Remember that I’m giving away FIVE copies of Lara and Terry Carter’s new guidebook, Travellers Calabria. See details here, but essentially you can comment every day this week for a chance to win Lara and Terry’s book.
And don’t forget to go back and comment on Sunday’s post for a chance to win a Calabrian CD by the group Marasà.
Now, my interview with Lara continues (all photos provided by Lara and Terry):
3. Obviously you’re an expert traveler. Tell us a bit about how you pack, e.g., how long does it take, what are the “must” pack items?
I’m actually the last person to ask about packing because while I do apply good techniques – rolling clothes tightly, separating clothes onto one side of my Samsonite and everything else (shoes, toiletries, cosmetics, books etc) on to the other – I am not travelling for holidays so our needs are very different to someone going to Paris for a week or backpacking around Europe for a few months.
Terry and I quite literally live out of our suitcases – we’ve been on the road for 3.5 years now, bouncing around the planet from one commission to another. So our bags are our homes and we travel with everything we need to be able to set up and work wherever we are.
Therefore we have a lot of technology, laptops, cameras, collections of adaptors and cables, and Terry has dozens of drives with his photos on them. I also carry around things the average traveler wouldn’t, like a collection of DVDs of favorite movies and TV shows that we watch during down time when we want to stay in of an evening and pretend to be normal.
I’m also a last minute packer. I never allow more than a few hours to pack. I’ve done it so many times, that there’s really nothing to think about. The only time I might pack 24 hours before, and then re-pack at the last minute (discarding non-essentials), is if we’ve been in one place for a while and have gathered lots of stuff, especially research materials.
But we have an attitude that if we forget something we just buy it, and if we have too much gear we send it to my sister’s or aunt and uncle’s, who both have big houses and they store it for us.
4. I’m a firm believer that voracious reading greatly benefits writers; who are your favorite travel writers?
I totally agree with you but as a busy working travel writer, I actually have little time to read anything that doesn’t relate to the place I’m researching. I used to read far more travel literature before I became a travel writer. Then my favorite writers were people like Paul Theroux, Robert Kaplan, Freya Stark, and Jan Morris.
Now, what we usually do is buy literature by writers who have written about the places we’re travelling in, so for instance, we read Laurence Durrell’s “Bitter Lemons of Cyprus” while in Cyprus last year. Or we pick up stuff by local writers.
We’re in Mallorca at the moment, so I have George Sand’s “Winter in Majorca” by my bedside, and I’m trying to get hold of the books written by the children of Robert Graves, the English poet and novelist who lived here for much of his life, who still live in Mallorca apparently.
One book that I always travel with, however, is Alain de Botton’s “Art of Travel” because I’m really interested in why people travel, their motivations, inspirations and expectations, and what they get out of travel (I actually started a PhD on the connections between film and travel many years ago) and so I dip into that book every now and again and it constantly helps me to think about travel in new ways and deepens my understanding about what we do.
More *fabulous* answers! Thanks so much Lara!
Come back tomorrow for more with Lara as she shares what life as a travel writer is *really* like–you aspiring travel writers will especially appreciate her thoughts!
Be sure to leave your comment and tweet or post to Facebook to maximize your chances of winning a copy of Travellers Calabria! See contest details here.