A LIFE IN TRAVEL...
Michael van de Elzen
The chef and TV host looks back on his favourite holiday memories
What do you miss most about travel right now?
The opportunity to immerse myself in other cultures, including different types of foods and food experiences.
What are your strongest memories from the first overseas trip you ever took?
A family holiday to the Gold Coast when I was about 7 was terrible. I got chased by a lizard, stung by a blue bottle and the rest of my family almost got swept out to sea whilst I played on the beach unaware of what was going on.
What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?
I was brought up on the family's chicken farm in West Auckland, so family holidays were rare. However, I can remember going to a friend's caravan parked up in the camping ground in Red Beach. It was great as going to Ōrewa township just down the road was like going to a carnival.
Who has most inspired your travels?
My two older sisters. They both travelled extensively when I was young and always came back with amazing photos and stories.
What is the greatest trip you've ever been on?
I have two; one when I travelled through Africa for three months - we travelled on an old truck and set up camp pretty much anywhere. Just lit the fire and cooked over flames at night. It was extreme camping, with the wildlife just on the other side of our tent.
The second was backpacking through India on my first date with my now wife Bee. If you can do four months through India with your partner, you can handle anything!
And the worst?
Breaking my arm in the Swiss Alps. I was only young and on my first Contiki trip. It cost me all my life savings to get my arm cast. Then I had to finish the rest of the tour with a broken arm and no money.
What's your approach to packing for a big trip?
Light! I try to take nothing but the clothes on my back and a toothbrush. Bee usually has a bit more foresight and packs some extras just in case.
What is the destination that most surprised you – good or bad?
Our last trip only a month ago was camping around the Catlins. One of the most relaxing breaks we have had with our two young kids.
Where was your most memorable sunrise/sunset?
We had a pretty amazing one in Africa once whilst tenting right in the middle of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
What's the first thing you do when you get home from a long trip?
Take my dog Hector for a run on the beach. That is for him but most of all for myself.
What do you miss most about home when you travel?
The kids, when I'm travelling without them.
Where is the one destination you must see in your lifetime?
Both New York and Las Vegas are pretty mindblowing. Just the enormous size and scale of both the buildings and the action is pretty mind-blowing for a little Kiwi like me.
What's your favourite thing about travel?
Expanding your mind.
Michael van de Elzen co-hosts Eat Well For Less with Ganesh Raj. The new season is screening on TVNZ1 on Tuesdays at 7.30pm. Michael's Good From Scratch cookery school is based in Muriwai NZ. goodfromscratch.co.nz