'I nearly got bitten to death in the Bahamas' – Natasha Bedingfield on her best and worst travel experiences

Natasha Bedingfield - lorne thomson
Natasha Bedingfield - lorne thomson

The singer on flying with a Hollywood star and dancing in the Rio rain

I'm grateful that my son Dylan is a good traveller

He’s two and a half years old and I’ve done a lot of travel with him and he really enjoys meeting people. He’s the baby on the plane that pops his head up and says hello to everyone in the back, not the one that screams and shouts.

Coronavirus scuppered my plans to play at New York's Carnegie Hall

I was meant to play with Carly Simon. I was about to get on a plane but then Covid happened.

Holidays are about finally letting go

But I don’t mean going crazy and drinking all day, because life on the road can be quite rock’n’roll anyway. I’m that annoying friend who wants to go on holiday just to detox or relax. I’m not really the one who rushes around going to see all the sights.

I learned to sail around the British Virgin Islands

This was a few years ago when I was island hopping with my husband. It was amazing. We sailed all over the place – just the two of us, no crew – and jumped in the ocean wherever we fancied.

British Virgin Islands - christian wheatley
British Virgin Islands - christian wheatley

My family are from New Zealand

It’s my favourite place to go. I love going to the very north of the country where the two big oceans meet and you can see the waves from both crashing into each other in a giant triangle shape.

I love the sky in Los Angeles

I’m not alone in that. The main reason a lot of people like LA is this amazing blue sky that is very big, with hardly any clouds most of the time. There’s something about that sky that is unique. Photographers and filmmakers love it and there really is a special kind of light.

Shooting 'These Words' in Rio was incredible

But it was very, very hot. My face was covered in sweat in between takes. I had to have a little mini fan to make it look like I wasn’t sweating anymore – and I don’t mean sweating in a sexy, Beyoncé way. My face was all red and clammy. But that aside, the whole country is beautiful: the mountains, the ocean, the people, everything.

The whole crew then went to a samba school after shooting the video

To the place where they prepare all year for the carnival. It was in this cavernous warehouse as big as a football stadium and there were about 3,000 people playing the drums simultaneously. Then it started to rain and there was no roof but suddenly we were all just dancing in the hot rain and totally losing ourselves in the moment.

Rio Carnival
Rio Carnival

Abu Dhabi felt like the moon to me

I did a gig there as part of the Formula One Grand Prix and the culture is so different. It felt a bit like Las Vegas in that it’s just this unnatural, opulent city plonked in the middle of nowhere.

I got to race a Mercedes when I was in Berlin

I did a similar thing at the Porsche headquarters in the US but in Germany I got driven really fast around a racetrack then got to explore the city. I was fascinated by the architecture there and the way the modern buildings merge into the old ones.

I was quite overwhelmed when I visited Mumbai

My mum runs a charity called Global Angels, and visiting an orphanage for rescued child prostitutes was life-changing. In Indian culture, maintaining your virginity is paramount for young girls, so it was harrowing to learn that many of those I met, who had been raped, had been rejected by their own families.

I nearly got bitten to death in the Bahamas

When I was out on a boat. I had so many bites you couldn’t actually see my skin. Even now I have this indelible image of me sitting in a rubber ring off the back of the boat, wearing a hat and looking really miserable, trying to get cool in the water. My whole body was so swollen that my friend had to cover me in ice.

The Dolder Grand, Zurich, Switzerland
The Dolder Grand, Zurich, Switzerland

The Dolder Grand in Switzerland is my favourite hotel in the world

The air there is so, so sweet and the whole place is just so clean and fresh. What’s more, I had some of the best spa treatments I’ve ever had in my life at the Dolder Grand.

I once sat next to Samuel L Jackson on a plane

I was supposed to be next to my husband, but they messed up the seats. I sat next to him for five hours and, wow, what a lovely guy. He made me put a film into my computer so we could watch it, but then my battery ran out and the DVD got stuck in my laptop. When we arrived at the destination, he waited for me to plug my computer into a charger by the luggage carousel until I could give him the DVD back. I was impressed.

I'm not a big fan of Las Vegas or of cruise ships

They’re just not my kind of thing.

When things are back to normal, I'm going back to England

My mum, my dad and my brother all live there, so I can’t wait to see them once we are able to travel around freely again.

Interview by Nick McGrath 

Natasha Bedingfield’s new single Together In This, from Jungle Beat: The Movie, is out now