Ohen I go on vacation, my motto is: think big or go home. Why would I want to camp? I’ve had friends talk about glamping and I’ve been like “Hell no!”; I always like a nice hotel with running water, toilets and security. I like being able to lock the door. The Burj Al Arab in Dubai is my kind of hotel. You would never catch me I am a celebrity. . . in a million years.
When I was growing up near London, my holidays were always in France to visit my family. We drove by car and we stayed in the suburbs of Paris. It wasn’t very exciting – we never went to town to do things, we were just staying local and I only really got to know the city when my music video for Give me a little more time was filmed in Paris. I’ve never climbed the Eiffel Tower, though – I’m afraid of heights.
Visiting only France as a kid made traveling to Dominica (at 19, my first time on a plane) all the more exciting. The tiny Caribbean island is where my family is from and for me is probably one of the most special places in the world. I remember coming to earth and thinking that I had never seen anything like it in my life. The heat!
Unlike many Caribbean islands, it is green and mountainous, full of rivers and volcanoes, and still seems untouched. It’s not a place to go if you want white sand beaches, and that’s fine with me – I’ve never been one to lie on a beach anyway. You can rent a quad bike, which is a great way to see the island, snorkel, or visit Boiling Lake hot springs.
Boiling Lake on the Caribbean island of Dominica
Like I mentioned, I like to stay active on vacation. I robbed the dunes in the United Arab Emirates and rode camels to a desert camp, where I tried traditional Arabic dancing around the fire at night. I also visited the pyramids of Giza and learned all about the pharaohs and their tombs.
I hate flying, though. On this first trip to Dominica, we had to fly to Antigua and change to a small propeller plane. To this day, I hate small planes, even private jets. A small plane is my worst nightmare. I am not a good traveler. If I’m on tour with my band and there’s the slightest turbulence, I’ll scream plane.
Since the pandemic, I’ve only flown once – to go to Dublin to play a show – but I think it will be a while before I catch another flight. At this point, I just don’t feel safe flying for eight hours without anyone wearing a mask. Maybe in a year or two I’ll be more confident. My manager is probably a little horrified that I’m not stealing.
I’ve given incredible concerts around the world, but probably the best was at the Acropolis in Athens. I had only ever seen it on TV and suddenly I was playing it. The line-up was great: Marti Pellow and Lionel Richie were playing, and there was a great atmosphere.
Gabrielle enjoys skiing in Zermatt
My absolute favorite thing to do when I go on vacation is skiing. I got there quite late in life, as an adult. I’ve been a few times now with my manager and kids, although I’ve always had an instructor with me. I had never understood this before – the thought of going somewhere cold was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. But as soon as I went to Zermatt in Switzerland, I suddenly understood why people were doing it. It’s so exciting and yet so peaceful at the same time. I’m late for everything, but while I know I have to be ready for an 8am start on the slopes, that’s the only time I’ll ever be on time.
Gabrielle, 52, is a singer-songwriter who has released seven studio albums and is best known for the hit singles Dreams, Rise and Out of Reach, which were featured on the soundtrack to the 2001 film Bridget Jones’s Diary. She is performing at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival on Monday May 2 (cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz)
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