The travel editor of Vanity Fair UK, Michelle Jana Chan, won the Consumer Travel Writer of the Year Award at the Travel Media Awards 2019. We find out what inspires her
1. How did you get into travel writing?
I was a news journalist, and somehow from there I shifted into features, and then into travel writing.
2. What makes a destination a great place to write about?
Always the people – who live there, pass through there, belong there, work there, dream there, who love the destination. They’re my sources.
3. What’s your favourite destination?
Sorry — I couldn’t bear to choose one destination. I think it’s more about favourite trips than favourite destinations. Last year, the Makay region in Madagascar was very special; Gorongosa in Mozambique; a trip to Brazil exploring the Amazon, the Pantanal and the Cerrado.
4. What’s on your travel hit list for 2020?
In March, just before lockdown, I returned from tracking snow leopards in the Himalayas; I watched a female bring down an ibex, before she called over her cubs to feed. Extraordinary. I’m so glad I squeezed that trip in. Right now I’m meant to be in the Arctic and next month, travelling around the east of Turkey. I’m studying maps, plotting adventures — and staying home.
5. Do you have any advice to anyone looking to get into travel writing?
6. Where are you going to keep your award?
On a high shelf, above all the work detritus in my study.
7. If you could win any other type of award, what would it be?
The Booker Prize.
Read Michelle’s work on her website: michellejanachan.com
Follow @michellejchan on Twitter