San Jacinto Mountains and lined with impossibly tall swaying palm trees. A nexus of natural beauty, wellness, and culture, a living canvas of perfectly preserved mid-century modern architecture, offering such an intoxicating blend of nostalgia and sophistication.I’m joined today by Steven Biller, he’s a Palm Springs legend, having edited Palm Springs Life Magazine for over 20 years, and we uncover his Palm Springs travel diaries, his all time favourites, his hidden gems, and top recommendations as someone who knows it so well. From its food and art scenes to its wild outdoors and hiking trails, there is so much to experience in Greater Palm Springs. I really hope you enjoy getting a flavour of it now. Destination Recap: Palm Springs aerial tramwayCoachella ValleyThe Indian CanyonsAgua Caliente Cultural PlazaPalm Canyon TrailKorakia Pensione L’Horizon Hotel Joshua Tree National ParkJoshua Tree rock climbing school Barker Dam trail, Joshua Tree National ParkRyan Mountain, Joshua Tree National ParkJohannes restaurant Sol y Sombra restaurant, Paloma Resort Cabot’s Pueblo MuseumBox Canyon, MeccaMojave DesertKelso Dunes Well, I hope that has given you a flavour of what a fantastic destination Greater Palm Springs is. Thank you to Stephen Biller for joining me. You can find out more about Palm Springs at palmspringslife.com , in your favourite travel guides and magazines, and of course always on the tourist board website too, in this case it is visitgreaterpalmsprings.com 
  • California Calling - Destination Special

    49:36
    Today we are heading to a sun-soaked slice of heaven. The place I chose as my all time favourite destination when I answered my own travel diaries here on the podcast. The Golden State. It is of course, California. I have been so excited to work on this episode for you, bringing to life a destination so close to my heart - so close in fact, that I even got married on one of its many golden sand beaches.The reason I love California so much is that it’s a paradise of possibilities, a promise of endless adventure, that truly caters to every traveller. From the dramatic coastlines of Big Sur, where the waves dance with the rugged cliffs, to the sun-kissed beaches of Santa Monica and the iconic Santa Cruz boardwalk, this state offers a buffet of coastal delights.Speaking of buffets, don't even get me started on the food. California is a culinary playground where flavours from around the world collide. From food truck gems in Los Angeles to Michelin-starred eateries in San Francisco, your taste buds will embark on a journey of their own. Not forgetting that it’s home to some of the most famous and beautiful wine country in the world. And how about the great outdoors? California is a nature lover's dream come true. Yosemite National Park, with its colossal granite cliffs and lush forests, will make you feel like you've stepped into a postcard. There’s the historic redwood forests of Northern California. And for the adrenaline junkies, Lake Tahoe offers year-round thrills, from skiing in the winter to kayaking in the summer.Whether you're chasing dreams in LA, hiking in the Sierra Nevada, or sipping on cabernet in wine country, California is a place where every moment feels like a movie scene, and you're the star.Speaking of stars, today we are joined by a star-studded lineup of some of my favourite guests across the last 10 seasons, who have chosen California as part of their travel diaries. They’ll be taking us on the ultimate California road trip - a trip of a lifetime you can do in two or three weeks, that everyone should be adding to their travel bucket list. Destination Recap:Holly RubensteinCalifornia Road Trip - Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, MontecitoPoppy Delevingne - Chateau Marmont Hotel, Hollywood, LASir Trevor McDonald - Shutters on the Beach Hotel, Santa MonicaEd Gamble - Madonna Inn, San Luis ObispoJon Ronson - Pacific Highway Route 1, Hearst Castle, Los AngelesBrian Chesky - Walt Disney Museum, San FranciscoMichel Roux Jr - Pacific Highway Drive, Wine Region, San Francisco, Spago Restaurant, Chez Panisse, BerkeleyGregory Porter - Yosemite National Park Chef Nancy Silverton Los AngelesAnajack Thai, Sherman OaksKato, Los AngelesDowntown Los AngelesBaroo, Los AngelesOjaiOjai Valley Inn, OjaiSolvangThe Watts Towers, Los AngelesOlvera Street, Los AngelesYosemite National ParkPalm Springs San FranciscoBerkeleySan Juan CapistranoChez Panisse, Berkeley San Ysidro Ranch, Santa BarbaraFerry Plaza, San Francisco Embarcadero Buvette, San Francisco Blue Bottle, San Francisco Farmer’s Market, San Francisco Boonville Hotel & Restaurant, Mendocino CountyTo discover more about California head to visitcalifornia.com
  • Kate Humble

    01:18:19
    Growing up around farms and wildlife, TV presenter Kate Humble has always had a fascination for nature. After leaving school, she travelled solo to Africa; working her way from Cape Town to Cairo. On her return to the UK she began working for TV production companies, as a runner, then researcher on ‘The Holiday Programme’. It was on her second day in the Holiday office when she was asked by the programme’s editor if she had ever presented before. "No," she said "and nor do I want to." Kate has been presenting programmes for over 20 years ever since, as well as writing articles and books, many with a focus around travel. In fact, she has become a beloved mainstay of British television, having presented some of our most iconic shows, including Springwatch & Autumnwatch, Countryfile, Lambing Live, and many, many more. We spoke at The Chelsea Townhouse, a new opening by Iconic Luxury Hotels, the brand behind some of Britain’s most legendary properties, like Chewton Glen and Cliveden. Tucked behind one of London's most fancy shopping districts, Sloane Street, we sat in one of its homely suites, overlooking it’s lovely garden and towering treetops - an unusual find in the heart of London.Kate is what I would consider a true traveller. She is someone who sets off with pure wanderlust, with a map and hiking boots, and gets stuck in wherever she is heading. She tells us about an extraordinary five weeks spent with a tribe who live north of Timbuktu in the Sahara Desert trading salt; tracking clouded leopards in Borneo and hiking through Afghanistan. And closer to home about life in the Welsh Wye Valley, and her beloved escape in rural France. Destination Recap:Wye Valley, UKCorfuGuatemalaMexicoSouth AfricaCameroonTimbuktu, Mali Saharan Desert, MaliLimousin National Park, France BorneoTsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan Siberia, RussiaWalking across JapanGlyndŵr's Way, WalesPolandRomaniaAlbania Kate has a new book out, called Where the Hearth Is: Stories of Home, which interestingly is all about home, questioning the notion of home, is it a tangible place or a state of mind? And considers the views of others living uniquely, extraordinarily and happily. It’s a fascinating and comforting read, which I thoroughly recommend - a great Christmas present. Thanks so much for listening today. If you'd like to hear more from the podcast don’t forget to hit subscribe, or if you use Apple Podcasts to press follow so that a new episode lands in your podcast app each week. If you want to be the first find out who is joining me on next season come and follow me on Instagram I’m @hollyrubenstein, and you’ll also find me on Twitter and TikTok as of a few weeks ago, also @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you. And if you can't want until then remember there’s the first nine seasons to catch up on, that's over 100 episodes to keep you busy there. Don't forget that all the destinations mentioned by my guests are included in the episode show notes here on your podcast app, and listed on my website, thetraveldiariespodcast.com
  • Gino D'Acampo

    01:02:11
    Our guest today knows his way around both the kitchen and the world. He’s a culinary maestro with a passport full of flavours and a heart full of stories. It’s the wonderful, Gino D’acampo. Born in Naples, in Southern Italy, Gino inherited his grandfather’s love and passion for cooking. After studying at catering college, at just 18 years old Gino moved to London. Soon after he was spotted by a TV producer and began to grace our TV screens on shows like Ready Steady Cook, This Morning and his own shows like Gino’s Italian Escape. He joined his pals Gordon Ramsay and former podcast guest Fred Sirieix on their much-loved Ultimate Road Trip series and is the host of Family Fortunes. He has a restaurant empire, several best-selling cookbooks and he also wrote his first children’s cookbook ‘Wiskella.’Gino’s Travel Diaries are like a beautifully crafted recipe - filled with zest, sprinkled with laughter, and infused with the warm embrace of the places he's explored. From the sun-drenched Amalfi coast to the island of Sardinia, the olive groves of Puglia to the caves of Matera, Gino’s episode today is a love letter to his country of Italy, and was so much fun to record, so many laughs, we just had a really great time. I know you’re going to love it. So fasten your seatbelts, and let’s get started.Destination Recap:Sardinia, ItalyAritzo, Sardinia, Italy (Blue Zone)Palinuro, Calabria, ItalyTorre del Greco, Naples, Italy Guildford, Surrey, EnglandCosta Smeralda, Sardinia, Italy Positano, ItalyTurkeyHawaii, USAYou can watch Gino’s Italy: Secrets of the South on Sundays at 7pm on ITV1 and ITVX.With thanks to today's sponsors:Citalia - Discover the real Italy with Citalia, the UK’s leading Italian holiday specialists. Let the Italy Experts craft the perfect holiday for you and experience Italy like a Citalian.Airbnb - Visit Airbnb.com and find out more. Prospective Hosts can learn more about how much they can earn sharing their space through the What’s My Place Worth Tool.Sunweb - Use my promo code TRAVEL50 for £50 off your booking and your ski pass included. Thanks so much for listening today. If you'd like to hear more from the podcast don’t forget to hit subscribe, or if you use Apple Podcasts to press follow so that a new episode lands in your podcast app each week. If you want to be the first find out who is joining me on next season come and follow me on Instagram I’m @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you. And if you can't want until then remember there’s the first nine seasons to catch up on, that's over 100 episodes to keep you busy there. Don't forget that all the destinations mentioned by my guests are included in the episode show notes here on your podcast app, and listed on my website, thetraveldiariespodcast.com
  • Beverley Knight

    56:46
    Today’s guest is the queen of British Soul, a West End superstar, and an Olivier-award winner - Beverley Knight. If you've ever swayed to the rhythms of Beverley’s songs like "Shoulda Woulda Coulda" or "Come as You Are," you know that Beverley's voice has the power to transport you to another dimension. But what about the destinations that have transported her? She's also a seasoned traveler with a passport filled to the brim with stamps from around the world and today, she's going to take us on a journey through her most meaningful travel experiences, from New York to Brazil, Jamaica to The Bahamas, with such passion, and clear love of travel - she's got stories that will make your wanderlust soar!So get ready to join us as we explore the world through the eyes and the incredible voice of the one and only Beverley Knight.Destination Recap: Datça Peninsula, Turkey Istanbul, Turkey New York City, USATea and Sympathy, New York City, USASylvia’s, Harlem, New York City, USASalvador, Bahia, Brazil JamaicaLondonHarbour Island, BahamasChicago, USAThe Far East - Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, China Beverley’s album, The Fifth Chapter, is out now.Thanks so much for listening today. If you'd like to hear more from the podcast don’t forget to hit subscribe, or if you use Apple Podcasts to press follow so that a new episode lands in your podcast app each week. If you want to be the first find out who is joining me on next season come and follow me on Instagram I’m @hollyrubenstein, and you’ll also find me on Twitter and TikTok as of a few weeks ago, also @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you. And if you can't want until then remember there’s the first nine seasons to catch up on, that's over 100 episodes to keep you busy there. Don't forget that all the destinations mentioned by my guests are included in the episode show notes here on your podcast app, and listed on my website, thetraveldiariespodcast.com
  • Monisha Rajesh, Train Travel Special

    01:00:41
    Today, we're embarking on a special adventure – a voyage through the enchanting world of train travel. Our guest today is a true connoisseur of locomotion, travel writer Monisha Rajesh. In 2010, Monisha spent four months travelling around India by rail recounted in her debut book, Around India in 80 Trains. After India, Monisha took on the world, over seven months and 45,000-miles, on an adventure through the global rail networks, which later became her next book, the brilliant Around the World in 80 Trains.Today, we’ll hear Monisha’s train travel diaries, from her earliest train travel memory being carried across the train tracks in Switzerland by her parents, to falling in love with train travel on a journey from Mumbai to Goa and her all time favourite journeys, to suit all budgets. From journeys that last just a few hours to those that last several days, Monisha brings to the life the unique perspective that travelling on a train can give us as travellers, the romance, the camaraderie, the excitement, unparalleled vistas, and a deep connection to the world around us. She evokes it so beautifully in our episode today. I think this is one you’re going to love.So, all aboard, and let’s get started, with Monisha.Destination Recap:SwitzerlandIndiaMandovi Express, from Mumbai to Goa, IndiaUS AmtrakDelhi, IndiaCannes to Ventimille Train, France to Italian border Canadian railway Vancouver to TorontoEuropean Sleeper Brussels, Belgium to Berlin, GermanyRome to Palermo, Italy train Norway midnight sun train Oslo to Trondheim and Trondheim to BodøSkeena Train, Jasper to Prince Rupert, CanadaTransmongolian RailwayThe Santa Claus Express from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, Finland With thanks to my sponsors today …Airbnb - Visit Airbnb.com and find out more. Prospective Hosts can learn more about how much they can earn sharing their space through the What’s My Place Worth Tool.Citalia - Discover the real Italy with Citalia, the UK’s leading Italian holiday specialists. Let the Italy Experts craft the perfect holiday for you and experience Italy like a Citalian.Sunweb - Use my promo code TRAVEL50 for £50 off your booking and your ski pass included.Thanks so much for listening today. If you'd like to hear more from the podcast don’t forget to hit subscribe, or if you use Apple Podcasts to press follow so that a new episode lands in your podcast app each week. If you want to be the first find out who is joining me on next week’s episode come and follow me on Instagram I’m @hollyrubenstein, and you’ll also find me on Threads and TikTok, I’m also @hollyrubenstein - I’d love to hear from you. And if you can't want until then remember there’s the first nine seasons to catch up on, that's over 100 episodes to keep you busy there. Don't forget that all the destinations mentioned by my guests are included in the episode show notes here on your podcast app, and listed on my website, thetraveldiariespodcast.com
  • Captain Sandy Yawn

    49:59
    Today’s very special guest is not only a seasoned sailor but also a true legend of the high seas. She's the captain that keeps it all together on the hit TV series, "Below Deck: Mediterranean”. That's right, today we're setting sail with none other than Captain Sandy Yawn!Now, if you're a fan of the show, you already know that the show chronicles the lives of the crew members who work and reside aboard a super yacht during charter season and Captain Sandy brings more than just nautical expertise to the table. She's a force to be reckoned with, with a heart of gold and a personality that shines as bright as the sun over the Mediterranean. Today, we're going to delve deeper into her world, beyond the decks and the drama, to get to know more about Sandy. She has been on quite a voyage herself, a voyage of sobriety, a voyage of self discovery, and a new voyage lies ahead as just the day before we spoke, she proposed to her girlfriend, Leah.Destination Recap:Holly speaks about Porto Zante Villas & Spa on Zakynthos island, Greece Captain Sandy: The Florida Keys, Florida, USALittle Palm Island, The Florida Keys, Florida, USADisneyworld, Florida, USASuwannee River, Florida, USAStepping Stones, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USABarcelona, Spain Barceloneta Spanish and Mediterranean Tapas Restaurant and Bar, SpainSiesta Key, Florida, USASt Petersburg, Florida, USAThe Don CeSar, St Petersburg, Florida, USAThe BahamasAspen, Colorado, USADenver, Colorado, USAOuray, Colorado, USAThunderball Cave, Staniel Cay, The Exumas, BahamasTreasure Cay, The Abacos, BahamasLong Island, BahamasCote D’Azur, FranceAlabama Jack’s, Key Largo, FloridaMiami, FloridaPortofino, Italy Alaska, USAWatch Captain Sandy on the brand-new season of Below Deck Mediterranean on Hayu, now. With thanks to my sponsors today …Airbnb - Visit Airbnb.com and find out more. Prospective Hosts can learn more about how much they can earn sharing their space through the What’s My Place Worth Tool.Sunweb - Use my promo code TRAVEL50 for £50 off your booking and your ski pass included.