Looking for more travel inspiration? Continuing our ‘A Postcard From…’ series, we catch up with Holly Rubenstein, entertainment and travel journalist, with her amazing podcast The Travel Diaries. A weekly interview series where Holly delves into her special guests travel experiences and discovers destinations that have shaped their lives. From James Cracknell to Geoffrey Kent. Her podcast will transport you to the exotic and most far-flung places!
But this time, it was our turn to put her in the spotlight and uncover her travelling experiences…
What is your most meaningful, exciting or stand out memory of travel – no more than could fit on a postcard
Driving through the Icelandic wilderness was an unforgettable experience. The purity of the air, the enormity of the skies, the magnificent waterfalls and tempestuous geysers that dot the landscape as frequently as postboxes here in England. At times it felt like I was exploring another planet altogether, a lunar landscape of black beaches and milky pale blue hot springs. One night, after many days of waiting hopefully, nature finally delivered its supernatural green and yellow dance and the sky was alive with the Northern Lights. I’d love to return in the summer, when the days merge into nights, to experience its beauty in a completely different way.
What is your most memorable moment with Wildlife? Any close shaves?
Close shaves? Being bitten by a black widow spider a couple of years ago in Big Sur, California. Not the best for a severe arachnophobe like myself. A nurse drew a circle in red pen around the bite and told me that if it spread beyond that point I needed to get to a hospital ASAP. Thankfully, it didn’t. I have plenty of wonderful wildlife memories though – I am most happy when surrounded by nature and animals. Most recently, I had a beautiful interaction with a seal while in San Francisco. I was sitting alone at the end of a dock, and it emerged out of the deep, gliding and spinning, keeping its eye on me the whole time. I was mesmerised.
What’s your idea of a perfect family holiday?
The dream would be to head to an island villa somewhere warm, with a pool and a view, great food, conversation and games. And space – space is essential for the perfect family holiday!
What does sustainability mean to you?
It’s been a real privilege to learn more about sustainability through interviewing guests like Dr Jane Goodall and Conde Nast Traveller’s Sustainability Editor Juliet Kinsman, on my podcast. I certainly still have a lot to learn, but to me, on a macro level, it means working to preserve our planet for future generations. On a micro level, it means questioning my daily habits and my life decisions all the time, with something bigger in mind.
If you had to choose, where is your favourite place on earth (so far)?
Obviously, an impossible one to pick, but it’s hard to beat the beauty of Lake Maggiore. Lake Maggiore is one of the famous Italian Lakes, but a small slither of it actually belongs to Switzerland. I stayed in the Swiss part, in a colourful lakefront village called Ascona, surrounded by palm trees, looking out at lush green mountains plunging into the clearest lake water. I dubbed it “Switzerland’s secret St Tropez” and consider it a real hidden gem.
Looking back on your successes what piece of advice would you share?
Create your own opportunities. It’s easy to expect things to fall into our laps, and if they don’t, assume the challenge is too hard in the first place. There have been moments all the way through making my podcast, The Travel Diaries, that I’ve put that into practice, be that with booking “dream” guests (like Sir Michael Palin) or working with amazing sponsors. No one is going to do the work for you, so believe in yourself, and others will believe in you and your conviction, too.
Something you don’t know about me is…
I was originally set on becoming a singer-songwriter. I even recorded an album at Abbey Road Studios, but a series of events unfolded leading me to where I am now, hosting my own podcast and writing for national publications about what I love most. I’m so happy it worked out that way – I could never have hacked the relentless touring schedule of a musician.