Natalie Barr, beloved host on Channel 7's Sunrise, travels at an enviable rate. Between personal and work trips, Nat is up in the air all year long to destinations near and far. In this exclusive interview, we sat with Nat to reflect on some of her most memorable travels and what she's taken away from the jet set life.
What kind of holiday calls to you the most?
After growing up in Western Australia, I am no fan of winter. Although it’s relatively short in Sydney, it’s well and truly cold enough for me, so I am dreaming of somewhere warm, beachy and cocktaily! I really think food and wine tastes better when you’re on holidays, don’t they?
But I can’t just lie around the whole time. We’re going on a family trip to Hawaii this Christmas and we’re planning a chopper ride, zip lining, and hiking with the kids so we can really see some great scenery.
What does being in ‘holiday mode’ look like for you?
I think because I have an hour of hair and makeup every morning, when I’m in ‘holiday mode’ I like to go au naturale! I go days without washing or blow drying my hair and I rarely wear makeup. It’s so nice to wack on a baseball cap and go sightseeing or head to the beach with nothing more than a towel and a book.
Have you taken a trip where you learned a lesson the hard way?
Hard lessons have mostly come on work trips. We travel a bit for Sunrise and one of the most memorable for me was when I was sent to Barack Obama’s first inauguration. It was about minus 8 in Washington, D.C. We did 10 hours of live broadcast on a high platform in the freezing wind in the middle of 2 million people. We were so far away from any bathrooms, the only way through was to not eat or drink. I think I just got so dehydrated that I ended up with a massive headache and a peeling face from the blistering, freezing winds. Walking into the warm, stinky subway afterwards never felt so good! Now I take a box of Carmen’s muesli bars everywhere I go and try to keep up the water intake! No matter what, I was there for an incredible moment in history so I didn’t really dwell on my personal fail.
Have you taken a holiday to a destination that surprised you?
The Sunrise team was all lucky enough to go to London this year for the Royal Wedding and it had been so many years since I’d last been, I absolutely fell in love with the beauty of that city. Because of the time difference, we had part of the day to wander the streets. It was perfect summer weather - which everyone says makes a huge difference in London - and every street, with all the lovely terrace houses and shops, museums and churches looked so gorgeous. It really feels like you’re walking through history, and it’s stunning.
Do you have any tricks for getting through long flights?
I take half of an over-the-counter natural sleep tablet when it’s time to go to sleep and that often works. After more than 15 years on Sunrise, I’ve never wanted to get addicted to sleeping tablets, so I only ever use these natural ones when I’m travelling, coming back from holidays or work trips. Kochie gave me that tip and it seems to take the pressure off and let me drift off and stay asleep.
Also, I don’t eat if I’m not hungry. I know it’s hard because half the time you’re just bored and eat for the sake of it. But I often skip a meal if I’ve just eaten at the airport etc because I feel worse and more bloated if I over eat on a plane.
Do you have any tips for packing?
As my Mum says, you’re usually in a different place every day, nobody knows you and they certainly don’t care that you’ve rotated the same jeans and black pants for a fortnight! I usually wear the same pair of black pants on the plane. Then I only take a few things and a couple of pairs of shoes. I can actually do carry-on for most work trips. I also have a great Kathmandu puffer jacket that folds up into its own hood, which takes up very little space and is perfect for cold spots. For a longer trip, I use packing cells to separate shoes, underwear etc. It’s kind of like a filing cabinet for your suitcase and seems to cut down on the mess and disorganisation.
When you leave for a holiday overseas, what’s one item you always pack?
My pillow. Seriously. I am tall and I have a long neck so I have lost count of the times I’ve woken up in a hotel with a neck ache that lasts all day. Years ago I realised I had to take control. In my carry-on wheelie case, one side will be a couple of clothes and my toiletries and the other side will be my supportive neck pillow squished up. (I’ve become a very light packer as I always have to make room for my little friend!) On the odd occasion I really can’t fit my pillow in my case, I park my ego at the gate and carry it on board the plane. Yes I look ridiculous and the Sunrise guys tease me, but I have the last laugh... with a comfortable night’s sleep!
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