Love Travel Guides

Fiona Caulfield approaces travel in a very visceral manner - her aim is to seek out authentic, immersive local experiences. This means engaging with all manner of local inhabitants, to get to what is distinctive and classic about the place. As she explains it, "My perspective is not about presenting what has just opened and may be 'cool' right now. When I put things in my books I am looking for enduring special experiences. Few entries need to be replaced as I update editions, I think this is because I have a good sense as to what will last."

We asked her about how she goes about putting her exclusive guides together.

How does a location or an experience get selected for a guide?
The simplest criteria for inclusion in the guide was "Does this experience help you fall in love with a place? If yes, then it was in; if no then, it was out. Simple.” All entries are based on merit, with no payments, commissions or incentives involved.

 

How long does a guide take to come to life?
The process of creating a Love Guide is not linear. I dip in and out of the destinations over years. Occasionally I fall in love at first sight, but usually it takes a lot longer to really fall in love with the place.

Here's an example of how the Mumbai guide was put together: I first visited Mumbai in 1992 and returned again in 2004, spending extensive time in the city up until releasing the first edition of Love Mumbai in 2007. Whilst working on this 4th edition, I spent another six months out of the last twelve months, in and out of the city. I also work with a team of people who do fact checking to confirm the current entries and identify potential additions. Plus I have a great network of friends in Mumbai who lead me to the real treasures. I believe the magic happens by spending time in Mumbai, talking with a lot of people who are passionate about their city and discovering what they love.

Here is a real example of the process. I was catching up with my friend Hema, who is a textile artist and has a gorgeous brand called Amba, and in our chat she mentioned that she had heard of a woman selling old maps in Dadar, but did not have any more information. Hema also recommended an artist, called Banoo, who does Book Sculptures. When Banoo and I met we chatted about old books and she connected me with Dilnavaz of Rare Finds and Hindoostan Revisited who has been based in Dadar for the last decade or so. It was a great find and the same person that Hema had thought of. Rare Finds has books and maps, dating from the early 1700s to the 1950s. Hindoostan Revisited comprises lithographs, engravings, etchings, illustrations and aquatints. These date from 1550 until the 1940s. All three networked women, Hema, Banoo and Dilnavaz, create wonderful Love Mumbai experiences.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Fiona!

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