Three things with Catriona Rowntree: ‘I suffer terrible homesickness – not a great affliction for a travel reporter’ | Life and style


Catriona Rowntree has been the host of travel series Getaway for 26 years now, a gig that’s taken her around the world a few times over. To celebrate her incredible tenure, Nine has recently launched a new online video series that sees Rowntree share her best stories from those decades on the road – from exhilarating tales of swimming with sharks to the near-death experience she will never forget. A new episode goes live on the Getaway website every Wednesday.

But despite her career exploring the world’s most glamorous destinations, Rowntree admits she actually suffers from “terrible homesickness” when abroad. To combat that affliction, the TV presenter used to travel with a special framed photograph that she would pop on her bedside – until the trip she accidentally left it behind. Here, Rowntree tells us about the lesson she learned from that experience, plus the story of two other important personal belongings.

What I’d save from my house in a fire

My mother loves to collect Lalique, the French art deco glass originally created by René Lalique. We grew up with these beautiful but practical pieces dotted around the house: a crystal ring dish shaped into a dove by the bed, a little bowl to float your favourite flowers in. Some were signed by the designer himself, often they were found at auctions, all have a different story and each is treasured. Now we love to collect Lalique together – the rarer the better!

Just before my father passed away, he found a small Lalique plate at an auction that I’d never seen before. It has my birth year on it and he gave it to me for my birthday. Sadly, I never learned the full story behind how he found the plate as he entered hospital soon after giving it to me. But today it has pride of place on the dresser and, every time I pass it, I think of the effort Dad must’ve put into finding it and how thoughtful he was. I treasure that little plate and it would no doubt be the first thing I’d grab, so I can always keep this little piece of him with me.

My most useful object

Boy, I love my Dymo handheld labeller. You better watch out if you visit me at home – I’ll pop a label right on you, your water bottle, your shoes, your brolly, your hockey stick!

Trust me, with two sons who’d lose their head if it wasn’t labelled, the Dymo is constantly being pulled out of the kitchen “man drawer” (you know, the one on the left that also contains batteries, superglue and Blu Tack) with me yelling “hold it right there, let me whack a label on it!”

The item I most regret losing

“Never take away anything you’d be upset to lose” is one of my most common travel tips, sadly one I learned the hard way.

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Like many people, I suffer from terrible homesickness – not a great affliction when you’re a travel reporter. So I used to take a beloved photo of my nan – my best buddy and lifelong cheerleader – away with me in a unique handmade frame Mum found. I’d always pop it by my bed in the hotel as I travelled the world.

I felt quite proud of it as the cleaner would whip around the room – “that’s my nan, isn’t she lovely?” – and it was always a great conversation starter with anyone who’d drop room service off. Having her image by my side genuinely lifted my spirits … until the day I was running late and left it behind.

Of course, I called the hotel the moment I landed at the other end of the world, but the response was “I’m sorry, nothing was left in your room”. I’ve got no negative of the photo, no iPhone to retrace it, just my memory of that happy moment.

So, do as I say, not as I do – don’t ever take anything away you’d be upset to lose!


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