Pattie Boyd is one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most famous muses. Married first to George Harrison and later to his best friend Eric Clapton, Boyd was the inspiration for such songs as “Something,” “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight.” In her New York Times bestselling memoir “Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me” (Three Rivers Press, $14.95) – just released in paperback – Boyd talks not only about her life with the musicians, but also her early love of travel and exploration. Based in her native Great Britain, the former model prefers being behind the camera these days. Though Boyd cites India, Africa and Thailand as a few of her favorite destinations, she says there’s nothing quite like Venezuela.
WHY VENEZUELA: It’s gorgeous – the ever-changing terrain, mountains, valleys, vast waterfalls, rain forests, jungles and flat endless plains. We flew in a small plane to see Angel Falls close up, rowed through rapids, went hang-gliding and watched baby condors learn to fly. We also saw capybaras and gorgeous scarlet ibis.
WHAT I ALWAYS TAKE ON VACATION: I always take a camera with me wherever I am. On holidays I will take two or three. Of course it is easier to be with other photographers, as they understand the waiting around sometimes needed for the desired shot. But if I can’t wait, I just seize the moment.
FAVORITE VACATION PHOTO: Some of my favorite shots are the ones of Canaima (National Park). The wide, thunderous water falls into a dark, rum-colored lagoon that’s edged with powder white sand. And sticking out of the water there are a lot of very tall palm trees. Other images I like were taken early in the morning high in the Andes during my stay at the Hotel Los Frailes. The air is fine and cool there. There is a flower called frailejon (that is native to Venezuela’s high plains), which is named after a monk’s habit.
MEMORIES: I found Venezuelans to be happy and charming people. Some were interested in my blonde hair. I wore dark glasses most of the time so they couldn’t see my blue eyes.
TRAVEL TIPS: In my opinion, it is a good idea to wear very relaxed clothes when traveling and observe the traditions of the country. Never show off expensive jewelry or too much money. Always try to learn a few words of the country and take a good guidebook. I try very hard to travel light, but for some extraordinary reason packing light evades me!
I usually have a carry-on and a big piece of luggage.
THINGS THAT HAVE TO GO ON THE PLANE WITH ME: I always have to have my cell phone, sunglasses, guidebooks, cameras, addresses and a small first-aid kit.
BEST PART OF TRAVELING: Getting off the plane when it has arrived at your destination.
THOUGHTS ON SOUVENIRS: I have in the past bought many souvenirs only to discover they don’t travel well and look out of place at home. So now I will only buy if I’m sure it will work. Two years ago I bought a beautiful marble birdbath and bronze brazier from India.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT VENEZUELA:
OFFICIAL NAME: Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela.
CURRENCY: Venezuelan bolivar (VEB). 1 U.S. dollar equals 2,147 VEB.
TIME ZONE: GMT/UTC-4.5. Huh? If it’s noon in Chicago, it’s 12:30 p.m. in Caracas.
To learn more about entry (and exit) requirements for Venezuela, go to the U.S. Department of State’s Website (www.travel.state.gov/). To read more about Pattie Boyd and her work, check out her Website at www.pattieboyd.co.uk.
© 2008 JAE-HA KIM
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