4 mins

Summer Holiday memories, with Jodi Picoult, Dave Gorman, Andrew Motion…

We asked Gary Numan, Example, Michel Roux Jr and more their standout summer holiday memories. From searching for seals to having their bum pinched, here are the moments they remember

Children playing on the beach (Dreamstime)


Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult (Deborah Feingold)

My parents had us travelling when we were very young. They took us on trips to Europe, the Caribbean and all over the US.

The one that stands out is a trip to Europe: three weeks touring from country to country. Little things stand out in my mind, like staying at the Amstel hotel in Amsterdam and being in my first feather bed and watching all the bikers go by the streets down by the canal. I also remember being in Italy, when I was 15 years old, and all the men trying to pinch my butt and my mother slapping their hands away.

I also remember being 18 years old and my parents wanted to take a trip through the American West. I was a typical 18 year old and thought: Are you kidding me? What am I supposed to do in Wyoming? There’s nothing but tumbleweed there. But it’s one of the most stunning vacations I’ve ever been on. 

It’s so beautiful in Moab and Arches National Park, all the national parks in the southwest US. It’s one of the places I’ve wanted to go back to for more than 20 years. My husband and I travel now to places outside the country, which is silly because there are so many places inside the United States to see.


Michel Roux Jr

Michel Roux Jr (Le Gavroche)

My first real memory of travelling is the summer holidays with my parents. We drove all the way to Mijas down in Costa Brava, next to Malaga. That’s a heck of a long drive, two days of driving. For a young child, that’s a long way and, of course, I had my sister next to me being a real pain and constantly whinging “When are we going to get there?”

I remember tasting things I’d never tasted before. One of those memories is honeycomb, getting a great big chunk of honey in the comb and being baffled how to attack it, but actually just scraping it and eating it and sucking it. I also remember orange juice:  proper, fresh, real, squeezed oranges.


Andrew Motion

Andrew Motion (Johnny Ring)

I was born into a pre-going-abroad world. My father, having fought in the war, thought that actually going abroad meant that somebody might shoot at you, so he preferred staying at home, so almost all of my childhood holidays were either spent in Scotland or in the West of Ireland and occasionally and, less ambitiously, in the North Norfolk coast, which is the bit that I go back to a lot.

I go to places like Blakeney and Holkham in England for the bird-watching, huge empty sandy beaches, colossal skies. It’s an acquired taste, but I acquired it very early on. I was born in East Anglia and I find mountains rather macho and tedious, so I like flatness.

We swam a lot. We went to look at the seals. We tied bits of bacon on string and dangled them off the edge of the Quay at Blakeney and tried to get crabs not to fall off before you got them to the top.

We walked a lot. We did a lot of bird watching. This is a real passion of mine. They were very peaceful, English holidays.

In Norfolk particularly, I feel the ghost of my parents is very strongly present there. My wife and I stay in the same hotel that I used to stay in when I was a little boy. I feel I am convening with my ancestors but I also just find it an extremely beautiful place.


Elliot Greave (Example)

Elliot Greave (Dreamstime)

Our first family holidays were in Spain. We’d go mountain biking, windsurfing, jet skiing, paragliding… Whenever there were little competitions where there were all the adults and kids competing, running, swimming and cycling, my dad would always enter us into every race possible. He’s very competitive in that way.

My dad was always into marathon running. He ended up doing 13 marathons and his best time was 2.26, so he’s a proper runner. It must have rubbed off. One of my favourite things to do now, whenever I go and visit any place, is run. If I go somewhere on tour with the band, I’ll often go for a run just to take in that place. 

The fist time I went to South Africa, I went to Durban for a gig and I went for a run along the beach to check out the local area. If I go to Eastern Europe, I’ll go and run to check out the surrounding area. Even on my wedding day (we got married in Byron Bay in Australia), I got up on the morning of my wedding and went for a six mile run. That was a bit stupid, really.

My mum and dad didn’t have a lot of money when we were kids. As we grew older, my dad became more successful at work. By the time I was 14, he started taking us to America and we got to experience Disneyworld, then they’d drive us across the east coast of America and all the States. My dad was madly obsessed with the American Civil War, so he took us to all the battlegrounds.


Francesca Martinez

Francesca Martinez (Virgin Books)

My grandparents had a small flat in Barcelona. It wasn’t like a tourist flat. It was like in a really shabby part of Barcelona. I have wonderful memories of going on holiday with them and staying in the tiny apartment and just getting force-fed piles of pastries every morning and spoilt rotten, so I love Barcelona. It’s a great city, but the heat was staggering. That was a time before air con.

My grandma and granddad took me to see the sights, the Gaudi stuff and the Cathedral, but the main holiday that I went on with them there was in August and it was so hot that we often didn’t go out until after 5pm. It was just so boiling. But we saw the sights and I think I was there the year the Olympics was in Barcelona, so they were doing up the whole city. It was being spruced up for the world stage.

That was a really lovely, lovely holiday. It really sticks in my memory, because it was just me and my grandparents and I got absolutely spoilt rotten and I was devastated to leave and come back to school. I was, like, “Can’t I just stay here all my life and eat croissants?”

It was a wonderful experience. After that, we went gone to Majorca a lot, because my whole family loves beaches. You can’t really beat the beaches in Majorca. They’re beautiful. A lot of people think Majorca is just for night clubbing, but there are so many parts of the island for boring people, like me, who don’t want a nightclub in sight and who just want nature, a bit of good food and peace and quiet.


Gary Numan

Gary Numan (Joseph Cultice)

The first holiday I remember with my family was to Weymouth in Dorset. We used to go every year. Most of our time there was spent in those little tiny touring caravans, a little baby one that my dad did up and used to tow around. It was a very family-orientated thing. My grandparents would turn up. Aunties and uncles would turn up. It was an absolutely brilliant time. I used to love it every year.

The caravan park had a military place next door and there were always helicopters doing training. I used to love all that because I was always into aeroplanes, even as a kid. I was always fascinated by the war, bearing in mind my granddad was there in World War Two. There were lots of little things around like pillboxes and remnants of the war. This would’ve been in the very early 1960s. I used to find the whole thing fascinating.

I loved the fact that everyone was together. My memory of it is that it was always fun, which seems unlikely now thinking back on it, but that’s my memory of it. It was just a really cool place. It wasn’t too far away from Portland where all the Navy ships were. My dad was into boats as well, so we’d have lots of boat trips when we were there. There was a beautiful sandy beach in Weymouth we used to spend hours at, which I loved.


Kelvin Mercer (De La Soul)

De La Soul (De La Soul)

I’ve been blessed to travel since I was young. I grew up in New York but my parents were all from the south. The first travel I remember is just being young on a plane going to Waynesboro, Georgia. I would fly into Atlanta and drive to where my mother was from.

I was always blessed to be on a plane that early. I just thought that was amazing. Me and my brothers, we were just on this plane and it was real scary. I just remember all this noise from the people around us in the airport.

I love the south. It taught us a lot of responsibility because my grandparents had tons of land and lots of cows. We had to work the land with my grandfather, so it was just great that this man blessed to have all this land (he had cotton fields, corn fields, soy bean fields…) was always there along with his kids. He had almost 13 kids and they had kids.

We were coming down for the summers to work. From the age of six on up to 16, I would go down there and make money, then come back and buy my own school clothes. It gave to me the work ethic that I have today. At age six, I learned how to drive a tractor, a car and had all these responsibilities.


Colin Thubron

Colin Thubron (Colin Thubron)

As a child, my parents worked in America and Canada. I was sent back to boarding school in England. Around the age of eight to 13, I was crossing the Atlantic for holidays in Canada and the United States. For a boy, shortly out of war-torn London, England was terribly drab. To be thrown into the lights of New York and Time Square, the neon blaze, and the Great Lakes of Canada was absolutely mesmerising.

Otherwise, the journey that I most cherished was one I did with my parents when I was 19 or 20. We took a caravan down through the Middle East and the Nile Valley to the Sudanese border. It was a journey we did because we wanted to distract ourselves after the death of my sister. That journey opened my eyes to the Middle East.


Irvine Welsh

Irvine Welsh (Jeffrey Delannoy)

My first holiday I had that I can vividly remember was a September weekend in Blackpool with my family. It instilled a love of Blackpool for me ever since. I had my stag do in Blackpool when I got married. Something must have stuck from those September weekends.

I like the romance of British seaside towns. What I like about Blackpool is the camaraderie. You see all these fat, shaven headed guys with different football replica tops getting really pissed and really drunk girls, and you think it should be carnage, that it’s going to kick off big time here, but for some reason it doesn’t. Everyone gets on really well. It’s just superficial posturing. 

I went there with a bunch of guys and they were growling over, but it was all big hugs and buying each other drinks later. There’s a lot of posturing that goes on, but there’s a camaraderie under it all.


Dave Gorman

Dave Gorman (Avalon)

I didn’t take a summer holiday in my adult life until I was married. It’s only the fact I’ve got a wife who quite likes the idea of us going away together that has persuaded me I should do it. I am quite adventurous. But I never actually did backpacking or anything like that when I was younger. When I was at university, I dropped out and started doing stand up. I was so determined I wasn’t going to fail that for many years I didn’t take a holiday.

Our first real holiday was our honeymoon. I took my wife to San Francisco, which was fabulous. Initially all I did was book a hotel for the first three days to settle in and I gave her the option to either go on a road trip or stay in San Francisco, and she wanted to stay in San Francisco. San Francisco is an amazing city to spend time in and explore.


Danny Macaskill

Danny MacAskill (Jan Kasl / Red Bull Content Pool)

For a lot of my younger years, I’d be cutting about and we’d go of on big adventures around Skye, or I’d go off over the weekend to go beach-combing on the north of Skye for two days, searching for nets to drag back to my garden and play on. You could have them as big trampolines.

In my teens and early 20s, days revolved around my trails bike. I would go out on these great two day trips to explore and ride.


To book your own summer holiday or your next travel adventure, check out Wanderlust’s Tripfinder section, including the latest trips, from Italy to Thailand to Chile, as well as the UK: www.wanderlust.co.uk/tripfinder/search.  

Main image: Children playing on the beach (Dreamstime)

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