• NZ Booklovers

Interview: Pat Backley talks about Seventy Years Worth of Travel


Pat Backley is an English woman who emigrated to New Zealand at the age of 59. Her first book Daisy, a historical family saga novel, was written and published during lockdown in 2020. Since then, she has also published her memoirs From There to Here, With an Awful Lot in Between and has co-authored a best-selling coffee table book The Warrior Women Project: A Sisterhood of Immigrant Women. She published The Second Daisy, the sequel to Daisy in December 2021.


Pat talks to NZ Booklovers about Seventy Years’ Worth of Travel.



Tell us a little about your travel memoir.

I decided to write this travel memoir on a whim!

Whilst listening to a podcast late last year, where a rather attractive young Italian travel writer was talking about his illustrious career, I decided to write one too.

If you had to choose three favourite places you have visited, where would they be, and why did you choose them?

My three favourite places would have to be Egypt, Venice and Fiji, although I have loved almost everywhere else I have been!


I had wanted to visit Egypt since I was a very little girl, the whole Pharaohs, Pyramids and ancient civilisation fascinated me.


Venice was also on my bucket list for a long time, as I was keen to see how they could possibly have built a whole magnificent city on water, without any modern technology or power tools.


Fiji, now my spiritual home. I went there as an expat in 1976, never imagining it would become such a big part of my story.


Are there any places you have visited that you wouldn’t want to return to?

I have always managed to find the best in any place I have been to, so I am struggling to answer this question!


What are your top tips for travelling well?

Go with an open mind. It is not the same as home and if you expect things to be similar, or as comfy and familiar, you may be disappointed.


Try to talk to the locals. I have found, all over the world, that if you are truly interested and empathize, people will love to tell you their stories, even to share some of their family life with you.


Travel light. This is a wonderful tip that I have never been able to follow myself. Everywhere I travel, I drag enormously heavy cases, telling myself that next time I really will be sensible and pack only what I need!


How different is it writing about your own life, as opposed to writing fiction? What are the challenges?

Writing about my own life is so easy compared to writing fiction. Fortunately I have a great memory (although this may change now I am in my 70’s!) so the words flow easily and it is a joy to remember all the wonderful times I have had. Writing brings back all the memories, some of which I had almost forgotten.


What places are still on your bucket list?

There are an enormous amount of places still on my bucket list. Looking at a map of the world I realise how little I have actually seen, whole continents remain unexplored. Now, I am just a bit worried how on earth I will possibly be able to fit it all in before I die!


What do you hope readers will take away from reading Seventy Years’ Worth of Travel?

I hope that reading my book SEVENTY YEARS WORTH OF TRAVEL will both entertain people and perhaps, if they haven’t had the opportunity to travel much, it will give them the urge to explore a little of the world for themselves, even if they have to do it from the comfort of their armchair. There are so many great travel programmes and documentaries out there. The world is such an incredible and fascinating place.


More info at www.patbackley.com