■ The party queen turned health guru talks to Metro about Marrakeching with Alexander McQueen, living in a Land Rover in South Africa and the local lifestyle in LA
What is your favourite on-the-road moment?
Seventeen years ago, I went on a trip to Morocco with Alexander McQueen [the late fashion designer] and my daughter Anais [with ex Noel Gallagher] for mine and Alexander’s mid-March birthdays, which are only a few days apart, and I’ll never forget it. We each had our own villa at the Amanjena resort in Marrakech — the name means ‘peaceful paradise’ and that’s exactly what it is, set amongst 15 acres of greenery (rooms from £507, aman.com/resorts/amanjena). It was great fun — we all rode camels, which is far easier than it looks, we did a horse and carriage tour of the medina, we explored the souks and were stared at the whole time for our bleached blonde hair, which we thought was hilarious, and, all the while, Alexander was in a world of discovery, excited by all the colours and the antiques — it was creative and beautiful, the whole trip.
And your favourite city?
LA. The lifestyle and the way the city is so spread out just appeals to me. Each neighbourhood has a distinct personality. I love the touristy elements of Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, like staying at the famous Chateau Marmont (rooms from £380, chateaumarmont.com), and one of my favourite clothes shops is Peri.A on North Robertson Boulevard, which sells really unique designs (peri-a.com). In Malibu, I head to Zuma Beach. I’ll make for Vintage Grocers, an incredible local and sustainable food market (vintagegrocers.com), before I pop over to The Sunset to hang out with people like Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, who’s also super healthy these days (thesunsetrestaurant.com).
What keeps you sane on the road?
My routine of meetings and meditation. I like to head to Robertson in LA at 7.30am for the Log Cabin AA meeting, and in the evening, the Self-Realization Center on the crest of Mount Washington is a beautiful place to visit for meditation (thewhrc.org; yogananda-srf.org).
When have you been most frightened while travelling?
When I was 12, I was living in a Land Rover in South Africa with my parents who loved to travel and we drove up through Namibia and visited Etosha National Park (etoshanationalpark.org). When we got there, there was a war going on between Russian, Angolan and South African troops, so we had to hunker down in a 19th-century fort for about a year until they stopped fighting. I remember feeling scared because there was no way of predicting who they would shoot and where they would raid next but I have far more fond memories of travelling in Namibia — it’s still one of my favourite places.
What has been your most life-changing experience while travelling?
Just before a trip to California, I was hit by the menopause blues. It made me think I was psycho. It was hell. I took none of the medication they prescribed and instead took EstroGel, did weight-bearing exercises and ate well, and my symptoms became manageable. I’m passionate about women knowing there are menopause clinics that offer further support.
Worst meal you’ve had abroad?
The only thing I don’t love about Goa is that the first and second day I think I love curry but come the third day it’s all a bit samey, so I end up eating toasted cheese sandwiches with cappuccinos.
Strangest place you’ve spent the night?
I stayed on a traditional houseboat in Kerala, which was as strange as it was cool. On the one hand, you’re spotting wildlife and on the other you’re seeing poor kids begging from the bushes.
Where are you off to next?
I’d love to go to Patagonia, to explore the mountains and glacial lakes at the Torres del Paine National Park, and the huge Perito Moreno Glacier.
■ Mathews is the founder of megsmenopause.com