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Celebrity Getaway: The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What's your favourite holiday spot and why?

Bedarra Island, ha! You fly to Brisbane and then to Cairns or straight to Cairns depending, and then to another island, Dunk Island, and then from Dunk Island you go to the Great Barrier Reef. And there is an island there called Bedarra and its quite and extraordinary hideaway, but now I've mentioned it everyone will go there.

And do you dive?

I do actually, yes. I learnt to dive when I was tested by ABC in America who said "Would you like to dive with Jean-Michel Cousteau and interview him at the bottom of the ocean, feeding sharks?" I said sure. So I did that and it was quite weird to sit at the bottom of the ocean with Cousteau. So I haven't been diving since but I should do.

What is your number-one travel tip?

Number-one travel tip? Drink lots of water on the aeroplane and don't drink alcohol, however tempting. The other thing is never look at your watch. Always set it to when you land and the place you are going, set it to that time. And don't think "Oh it's four in the morning for me" because what will happen is that you will tell your mind to be tired and you don't need to be tired.

If you drink lots of water and don't think about being tired you can fight through it. And if you're in Australia and going to Ayres Rock and don't know anywhere to get some water, a friend of mine said take the sick bag out of the aeroplane and fill it with water because it holds the water for a long period of time [laughs].

What would you never leave home without?

My girls. My girls of course, because for 18 years there were, are the blood in my veins. And they still are now, of course, it has to be my girls. They're the most important thing in my life and other than that, what matters?

Of all the wonderful historic houses you have seen in your life and on the film, which one is your favourite?

I love Lancaster House; I don't know why. You could go to other amazing houses, but I like Lancaster house. It's in central London. I suppose because I was watching all the dancing scenes there, the ballroom, and when you're actually lucky enough on go on set and watch them in action, it just made the whole place come alive and the house started to smile like it remembered the old days.

What's the most memorable place you've ever gotten lost?

Oh heavens, I get lost every minute of the day. So the most memorable place I got lost was probably up in the Himalayas. When I was climbing Everest and I stopped at 21,000 feet without oxygen and I think I took the wrong turn down and when you've been climbing for three weeks you want to get down pretty quick.

But I think I got lost and had to be found. Lucky the weather didn't change and the person who found me was my little Sherpa called Gearlza. And he said "Mamzam, mamzam, you took the wrong road." And I said "Yes, but you went too fast" [laughs].

How did you cope with the altitude?

I'm very strong, I believe in health and fitness. I believe it is very important if you are going to go near Everest to understand that Everest is much more powerful than you. And you are just an atom of dust on its back, so don't muck about.

I think the mountains teach us such humility, it makes us remember that we are just nothings, and if we take ourselves too seriously then what are we? We must be grateful for what we have and I think it was interesting to get lost because you suddenly saw the huge enormity of the vulnerability that you're in and you're open to the climate and weather and the mountain looking at you.

Where would you most like to live in the whole world?

Can I answer that spiritually and say at peace in my heart. Because I think everyone always says have you been on holiday but if you go on holiday with an unhappy head or a monkey mind or an unhappy heart, is it a holiday? So first and foremost I'd like to go on holiday with a happy heart and a happy mind and a calm mind and peaceful mind.

And apart from Bedarra Island — and that's not because I know I'm doing this for Australian television — it's always been my most favourite place. If I'd like to live anywhere, [it would be] up a mountain in Switzerland, in a log cabin with a log fire. And when the snow thaws I'd like to have a big lake and French windows looking onto the lake.

And what was your favourite thing about the film?

There is nothing in my life better, apart from the birth of my girls and marrying my beautiful Prince, than seeing the big billboard as you drive into London, or you see [a poster] on a bus of Emily Blunt, [of a film] called The Young Victoria and my name is up there as the producer. It was my dream 15 years ago to make this film. The fact that I have actually dared to believe, and my dream has come true is beyond anything that I could have achieved.

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