Jan Morris: She sensed she was ‘at the very end of things’. What a life it was …

In her final interview just before the first lockdown, the renowned travel writer spoke cheerfully of her last journey

Usually, nine months after meeting someone, interviewing them and writing about them for the newspaper, you would expect one or two details of the encounter to stay alive in your mind. But my recollection of the day in late February that I visited Jan Morris at her home in north-west Wales is not like that. Every moment remains vivid.

Perhaps, you might say, this is because my pre-lockdown journey there – driving through Snowdonia on a wild, windy morning and down to the sea at Criccieth – was just about the only travelling I’ve done all year. But I don’t believe it is that. As anyone knows who ever made that journey to visit her at home, or who ever opened any of her 40 books, Morris dealt in adventure. Having packed her life brim full of extraordinary journeys, pilgrimages and quests, she knew exactly how to conjure their contours for others.

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