Q&A: Travel Books with The Unlikely Bookworm

Interview with Lucy Pearson AKA The Unlikely Bookworm, by Bianca Ohannessian

Lucy Pearson is a literature-loving blogger, originally from London. Now living in the southern hemisphere, she writes about her travels for various websites including The Fit Traveller. Having already ticked off all the top 100 books on the BBC’s Big Read list, Lucy writes weekly book reviews which you can find on her blog, The Unlikely Bookworm.

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After spending some time travelling together in Bali, our conversation inevitably turned towards books. From travel guides to stories, they’ve played a part in inspiring us to set off in search of adventure. And let’s face it, when you’ve got an 18-hour long haul flight to Indonesia on your hands, getting lost in a good book can really make the time fly by.

So, here are a few travel reads as recommended by The Unlikely Bookworm.

B: What is your favourite travel book?

L: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s not a travel book per se, but it is a memoir about the writer’s voyage across the Pacific Crest Trail, following the death of her mother. So it does incorporate a lot of travel and adventure aspects as she seeks a road to recovery through her grief.

B: Which books have inspired you to travel?

L: The first book that inspired me to travel was Holy Cow! by Sarah MacDonald. She is an Australian journalist and her husband was posted to work in India. She joined him and they spent a lot of time travelling around India and learning about their culture, way of life and religion. So it was a really comprehensive look at India.

Then of course, after reading The Beach by Alex Garland, I really wanted to go to Thailand and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert made me want to go to Indonesia and Italy, and India again. 

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Photo: Instagram @theunlikelybookworm

B: Is there a particular book you like to read when you’re on the move, for example, on a plane, train or boat?

L: There isn’t really one book in particular. I think when you’re travelling you definitely want something small; a nice, quick, easy read. You want a page-turner, not something that’s long and laborious and is going to be an effort to read.

When I’m travelling I always bring too many books away with me and can never really narrow it down, but I think it’s important to find something that you’re going to want to read. And it’s always nice to read books about a country before you go there.

B: When you’re in another country, do you like to read books set in that country or do you like to be transported somewhere else?

L: I think it depends really. I used to spend a lot of time in France over the summer holidays where some friends had an apartment. I loved reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night there, a really good book set on the French Riviera.

B: What’s the most beautiful setting you’ve read a book in? 

L: Ooh that’s a tough one. There are so many…

B: Ok then, how about your top three?

L: Watson’s Bay in Sydney would be one of my favourites. It’s got the most stunning views overlooking the bridge with the Sydney skyline in the distance. I spent the last day of my holiday in Australia there and I was devastated that I was leaving. I sat there reading Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton and I remember looking out over the view and thinking I’m going to live here one day. And I moved back seven months later!

My uncle’s house in Yorkshire is another favourite. It’s a huge old farmhouse in the middle of the Yorkshire Moors. I would go up there in the winter and loved reading Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I like reading in winter, there’s a very cosy element to it.

The third one would probably be Palolem in Goa, India. It’s one of my favourite beaches and one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been. I went there when I was on a gap year 12 years ago.

B: My final question is: what are you reading at the moment?

L: I actually just finished my book yesterday! So I’m toying between starting The Four-hour Working Week by Timothy Ferriss or a novel called Homegoing by Ya Gyassi.

(She went for Homegoing, in case you’re wondering!)

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Photo: Instagram @theunlikelybookworm

Follow @rockskippers on Instagram for more travel photos and inspiration

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