Victoria, you visited Greece on your first trip abroad aged 17 and have rarely stayed away for long since then…
Having almost never set foot outside the UK, coming to Greece at the age of 17 was such a transformative experience. To find myself in a place where the warmth, the colour and temperature of the sea are completely different, the food is very different. Back in ’70s England, there were not many imported foods available – everything was much more traditionally English; we had Cheddar cheese but feta, for example, wasn’t a supermarket staple.
To come to Greece meant that every single one of my senses was excited; by what it looked like, what it felt like, what is smelled like – even the music. Nowadays anyone can listen to Greek music on Spotify, but back then I didn’t have access to vinyl records of Greek music, or any other European music.
So, with those very excited teenage eyes you started falling for the country. Since then, you must have travelled elsewhere too?
I’ve been to many other destinations when I used to do more travel writing. I used an evening a couple of weeks ago, to reflect how impossible it is to travel at the moment, and made a list of all the countries and islands I’ve been to… I ended up with 40 Greek islands and 50-odd countries. Ever since that 17-year-old moment, as well as coming to Greece every year, most years I’ve been to somewhere new.
Funnily enough, my books have taken me to a lot of countries as well. If you go on a book tour, you end up in countries you otherwise never would have visited. For example, I ended up in Finland and Albania – places that I might never have visited otherwise.
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