My Travelling Life
I got excited hearing Afrikaans spoken in a French kitchen, says drag queen Cathy Specific
It's the finer things in life that thrill this international aviation goddess and air hostess extraordinaire
I travel as often as my busy performing schedule and passport pages allow. Most of my trips start with me actually working the flight, but as these are all private charters I get to spend a few days in every destination and stay at the top hotels and resorts.
I always have two suitcases ready, one for summer and one for winter, one just never knows. Clients change their minds at the last minute - a midweek Bahamas break is very popular these days - and I never want to be caught without my bikini.
My earliest memory of travelling abroad is of being at the airport, on my way to the UK for a year. I was mesmerised by the cabin crews - chic, dressed to perfection, pulling their wheelie bags with a perfectly straightened arm, pillbox hats slightly tilted and a certain "air" about them.
I knew right away that was exactly what I wanted to be and do for a living. Most young girls dream of becoming Miss World but I'd rather travel it. I also knew I would excel at delivering the perfect safety demonstration.
Travelling with a group of close, like-minded friends is always a pleasure. Being with the right amour is a bonus of course, but most men of today can't keep up with this international aviation goddess. Solo travel is often a perfect way for me to explore new places - spontaneity rules.I adore the Maldives - give me sun, sea, sand and a sarong, and you'll find me languishing on a chaise under a palm tree, sipping something exotic. That's my idea of ultimate relaxation.As cities go, I love New York. I always take a huge bite out of that Big Apple when I visit - there is something electrifying about that city.
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I took a month off recently and spent it in Cape Town. I live in the heart of the CBD, but travel so much I never get time to fully appreciate it. It was one of my best breaks ever. I strolled through the Company Gardens, did bubbly tastings in Franschhoek and managed to catch a few shows. This city has something for everyone. It's a glorious destination and just as fabulous - if not more so - than any major international city I've been to. Except for load shedding - don't get me started.
My most adventurous travel experience - besides the annual clearance sale at Macy's, where you need a bodyguard and a bulldozer - it was fat biking in Finland in winter. For someone who loves the tropics and loves doing nothing while on vacation, it was so much fun.
Not many people can picture me careening down a snow-covered path on an off-road bicycle with oversized tires - at one point I did wonder if "thin biking" was also a thing - but I decided to challenge myself. Another box ticked. I also relished turning heads in my designer winter wear - such a fabulous look, darlings.
My favourite restaurant is JAN in Nice. Such a thrill to be somewhere in France and hear Afrikaans spoken in the kitchen. Other than that, eating on a private jet is an experience! I whip up a selection on board that no one would imagine was possible.
Granted, I am frequently wined and dined by presidents, politicians and Hollywood stars but nothing beats my culinary skills in a galley kitchen - at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
My best piece of travel advice is to always take along a course of antibiotics. You'll be lucky if you arrive on the other side without having caught something on board from spluttering passengers sneezing without putting hand to mouth (I can't even), or the recycled oxygen in the cabin. Hand sanitiser is a must, people, and NB to wipe down your tray table, arm rests and the screen remote.
Label all your luggage correctly and with a bright tag for instant identification when it arrives on the carousel. The last thing you want is someone else disappearing into Cancun with your case and its precious contents, like the Manolos!
As for favourite hotels, I love any time spent in Mexico at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, a resort that blends Asian hospitality with the idyllic passion of Mexico. It has one of the best spas I have ever had the pleasure of trying out.
It's a favourite destination hotel and I enjoy VIP status every time. It helps that whenever I visit I slip the GM a bottle of Mrs Ball's Chutney and a box of rooibos tea.
I feel for anyone who nicks my case - once they open it, they'll likely never be the same again. But that's a story for another day .
When I travel, my gadgets are essential. I wish I could disconnect totally but my work dictates, even when I'm on holiday - and I do love being contactable and keeping in touch with family and friends back home.
Where I'm going next? Who knows? Who cares? As I always say, "the sky's not the limit"! My happy place is at 35,000 ft above sea level, so wherever that jet wants to take me, I'll be packed and ready!
NON-Specific, starring Cathy Specific and the Trolley Dollies is currently running at Gate69 in Cape Town until July 27. See gate69.co.za. Age restriction: 16.