My Life in Travel: Anna Calvi

'Travel makes me feel optimistic, like I’m searching for something new’

First holiday memory?

The three weeks I spent in California with my family when I was seven. I think it may have been the first time I'd seen the ocean and I fell in love with it. I devoted most of my time to hanging around on the beach and watching the surfers. I thought they were the most amazing people in the world.

Best holiday?

A backpacking trip after I finished college. I went hiking around the foothills of Mount Tibidabo, just outside Barcelona, in autumn. It was exhilarating and incredibly beautiful.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Cornwall for its coastline and the big waves. Every time I've been it's rained, though, so I'd like to spend more time there in the summer.

Where has seduced you?

Tokyo took me by surprise. I went there for work and started by spending too much time in the hotel bar listening to cheesy lounge singers. Finally, I ventured into the city with an old friend and it was amazing. It was a real assault on the senses and a complete culture shock, but in a great way. We explored the sights and sounds and I ended up loving the place.

Ideal travelling companion?

Someone who's organised, because I'm usually the opposite. I'm quite lazy when I'm away and generally just want to relax and have a laugh. I'd be a disappointing companion for anyone who wants to do lots of sightseeing. I visited Eastern Europe with a group of friends a few years ago, which was a lot of fun. It was great to travel in such a big group.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Beach bum – especially since I've been on tour. When you have a day off, often you just want to lie in bed because you're so exhausted.

Greatest travel luxury?

My main experience of travel is from touring – and there's nothing more luxurious than that!

Holiday reading?

I find poetry more captivating than a novel when I'm on holiday. The American poet Mary Oliver is always good. Her poems are uplifting and calming. I like biographies, too. I read a great one about Janis Joplin, Scars of Sweet Paradise, by Alice Echols on my last trip.

Better to travel or arrive?

I've always liked travelling. It makes me feel optimistic – like I'm searching for something new. Recently, I've started to enjoy arriving more, due to the musician's lifestyle. Being in one place is quite appealing to me these days.

Worst travel experience?

Spending all day and all night at New York JFK airport, sleeping under a bench because our flight had been cancelled. The next day we flew to Canada to do a show, our bags had gone astray and our hotel accommodation had been cancelled. I had to get changed for the show in a disused toilet. It wasn't much fun.

Worst hotel?

A place in New Jersey. My bed was infested with ants. When I told the receptionist, they calmly replied that it was "ant season" and offered me some insect spray. At night, I could hear the only other guest screaming drunkenly down the hall.

Favourite drive?

The Pacific Coast Highway in California is beautiful. We did it on that family holiday, listening to the Beach Boys on repeat.

Best meal abroad?

I had the most amazing pear crumble with ice cream at MoMA in New York recently. It's stupid that it's my favourite memory of the museum, but it was just so good.

Dream trip?

I'd love to see South America, especially Peru. As a musician, I think it would be an amazing place to visit just to hear all the live music and, perhaps, play with some bands.

I'd also like to spend some more time in Rome because I have family there. I have great childhood memories of visiting my grandparents and hanging out on the coast. It would be nice to experience all those places again as an adult.

Favourite city?

I've just come back from New York and I had a great time. I stayed in Williamsburg, which is a really relaxed neighbourhood. No one seems to have a job – they're all wandering around in the day quite happily – which I really like. It feels like a very creative place and I'd like to spend more time there.

Where next?

I've got no immediate plans this summer, except to play some festivals in the UK. After a year and a half of travelling it feels good to stay in one place for a bit.

Ann Calvi is a singer-songwriter. She performs at Somerset House in London for the Summer Series on 12 July. Tickets £25 (

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
premier league
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam