30. Anna Hart; Traveller and Writer on Ice Road Trucking, Los Angeles Mystic Shamanic Haircuts and the Transformative Power of Solo Travel - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 30
August 7 , 2018

30. Anna Hart; Traveller and Writer on Ice Road Trucking, Los Angeles Mystic Shamanic Haircuts and the Transformative Power of Solo Travel

A funny, raw and honest chat with traveller and writer Anna Hart. A Vicar’s daughter from Belfast, Anna’s adventurous spirit was ignited by her childhood in the back streets of Singapore and been untameable ever since. She’s seen Shakespearean scenes amid gorillas in Rwanda, lived as a digital nomad in Bali, New Zealand and California, been transformed by a shamanic haircut in LA and even been an ice road trucker. For Anna, travel has the power to heal and transform, fuelled not only by wanderlust but also seasonal depression when life lacks adventure and sunshine. Unmissable.



On this episode we cover


Coming from Margate by way of Belfast

Her work at FHM, The Guardian, Conde Nast Traveller, Stylist, Grazia

Why writing broadly can make better writers

How this dream job came about

Her university newspaper in Glasgow

Being happier as a writer rather than an editor

The tough decision of going freelance

The freedom of being flexible and freelance

Moving to Singapore age 5

The culture shock of moving back to Belfast in the 1990s

Growing up with the troubles and a curfew in Northern Ireland

The wall of heat and humidity in Singapore

Falling in love with the sights, smells and sounds of Singapore

The good and bad of International School

How International School and living abroad makes you good at faking confidence

Going to school with everyone from ambassadors to bank robbers

Being a vicar’s daughter

The bible college her father taught at in Singapore

Mistakenly believing Northern Ireland would feel like home

Being excited at ‘cows in the wild’

Why teenagers don’t like school (and is Lisa a sociopath?)

Teenager anxiety and angst

Moving to Warsaw, Poland age 17

Developing a lifelong love of Eastern Europe along with posh tastes in Poland

William Sutcliffe’s book – Are You Experienced

Not affording to go backpacking

Eventually going backpacking to Bangkok and onwards

Lisa’s experience of not backpacking either (getting to Amsterdam and Belgium)

How there are many different ways to go travelling if you can’t afford to backpack

How jobs and other commitments can get in the way of travel

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda

Being a wildlife and safari nut

The life-changing experience of watching Shakespearean gorilla melodrama

Was gorillas shagging should be high on Tripadvisor

Her book Departures – about 13 trips that changed her life

Loving adventure travel and emerging destinations

How travel changes people

How we can have adventures anywhere

How to get maximum bang for bunk – emotionally

Learning to dive

Dancing at full moon parties with cute Australian boys

How travel can heal a broken heart.

How travel has fixed her

Feeling vulnerable as a solo female traveller

How to thrive as a solo female traveller

Staying safe abroad

How bonding with strangers can transform a trip

The importance of interacting with people when travelling

How even a meal out can be an opportunity for adventure

Being a social adventurer

Driving the ice roads through the Canadian arctic

Being an Ice Road Trucker! Just after learning to drive. In Hackney.

Not losing sight of how lucky she is

Phoning her dad to say she’s in Namibia or wherever

Fighting to keep the definition of adventure broad

Dive bars with strangers met in a bar in Madrid

Ray Mears and Bear Grylls

Emotional adventures in art galleries

The adventures in your own town

Being a digital nomad

Lisa and Anna struggling with grammar

Leaving her job as features editor at Sylist

Struggling the seasonal affective depression every winter

Wanting to base herself somewhere sunny in the winter

Trying to stay of antidepressants

Not expending jet fuel

Not being able to afford to travel unless working

Being more of an ethical consumer, travelling more sustainably

Immersing herself in the culture

Co-working spaces abroad

Getting an Airbnb in Barcelona for three weeks rather than a weekend in a hotel

Travel writing and journalism not paying well

How freedom is her asset

Writing about the modern mystic scene and hipster witches in LA for Conde Nast Traveller

Crystal healers and Shamens

How everyone in LA has a Shamen. Not to be confused with The Shamen

Having a chakra cleanse combined with a haircut

Changing your inner life along with your hair

How a haircut made her feel like a warrior

Hooking Lisa up with white witches

Hubud co-working space in Ubud in Bali

Swapping Hackney for Bali


Not being able to afford a holiday but affording to work somewhere different

How she should Airbnb her flat

How Instagram has changed travel

The digital nomad life-style being a mixed bag

Messing up her work life balance getting stressful emails late at night

Social media giving people FOMO

Not being a Bitcoin media

How social media is a double edged sword

How small independent tour operators and hotels can benefit from social

Redistributing tourism wealth

Influencers levelling the playing field

The pressure to document everything rather than enjoying themselves

People judging each other by follower numbers

People running business from their phones

How woke teenagers think Instagram and Facebook are naff

Having fingers in lots of pies

Simon Calder’s view that it’s the best and safest time to travel

Being a wide-eyed hippy

How responsible execute travel has the power to change the world

The power of travel for good

Being a big believe in solo travel

Some surprising stats about solo travel from a Travelzoo survey

How solo travel is increasingly the chosen way to travel

Auditioning to do her own audio book

How Roam by the B52s saved her a lot of tears