21. Sonali Shah: BBC1’s Escape to the Country Presenter on East Africa, Dodging American Helicopters in Afghanistan, the Beauty of Rajasthan and of Course the English Countryside - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 21
June 12 , 2018

21. Sonali Shah: BBC1’s Escape to the Country Presenter on East Africa, Dodging American Helicopters in Afghanistan, the Beauty of Rajasthan and of Course the English Countryside

Travelling the breadth of the UK in her enviable job as the presenter of BBC1’s Escape to the Country is more calming than Sonali Shah’s previous travels which included making a ‘kidnap plan’ when filming in Afghanistan, needing armed guards at her wedding in Kenya and being stuck in a military coup in Bangkok. With family from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and India she’s a true child of the Commonwealth and also a Londoner through and through. 


On this episode we cover:


Feeling like a true Londoner

Coming from an East African Asia family

Being a true child of the commonwealth

Her family in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

The Indian work ethic

Lisa and Sonali’s shared Indian background

Her dad studying Pharmacy at Bradford University in Yorkshire

Her mother training to become a midwife

The British Asian Community in England

Growing up in Harrow, London

Growing up speaking Gujarati

Beating playground bullies

Dealing with racism

Having a foot in both camps

Loving her Indian wardrobe and Indian dance

Huge Indian weddings

Great curry!

Being a vegetarian

Visiting Africa as a child

How London is the best city in the world

Being in love with London

Spending every summer in Kenya and Tanzania

Visiting India for the first time

Lisa’s experience in India

The weird feeling of looking Indian but not actually being Indian

Worrying about Malaria now she has kids

How we are now a bit more risk conscious

Filming a documentary in Afghanistan.

Seeing the beauty in Afghanistan through the destruction

Visiting Haiti after the earthquake

Visiting China after the earthquake

Reporting on the Beijing Olympics

Supporting arsenal since childhood

The departure of Arsene Wenger

Reporting for BBC Sport on triathlon in New Zealand., Canada, San Diego, Stockholm and more

Having to go on ‘hostile a environment course’

Preparing for being potentially kidnapped in Kabul

Feeling vulnerable in Kabul

Wearing a Hijab

Hoping American helicopters wouldn’t think the camera was a weapon

Kids avoiding mines cluster bombs in Afghanistan

The Garden Route in South Africa

Loving Safaris


Being mistaken for a local in Japan

The beauty of weddings abroad

Weddings in Spain, Africa, India, Greece…

The most fabulous wedding she attended

The beauty of Rajasthan in India

Greek Orthodox weddings in Greece

Getting married in Kenya

White water rafting in Seattle and Australia

Gorilla watching in Uganda

How travel has changed since having kids

Not wanting to spoil the kids

Taking the kids to Dubai

Kids and sleep or rather the lack of it

How glamping beats camping

Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater

How Italy is great for vegetarians

Rediscovering Europe with children in tow

The peril of being tied into school holidays

Childhood trips to Butlins, Pontins and Blackpool

Why camping is an alien concept to Asians

Her job on BBC1’s Escape to the Country

Showing people properties around the country

Travelling the UK for three nights a week

Climate change and its effect on the seasons and weather patterns

Climate change’s effect on the Maldives

Devon, Cornwall, Norfolk, the Peak District, dry stone walls, Chatsworth House.

Why the ‘mystery house’ is always the favourite

A celebrity version of Escape to the Country

Moving to Brighton or Sussex

Being stuck in a military coup in Bangkok

The 2006 Tsunami

A terrifying tsunami warning when in Malaysia

Her strange holiday in South Africa shortly after the murder of British honeymooner Anni Dewani

Providing armed guards at her own wedding in Kenya

The girl from Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro