My life in travel: KT Tunstall, singer-songwriter

'In Byron Bay, I walked through lush vegetation straight down to the beach'

First holiday memory?

My dad got a sabbatical from UCLA in California when I was four, so I went to live in Los Angeles with him for a year. I remember the sunshine, the orange trees and swimming in perfect blue pools. My dad has since passed away, but he and my mum did a lot of travelling throughout their lives and lived in a few different places, so it was normal for them to take us away.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The West Coast of Scotland. I like the fact that, from a temperature point of view, it's fairly unfriendly, which keeps the area pristine. If it were really warm, it wouldn't look the way that it does.

Best holiday?

The Maldives. I remember feeling like I had died and woken up in this ridiculous vision of paradise. It's amazing to realise there is a place on Earth like that: where you can put on a snorkelling mask and it's like being in a tropical fish tank.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That there is much to learn from other countries. I went to India for the first time in 2009 and remember flying home over London, and being utterly amazed that every house had running water and electricity.

Ideal travelling companion?

A good friend, who is as comfortable with silence as they are with chatting. When I am travelling, I don't have a need to gab the whole time. I really want to absorb the surroundings and be present.

Greatest travel luxury?

Business-class flights, by a long stretch. I would scrimp on many other things, but if it's a long-haul flight, it's an entirely different experience arriving when you feel fresh.

Holiday reading?

I like to read something that relates to where I'm going. In India, for example, I read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, which definitely made the whole experience more colourful.

I've got an iPad loaded with books, but when I'm travelling I like to have a physical copy. I like using train tickets as bookmarks and having dog-eared pages where the dirt tells a story.

Where has seduced you?

South America. I was completely overwhelmed by the character of the people. They were the loveliest, warmest locals I have ever met. The energy and the vibe there are so positive. I did a really hardcore itinerary to Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, playing gigs in Rio, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, horse-riding with the gauchos in Patagonia and seeing wildlife in the Galapagos.

Worst travel experience?

Low-costs airlines. I've been on some really bad buses in different parts of the world, but those planes are horrendous.

Best hotel?

One that stands out is The Byron at Byron Bay Resort and Spa in Australia. I got to stay there after I played a gig in Sydney. It's connected by all these walkways through tropical forest. You walk through lush vegetation, full of wildlife and birds, right down to the beach. Being there at sunset was pretty special.

Best meal abroad?

Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives. They've got a raw restaurant headed by a brilliant chef called Derek. He made a raw lasagne out of vegetables with walnut pesto that was the nicest thing I've ever eaten.

Favourite city?

Seattle. I've got a soft spot for the city because I went on a family holiday there when I was 22 and stayed just outside in Port Townsend. We went whale-watching and ate amazing food. We also went to the Olympic Mountains and to the Hoh Rainforest, the only rainforest in the Northern Hemisphere. It was like something out of Star Wars, with hundreds of trees dripping with lichen. It was a holiday with great food, great people and amazing scenery.

Where next?

I'd like to see the Nazca Lines, which are ancient geoglyphs in southern Peru. I didn't get to go when I was in South America and it's something I'd really like to see.

Singer-songwriter KT Tunstall performs at The Big Feastival (31 August to 1 September; thebigfeastival.com). Her new single, "Invisible Empire", is out this week (kttunstall.com).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
News
i100
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
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

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

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style