What are your strongest memories from the first overseas trip you ever took?
Japan when I was 24, as a teacher accompanying a primary school cultural exchange. I fell in love with the country (and have been back numerous times, including for the Rugby World Cup last year). I also starved that first time as I’m allergic to shellfish and crustaceans and hadn’t yet acquired my love of salmon sashimi.
What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?
Beach holidays on the NSW coast and lots of fishing.
Who has most inspired your travels?
My husband, Ian. He’s travelled since his early 20s. We married when I was 32 and I really hadn’t been to many places at all. He was keen to show me some of his favourite spots and make sure that we explored new destinations together as well.
What is the greatest trip you’ve ever been on?
Four months overseas in 2012, to the US, UK, France and Hong Kong. It was a mix of holiday and book tour – and an opportunity for me to see whether the life of a full-time writer was something I wanted to pursue. When I returned to Australia I almost immediately resigned from my safe school job. I’ve been writing full-time and touring the world since November 2012 and haven’t looked back.
And the worst?
Camping one summer when I was a teenager. Dad and Mum bought a huge tent and all the gear. It was almost 40 degrees every day, with an endless supply of bugs and snakes. When we headed home my parents sold everything and bought a holiday house instead!
What’s your approach to packing for an overseas trip?
Simple is best. Jeans, jackets, flat shoes and a couple of scarves to dress things up. I roll everything and try not to take too much.
What is the destination that most surprised you – good or bad?
LA. Who knew there were so many oil wells opposite the beaches?
Where was your most memorable sunrise/sunset?
We have a house at Jack’s Point just outside Queenstown. There are often magnificent sunrises and sunsets – I have lots of pictures to prove it.
What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a long trip?
Unpack, do the washing and put the suitcases away (after I’ve cuddled the cat).
What do you miss most about home when you travel?
If I’m staying in hotels, being able to make something simple like a cheese toastie for dinner. And my family, of course.
Where is the one destination you must see in your lifetime?
The Northern Lights and the Aurora Australis. We have a good chance of seeing the Aurora Australis from our place in Jack’s Point but not this year as we are currently holed up in Sydney while we ride out the Covid-19 pandemic.
What’s your favourite thing about travel?
Exploring new places and meeting people. I love that we have friends all around the world – often people we’ve met through my books.
Jacqueline Harvey is the bestselling children’s author, best known for the Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose series. Her new book, Alice-Miranda in the Outback, is out now.