If you are looking for a Bali travel guide that is not only beautiful to look at but helpful with lots of top travel tips for the island, then grab a copy of Lost Guides Bali, written by Anna Chittenden. Here we chat to her in her Singapore home...
Very rarely can a travel guide be informative but also beautiful to look at, until the Lost Guides Bali. This coffee table book is the perfect place to find travel tips for your visit to the Island of the Gods, with information about where to eat, stay and play, all written from the experience of one person, travel guru and wanderlust adventurer, Anna Chittenden. After arriving in Singapore in 2014 from London, she started writing about travel whist exploring Singapore and the amazing destinations on its doorstep. At the end of 2015, Anna had her first book published – ‘Lost Guides Bali’ – which has proven to be a huge success and is an absolute must-buy for any of you travel buffs out there! We were keen to find out more about her life and book, which was also the perfect excuse for us to have a nosey snoop inside her stylish Tiong Bahru apartment…
Tell us a bit more about your background and how you got into travel writing?
I was working for an advertising firm in London, and then moved to Ben & Jerry’s where I worked in the marketing team. I was involved in the whole creative process – from market research, to events and PR, and even design and branding. I came over to Singapore two years ago, as my boyfriend had moved here for work. I wanted to try something new, and do something which made the most of my new geographical location. I felt that there was a gap for useful, curated travel information in the region, so in the summer of 2014, I launched my website, thelostguides.com, as a way to share unique and inspiring travel experiences in Asia. Then in the summer of 2015, I launched a successful crowdfunding campaign for my new project, travel guide books, and released my first publication ‘Lost Guides – Bali’. I’m now working on ideas for up and coming books (Singapore is in the line-up!), as well as freelancing and managing the publishing side of my work.
Great! We can’t wait for Lost Guides Singapore! Can you tell us a bit more about what we can expect from your recommendations?
Lost Guides are created for today’s traveller – the stylish nomad with an interest in experience rather than expense, and an eye for quality, design and authenticity. It’s for those that aren’t looking for over-the-top luxury, nor have the budget of a backpacker – but are in search of those special places in-between. My book on Bali focuses on five happening neighbourhoods – Bukit Peninsula, Seminyak, Canggu, Ubud and Nusa Lembongan, and contains recommendations which have been gathered from extensive experience and a network of locals in the know.
It must take a lot of work to put a book together, what does a typical day involve for you?
Days are so varied, which I like. If I’m writing, then I’m quite anti-social and will hole up at home at my desk. I’ve tried working in cafes, as I like to have people around me, but I’ve learnt that I need complete silence to concentrate and be at my most productive. I take all my own photography too, so I’ll need to plan what needs to be shot, and time it to be there when the light is good. If I’m at home, I try and split my day up with meetings and having coffees with people in the industry, to get inspiration and to stop me from feeling lonely! I’ll also try to attend networking events during the evening; places like The Hub are great for these, and a good place to meet like-minded people.
How would you describe your style? Has it been influenced a lot by your travel?
Yes, definitely. I’d say it’s very laid-back and casual. The same goes for my wardrobe and my home. You’ll rarely find me in formal attire! I have a pile of vintage Levi’s shorts that I practically live in, along with plain white tees or kaftans from India. For this tropical weather, I wear loose trousers and camisoles. I’ll stock up in Bali at shops like Uma & Leopold and Magali Pascal for the loveliest dresses and silky separates.
Your home is beautiful and has a real beach house vibe. Tell us a bit more about it and how it’s been decorated.
We live in an old 1930s pre-war flat in Tiong Bahru in Singapore. It still has the original green and grey floor tiles running the whole way through, which is a lovely asset. Our kitchen is the main feature of the flat. This was really important to me as we cook a lot, especially my boyfriend, who will happily spend all weekend experimenting with new dishes – he even has a pizza oven in the courtyard! When decorating the flat, I thought it would be fun to have a mixture of Asian influences. The framed vintage Bollywood pieces are from a man who has set up a website to sell original Hindi posters from the 1950s, from their shop in Mumbai.Junkies Corner is heaven for affordable second-hand Asian furniture. One of my favourite pieces is the marble kopitiam table in the living room. Some other great finds were the bamboo ladder that we use to hang towels on in the bathroom, and the blue patterned Chinese vase that I picked up for only $50!!
What are your most treasured possessions?
We came to Singapore with one suitcase each, so we really have started from scratch and slowly picked up pieces for our home whenever we see something we like on our travels. I love the hand-carved bulls head in the living room. When I was researching for my book, Lost Guides – Bali, I wanted to find the artisans that made them. It was so cool to see the workshop, meet the artists and then buy directly from them. I’m also really fond of the two photographs that are in the kitchen. They are by an amazing photographer friend named Tommy Clarke, who spends a lot of time hanging out of helicopters taking fantastic aerial shots. The ones I have are taken above a beach in Cancun in Mexico.
Lost Guides – Bali is available to buy from Potato Head Beach Club, Tropicana Store, Watercress (in Seminyak), Milk and Madu (in Berawa), Alchemy and Watercress (in Ubud) or online at thelostguides.com.