An ex Ben & Jerry's marketeer, Anna Chittenden's business venture - a series of insider Lost Guides for Asian destinations - came shortly after she moved to Singapore to follow her boyfriend who had moved there for work. Crowdfunded and self-published, Anna's Bali and Singapore guides have been recommended by Condé Nast Traveller and are sold in the UK, Indonesia and online as e-books. With more trips planned and her sights set on more guides, Anna's journey is just beginning...
How did the Lost Guides come about? And why did you choose Bali and Singapore?
In 2014 I moved from London to Singapore. I was previously in marketing, and worked for three years at Ben & Jerry’s in the brand development team. I wanted to put my passion for travelling together with my experience in marketing/branding and so I created Lost Guides. There’s a huge problem for travellers in that it’s very hard to find useful and trustworthy information about the places that you want to visit.
I launched Lost Guides as a website thelostguides.com in the summer of 2014 with a selection of curated travel guides for destinations around Asia. In the summer of 2015, I crowdfunded my first book Lost Guides – Bali and launched it at the end of that year. It’s sold in Singapore, Indonesia, UK and online, and has been featured in press such as Travel & Leisure, and recommended by Condé Nast Traveller. I’ve now just launched my second book Lost Guides Singapore, which is in stores now!
Will there be more Lost Guides?
Yes, I plan to do more Southeast Asian destinations while I am based here. There’s a deep insight that you can only get from living in the region, so I want to make the most of it and share my knowledge and experience so as to help other travellers who come here.
You’ve travelled extensively, which has been your favourite country and where would you like to go next? And what’s the most remarkable thing you’ve seen?
When travelling, I prefer those places that feel like a home from home. When I was living in London, I would love to escape to Italy as often as possible. My family have a house in the hills in Le Marche and I would hop to Florence and Rome for trips while I was there too. Italy has the most amazing food, art history, glorious countryside and stunning beaches. Since being in Singapore, I visit Indonesia as much as possible (it’s only 6 miles away as the crow flies).
The most unforgettable place I have ever been to are the Komodo Islands, in Flores which is in the east of Indonesia. Last summer we went with a group of friends diving on a liveaboard boat around the islands. Seeing manta rays dance above you in the water was one of the most magical experiences. I’d like to explore even more of Indonesia, such as the art capital, Yogyakarta – I’ve only really scratched the surface.
What was your plan B?
I haven’t really thought of a plan B, but my background is in marketing so that was something to fall back on.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’ve self-published both my Bali and Singapore books, which I feel is quite an achievement. I have no experience or contacts in the publishing industry so I’ve had to learn it all from scratch, from the production of a book, to distribution, sales and PR. I’ve had a great response from my readers which makes all the work worthwhile.
And what would you like to achieve next?
I’d like to create more books and see them being sold in more countries around the world!
What did you want to be growing up?
When I was a child I wanted to be a shopkeeper, specifically in a sweet shop – the motive being that I would be able to eat all the sweets on sale.
What would you tell your 18 year old self?
Not to try and rush everything. I remember finishing University and there was a huge urgency to get a job and move to a flat in London, when actually I probably would have got more out of working abroad and maybe doing some volunteering. I would have loved to have studied abroad – I feel I missed out on that!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I learnt a lot about the importance of integrity, and creating a brand with strong values and a sense of purpose from my previous roles, and that has had a great impact on me. Especially today, where there is so much that is fake and untrustworthy, especially online, it’s even more important to have values that create a positive impact.
I’m going to Ibiza next month for my best friend’s 30th birthday – I can’t wait!
Singapore and UK.
Over or under dressed?
Under dressed always!
Swimming pool or ocean?
Swimsuit or bikini?
Since I turned 30, definitely a swimsuit!
I live in Asia so anywhere cold – maybe somewhere like Sweden or Norway.
Over or under packer?
I always under pack.
Listening to cheesy pop music – Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Katy Perry.
Desert island beauty product (we’ll give you sunscreen)?
Does a tangle teaser count as a beauty product? I’d need one to avoid getting dreadlocks.
“Little strokes fell great oaks.” – I read it in a fortune cookie and it’s stayed with me!
Can’t live without…