I stumbled upon Leah Walker, when I was exploring some of the internet’s best travel bloggers. Leah is a Texan who loves nothing more than telling the tales of her travelling adventures. Before she made the world her playground, she was a high school English teacher, a basketball coach and a software technical writer. Leah Walker began her travel writing in 2011 when she launched her website entitled Leah Travels. Five years later, and Leah Travels has been named as a top travel blog, and Leah herself has been interviewed by the BBC four times, has been named as one of ’12 Instagram Travel Photographers You Need to Follow’, and has also been named as a ‘blogger you should be following’ by Southern Living. Leah Walker is also a writer for a plethora of other awesome websites, including; The Daily Meal, Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Magazine, France Today and many more. I was excited to talk books with Leah, I had my hopes that she’d share my passion – and I wasn’t disappointed! Please enjoy my interview with Leah Walker…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I’m a luxury travel, culinary, and wine journalist and blogger, who influences and consults on social media.
I am currently reading The Hôtel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo. The book combines three of my favorite things: World War II history, luxury hotels, and Paris.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I started driving at age eight, and I thought I’d be a truck or race car driver. Ironically, I don’t own a car anymore.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
I think she’d be shocked that I live in Paris, but wouldn’t be surprised that I’m writing.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
I’d gift myself 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz because I didn’t really start traveling seriously until I was 30. I missed the whole backpacking across Europe stage.
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
Sadly, I don’t read much as I used to, but when I take the time, it’s usually on a train or plane.
The book that has had the biggest impact on my career is Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster. Not only does Jen Lancaster make me laugh out loud, but her book also inspired me to pick back up the pen.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
That would be The Bible, which I associate with my mother.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’ve read that book at least fifty times, having taught it to my freshman English classes for five years. It’s a timeless story, as relevant today as the year it was written.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
I prefer non-fiction, particularly biographies.
Do you think reading is important?
Reading is vital. I believe it ignites the imagination and makes me a better writer.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
The best book I’ve read in the past six months is Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
I definitely prefer real books! I’ve never even owned an e-reader.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
I read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway many years ago, maybe in college. I think it subconsciously planted the seed of becoming an expat in Paris.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
I would also include The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner. It’s part psychological analysis and part travel book, Weiner’s book is as entertaining as it is educational.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I have a list of non-fiction books about World War II that gets longer every month.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
Second Guesses and Second Chances.