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I don’t get it

Warning. This may be the most boring,  rambling and self indulgent blog post I’ve written yet. Seriously… I’m not kidding! Apologies. These days I feel like i’m going crazy. I’ve been trying to make sense of things recently. I don’t understand anything any more. Forgive me if this sounds a little autistic. I don’t think I’ve ever been great at relationships. I’ve […]

In Transit

I’m in transit on our way to Australia. I love flying and I love being in transit – always have done. It’s the one time in my life that I can relax. I’m uncontactable and have time to read, sleep, or watch a movie without any distractions. Whether it’s a train journey or a flight, I like how there is […]

The Best Books I Read in 2016

I read a lot of books this year. Many were medical/health related books. I haven’t listed those here. I’m no medic and have no idea how accurate they are. Some were helpful, others less so. If you want recommendations – email me. Here are the books I enjoyed the most: Media/Technology So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson – This is an […]

2016 Annual Review

This has been one crazy year. To say that this year hasn’t been much fun is a bit of an understatement…. With Brexit and Trump being elected (WTF?????), it won’t have been the greatest year for many. This sums the year up for me (15 seconds): 2016 has been one of the worst years of my life. Still – a […]

My Most Useful Material Purchases of 2016

We moved into an unfurnished place for the first time earlier this year. It had central heating and everything 🙂 I’m embarrassed to say that despite my age and income, I’ve lived my life as a student/hobo until recently.  I’ve always had trouble spending money on material things rather than experiences, (unless we’re talking about camera equipment, books, or fine wine….). Up […]

Then You Are Alive (To Zinda Ho Tum)

I’ve been listening to a lot of Bollywood tracks recently.  One of my best friends got married last week.  It was an Indian wedding that went on for a few days. It was awesome. I love Bollywood films. One of my favourites is Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, (rough translation – Life Will Not Happen Again). I was listening to the […]

“The road to a friend’s house is never long” – Danish Proverb

I recently read a great article by Ben Casnocha about friendship.  Ben believes that “if you’re not talking to someone on a somewhat regular basis — seeing them in person, talking on the phone, or emailing/digitally communicating in some other way that involves substantive give-and-take — that person is not a close friend who’s providing emotional sustenance. Sure, they’re on your friend list, maybe […]

“Mountains are not Stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” ― Anatoli Boukreev

Mountains. I love them and I hate them. It’s always been this way. When I’m there, I hate it. The struggle. I never find it easy. Never! It doesn’t matter what I do to prepare. For whatever reason, I always find it difficult. No matter how fit I tend to be. Yet I keep going back. I think it’s the […]

Produce

This has got to be the most boring title to a blog post ever! My Nain is obsessed with Andrew and I returning to live in Wales. After 16 years of living in London, you would have thought that she would have accepted that we are not going to move. I think she’s getting worse as she gets older. I […]

Climbing Mountains

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac It’s been a while since I’ve been climbing mountains.  I miss it. Having said that, this particular hike was gruelling!   Hiking the Trolltunga involves a 1,000m ascent (3,000 ft), and took us about […]

Brainwashing Yourself – How to Feel Better

This month has been crazy, and exhausting. For lots of reasons. Work, life, moving. We’re in our new place now. Sans furniture, which has been interesting… That’s changing slowly. I’m looking forward to having a bed again and eating from a plate! Anyway, I’ve caught up with a few friends recently who are having a bad time. I know how […]

Rental Market Craziness

I don’t know why people hate estate agents so much.  I asked one of them. He didn’t know. Reflecting on my experiences with estate agents over the years, I can’t say I’ve had many bad ones. All the agents I came across this time were wonderful. It was a pleasure interacting with them! I have a love-hate relationship with looking for […]

Is China Taking Over the World?

Do we need to worry if it does?  I love Chinese food and have always been interested in Chinese culture. Based on my own experiences abroad, here are my observations: Warning – I despise generalisations and stereotypes. Still, this post is full of them! Apologies if anyone takes offence. 1. Will Chinese be the world’s main language in a few […]

My Favourite Live Music Venues in London

I’m lucky. Living in London is a brilliant place to see live music. I’ve been able to see most bands and musicians that I like because almost all of them perform in London at some point in time. Beat The Touts is a useful website for news on up coming concerts and information on pre-sales. It’s still a struggle to buy tickets […]

7 Japanese Observations

Man I miss Japan. This time last year, we would have just arrived in Tokyo. We spent a month travelling around. (You can read about some of my favourite places here). A month wasn’t enough. I could have spent weeks in Tokyo alone. To be honest, arriving jet lagged with high expectations, Tokyo was a bit of a disappointment. It […]

How to Take a Year Off and Travel the World

I talk to so many people about this.  They all “wish” they could do it. I don’t know if they honestly do.  Such assertions are inevitably followed up by an excuse, a reason as to why they can’t go. The excuses never make sense – to me anyway. There will never be a perfect time to go, or do most […]

The Best Day Trips from London?

I’m often asked for suggestions on day trips from London. I always think that London has more than enough to offer! But if you want a break or want to see more of the UK, then this is what I usually suggest. The places are listed according to their proximity to London. I haven’t included Richmond or Greenwich as I […]

Paranoia, Censorship and Freedom of Expression

They had guns but I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t believe that I’d be shot. I was perplexed, annoyed, and shocked by the absurdity of the situation. We were trying to cross the Chinese border from Tibet into Nepal. We were asked to declare any reading material – and consequently did so. I had a Nepal Lonely Planet book which I […]

Death and New Beginnings

I haven’t got angry or lost it with anyone for a long long time.  Still, I lost it with a poor Enterprise car hire employee. I think his name was Pierce. (Sorry Pierce). We had just been told that my Taid didn’t have long to live and we had decided to hire a car to drive up to the hospital to […]

My Strengths and Personality Type According to Myers-Briggs and Gallup

I’m still figuring out if knowing my strengths and personality type is useful or not. I think it is. Myers-Briggs was helpful in highlighting my strengths and areas where I could excel or work on.  It’s a personality test that will classify you as one of sixteen personality types developed by the psychologist Carl Jung. I’m an ENTP apparently. I don’t think […]

Slowing Down?

I’ve recently been forced to slow down. I’m not in a position to be as active or sociable right now. It’s a good thing in lots of ways, but it is deeply frustrating! Fortunately, it’s temporary and I’m going to make the most of being able to take it easy to focus on a few things I might not be able […]

What to Pack for a Trip of a Lifetime!

I’m often asked for recommendations on what to pack for extended trips.  So, here they are. I know….if you’re saving for travel, the last thing you want to hear is that you need to buy more! But trust me, my advice will enhance your travelling experience 🙂 But first of all: Packing Pack as little as possible.  Seriously! A heavy load will weigh you […]

Is Himeji Castle Worth Visiting?

If you want to see one of the best traditional Japanese castles in Japan, Himeji Castle is definitely worth visiting. Why? Himeji is a UNESCO heritage site and the oldest preserved castle in Japan. It’s been beautifully restored. The adjoining garden is also very pretty. How do you get there? Trains that travel between Hiroshima/Okayama and Osaka/Kyoto often stop at […]

Is Naoshima Worth Visiting?

Naoshima is an island in the inland sea with a few art installations. It’s one of the top picks in the Lonely Planet “Japan” guide book and is highly rated on TripAdvisor. It’s a bit of a trek to get to though, so… Is Naoshima worth visiting?  Maybe. If you have plenty of time, it’s a sunny day, you like modern […]

My 2015 Annual Review

I’ve never done this before – written a personal annual review. Not formally anyway. I’ve always dismissed it as self indulgent and a waste of time. I’m feeling unfocused and unaligned at the moment. So, having seen so many people I respect share their successes and failures, I’m going to give it a go. I have no idea how to approach this. Live Your […]

Why You Shouldn’t Go Straight to College

They were some of the worst years of my life. And not just for me.  I know many who feel the same. I can see why parents are keen to send their kids straight to college. Especially if they’ve never been themselves. Most parents I know consider their children going to university as the ultimate accolade in parenting. A decoration […]

There is More to Life than Getting Married

I’m not anti-marriage. I am madly in love with Andrew, and I am committed to spending the rest of my life with him. Trust me. There is no one else. Yet…, anyway. I’m joking, I’m joking. Apart from a couple of guys. Ha ha ha 🙂 I’m joking, I’m joking. Call me conventional.  I’m not into polyamorous relationships or orgies or that […]

What’s My Elevator Pitch? – LYL Start-A-Blog Challenge – Day 5

Is this over yet? No. Day 5. Today’s writing prompt is “What’s your elevator pitch”. …………………………I really don’t have an elevator pitch. Apparently LYL mean by “elevator pitch”, what are you excited about? What are you building or want to build? What do you care about….. I’ve read Simon Sinek’s Start With Why book, it’s very good. As is his […]

What Do People Thank Me For…? – LYL Start-A-Blog Challenge – Day 3

Okay so we’re on day 2 of this “Blog Challenge”. Yay! Bring it on! Today’s writing prompt is “what do people thank me for”. OMG…seriously people! Let me think………………………………………………………………………………………. I guess. I’m often asked for ideas on places to travel. Good restaurants. Tips on things to see, places to go, and when. I’m sure there’s a really interesting and sexy […]

What Makes Me Angry? – LYL Start-A-Blog Challenge – Day 2

Okay, so I’m doing this LYL blog challenge. I’m trying another way to force myself to write. LYL (Live Your Legend) was set up by Scott Dinsmore who tragically died a few months ago. I actually only learnt about LYL as a result of his death.  His wife, Chelsea, is amazing – incredibly strong, really inspiring.  Scott’s written some fantastic […]

Tea Time

One of the most interesting countries I’ve visited has been China. It’s huge and I’ve always enjoyed visiting. Despite not knowing any Chinese, and English not being widely spoken, we’ve always somehow managed to get by. I’ve also found the people there to be very friendly, even if it’s been hard to communicate. I’ve noticed a lot more Chinese people […]

Malabar Sunset

I haven’t looked at this photograph in years! It’s a pretty old one, taken with a point and shoot. It was from a wedding we went to in southern India a few years ago. It was a beautiful sunset!

Wandering Yangon

I loved these buildings in Yangon. I don’t know why. I just liked how people would live so close together. I could spend hours wandering around Yangon.

After Dead Woman’s Pass

This is one of my favourite photos. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s downhill and I like walking downhill.  This was also taken when we had just finished hiking up to Dead Woman’s pass on the Inca Trail. It’s the highest point and I was out of shape – I was glad that it was over!

Starting Santa Cruz

This is the beginning of the Santa Cruz trek in the Cordillera Blanca mountains in Peru. This must be one of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever hiked. We were lucky and met some great people on this trip too!

Volcano Above the Clouds

This is a volcano we spotted on our hike down Mount Ijen in east Java.  The sun was coming up and we could see a few volcanoes poking up through the clouds. It’s a stunningly beautiful part of Indonesia.

Mountain Spotting

This is Mount Lefroy – at least, I think it is! (Please correct me if I’m wrong!) It’s one of the mountains we came across while walking the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail near Lake Louise. It’s a beautiful hike. We had tea at the St Agnes Tea House as it was late in the day.  The tea house at […]

The Tastiest Soba Noodles in the World!

Mmmmmm mmmmmmm!!!!!!!  I don’t usually enjoy soba noodles that much but these were amazing! This is a tempura noodle dish from a restaurant called Ebisu in Takayama.  It’s a small soba restaurant that’s been in the area for over 100 years. They were by far the tastiest soba noodles that we ate in Japan.  I also loved the English menu […]

Yatai at the Takayama Matsuri

This is a float or “yatai” being displayed for the spring matsuri festival in Takayama, Japan. The festival is held for two days twice a year. Once in spring and once in autumn.  If the weather is good, the yatai are taken out of their storehouses and paraded around town.  There are several floats, all are beautiful and ornate.  Some are […]

Taditional Houses in Shirakawa-go, Japan

Here’s a traditional house in Shirakawa-go, Japan. I loved these houses! It’s a pretty cool area to visit. I’d love to spend more time in the mountains next time I go back to Japan. There was a lot of snow around and many of the trails weren’t open when we were there in April. You can also stay in one […]

Wandering Around the Golden Temple

This is the Golden Temple in Amritsar.  Amritsar is a cool town in the Punjab, not far from the India-Pakistan border.  I’d always wanted to visit the Golden Temple. Fortunately, it’s one of those places that ended up being far more wonderful than I had imagined. I loved wandering around this place. You can hear music and people praying. It’s […]

The Elephant

Here’s an elephant having a bath in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. It’s a brilliant place to see elephants as there are so many there.

Canyon de Chelly

This is Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. It’s part of Navajo Nation which I didn’t know much about before I visited. You can drive into the canyon if you have a guide or you can walk down yourself. Would love to go back and explore it properly.

Autumn Colours

I love Autumn. It’s one of my favourite times of year. I got to visit Westonbirt Arboretum a few days ago. It’s near the Cotswolds and well worth a visit, especially at this time of year. The colours are beautiful!

Glacial Lakes

This is a, well basically, out of focus panorama of a glacial lake we encountered while hiking the Besseggen Ridge in Norway. I’d dreamed of hiking it for years. It was harder than I thought – I felt like I was rock climbing up a cliff at some points! It was worth the effort though

Half Dome Satisfaction

This is Andrew on our way back from climbing the Half Dome.  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and the views from the top were stunning.  It rained torrentially that afternoon which caused a huge rock fall.  I was soaking wet and freezing cold by the time we got back to camp.

Boats in Vancouver Harbour

I loved Vancouver.  We didn’t have much time there (story of my life), but I enjoyed walking around the city.  There are lots of green spaces and amazing places to eat and drink.  I can see why it’s consistently rated as one of the best cities in the world to live in.

Clear Ocean Water on the Gili Islands

This is the clear ocean water just off Gili Trawangan.  The coral off the north east of the island is good for snorkelling.  It is very sharp and shallow though, so it’s painful to get out there! There are some half decent sandy beaches in Gili Trawangan but they are rapidly being built on, and quickly disappearing.

The Flowing River

This flowing river was shot on a walk near Paradise Creek, not far from Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada.  I saw my first ever north American porcupine here and had no idea what it was! It was pretty close to us, munching away on some leaves. It’s an amazing creature.

Mirror-like Reflections on Lake Annette

This is Lake Annette in Jasper National Park.  We were driving around manically trying to see as many of the beautiful lakes as possible while the sun was shining.  We had to drive another 6-7 hours to Kamloops that day so we didn’t have much time. This is my second panorama ever.  There is lots wrong with it to be […]

Avalanche Lake

This is Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park in Montana.  It’s a huge park.  We were there early in the season and the Going-to-the-Sun road was still closed.  I hope I get to go back there one day! It had been raining heavily by the time we arrived, so the walk up to this lake was pretty muddy.  It wasn’t […]

Offerings on the Ganges

These are some offerings we lit in Varanasi.  They’re little flowers with candles in them which we laid down to float on the Ganges. Varanasi is a fascinating place. I miss India. It can be a challenging country to travel around.  The poverty is confronting.  It’s an aggressive society to live in.  Although, maybe my opinion’s been coloured by what I’ve read. […]

Torres del Paine

This is the path to Mirador Cuernos in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. It’s one of the most scenic places I’ve ever visited. It’s also one of the windiest! The wind in Torres del Paine is crazy!  Gusts would appear from nowhere, knocking us down like demons.  We could hardly stand up, let alone walk, at some […]

Patricia Lake

This is Patricia Lake in Jasper National Park, Canada.  The weather wasn’t great when we were in Canada and a lot of trails were closed.  We had a few sunny spells – this was one of them. We saw some beautiful scenery in Canada.  Although, the national parks were packed with bus loads of tourists.  It was very different to […]

Masai Mara Lion

This is a young lion we came across in the Masai Mara in Kenya. It’s definitely the best place to see the “Big Five” which include the African elephant, black rhinoceros, cape buffalo, lion and leopard. We saw them all within a few hours of arriving. To be honest, I thought I’d get bored of driving around, trying to spot […]

Stormy Weather at Bryce Canyon National Park

Here are some wild clouds in Bryce Canyon!  This national park is one of my favourites.  It was so peaceful compared to Zion, far quieter, and freezing cold!  There was still snow on the ground in some places.  It’s high up at around 2,500m/8,500 ft.  We walked around a lot and found it quiet hard to breathe in some places. […]

Hiking up Tunupa Volcano

This is a guy in our group making his way up Tunupa Volcano. Tunupa is a dormant volcano that lies above the salt flats in Bolivia. This part’s about 5,000m up. It started to get pretty steep at this point. I was exhausted and hadn’t been well for a few days. I probably shouldn’t have done it but I’m glad […]

Sunset on Gili Air

This is a sunset on Gili Air, a tiny island near Lombok, Indonesia. You can see Mount Agung on Bali in the distance. The lady on the right went out and stood in the water for about twenty minutes. I hoped that she was alright. 20 years ago the Gili Islands would have been beautiful.  Now they are very busy […]

Autumn In Jiuzhaigou 

This is Jiuzhaigou National Park in China. It’s around a 10-12 hour drive from Chengdu, less to Xi’an. It’s one of the most scenic places I’ve ever visited. We missed the peak of the fall colours but the park was still stunning. Would love to go back.  

The White Rim Road

This is the windy section of the 100-mile White Rim Road. I think it’s called the Shafer Trail.  The road loops around and below the Island in the Sky and provides beautiful views of the surrounding area.  You need a permite and a 4X4 to drive it.  Some people even mountain bike it!  Trips usually take 2-3 days by vehicle or 3-4 days […]

Norwegian Dreams in Lustrafjord

The weather wasn’t great when we were in Norway.  But we had a few hours here and there when the sun was shining.  This photo was taken between the quaint village of Skjolden and Solvorn.  It was the day after we had finished hiking the Besseggen Ridge and I was pretty tired still! Lustrafjord is the innermost arm of the […]

Tower Bridge on a Cold Winter’s Evening

I love walking along the Thames. It’s one of my favourite things to do in London. This photo was taken on a freezing Saturday night (rock and roll!), shortly after I’d bought my first tripod. It’s not the sturdiest of tripods but perfect for backpacking. I’ve loved using it. I grew up mistakingly calling Tower Bridge “London Bridge”… I even […]

Prayer Flags on the Friendship Highway in Tibet

This is a road sign that we came across on the Friendship Highway on our way from Lhasa to Nepal.  It’s one of the highest roads in the world.  Its highest pass is above 5,000m – I was feeling a bit nauseous by that point! Tibet is one of the most magical places I’ve visited. There’s a unique culture there although […]

The Road to Monument Valley

Here’s the road to Monument Valley.  We drove down from the north after we’d visited the Canyonlands.  The weather was crazy when we were in Utah – lots of storm. I loved the clouds! They looked so majestic.

The View from the Mirage in Las Vegas

Here’s another photo from Las Vegas. The Mirage hotel has a “volcano” that regularly “erupts” after the sun goes down. It’s pretty tacky but I went to see it 3-4 times! Here’s the view from the Mirage.  You can see the Palazzo and the Venetian and a few casinos on the Strip. I loved Las Vegas!

Arriving in Las Vegas

Vegas Baby! I loved Las Vegas! I wasn’t sure what to expect but I found it fascinating! Most of our time was spent catching up with a great friend who serendipitously happened to be over from Australia at the same time. Would love to go back! Here’s a photo of the Las Vegas Boulevard sign at night, near the Flamingo […]

Wandering the Streets of the Old Samurai District

Here’s a photo I took while wandering around Nagamachi, the old Samurai District of Kanazawa.  Kanazawa was somehow spared the bombing that engulfed much of Japan during the second world war.  As a result, it’s one of the few places in Japan where you can visit a genuine Samurai house.

Under the Majestic Redwood Trees at Redwood National Park

Here’s Andrew standing under some beautifully tall Redwood Trees. I was pretty non-plussed about visiting this park to be honest. I’m not sure why, I just didn’t think it would be all that. How wrong could I have been! I was mesmerised! Walking through the forest of these super old giants was a pretty humbling experience. Would love to go […]

Storm Chasing in the Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA

I take far too many photos. I love photography. Problem is, it’s difficult to get round to processing them. And then it seems kind of pointless. Why take photos if no one’s ever going to see them. So, providing that I have internet access, I’ve decided to try and post at least one photo a day. Will see how long […]

Benefits of Meditation – Why and How

Meditation has changed my life.  I don’t really understand how it works – all I know is that meditating on a daily basis, has brought me and those around me lots of benefits.  I’m a much calmer person, and I’m urging everyone I know to get on it! Don’t get me wrong, I can still be a crazy bitch when I […]

Best Buses in Argentina

I’d heard people rave about the long haul buses in Argentina, “they’re like business class flights” I was told, “you’ll love them!”. So, I was pretty disappointed when our first long haul bus journey was on an average looking bus with a stinky broken toilet with the heating cranked up to sauna temperatures. Here’s a take on what I believe […]

London’s Best Museums

There are so many great museums in London, big and small.  Most are free – it’s one of the best things about London.  It means that you can return as many times as you want, (although donations are encouraged). So, here are my favourites, what I believe are London’s best museums: British Museum, Russell Square This place is vast and […]

Planning v Making It Up As You Go Along

There’s a lot of discussion about the level of planning you should do before embarking on a trip. If you’re leaving for a two week trip then you might want to plan most of your trip to save money on trying to figure it out where you’ll stay and what you’ll do when you’re out there.  Any longer then that […]

Can you get to Foz do Iguazu from Bonito?

So can you really get from Foz do Iguazu from Bonito on public transport?  Yes you can.  It isn’t a direct bus so you’ll have to change but it’s easy to do and a well travelled route. We weren’t sure of this either.  Our guide book didn’t have much information but buses ply this route daily. When does the bus […]

Best Pubs in Central London

So what makes a good pub?  For me, it’s a variety of beers, an atmospheric place, polite staff and if I’m lucky, some good food.   There are thousands of pubs in London, and I’ve been to far too many of them!  Here are some of my best pubs in central London: Covent Garden The Harp, this place gets so […]

Best British Restaurants in London

It’s surprisingly hard to find a decent restaurant in London that concentrates on British food.  Here are some of my best British restaurants in London at the moment: Quality Chop House (Farringdon) Atmospheric, unpretentious with an old school class.  There’s no menu, just 3 courses of sublime food and a decent wine list.  The bar next door also serves food and […]

How to Buy London Theatre Tickets

London is renowned for its world class theatre.  Some of the best actors in the world grace London’s stages and the quality of the productions is always high. How much do theatre tickets cost?   Tickets are expensive with premium seats at around £80 each, over £150 for opera and ballet venues. If you’re not worried about what you’re going […]

Best French Restaurants in London

Most fine dining restaurants in London serve French food, and they are consistently good at it. Few Michelin star establishments offer anything different or exciting.  If you’ve had one well cooked pork belly, how good can another one be?  Thankfully there are a few cheaper and more interesting places popping up.  Here are some of my favourites: Cheaper than Michelin […]

Best Indian Restaurants in London

I love Indian food.  I’ve been to India a few times and have a long standing relationship with the food there! Fortunately I live in London where you can get some excellent Indian food. Here are the best Indian restaurants in London for me so far: My favourite Indian restaurant is Durbar in Bayswater.  The karai and Lorient Special Chicken are delicious.  It’s […]

Best Pubs in South East London

For me South East London will always be home to my favourite London craft beer. There are so many craft breweries here now that you really are spoilt for choice. Here are my best pubs in south east London at the moment: LONDON BRIDGE Market Porter, one of the few places where you can get a pint at 6am.  This […]

Best Pubs in East London

There are so many great pubs in East London now – it’s hard to keep up with them all.  If you’re not already living in East London, it’s easier to get there than you think with the east London line. Here are my best pubs in east London at the moment: Earl of Essex (Islington) It had an amazing range of beers […]

Best Historical Buildings in London

I always took old buildings for granted until I met so many Australians. Here are the best historical buildings in London to visit: Buckingham Palace If you’re in London during the 3 months that this place is open then it’s worth buying tickets. It’s not every day you get a chance to visit one of the most iconic buildings in the […]

Best Wine Bars in London

I LOVE wine!  All kinds.  Below are some of the best wine bars in London, the best places to taste, drink and buy vino: 1707 at Fortnum & Mason have a superb selection of wines and some well crafted and interesting wine flights – far more exciting than going out for one drink! The bar is usually open until 8pm last […]

Best Sunday Roasts in London

The problem with going out for Sunday lunch, is that it’s never as good as what I’ve had at home, (one of the reasons I’ve stayed with my partner so long is because he’s such a good cook). Exceptions are few and far between but here they are – my best Sunday roasts in London: Royal Oak (Borough, near London Bridge) Good […]

Best Tapas in London

There are so many sub-standard Spanish restaurants in London.  Care must be taken when one selects a place to dine.  Here;s where you should go for some of the best tapas in London: Mind Blowing Tapas For phenomenal tapas, there are two places which are in a league of their own.  In both cases, arrive early or be prepared to queue: Jose near London […]

Best Art Galleries in London

If you like art, you are spoilt for choice in London.  The following are mainly FREE (although donations are encouraged) which means you don’t have to feel pressured into seeing everything in one go. Here are my best art galleries in London: National Gallery This is one of the best art galleries in the world and if you like art, you […]

Independent Travel vs Tour Group Travel – Which is Best?

I’ve been lucky, I’ve travelled a lot. Some of those trips have been on organised tours, the rest I organised independently. There are lots of advantages in taking a tour, same with going it alone. Sometimes the choice is clear. For example, a tour may be compulsory in some destinations, like climbing Kilimanjaro or travelling around Tibet. Other times, it’s not […]

Five Reasons to Not Put Off Expensive Experiences

I’ve written before about why we should all travel more sooner rather than later. I’m currently in Japan, an expensive country which I put off visiting for years. But Japan is one of the most amazing places I’ve visited to date! I recently started thinking about why I had put off so many expensive experiences for so long, and why it […]

How to Plan Your Dream Trip

I’m always surprised to see courses set up to help people travel. By all means, if you find these services useful, sign up and pay for them. I really don’t think it’s that difficult however. Here is my take on how to plan your dream trip in 9 easy steps. 1. Figure Out Where You Want to Go If you had all […]

The Best Parks in London

Unlike some other big cities in the world, London is lucky to have lots of green spaces.  These are what my NYC friends miss most – the best parks in London: (Pollen levels vary year to year, they can be high as early as April in some years.  Take an antihistamine or eye drops if you’re eyes are watering – […]

Best Burgers in London

For me a good burger has to be made from good beef (no gristle thank you!) has a decent amount of seasoning, a good sauce, is nicely grilled on the outside and not overcooked on the inside. Getting into a burger joint in London in the evening can feel like trying to get into a club at 11pm on a […]

Useful Things to Pack for Your Trip

My Ultimate Packing list is here, but there are also other useful things to pack for your trip depending on what you might be thinking of doing. Here are a few tips: 1. Hiking Gear If you’re doing any walking, then good reasonably priced, non-fake hiking equipment will be best bought before you leave.  Cheap fakes are abundant in all hiking destinations […]

What Not to Pack When Travelling!

We’ve all dragged things on holiday with us only to never use them. I’ve spent months and months travelling around the world.  Here are a few things that might seem like a good idea but you REALLY don’t need. 1. Money Belt Money belts are a useful depository for your valuables while they are in your bag but that’s about it. Most articles will […]

Choosing the Best Rucksack for a Round the World Trip

I’m often asked for recommendations on what to pack on extended trips. My Ultimate Packing List is here, but where do you start? Here is what you need to think about, before you even start thinking about packing, or choosing the best rucksack. I know….if you’re busy saving to go travelling, the last thing you want to hear is that you […]

The Ultimate Packing List

Don’t forget, if in doubt, keep it out! Once you’ve chosen and bought your rucksack, fill it with the following. This is my ultimate one and only packing list for big trips: (For more Useful Things You Might Need to Pack, click here. Here’s also my list of things you think you might need, but you really don’t! You might also want […]

My Favourite London Food Markets

If I were to die and go to heaven, it would look like Borough Market (Thursday/Friday/Saturday).  Probably the busiest and most touristy of all London food markets but I love it, (even more now that it’s got bigger). About a 20 minute walk away, you have Maltby Street Market. Home to Bad Brownie, who make the most delicious brownies in the world, […]

Tips for Finding Accommodation

Finding accommodation can be time consuming and stressful, even if you do it in advance. Maximize your chances of finding good quality, cheap accommodation by following these tips: 1. Organise in advance when it counts Be aware of periods when there will be high demand for accommodation. For example, Chinese new year in China or Easter in Europe. During those […]

Tips for a Great South America Itinerary

When we were planning our trip to South America, we knew we would be pushed for time but didn’t quite realise how much! Time and travel is personal. Some can afford lots of internal flights, others are disgusted by people doing “highlight” tours, and insist on staying for three months in each country. You’ll figure out what’s best for you, […]

Read this Before Booking a Salt Flats Tour

If you’re in Bolivia or the far north of Argentina or Chile, you really can’t miss visiting the Salt Flats. Contrary to what I expected, it isn’t just one big white area – expect emerald green lakes, volcanic landscapes, amazing rock formations, bubbling pools of sulphurous mud, and gorgeous pink flamingo specked lagoons – it is stunningly beautiful! Visiting the area […]

Kilimanjaro Packing List

Here’s the packing list which got us to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. We were backpacking before and after our Kili hike so weight was a huge issue for is. We were planning on doing more trekking too, so whatever we took with us was going to be with us for a long time…. Unless you are a keen walker/camper, (or […]

How to Get to the Top of Kilimanjaro

Walking up Kilimanjaro is not cheap. It costs thousands of dollars. Want to spend all that money and time training only to walk down the mountain with your tail between your legs? That would be embarrassing, and depressing! Yet it happens to thousands of people every year. So how do you get to the top of Kilimanjaro? Maximise your chances […]

How to Buy Indian Train Tickets – All You Need to Know

Turn up at the station and just buy them – yes?  No. If you’re used to making your trip up as you go along, travelling on the trains in India is not for you. Regardless of what the movie, Darjeeling Limited, may lead you to believe, gone are the days when you can spontaneously buy a ticket, hop on to a train and […]

How to Organise a Safari

Unless you have lots of money and are happy for Audley or Abercombie & Kent on call, organising a safari can be extremely stressful. Everything is expensive, and TripAdvisor is littered with fake reviews. In the absence of personal recommendations, so where do you start? How do you organise a safari? When do you want to go? Knowing when you will be travelling can […]

Iguazu Falls – Which Side is Better?

Iguazu Falls is one of the natural wonders of the world. It is huge, and sits across three countries – Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. It’s easy to visit both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides of the falls. Both are very different experiences, so it’s worth visiting both. The Brazilian side is known for sweeping views of the falls, whereas on the Argentinian […]

The Danger that is Russian Vodka

We were warned about drinking vodka with the Russians. We were warned how impolite it was to refuse offers of hospitality. We just weren’t prepared for such a painful experience so early in our Trans-Siberian trip… Beware. I almost died! On the morning of our first day of our five day non-stop stint on the train from St Petersburg to […]

Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway

How Much Time Do You Need? How much time can you take off? We could only take two and a half weeks, so spent three days each in St Petersburg, Irkutsk, Mongolia (not enough at all), and a couple of days in Beijing (could have spent longer). Take more time if you have it. Consider stopping off at Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Suzdal, […]

W Trek – How to get to Torres del Paine

Getting to Torres del Paine can be a bit of a mission, but it’s well worth it. If you don’t have your own vehicle then you’ll need to get a bus from Puerto Natales.  Puerto Natales is a 3 hour bus ride from Punta Arenas or a 6 hour bus ride from El Calafate. You can fly to either from […]

W Trek – Is Grey II Worth the Money?

The Grey II is a tourist boat that leaves Hosteria Lago Grey and makes it way up Lago Grey to collect people near Refugio Grey.  The boat then makes it way up to Glacier Grey so that tourists can get a closer look at the glacier while drinking a pisco sour made with ice from the glacier.  It then returns […]

How to See the Gorillas in Rwanda

Seeing mountain gorillas in Rwanda in the wild is one of the most memorable experiences you can have. Here’s how you can do it: Where do you need to go? You can see gorillas in their natural environment in Rwanda and Uganda. Parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo are a possibility, but the political situation is volatile at the moment. Best time to […]

W Trek – Which is the Best Route to Take

1. The Boring but Essential Bit – DO NOT SKIP This is tedious but you’ll gain a lot from spending a couple of minutes looking at the W Trek map (above).  It is a bit out of date but is useful to look at while you are reading this post.  It also has useful approximate walking distances. The red line is […]

W Trek – Accommodation and Camping

There are several accommodation options on the W Trek. Refugios Refugios are basically expensive up market hostels at Glaciar Grey, Paine Grande, Los Cuernos, El Chileno, and near Hosteria Las Torres (where there are two, Refugio Torre Central and a smaller one called Refugio Torre Norte). In refugios you stay in dorm rooms with between 6-9 beds in each room with shared bathroom […]

Hiking the W Trek – All You Need to Know

First of all, make sure you’re aware of the highlights. It’s a tough walk but nothing that a reasonably fit person can’t handle especially if you’re not camping and carrying 15kgs of gear on your back. Dealing with the wind People talk a lot about the wind in Patagonia.  I didn’t really know what to expect but I’ve never experienced […]

Hiking the W Trek – Difficulty and Highlights

The W trek is a multi-day trek through Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia (see below for details on how to get there). It’s called the “W” trek because the walk traces the shape of a “W”. There are other legs that you can add on to do a whole circuit, the “O”. There is also a “tail”, best done as […]

Myanmar Travel – What Travelling in Burma is Like

Why go? Burma/Myanmar is a beautiful country with a wealth of things to see and do.  It is like no where else in the world and we loved it (despite getting sick for a few days, which pretty much everyone we met did too)!  The country’s changing all the time, and developing quickly, so visit sooner rather than later if […]

Best Places in Myanmar – Burma Trip Planning

So what are the best places in Myanmar? Where should you stay and how long should you stay in each place?  The list below indicates how long I’d recommend you need in various places in Burma/Myanmar. How do you book accommodation? It’s becoming easier to book online via Booking.com or using e-mail.  However, some places still need you or someone […]

All You Need to Know About Overland Travel

Wear dirty clothes, don’t shower for a few days, stay on a bus with the same strangers for over twelve hours a day, (a few of which must be able to get on your nerves), and at night sleep in a tent with one of the loudest snorers you’ll ever meet a couple of feet away for you – you’ll get a […]

Dragoman v Intrepid Overland Travel – Which is Best?

We did one 17 day trip with Intrepid Overland Travel to Rwanda and Uganda, and then a trip that took 42 days with Dragoman from Zanzibar to Cape Town.  If you’re trying to choose between Dragoman or Intrepid for an overlanding trip, I would recommend Dragoman. (Intrepid sell Dragoman trips – the trip code usually has a D in it […]

DSLR Travel Tips

Should you really bother taking a big conspicuous DSLR camera on vacation with you, even if you’re going to potentially dangerous or non-camera friendly places? Yes. Definitely. If you have one – take it. They aren’t the most subtle of cameras, and I wouldn’t walk around some cities with my DSLR hanging off my arm. Despite the extra weight, I would have deeply regretted […]

Changing USD with the Blue Dollar Exchange Rate

If you are a tourist visiting Argentina, bring plenty of US dollar notes with you.  To get the best exchange rate, exchange the US dollars using the blue dollar exchange rate – a more favourable exchange rate than the official one. In 2012/2013 the blue dollar rate was 50-60% higher than the official rate.  This meant that tourists saved 50-60% […]

The Best Books I Read in 2014

I read quite a bit this year. Here are the books I found most useful and/or interesting: Random and Interesting The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – This should be read by anyone wanting to be in the slightest bit creative. The Big Short by Michael Lewis – The film is very good but the book is better. I […]

How to Deal with Recruitment Agencies

For most of us, dealing with recruitment agencies will be an inevitable part of getting a job. It’s by no means the best way to land your dream job, but if you’re starting out and have few connections, it might be your best bet. Using agents can be advantageous. Agencies are often notified of vacancies, sometimes before many in the […]

Why Permanent Jobs Are Overrated

Many people can’t understand why I chose not to have a permanent job. When I started working fixed term contracts, I was surrounded by Australians contracting on working holiday visas. It didn’t feel like a crazy thing to do. When I resigned from my permanent job, my friends and family where shocked. Years later, some of them still can’t understand it. “When […]

The Madness of Our Hours Culture

Lawyers love time. Time is money. Most lawyers record every minute spent interacting or “working” on a client’s matter. Time is measured in units of six minutes. (Although, even if something  takes two minutes, one unit will still be recorded). Give them a call and send them an email, and before you know it, you’ve spent a few hundred (plus tax) […]

Reasons to Travel – Why You Should Go

I’m still getting used to being home and catching up with friends. Some people have no interest in our trip, others are too bitter to enquire.  But, among the usual, “What was your favourite country?”, and “Would you do it again?” questions from the generous few who ask, I’m constantly hearing “I really want to go travelling”, “I so wish I could […]

How to Be More Positive

Being more positive is easier said than done right.  For some people anyway. I’ll discuss that in a second, but here are a few things that have transformed my outlook into a consistently positive one: 1. Change Your Attitude Forget the “woe is me” syndrome which is so common among so many people in the developed world.  Some people are never […]

How to Get out of Work on Time

We all need money, and for those not constantly snowboarding or sipping mojitos in Havana while living off an inheritance/trust funds/lottery winnings, most of us are going to have to get a job. Obviously, we should love our jobs so much, that we would be at our happiest in the office, not want any work life balance, and spend every […]

Gratitude Journal Challenge

You may have seen the “Gratitude Challenge” that was recently making the rounds on Facebook. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal, documenting things I’ve been grateful for on a daily basis for about two years now.  It’s a valuable exercise and has definitely made me happier. I use the simple Gratitude Journal app so that all my entries are backed up in […]

Is Travel Worth It?

Twelve months in, homeless, jobless, savings severely depleted, and any chance of getting a mortgage in the near future completely screwed. People talk about having no regrets – I’m not one of those people.  I have loads of regrets! I’ve made so many mistakes! The important thing is to take note, learn, and try to not repeat the same errors…. […]

Why Travel Now and Not Later

Sleeping in hostels, and sharing bathrooms is not for everyone, but even if I was going to be travelling in luxury, many people couldn’t understand why I would choose to take an extended break at this time in my life. After all, work was good, I loved where we lived, I had started to save for a mortgage deposit, why […]

Travel Chaos – The Truth About Setting Off

Having spoken to everyone I know who had travelled, read countless blogs and books, researched countless websites and created a myriad spreadsheets and lists, we were pretty prepared – or so I thought…. With our departure date set, I was looking forward to de-cluttering my flat, catching up with friends for relaxing goodbye meals, heading over to the airport early, chilling […]

Life Changing Books – The Best Non-Fiction

Despite the joy I derived from reading as a child, between starting my A levels and 2010, I read very few books.  Uni and law school were four years of stress – juggling studies, work, debt, a drinking problem, and homelessness. It wasn’t a happy time. Afterwards, I worked in a law firm, and was regularly exhausted by the long working hours […]