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Nell Zink, author

What are your plans for the summer?

I have no travel plans. My love keeps a careful eye on the weather forecast and, when there’s going to be sun, we hop on our respective trains and meet in the wilderness near Bitterfeld, Germany.

Who is your ideal travel companion?

My most intense experiences of strange places are solitary. But I like leading friends to places I’ve been to before and I also like to be led.

What do you think a holiday is for?

For me, it’s about finding out new things. I get all the sun and sand I need in the gravel pits of Bitterfeld.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

I never take pictures. Skies are much larger in reminiscences and my friends are much better-looking. Photos crop reality into little squares; instead, I have very good binoculars.

What do you like to bring home with you?

Almost always a T-shirt for my friend Fred in Berlin. Now that he has a job in the public eye (in an ice-cream parlour), he can show off his coolest T-shirts daily.

What do you enjoy most and least about travelling?

I exult in little triumphs of problem-solving. In a foreign country I can feel like an overachiever by just ordering a coffee.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

Panicking. But I don’t do it often.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

Last spring, my love and I flew home from birdwatching near Gibraltar the same morning the clocks were put forward one hour. His ancient GPS kindly tipped us off about the time change but couldn’t find our off-site rental car return. Yet it was also one of my best experiences, because of the gracious way he overlooked my meltdown.

What’s your holiday reading recommendation?

Sometimes I read books people leave lying around in hotels. In Spain last year I enjoyed a memoir about gay art collectors, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1999) by John Richardson. Especially good if you’re headed for Provence!

Jeremy Paxman

Broadcaster and FT contributing editor

What are your plans for the summer?

I’m going to a rather special part of Greece, which happily is not particularly easy to get to and therefore has very few tourists. I’m not sure how the state of the banks is going to affect things but I love the combination of stunning mountains, terrific swimming, simple food and endless sunlight.

What do you think a holiday is for?

Are you serious? It’s for stepping out of your quotidian self. People who spend their holidays doing what they do at home should stay there and save themselves a bit of trouble.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

Although I usually take a camera, I rarely use it, having discovered I have no talent. Sharing holiday snaps on social media is an act of arrogant vanity.

What do you like to bring home with you?

I have brought home far too many bottles that seemed enjoyable on holiday and proved gut-wrenching at home. My brother used to refer to particularly headache-inducing nights as “top-shelfers” because, at about 2am, we ended up tackling the holiday drinks that had been consigned there.

What do you enjoy most and least about travelling?

I used to spend much of the year travelling, often to wars or disasters. But even then I found I shared Somerset Maugham’s view that leaving England makes one feel intensely alive.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

Where to start? I have plenty, and I imagine they’re much the same whether I’m at home or away.

What’s your holiday reading recommendation?

I’m taking Anna Karenina, which, to my shame, I have never read.

Steven Pinker

Psychologist and author

What are your plans for the summer?

After 10 days in Turkey and Greece on a sailing cruise, I’ve settled into my summer house in Truro, on the wrist of Cape Cod.

Who is your ideal travel companion?

My wife, the philosopher and novelist Rebecca Goldstein. We both walk tirelessly and crave historical interest — no roadside plaque goes unread.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

I’m a camera slut and travel with a minimum of two professional cameras. After weeks of editing, I share the results on my photography website, www.stevepinker.com.

What do you enjoy most and least about travelling?

Most: new experiences and clearing one’s mind of daily burdens. Least: guided tours. I’m sceptical of the museum-plaque theory in which the ancients never did anything for straightforward reasons. Sports were “initiation rites”; jewellery was “an indicator of social status”.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

Driving on a smoggy Italian autostrada in a car that had as much power as the kind mounted outside American supermarkets that go up and down when you drop in a coin.

Heather Watson

Tennis player

Who’s your ideal travel companion?

A very patient person because there are a lot of queues when travelling. As well as being my coach, my dad is also a great travel companion.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

I absolutely love taking photos; I take all my pictures on my smartphone. I don’t think I could ever own a selfie stick because I’d be too embarrassed to use it, although I do love taking a selfie! And, yes, I do post a lot of pictures on social media!

What do you like to bring home with you?

I always come home with more stuff than I left with. When I’m away I collect postcards and send them to my Dad. He has quite a collection now.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

I take too many pictures — which is why I always need extra memory on my phone.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

I got really sick in Mexico once but I didn’t let it stop me from doing anything. I couldn’t spend my time sitting around doing nothing!

What’s your holiday reading recommendation?

Don’t read; instead, go and do something that you wouldn’t be able to do at home.

Mikhail Fridman

Businessman

What are your plans for the summer?

Every year I go to the same house in Tuscany with my family. We like opera and history so it’s perfect for us. We head to the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro.

What do you think a holiday is for?

Experiencing something new as a family. It’s about making new memories.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

I don’t take photographs or selfies. I leave that to my partner and children. I prefer privacy.

What do you like to bring home with you?

Apart from memories — Italian wine and extra virgin olive oil.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

If it gets above 33C, for me it’s just like minus-33C; I don’t like doing anything apart from reading and lying down during the day.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

Camping as a student. We couldn’t get a room in a hostel so the four of us lived in a tent. We made soup and managed in the process to give ourselves acute food poisoning.

Diane von Fürstenberg

Fashion designer and businesswoman

What are your plans for the summer?

Sailing with my family and friends on our boat in the Mediterranean.

Who is your ideal travel companion?

My family, of course. But there is nothing more thrilling than arriving in a new place on your own and feeling the sense of possibility and excitement that brings with it.

Do you go online or use social media when you are away?

I am always on email and I like to Instagram.

What do you like to bring home with you?

I love to shop in the local markets wherever I go.

What do you enjoy most and least about travelling?

Mostly, I love the freedom of it and there is nothing really that I don’t like. I have always been a nomad and I have mastered the art of packing! I always say: pack lightly, live lightly.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

I’m not sure if it annoys anybody all that much but I like to play solitaire on my iPad. I’ve also found an app where you can turn your favourite photos into jigsaw puzzles!

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

I’m not sure . . . I remember one harrowing boat ride with my children when they were younger from the prehistoric island of Nias across to Sumatra in the Indonesian archipelago. The little local boat we took was fragile and we were all a bit terrified. But we made it safely and both of my children ended up writing about it in their college essays as one of the most exciting and riveting things they had ever done, so it was worth it.

Maurice Lévy

Chief executive officer of Publicis

What are your plans for the summer?

I’m going to the Swiss Alps to do some trekking, with a small interruption for the Salzburg festival. Then on to my home in Provence for a rest (hopefully).

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

Camera but no selfies, which represent selfishness and egotism. Social media? Again: not really me.

What do you enjoy most and least about travelling?

I take around 60 trips a year for business so I can’t say that I enjoy the act of travelling itself. I wish I could be transported to my destination without having to go on the journey to get there.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

Staying connected. And now it is almost an addiction; I can barely last 24 hours without being online.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

I once got caught in the middle of a big storm on Lake Titicaca, Peru. The boat had a fire and we all believed that it was the end . . . But why not mention the best holiday experience? Staying with my family in the middle of a national park in the US and waking up surrounded by deer.

What’s your holiday reading recommendation?

I take all kinds of books away with me but, recently, I decided to read everything by Patrick Modiano. I sincerely recommend him.

Abi Morgan

Playwright

What are your plans for the summer?

To spend some time in Puglia with my kids and my partner.

Who is your ideal travelling companion?

My kids Jesse and Mabel, because they become funnier and more interesting every year. And I get a long stretch of time with them which I wouldn’t get otherwise.

What do you think a holiday is for?

I love London but I also find it completely overwhelming — it’s like being constantly caffeinated, so for me a holiday is to allow everything to slip and to get away from the pollution and frenzy. And when you’ve got a family it’s a time to regroup. I’m not a particular sun worshipper but I love being in a world where you can eat loads and be outside and listen to crickets.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

I take them on a smartphone and I find it fascinating to see other people’s photos on social media but I don’t upload pictures myself. I don’t even know how to. I’m completely digital-phobic.

What do you like to bring home with you?

I seem to bring home a lot of dry skin because I don’t moisturise enough but I also bring a bit of tan and usually some very unwanted truffle oil. Mostly I try to bring back my sense of humour because I think that gets drained throughout the year.

What do you enjoy least about travelling?

I find it quite disempowering not being able to speak a language in a country. My Italian is truly terrible; it makes my son cringe but I’m persevering. It forces you to be a child again and make an idiot of yourself in a supermarket. This is good thing really, although I tend to come out with three slices of salami rather than 300 grams.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

An inability to relax. I do frenzied cleaning, which really defeats the object of a holiday. I tend towards extremes: I’m either very busy or a complete slob. I spend two or three very neurotic days thinking I hate holidays; then of course I’m always the one who doesn’t want to come home.

What is the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

A disastrous holiday to Thailand in my late twenties with a man who really didn’t want to go on holiday with me. I quickly dispatched myself to the Shangri-La in Bangkok and ordered a lot of room service.

What’s your holiday reading recommendation?

Beautiful Ruins (2012) by Jess Walter is a gorgeous book and I’m also loving last year’s The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, although it’s a bit odd reading about Amsterdam in Italy.

Bill Clegg

Author

What will you be doing this summer?

Very little. I’m travelling a lot for work in the fall so I’m sticking close to home this summer, spending time at our house in the Hudson Valley and in Maine with my sister and her family.

Who is your ideal travel companion?

For a certain kind of writing holiday, my good friend John, who has over the years rented houses with me in Mexico and Thailand and upstate New York. We fall into a routine of writing in the mornings and afternoons and in the evenings watching some British TV series

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

On a smartphone and they tend never to be seen by anyone else unless I send one via email (which I’ve only recently figured out how to do) to my family and friends.

Do you go online or use social media when you are away?

No.

What do you like to bring home with you?

Corny as it is, my husband and I collect seashells. On our honeymoon we collected them in the Seychelles and hauled backed a sack of the things. Now when we go somewhere with a beach we collect them each day and then make a kind of ceremony at the end where we pick the best. We have clear glass bowls on our coffee table with the spoils of each trip. It won’t be long before our living room at home looks like a souvenir shop in the Bahamas.

What do you enjoy most and least about travelling?

Most: eating with abandon, especially breakfast pastries that first morning. Least: the first morning at home, putting on clothes that now pinch.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

Waking up at 5:45am, which is when I typically wake up in New York. I approach vacation with fantasies of sleeping through breakfast time and waking past noon. But I never do.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

There was a particularly awful sunburn in Miami Beach eight or nine years ago that still causes me to wince when I remember it. Now when I hit the beach there is no SPF too high and no application of it too thick.

Mark Price

Managing director of Waitrose

What are your plans for the summer?

As well as a family holiday in Crete I shall be working on a couple of books — if the weather is kind I’ll be sitting by the river near my home in Dorset to do this.

Who is your ideal travel companion?

It’s a demanding job description: the person must be very quiet so I can read and get on with my writing. But they also need to be great fun at dinner as, of course, food exploration is the highlight of any holiday. Luckily my wife and daughters fit the bill perfectly.

What do you think a holiday is for?

The luxury of time — to be with my family, to write and to indulge my passion for visiting historical and archaeological sites.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

I delegate this to my daughters. Unfortunately they filmed my red wine-fuelled Greek dancing and are desperate to post it on social media — this will not be happening.

What do you like to bring home with you?

A fridge magnet, the gaudier the better. My wife and I came up with the idea as a way of channelling our daughters’ enthusiasm for souvenir shopping into something inexpensive and vaguely useful. I’ve since concluded that the range of magnets available in a country is a good test of its economic vitality.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

My daughters would say that it’s my passion for visiting museums.

What’s your holiday reading recommendation?

Two biographies of Churchill. I’ve finished Boris Johnson’s and — as recommended to me by Sir Nicholas Soames — have just started the one by Roy Jenkins.

Angela Missoni

Fashion designer and businesswoman

What are your plans for the summer?

I’m going to Sardinia, where a lot of my family will be for a month or so. We’ll be divided into three houses with a shared garden and pool. I have my mama next to me, and then there’s my brother’s house. So there will always be people coming in, coming out. I might leave for two or three days to the south of Corsica. Family is nice but sometimes you need to escape.

What do you enjoy most and least about travelling?

Most: meeting different people, seeing different things, eating in a different way. Least: when the food is not good and you realise how lucky we are in Italy. I’m curious, so I like to try, but in some countries you can get almost the same food for days and you say, “Oh my God, I just want a simple tomato salad or some fresh zucchini”.

Who is your ideal travel companion?

Bruno, my boyfriend and best friend.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

On my iPhone, and I share. I take pictures very often and of everything. The images are like a diary to me.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

If I have to take care of 10 people on holiday, I become like a housewife, saying, “This house is not a hotel.” If you plan to be here for dinner you have to tell me in the morning; you cannot tell me at the last minute.

What’s your holiday reading recommendation?

I like to read the books that are related to the place where I’m going, so when I was in Rajasthan I read the memoir of Gayatri Devi, the Maharani of Jaipur. It’s a beautiful, beautiful book.

What’s the worst holiday experience you’ve ever had?

When I was two months pregnant with one of my children I went to Gozo, an island next to Malta. I was already feeling nauseous and terrible but to get to the beach from our hotel we had to drive down some really bumpy streets. When we finally arrived I jumped into the water and, straight away, got stung by a jellyfish. That night we had dinner at the hotel and all of a sudden I had lines of ants crawling all over my legs and coming up on to the table. I started screaming. Not good. I left the day after to go back home.

Andrew O’Hagan

Author

What are your plans for the summer?

The west coast of Scotland for a week in a gypsy caravan. We’re right by the water’s edge, looking towards the Isle of Arran. A friendly seal comes every day. We’ve named him Boo Radley; when my daughter goes to bed, I go out and try to interrogate him about his possible segregationist views. That’s a new activity inspired by the revelations in Harper Lee’s recent book.

Who is your ideal travel companion?

My daughter, Nell. She loves adventure and is currently a complete reincarnation of George from the Famous Five books.

What do you think a holiday is for?

It tests your fitness, for a start. It makes you study nature as if it had something to do with you. It pushes you to remember the rules of Monopoly. And it enforces the concept that life is not merely about pushing a boulder up a hill — it is also about letting the days wash over you.

How do you take your holiday photos — on a smartphone, a camera or with a selfie stick? And will you share them via social media?

I take them on a smartphone and post on Instagram the ones that make me look most handsome. And if that proves impossible, I take arty shots of the sea.

What’s your most annoying holiday habit?

Reading in transit. It’s infuriating to everyone. I’m supposed to be looking at the lovely scenery but it all shoots past while I admire some Edwardian travel writer’s sense of beauty.

What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had on holiday?

Falling into the boating pond at Butlins, Skegness and smacking my head on the bottom. That wasn’t the worst bit — the worst bit was my brother laughing at me.

What’s your holiday reading recommendation?

I’m reading the poems of Norman MacCaig and loving them again. He’s a poet for all seasons but the summer stays with him. In one poem, “Lighthouse”, “the sea, too busy/ Inventing its own forms, bucks by, leaving/ The mind to spin, the dark brain to grow dizzy”.

Photographs: Getty

Slideshow photographs: Paul Takeuchi. © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery, New York; Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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