How to read the Lonely Planet

  Nearly 70 countries later I still sometimes read guide books wrong. In Morocco for 9 days, a few years ago, after researching a bit I decided on a rough plan round quieter desert oasis’ and the surrounding mountains. As generally happens, I changed my plans about 3 times on the plane over, and again…

2 weeks adventure in West Bengal, from the mouth of the Ganges to the Himalaya.

The incredible state of West Bengal provides more geographical and cultural variety than most countries, along with India’s best, freshest food. Before the East India Company arrived Bengal was one of the wealthiest regions on the planet, rich in produce, famous for textiles and an extremely significant centre of trade.  Bengal is famous today for…

How much does adventure cost?

  Nothing.  In an ideal world.  The more you spend on something the more you have to struggle to remember what adventure really is.  Discovery, living with your eyes open to everything around you, to everything that is new, or old, with your eyes open to the story of everything you never noticed until that…

Are you allowed to relax on an adventure?

I’ve meet a lot of other travellers, mainly older ones (by that, I mean not straight out of full time education) that insist that they hate to ‘sit on a beach all day’, hate to have nothing to do on holiday.  The way it’s normally said implies that this is something to be proud of,…

Getting up before dawn: the best thing you can do on holiday.

I’m a morning person, so maybe this is easy for me to say, but getting up early has resulted in nearly all of the most incredible experiences of my life.  So many lovely places in the world are overrun by other tourists (and wouldn’t be maintained without them in many cases: I’m not suggesting this…

A better weekend in Istanbul

Walking across Taksim square, packed to the edges at the beginning of a Friday night in one of the cities busiest and best area’s for a party, and just before the evening prayer on the Islamic holy day the call to prayer began.  Just after the muezzin started the beautiful,melodic prayer (traditionally called from the…

How not to stay in a brothel.. And when it’s a good idea to book a room

I arrived in Mombassa, an old trading port on the steamy Southern Kenyan coast about 2 hours before sunset. After a long, extremely dusty, bus ride across an international border I was pretty filthy and not feeling energetic enough to commence an effective search for the best room in town. Arriving somewhere new sometimes it’s…

Get Scammed. With class.

Obviously, when you go abroad, you should be aware that everyone is just waiting to rip you off. Bartering over prices has actually been invented since the advent of backpacking just to make tourists uneasy and vulnerable. In fact, there’s probably a price list freely available to everyone that knows how to ask. This attitude,…

An everyday adventure in Bangladesh

Something, one of many things, I miss about travel when I’m home is the way everything feels like a little adventure.  Drinking tea, having dinner, walking down the street, catching a bus, all with your eyes open like you’ve never done it before.  Maybe at some point in the future I will be able to…

A weekend in Calcutta, a city after my own heart..

On your way to Calcutta (Kolkata, if you want to look clever) read, well, really anything by Rabindranath Tagore, the first Nobel Laureate from outside Europe.  Born in Calcutta, he is easily the most famous poet in India, and composed the Indian and Bangladeshi national anthems.  Look for The Postmaster and other Short Stories. The…

Enjoying a career break. Harder than you think..

I met a couple recently who were on what they had planned to be a year long career break, travelling around Europe. After 6 months, they had decided they’d had enough of ‘cathedrals and castles’ and were heading home from London. A lot of people that are on extended breaks from their lives at home…