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Paul Richardson

Perhaps surprising for a travel writer, Paul lives 4-hours from the nearest airport, but that doesn’t keep him from exploring all regions in Spain and beyond.

An acclaimed food and travel writer, Paul Richardson left London for Spain in 1989. He writes for some of the UK’s most prestigious publications, including Condé Nast Traveller and the Financial Times, and is the author of A Late Dinner: Discovering the Food of Spain (Bloomsbury). Paul and his husband Nacho produce their own olive oil, wine, ham, fruit, and vegetables, on their twelve-acre organic farm in Extremadura. 

Essentialist: What was the first trip you took where you thought…I’m hooked and want to do this more?

Paul Richardson: I was an inveterate traveler as a student, always took off during the summer holidays to wander Europe, mainly by rail (Interrail). One summer I backpacked around Siena, Florence, Rome, Venice, Madrid, Mallorca… finally arrived at the house of some friends in France to find they had already left (no mobiles in those days – so slept among the straw in their barn for four days, eating camembert and drinking red wine. That was when I discovered the romance of spontaneous travel.


E: What is the first thing you like to do when you have landed in a foreign country or a new city?

PR: I head out to explore the neighborhood around the hotel.  I like to let myself in slowly;  A morning run along the river, the seafront, or through a local park is also a great way to feel yourself into a place.


E: What is a place (city, country) that you could go back to a million times?

PR: Brighton and the county of Sussex.  It’s where I went to school (at Chichester, I sang as a chorister in the cathedral there) and I love the lush rural landscape, the lanes that are like tunnels of shadowy green.   It’s where many of my dearest friends are.  Glyndebourne opera house, where you can see cows grazing from the inside of the theatre…   Brighton, a seaside town with a strong alternative and artistic life, eccentric and camp. I love it there.


E: What are two essential items you carry with you on all trip (besides your passport and wallet!)

PR: Ear-plugs and eye mask.  


E: Any secrets for battling jetlag?

PR: Not a drop of alcohol on the plane.  Only water.  Tough, but true.  


E: When not traveling, what do you like to do for fun?

PR: I live on an organic farm in Extremadura which is very much a hands-on operation.  My partner and I produce nearly all our own food – from olive oil and wine to rye flour for our own bread, fruit and veg, hams and sausages, rabbits, eggs, and much more besides. So when not travelling I have my hands full (as well as dirty).


E: Backpack or roller suitcase?

PR: Suitcase – and the smaller the better (after 30 years I’m finally learning to travel light)


E: In your bag: Books or kindle?

PR: Books

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