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News / Life without travel for the UK’s top travel editors

With our desire to learn, our thirst for knowledge and love of experiencing new things – we are innately curious creatures. This is one of the reasons we all love to travel.

We’re remaining connected to our trusted friends in our beloved industry and recently chatted to four of the top editors from travel and lifestyle magazines in the UK - arguably some of the most curious people we know. Like us, these editors live for travel, and whilst it’s on pause at the moment, we find out what they’ll be getting up to when things go back to normal.

Authorities in the world of travel, hear them enthuse about the places they hold dear, how they’re fulfilling time whilst they can’t travel and where they plan to go first once restrictions are lifted.

Stay tuned for a new interview each day this week.

Melinda Stevens

Editor-in-Chief, Condé Nast Traveller UK and US

Out of all the places in the world you’ve travelled to, where do you cherish the most?

Greece. But I’m not going to say to which island. It’s a place my husband’s family have been going to since he was a boy. It’s the only travel secret I’ve ever not shared. Because it’s unspoilt with barely any roads, because you lie on a plastic lounger and listen to the waves. Because we stay in a place that has no curtains and no air-con and we literally die of heat and exhaustion. Because it’s where I truly un-wind and I’m obsessed with its rough magic.

If you could self-isolate anywhere else, where would it be?

I’m really missing a treehouse I once stayed in Tulum. The ease of life there, the gorgeousness of it all. Also, the Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana. Also, the Bristol in Paris. Also, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, my eldest daughter’s favourite place in the world.

How are you spending your time at home?

I’m reading like crazy. I just finished Madeline Miller’s Circe, about the goddess-witch banished to exile for her craft. Miller previously wrote Achilles which was also astonishing. I’m obsessed with the way she writes, her originality, her characterisation of these mythical figures, her ability to bring those worlds, and her knowledge and this storytelling to life; as soaring but as real as anything I’ve ever read, and as heart-breaking. I howled last night when I finished it. Literally howled.

How does travel make you feel?

I feel the best version of myself when I travel. I feel open, and I feel connected, I feel utterly stimulated, I feel like it’s when I’m truly in my own skin.

Lucy Halfhead

Group Luxury Travel Director, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, ELLE, Esquire

What are you most looking forward to when travel returns?

I was planning to travel around Israel in May and would love to revisit this idea as soon as it’s safe to do so. I’ve long been intrigued by the vibrant city of Tel Aviv (where a new Soho House is opening this year) and am keen to immerse myself in Jerusalem’s rich history. Plus, the new Six Senses Shaharut was just about to welcome guests in the Negev desert, with stunning suites and its own camel stables!

What is it you love most about travel?

For me, travel is really about meeting a whole host of incredible people, listening to their stories and then re-telling them when I return. I always aim to come back from a trip feeling like I have learnt, tasted or seen something completely new, and hope that I can use those experiences to enhance my day-to-day life and to inspire others on their own journeys.

Many people are watching films right now to immerse themselves in a destination, which would be your top 5?

1/ The Talented My Ripley – with gorgeous scenes on Italy’s Amalfi Coast

2/Out of Africa – a Meryl Streep classic filmed in Kenya

3/The Motorcycle Diaries – takes you to the most beautiful places in South America

4/Amélie – for pure Parisian perfection!

5/Wild – based on a true story of a journey of over 1000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail

Food is another way to transport you to a destination, when you’re not travelling where do you go for your gourmet travel fix?

It would be my lovely, local favourite, Sardine, which is a total gem of a restaurant, about 5 minutes’ walk from my house, and I’m desperately hoping they can weather the current storm… The food is incredible and Mediterranean-inspired, so on an evening you can be transported to Provence, Catalonia, or even Sardinia. They also serve killer cocktails!

Laura Normanton

Executive Editor, House & Garden

Where have you been dreaming of during isolation?

I have been sitting at home daydreaming about Italy; Capri and the Amalfi coast to be precise.  I'm yearning for a swim in the sea and putting on a dress for sundowners (probably aperol spritz), followed by dinner of fresh pasta and seafood. Palazzo Avino is on my wish list.

For design and travel inspiration, where’s top of your list for 2021?

Japan and Georgia are top of the list. I'd love to be immersed in Japanese culture and learn more about their gardens, culture and architecture. In Georgia I'd like to explore the country on foot and take a walking tour, the landscape looks stunning. I love being outdoors and I find slow travel (walking and cycling) is a great way to discover a country

Where would you go to switch off from the world?

Oh tricky one. It might have to be Leti 360 in the Indian Himalayas which is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. If we are having to shut ourselves off from the world, then this is a pretty good place to be. We stayed here for our honeymoon in November and the mountain scenery is spectacular. I would walk in the mountains every day, visit the local villages and practice yoga and meditation (something I've been wanting to get into for a while). Life has a different pace here and we found it the most wonderful reset and calming experience.

What do you find most rewarding about your trips?

The memories that are made and also learning about a destination's local architecture, art, cuisine and culture. Travel is also a great way to get perspective, I find stepping away from everyday routine can be incredibly refreshing and give renewed energy.

Selma Day

Editor and Co-Owner of Mayfair Times

Do you have a stand-out travel experience?

There are so many - walking in the Pyrenees, travelling back from Venice on the Belmond Orient-Express, cruising around Cuba, staying on a houseboat in Kashmir, seeing dolphins in the middle of the Indian Ocean, doing a private backwater cruise in Kerala, watching the beautiful sunsets in Santorini – the list goes on. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that give you the most pleasure. Enjoying chilli eggs for breakfast sitting in the garden of the Sun House in Galle in Sri Lanka is definitely up there.

How does travel help broaden your mind?

I love the sense of discovery, getting to experience different cultures, different cuisines, meeting different people - that element of surprise and spontaneity, You never know who you might meet – some of my closest friends are people I met while travelling.

When travel restrictions are lifted, where would you go to avoid the crowds?

Top of the list will be Italy. I love the Amalfi Coast, in particular, Ravello. It is still relatively unspoilt, so you can walk around its medieval streets without the crowds of nearby Positano. It is steeped in history, has a fantastic cultural scene and, of course, stunning views. The Palazzo Avino is a magical place to stay or the Belmond Caruso.

 How are you immersing yourself in armchair travel?

My favourite films are Il Postino, set on the beautiful Aoelian islands, and Cinema Paradiso, set in Sicily. Travel Man is my favourite TV travel show – I find presenter Richard Ayoade very entertaining. I love books that give you a sense of place, even though they aren’t travel books as such, for example, books by William Dalrymple that show India in a bygone age or Haruki Murakami’s books that are set in Japan. Two of my favourite books are As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee, an account of his travels through Spain, and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez – a magical book set somewhere near the Caribbean Sea and the Magdalena River.

 If you could be at any hotel right now, where would it be?

It would have to be Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. I love the “no news, no shoes” concept as it forces you to immediately remove yourself from the craziness of our everyday lives, take a step back, think about the important things in life, about how beautiful our world really is and how blessed we are. It’s a stunningly beautiful resort with super friendly staff and some of the best food I’ve had anywhere in the world. I also love the fact that is leading the way when it comes to sustainable tourism.

 If you could dine in any restaurant tonight, where would it be?

It would be Quattro Passi in the pretty fishing village of Nerano along the Amalfi Coast. Surrounded by olive trees and bougainvillea, the terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy an aperitif overlooking the beautiful bay. Food wise, chef Antonia is a genius at using the freshest local ingredients to create simple dishes of Michelin-starred standard (he has two stars). The linguini with zucchini is just heaven on a plate.

A true inspiration

During this period of increased stress and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to build emotional resilience. It helps us cope with change and manage stress, to perceive change in terms of challenge rather than threat. 

Be inspired by Edurne Pasaban, a true female adventurer, and discover how she overcame challenge, depression and near fatal escapes to reach her full potential.

Read interview

Stay curious / Armchair travel inspiration