My travel life: Spice Girl Geri Horner
Childhood holidays were spent rock-climbing at my grandmother’s house in the Spanish province of Huesca, right at the bottom of the Pyrenees. If visiting in winter, my family and I would strap ourselves into some skis and hit the powder. It was a left-of-centre ski school education, I’ll say that much.
My first memory of seafaring was travelling to Calais by ferry, aged 12. It was a short journey, but long enough for me to vomit everywhere. It set the barometer for boat travel pretty low. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of travelling by yacht – we filmed the music video for Mi Chico Latino on an incredible boat near Sardinia – and, though I wouldn’t consider myself a “cruise person”, I’m very excited for my old friend Richard [Branson] to launch his own next year. He actually invited me – a posh, married, sensible woman – to test-drive the ships’ “rock-star suites”. In my expert opinion, they’re rather good.
Geri Horner with husband Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner.
Asking me to pick between sea and slopes is like asking me to pick a favourite child. You can’t beat Mustique for beaches and Courchevel for a spot of slalom. That does sound quite decadent, but I honestly don’t need glitz and glam to enjoy myself on holiday, just space.
Britain’s answer to New Zealand has to be Cornwall. By which I mean that it has an amazing, beautiful coast, but the weather’s always a bit hit and miss. Anyone who’s not been, should stop off at St Ives, Padstow and Port Isaac. Oh, and Fowey is pretty nice, too. For me, Cornwall is a place I can fully indulge in family time. I find it really relaxing to be by the water – that salty sea breeze is so refreshing.
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Booby’s Bay, a small cove at the northern end of Constantine Bay near Padstow in Cornwall.
Spice Girls opened up the world for me in ways I could never have imagined. I’ll never forget going on safari and later meeting Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997. One time, our gig in Portugal had overrun, which meant we just missed our flight back to London. It was towards the end of our tour, so we were all shells of our former selves but, within the hour, Richard [Branson] had sent a private jet to scoop us all up. You can trace our travels from back in the day through my mum’s odd collection of novelty teapots that I picked up as gifts along the way.
Peru was not on my radar until I watched Paddington 2, which featured Hugh Grant being funny as hell and made me laugh and cry in equal measure. It’s also the only place in the world where Angels in Chains, the tribute single I released a couple of years ago in memory of my late friend, George Michael, reached number one. Once I’ve made it to China and after I’ve seen polar bears in the Arctic, I’m booking tickets over there.
Where are the trips for people who have worked hard as young adults, grown up a little bit, but still want to have fun? I think there’s a new generation today who aren’t interested in partying with the 20-somethings on spring break in Cancun, but want to let their hair loose and have an appetite for luxury. Just me?
Preparing for the Spice World tour has been like preparing for a marathon. For months, I’ve been stockpiling essentials before I hit the road. Tour diets always require plenty of nutritionally complex food, lots of mineral water and more than a few home comforts, of course. Outside of the rehearsal studio I’ve been practicing Iyengar yoga – the restorative poses work wonders – and I’m trying to squeeze in a good stretch between shows, too. By the time we wrap up in June, I’m going to need a holiday.
Sipping tea with the sand between my toes is one of my favourite travel quirks. There’s nothing quite like it. Bring me a brew at about five o’clock, when the heat of the sun is waning and people have cleared off the beach. A beachside cuppa at six o’clock is even better – optimum conditions for getting nose-deep in a good book which, as an author, I often am. I must admit that, despite being lucky enough to travel more than most, my favourite destination is probably my bed. I’m a creature of comfort!
I never feel guilty about taking a holiday because the delicious irony is that, when I’ve had a really good time – a bit of me time – it makes me a better parent anyway, and I perform better at work. I go back to my normal life feeling so much better after a proper pit stop.