Travel Writing Competition 2010 Entries

A travel moment in Cuba

The film Motorcycle Diaries got me dreaming ....... South America ...... the open road. But the continent is massive and I’ve never ridden a motorbike. Think Che; think Cuba. Motor-biking in Cuba! From Santiago in the...

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A travel moment in Eden

I rarely travel. I have, in fact, never left the country. It’s my greatest dream to see the world, to experience the places, cultures, foods, and people just outside my hometown and the consumer-based conformity that...

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An encounter with a Tiger in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal

A tiger’s roar ripped the silence, horrifyingly loud and deep, otherworldly. A momentary blaze of orange flashed through the long grass below our feet. The elephant on which we sat trumpeted, its lumbering body suddenly...

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A Day In Conakry

“I’ll have this,” I said, pointing at the extensive menu. “Sorry Sir, we do not have that tonight,” said the waiter patiently. “Ok then, I’ll have this instead.” “Sorry Sir, we do not have that.”

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A day with a seaside idyll

Gokarna on India’s west coast is a much loved beach destination. It’salso one that plays hard to get, for it’s not easy to see the best parts of Gokarna. The town lies 9km away from the Goa-Mangalore highway on a narrow...

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A journey

Kamizierz on a bitter January morning, few people or tourists and i’m here on Ulica Szeroca the heart of Jewish Krakow, “well, perhaps once”...

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A little girl laughed

Few years ago we were admitted to the university to follow-up the course in architecture. Thereafter travelling became a day-today activity. Once we were to photograph some door locks. As we have decided earlier I met my...

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A Magical Experience

Two thousand and fifty six metres high and all that would keep me from plummeting into the thick bushes of the Costa Rican rainforest was a small metal rope. The man fastened my buckle and...

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A Moment Of A Lifetime

WOW, WHAT A GREAT VACATION WE HAD THIS SUMMER! Now that’s not to say that all of our OTHER summer vacations were nothing special; it’s just that THIS...

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A Night of Tradition

Being in the resort of Sunny Beach, we were keen to get a taste of the ‘real’ Bulgaria and were quick to get ourselves on the excursion aptly titled ‘A Night of Tradition’...

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A Night to Remember

Getting there was not easy. I had looked at the map. I could walk a long loop around the coast, which would doubtless have been wondrously scenic in the way that the Greek Cephalonian coast is; blue sea, white surf, chalky cliffs...

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A People Untouched

At 5am, perched on the teetering edge of one of six great Copper Canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara, Chihuahua province, Mexico, the Divisadero Barrancas looked out across three of the currently cloud...

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A Precious Memory

Playful breezes, a sensation of fairy kisses dancing around my bare shoulders as I left our motorhome in a parking bay to walk across one of the long stretches of road crossing the Nullabor. Far from being...

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A Scent of Death

I could see the red splashes and wiggling stripes of blood in their eyes as they glared down at me, enraged. Fury and resentment was on exhibit on all six of their faces. Anger’s fire was reddening this

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A Sense of Achievement

From the moment I awoke that morning, I’d been wondering why I’d let my husband talk me into this insane “adventure”. Too late now. Our group of eight, donning wetsuits, hardhats and wellies had undergone a session of...

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A Tour through Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia: A Land of Extremes

A vast expanse of crisp whiteness stretched out before me as I steppedout of the jeep. Dazzlingly bright, the gleaming salt contrasted spectacularly against the bright, blue sky and backdrop of craggy, snow-capped peaks...

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A Train Wreck

A loveable country where eyes soothingly twinkle, engulfed by deep lines telling bed time stories. Matchstick boxes tower either side; silver topped mountains age gracefully, embracing us from...

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A travel moment along the Yangtze River

Finishing up my breakfast at 6am which consisted of bamboo, snails and various other weird and wonderful Chinese delicacies the Captain came over the loud speaker advising all passengers to proceed to the main deck...

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A travel moment in Africa

I was a soul seeking the perfect refuge. I wandered high and low to find the promised sanctuary. The search took me to Africa. I travelled it through and through finding many a places, wonderful and awe-inspiring. But the perfect...

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A travel moment in Aleppo

We shook off the government agent in Aleppo, the strange, suited, middle-aged man who had bought us tea and shadowed us through the city. We twigged who he was fairly quickly, but he was still hard to get rid of. He did gain...

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A travel moment in Australia

Piecing the boxes and bags like a 3D puzzle back into the boot of "Albi" it suddenly dawned on me how lucky we were that it was the back tyre that blew and not a front when driving at 70MPH . The girls came running...

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A travel moment in Barcelona

Barcelona. No matter what accent is uttering this word, it conjures up thoughts of excitement, vibrancy and festivity. I had been recommended to visit the city by my parents, and so, for once I took their advice and with best...

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A travel moment in Belize

It’s early as we walk along the white, sandy path to the harbour. The sun, rising and unhindered by cloud, already baking our skin. We pass our friends Stanley, Fredlocks and Chico from the first day on...

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A travel moment in Borneo

We move like wraiths, more through desperation than necessity, he already knows we are here, we can’t see him yet but a rustle of bushes, a snapped twig, he’s there. Mike points to the top of the path...

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A travel moment in Botswana

"The sun was tearing apart the sky in the west, shredding it into thin strips of red and gold. Soon there would be no sky left; just a big, shredded darkness where the light used to be. Our boat hovered in the current...

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A travel moment in Brisbane

I remember stepping off the plane and for the first time in 20 odd hours I could actually feel both of my legs working. I guess I almost forgot how that felt! Having the use of my legs back was a blessing, being on my own...

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A travel moment in Bucharest

As a child I spent happy hours gazing at the sky and the beautiful white ribbons trailing behind planes full of people that I could not see, heading for somewhere I could not imagine. Fed on a diet of bike rides and lashings...

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A travel moment in Budapest

The train was modern, the seats wider than those on a London commuter train although that’s really not saying much. The inspector punched my ticket as I gazed out at the exhaustive wheat fields and their startled rabbits...

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A travel moment in Cambodia

“You been to Angkor Watt yet lady?” a small Cambodian child stutters, “8th wonder of the world” his friend proudly proclaims. From the eldest grandparent to the youngest child, Cambodians have an...

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A travel moment in Connemara

‘That cow’s looking at me,’ grumbles Laurie suspiciously. ‘No it isn’t,’ I say firmly, and we drive on. There’s no shortage of cows – shifty-looking or otherwise – on the coastal road between Clifden and...

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A travel moment in Cymru

The car journey from London was fantastic. Once we crossed the border into ‘Cymru’ the landscape gradually became greener and hillier, with more treacherous roads and an abundance of sheep (and roadkill)...

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A travel moment in Dominican Republic

In Dominican Republic, the locals were friendly, helpful, anxious to earn the tourist dollar. My sister and I decided to explore the surrounding island waters. We opted for the half-day glass-bottom boat tour, including...

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A travel moment in Egypt

Things were not going well. Things had not been going well since our departure from Luxor and I’d been threatened with police arrest by a cantankerous ticket seller-cum-con artist who had just shamelessly swindled us...

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A travel moment in Elqui Valley

In the magical groves of the Elqui Valley we are surrounded by harsh, black mountains that mark the Atacama desert beyond. But if you look in rather than out you find yourself in an autumnal paradise of...

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A travel moment in Florida

It’d been 2 months now that I was living and working in Florida and a week off, meant a road trip from Orlando to Miami, it was exciting already!

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A travel moment in Hong Kong

A friend of mine sent me an email and asked if being in Hong Kong was a culture shock. I stared at the words for a moment and then laughed, replying that I feel quite at home here. That is the thing that has surprised me most...

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A travel moment in Ibiza

I went to live in Ibiza for the summer this year, like many other young people do, however not many of us have truly seen the island. Summer months spent lying on white sandy beaches, and swimming with shoals of silver fish...

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A travel moment in Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Camped in the jungle last night. Slept poorly. The webs of vines and branches trapped the wet air; the leaves flared out into any space they could claim. The insects turned strips of my exposed flesh a mottled, lumpy, red...

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A travel moment in Italy

Have you ever felt the pull of the past? Have you ever been taken body and soul to a place where everything meshes inside you, and you feel as though you’ve experienced one of Abraham Maslow’s iconic “peak moments”?

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A travel moment in Jaiselmer

I had never ridden a camel apart from a sedate, ten minute excursion on a dromedary at London Zoo when I was five. We walked into the camel park at the edge of Jaiselmer where about thirty camel drivers were waiting...

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A travel moment in Jordan

Jordan is a magical country with varied climate. It was +30*C in Aqaba at the Red Sea, +12 in Petra and +38 at the Dead Sea . Meanwhile, in Amman it was +5.Aqaba is the Riviera of Jordan, the only...

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A travel moment in Kauai

Waking up on the North Shore of Kauai on the first full day of our honeymoon, my bride and I decided it was time for some adventure…the pool could wait. Our destination was the much talked about and...

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A travel moment in Kerala

For many years now my passion has been riding my old BMW motorcycle around the Indian subcontinent. It has also been my way of escaping the English winter and keeping my aging bones supple! In south India, in the hills...

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A travel moment in Kilimanjaro

Ahead of me Kilimanjaro reared its crown above the mantle of cloud that shielded the Tanzanian savanna. This was what all the physical and mental torment had been for. This fifteen minutes with...

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A travel moment in Kolkata

Tonight my friend Nick and I went on a mission. We set out armed to the teeth with a mountain of paper bags containing various pakora, samosa, roti, chapati and baji. Our mission was to find those...

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A travel moment in Massaca

April 2006. Some of us had travelled for thirty hours to reach Massaca, a village south to Maputo in Mozambique. There were nine of us. You could have argued we were all good people. We were all...

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A travel moment in Mordor

‘Only twenty minutes to the top,’ says Tesfa, for the 5th time in the last hour or more and still agile himself, loaded with a growing weight of other people’s kit and cameras...

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A travel moment in Morocco

I revel in being anonymous. Well, as anonymous as a lone female can be in Morocco. I feel eyes on me questioning what I'm doing on my own. Am I lost? Where is my husband?

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A travel moment in Myanmar

Last year I took a trip to Myanmar with a good friend of mine. At the heart of the country, next to the city of Mandalay lies the ancient city of Bagan that hides an impressive number of ancient stupas...

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A travel moment in Nairobi

Both her parents were killed in the crash. Horrific tangled metal, the bus on its side windows smashed, a teddy bear swinging listless in a tree its button eyes watching the watchers. For days now the wreckage hung...

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A travel moment in Nakuru National Park

Traveling is my love, it what keep me going in this life. I am student at a college university in Kenya, my family and friends calls me a local travel maniac, and I like it, I have traveled in almost all the cities...

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A travel moment in Napa Valley

Seth and I were fast friends. We met when I was renting an upstairs bedroom in a Victorian house in the Napa Valley. The family that owned the house lived downstairs and rented out each bedroom...

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A travel moment in New York

Debbie Harry of Blondie was recentlly on TV on a biography programme on TV. She was describing her life with Chris Stein in New York in the late 1970s. They took a nostalgic walk to a club they used to play at waxed ...

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A travel moment in Paris

Last month I was at Kings Cross St. Pancras train station and I was going through the security procedure of getting scanned and X-rayed, before boarding the Euro-Star to Paris, when I had the pleasure of meeting the...

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A travel moment in Peru

We’d set off from the small village of Ollyantaytambo in Peru early that afternoon. The idyllic village was located in the middle of a valley which sat at the foot of the glowing, snow capped Andes...

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A travel moment in Peruvian Amazon

The air, stiff with 100% humidity, causes me to sweat profusely soaking my shirt. I'm trekking through the thick tropical rainforest of the Peruvian Amazon, inside the Pacaya-Samiria reserve as part of a team of...

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A travel moment in Pune

A still fairly traumatic travel moment was experienced when shopping in the city of Pune, India; in what will now be remembered as the trial of trying on... I wanted to buy a long traditional shirt (a kurta) that would...

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A travel moment in Pyrenees

When I woke I heard a pair of white Pyrenees as they scoured the perimeter of the farm in thick, frigid, sludgy darkness. The yogurt was frozen, I ate it anyways, and the grapefruit was cold and sweet. The crowing of...

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A travel moment in Rome

"A certain philosopher asked St. Anthony: Father, how can you be so happy when you are deprived of the consolation of books? Anthony replied: My book, O philosopher, is the nature of created things...

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A travel moment in San Francisco

The day had been nothing short of perfect. The sun was slowly setting behind San Francisco’s magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, casting one final tender ray of warmth before night time engulfed the city. As our ferry set off...

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A travel moment in San Jose

For the most part, it was the Pacific Coast sun which I relied upon to prize apart tired eyes. A chemical reaction followed, like a veteran warrior adorning his armor for battle - wrestle sleeping bag, scroll matt, pack...

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A travel moment in South Africa

The problems of South Africa were well documented before, and indeed throughout the month of the World Cup, and as a result, these issues were at the forefront of my mind throughout my visit. A trip to...

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A travel moment in Southern China

“Bamboo beautiful!” yelled another trader trying to sell us her tour. This lady stood out amid the general commotion for two reasons. First, she was younger than average and had a broad, complete...

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A travel moment in Sri Lanka

Years of internal civil conflict between the two main cultural groups (the Sinhalese and Tamil) in Sri Lanka has long kept this precious jewel of a country dormant for the world to explore freely. But eager...

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A travel moment in Sydney

As most travellers to Sydney will know you cannot go to Sydney and not visit Bondi beach. Especially if you worship the sun like I do. As I was staying in the city I needed to get the bus to...

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A travel moment in Thailand

The sea was choppy and a little bit rough. I was in Thailand on a live-aboard cruise in the Andaman Sea, which is one of the Top Ten dive resorts in the world. Amongst the more experienced divers...

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A travel moment in the Algarve

It wasn’t supposed to be an adventure. We were in the Algarve for a week of relaxation. Ron, Christine, Pauline and I crammed into our rented Fiat Uno and drove up into the hills to look at the cork trees...

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A travel moment in the Arctic

A black dot in the distance is all that breaks up the pure white landscape. As the ship trundles closer we see that it's a seal basking luxuriously in the frigid Arctic Sun. Nothing particularly noteworthy in that, and the warmth...

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A travel moment in the Czech Republic

Two incredibly moving, core shaking experiences; times of reflection where you hear that inner voice, ‘I can’t believe I’m here, this, the best day of my life.’ Hopefully you’ll be able to travel with me as you read, walk...

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A travel moment in the Himalayas

We were three days into our Himalayan adventure and our guides predicted that this day would be the toughest yet. Today we would be attempting Stok La, the highest pass we would climb before Summit Day at 4900m...

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A travel moment in the Kruger National Park

We are at the end of a dirt track, stationary in our safari truck, staring at the front end of a huge white rhinoceros. It is a stand-off; no-one is moving. The rhino is scraping its front hoof across the dusty...

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A travel moment in the Pyrenees

The evening was drawing closer as we drove towards our hotel in the Pyrenees. We pulled off the long and winding main road and into a side road. Marked as an A-road on the map it seemed to be a suitable route to take...

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A travel moment in Tobago

Being lucky enough to travel is one thing, but having the privalige to find the most breath taking spot surrounded by tranquilty and beautiful surroundings is another. If you are ever lucky enough to find such location is...

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A travel moment in Turkey

Turkey - a country that conjures up images of luscious ladies belly dancing, kebabs and good quality 'designer' copies of handbags and jeans. However Kayakoy epitomised everything good about the old...

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A travel moment in Vienna

I had not wanted to go to Vienna, the thought of its classical music and art galleries failed to excite me. I wanted to stay in Eastern Europe, the medieval architecture of Krakow, the Prague nightlife, the...

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A travel moment in Vietnam

Under a westering sun, dozens of fishing boats bob in the waves. I swimtowards them. Now a good 100 yards from shore, it is just me and the snacking, napping crews whose vessels dot the horizon...

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A travel moment in Wales

My first experience travelling on my own didn’t start very well; I lost my wallet on the train and spent the first few days dependent upon the wonderful people of the Betws-y-Coed Tourist...

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A travel moment in Western Sahara

Am driving down to the western Sahara from Agadir to Dakhla the roads are bad especially from Laayonne on wards. The road is narrow, pot holed with speeding drivers some in old cars that shouldn’t be road worthy and cameo...

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A travel moment on Hayling Island

Many may not see Hayling Island, England, as a holiday destination, but it’s amazing how many places and experiences are hidden right under out noses. Despite going to Hayling Island annually for the past 5 year...

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A travel moment on Manhattan Beach

I bit into the chunk of succulent white chocolate. It ravished my taste buds and sent a tingling sensation to the inner core of my right molar. Saliva trickled down the side of my mouth and I wiped it...

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A travel moment on the Inca Trail

After spending three months travelling through the vibrate culture of Rio, the beautiful country side of Salta and the hustle and bustle of La Paz, reaching the start of the Inca trail was truly the most fear jerking...

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A travel moment, Barcelona

It's May which means spring or primavera is here, at least that's what I believed starting this journey. But the weather took a turn for the worse with two days of sun out of a possible ten, which meant...

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A travel moment; stars

There are countless reasons why we are devoted to travel. For some, it’s the hot smell of the street under an amber sun, or the copper clatter of a sleeper train as it storms past emerald paddocks and infants lost in caprice...

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A Travellers Tale To The Lost World

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who travelled no further than a Lecture Theatre in London, has inspired many to attempt a journey to Angel Falls in Venezuela, to see for themselves if there really is a Lost World as he...

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A Weekend In Sao Paulo

I am always one for itchy feet. I crave new environments, new people, new experiences. So when my boyfriend invited me along on a seven week backpacking trip across South America with his friends, I...

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A Weekend Up The Amazon

Santarém on a Saturday night was never going to set the world on fire, but it’s a great place to watch the sun go down over the Amazon and Tapajós rivers, strolling along the waterfront, stopping at an open-air bar...

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After the Terracotta Warriors...

We were in Xi'an, at the heart of China's vast interior, one of its most ancient capitals and now most famous for being home to the Terracotta Army. And we were feeling flat. We'd been to see the army in a painfully hungover...

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An Indiana Jones Summer

We had been excavating for six weeks in Agua Blanca, Ecuador. Fresh minded and naïve Anthropology students, we had secretly hoped to uncover something “huge.” We didn’t care what this huge thing was going to be or what it was going...

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An Irritable Elephant Outing

"Today, elephant in very bad mood". This was not the welcome I was hoping for as I waited outside the guesthouse for my "lift" to the Chitwan National Park, especially given that my primary mode of transport for the day's...

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An Unexpected Highlight…

At 7pm the Saturday night that we arrived to pay for our tickets at St Micheal’s Parish Hall I had a few misgivings about the limited space. We were there for the Baddeck Gathering Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) on Cape...

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Bangkok Blues

How To Brave a Massage in Bangkok. In Asia’s number-one “sin city,” John M. Edwards gets no bang for the baht. A massage in Southeast Asia’s premier den of zen iniquity doesn’t always...

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Bangkok: March 2009

Like blank canvases sterilised by the plane, we ambled down Soi Rambuttri and soaked up the colours. My fringe was sticking to my forehead and sweat trickled down my back; even close to...

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Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore

Consuming books baring historical details of the Rennaissance and the Golden Age since I was old enough to read, Italy and all of her splendour has been the dream destination of a lifetime, and last...

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Bite Me Not Morocco

We were engulfed by Morocco, fortuitously perhaps, during the religious month of Ramadan. It was a privilege to witness the unwavering commitment of the Moroccan people to these age-old rituals, despite the eyes that dwelt upon...

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Breakfast at Villa Marita

In the early morning sunshine, wisps of cloud rolled up the flank of Volcan Barú, playing ever-changing games of light and shadow on the majestic peak. Beside me, perched on top of their cage...

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Breakfast in Bed

Imagine sitting up in bed early one morning in your sleeping compartment on the Orient Express – warm, snug and cosy. You look out of the window and see that you have woken to spectacular snow...

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Bugles And Dragons

‘Any minute now,’ whispered our 5yr. old, tense with anticipation. The dragon obliged, erupting into smoke and flames to an ‘Ah!’ from the waiting crowd. Our dragon was a bronze replica of the legendary...

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Camping with Caterpillars

An old lady emerged from the trees and hobbled towards us at the barrier. 'Buona sera, Signora. E aperto?' 'Si, aperto.' She nodded with a grin. Surprisingly strong she raised the heavy barrier and waved us up...

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Cheating my way to Zanzibar

I felt the gut-wrenching gnaw of guilt as I boarded my Coastal Airlinesflight to Zanzibar. “You filthy cheater!” I said to myself. “You are weak! What are you doing flying? You are robbing yourself of the African experience...

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Chocolate and Love in Nepals Himalayas

This is it. The tents are set on the banks of the river and the road peters out to a path which, in one place, disappears. The monsoons have washed this part away and the cliff is accessible only over large pieces...

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City By The Sea

Mumbai shrieks in your ears and laughs in your face as it punches you on the nose, not so much tickling your senses as smashing them...

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Clean Cut in Japan

“Ah! hisashiburi desu”—“it’s been a long time,”—shrieked Mrs. Yamada as the door tinkled me in. I don’t know why I was surprised. I’d been their only foreign customer for a decade; they were unlikely to forget me, even after...

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Come Fly with Me

Fly god knows how many miles high over a huge gaping gorge in a piece of flimsy tin ? I must be mad. We are introduced to our pilot, Chuck. He's a wisecracking, weather beaten, big bear of a guy who...

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Completing the Cradle Mountain Walk

I was near completion of an eleven-day trek along the Overland Track in Tasmania when I finally made it to Cradle Mountain. I was 16 at the time, walking with my Dad, and I was determined to do the whole thing properly...

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Costa Rica has Dedicated Cab Drivers

The newly formed river was a raging force of choppy, splashy and very angry-looking water. It had been created by days of pounding rain and poor drainage systems. It was 50 feet wide and was...

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Crossing the Street

“Stop!” I said, instinctively putting an arm across my father, stopping him from stepping out. “Look!” We’d been walking in a large crowd, the sort you’d expect in the busiest shopping street in a city of...

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Dawn Over The Arabian Sea

"I'm up!" I shout through the hatch. It is 03:00 hours. "Nothing much happening," says the skipper as he climbs down the companionway. "Keep a 360-degree lookout, stay in the cockpit and come and get me...

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Desert Search

As we clattered through the desert in the battered shared taxi, the driver reached across and offered me some pills. When I asked him what they were, he shrugged. The Uzbek guys on the back seat...

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Diamonds in the Sky

My memories of that holiday are sketchy. It was a time of simple pleasures: listening to the World Cup on Italian radio, and laughing as we tried to translate beyond “Beckham, Beckham. Gola, Gola!”; the...

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Dick Whittington and Mecca

The golden gates of Mecca swung open. The heavenly Saudi sunlight poured over the pilgrims balding heads. The distant view of the mosque of the prophet glistened like a diamond in the barren...

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Dinner in Athens

Our mouths watered as we smelled the delicious wafts of Mediterranean cooking. It had been days now since we had allowed ourselves a real meal. Determined to travel on a tight budget, we had pledged to survive on...

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Dresden, Germany

I flew towards her. Pale, wide eyed witnesses are standing on the footpath behind the parked tourist bus, hands on heads, letting their cigarettes fall heavily between their mouths and their feet, dully fizzing out...

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Driving Italian

My sister and I were having a mutual mid-life crisis, so together we headed off to Italy to recuperate. We had booked into a remote Tuscan hotel. This necessitated hiring a vehicle and my sister, who has always...

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Drowning

There was a place that makes me amazed so much. It was Bledug Kuwu, a very special place in Central Java, Indonesia. It was a place where mud burst. It was like bursting from inside the earth. The place looked like a...

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Dutch Courage

The Hotel lobby was a safe haven, cool and calm. The revolving doors stood strong and proud, a barrier between me and what was on the other side. Ding! The reception bell chimed as the hushed voices of weary...

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Emergency Exit Row

Rugged. Beautiful. Mysterious. Full of adventure. It was difficult to know if we were contemplating a driving holiday down the Great Ocean Road in Australia's south-east corner, or considering a dinner date with George...

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Fear

I was still in the airport, having been on the ground for less than an hour, and was already looking for flights back home. How had I gotten myself into this mess?

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First Day Pilgrim

I stepped down from the train in St Jean Pied de Port in trepidation having seen the mountains rearing up in front of me. I was actually here, after months of saving my pennies and hiking up and...

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First to See the Sun: Sunrise in TikiTiki

Sam nudges me awake at a quarter to six. The sky is dark and I fumble blindly around for a sweatshirt. I follow him and Alex to the stable, where we collect the horses: Major, Daisy and Wai, an older mare I’ll be riding. We...

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Fleeced in Donkey Town

Somehow, I ended up in a three-way betting war with a foul-mouthed bar owner and an alcoholic thatch farmer. The King of Spades is on the table, and it complements the pair of kings in my hand. It probably won’t matter...

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Fleeting Stockholm

Travel is a momentary exercise. One of the best elements of travel is the moments, the individual sights, sounds and smells so separate from what you perceive to be ordinary, moments that elicit...

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Footprints in the sand

It was a hot and sunny afternoon, too hot to bear, to be honest, if you left the comforting shade of the coconut palms. I was standing by the fence that separated the hotel on Diani beach from the rest of the Kenya...

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Fuelling Up For Mont Ventoux

A bottle of pastis is placed in front of me the night before I am due to attack one of the most fearsome of all the Tour de France climbs – Mont Ventoux. The alarm clock rings at some godforsaken hour and rising out of bed...

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Getting a bus on a National Strike day!

My boyfriend and I were backpacking on a round the world trip, our first destination was India ,we were travelling in the South and were in a town called Alappuzha, a fairly large town which was...

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Going to Kansas

I was just sitting in the car waiting for us to stop bored almost to tears. I had just finished my fourth book and a coloring book. I was starting to get carsick when my mom told me to look up. I raised my...

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Hiking in Honkers

Before leaving for our hiking/camping trip on Lantau Island in Hong Kong we did plenty or organizing: who’s carrying the tent and who’s buying the barbeque shapes. We knew where we were going. We had food. We...

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Home Again

My foot is wet, soaked running to get into the car. Soggy noises. The car coughs, dies, whines, coughs, starts, and expels a black cloud into the murky morning gloom. Frigid air, misty windscreen...

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How To Nearly Get Robbed In Laos

IN NORTHEAST LAOS, on one lane roads, we swoop through foggy forests. The driver of the bus strains forward, breathing a little stain of fog on the windshield. Outside the rain falls on sullen cattle...

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Hunger strikes

We drove to Amman, which was fine. We waited three hours for a coach to Aqaba, which was not so fine. The waiting room was stuffy, and three American tourists were happily guzzling water, much to...

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Impressed and the city

I glanced around from the half open window of the yellow cab with a knot in my stomach. Not mentioning to my friend that really I was nervous and wondered if it would be as we imagined the day we threw caution and...

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Island off-roading

All walking holidays with my husband involve diverting from the path – scrambling up a steep rock face, jumping over a fence or wading through a bog – in search of something more interesting than the path can offer...

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It’s a Revolution!

Okay, so maybe I overreacted. But it sure sounded like one! We arrived in Cusco and headed straight for the hotel. Not because we were tired, but because located at 3400 meters of altitude, the only way to combat the...

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Jeg tera lit Dansk (I speak a little Danish)

After 27 hours in the air, coming from almost the exact opposite side of the world, I touched down in my ancestral homeland of Denmark. Coming from warm early Autumn NZ, it was like landing in a snow-globe...

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Kalahari Nights

The bushmen chatter amongst themselves excitedly as we enter their village, Xai Xai, in the western Kalahari. Suavely smoking cigarettes of coarse tobacco rolled in newspaper, the younger men translate the clicks of the...

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Khao Sok National Park, Thailand 2010

We enthusiastically signed up for a full day of trekking through the national park, which supposedly contains wild bears, tigers and elephants, not to mention thousands of rare plant species. When I...

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King Cobra On Vacation

35 years after my Dad had been a Marine Infantrymen in the jungles of South Central Vietnam, He and I went back to meet with several Marine’s he served with during the year 1967. We visited Chu-Lai where he was wounded...

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Knickerless In Greece

“Do you want to house-sit while I’m away? You can bring the kids” my friend Sue inquired tentatively. Are you crazy - who wouldn’t want a free holiday in a Greek-island cottage in June? “But you will have...

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Ladakh after the mudslip

It’s harvest time in the metal smith village of Chilling (population 70; school children 4; teachers 2; classrooms 6). Everyone is cutting, carrying and threshing the barley, even the 75 year old metal smith, but they...

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Landau Island, The Green Island

The time showed almost midnight. I was driven by a taxi to my resting place far from the airport. And finally I arrived at the hotel where I had to spend my night in Hong Kong. From the airport to the hotel...

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Let There Be Whales

“Please, please, please let there be whales,” I prayed softly as the airplane skidded to a halt at Cape Town International airport. I glanced through the window and my heart sunk into my shoes – it was lashing down...

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Location: Perenthian Islands, Malaysia

Our second day on the Perenthian Islands, Malaysia proved more active. We had decided to hire a Kayak, braving the open seas for more secluded beaches. It was an overcast day, with a cool gentle...

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Looking for Love on Lovina, Bali

Well, er, the problem was, I thought I saw a real live mermaid. Get that? Loping on Lovina beach one day, I came across a troglodytic Indonesian man crouching over a campfire. Was he eating a cat...

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Majestic Himalayas and alone Tea house owner

After the months of stressful works, it was finally a season of festival in Nepal where I could get some peace within myself. As a tourism academician, i had been travelling a lot especially in the urban destination but my...

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May the road rise to meet you

I'm one of those people who has an aversion to cold weather– if I never see snow again in this lifetime I will be happy and grateful. It's why I didn't grab the opportunity to visit Russia, despite its fascinating...

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Me no speak Americano

Walking down the hallways of Hamilton High School, USA it was clear that there had been a school dance the night before. The eye makeup that girls had been too tired to wash off was now smeared...

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Mutiny On The Longboat

You might imagine a week’s holiday on an English long boat with your Australian Naval Officer lover would be the most romantic thing you’ve ever done. You might also think that to embark on a trip in an English...

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My experience on the inca trail January 2010

2am. Mud. Moving swiftly in the night, unheard and unnoticed by the sleeping campers. With deadly accuracy it hits. It is over as quickly as it began. An Argentian girl, lost forever, in the enchanted world...

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My life-changing experience in Varanasi

Amidst clatters and honks, amplified mucus clearances and shouts, I arise from slumber to the loud morning of Varanasi. 'Chai. I need Chai' I croak to myself. I throw on some clothes and masterfully manoeuvre the steep...

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My moment in New Delhi

“Travelling is all about adventure”, someone said! The clouds weaved a pattern around the pine wood forest which engulfed the hills. It was a crazy beginning. I had planned this outing for days...

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My Taj Awakening

It’s 6 am and my sleepy eyes and sore travelling feet are awake. This early rise is the beginning of our extraordinary journey to the Taj Mahal...

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My Taj Awakening

It’s 6 am and my sleepy eyes and sore travelling feet are awake. This early rise is the beginning of our extraordinary journey to the Taj Mahal...

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My Travel Moment in Germany

“Please fasten your seat belts and prepare for landing.” The pilot instructed as we approached the Frankfurt airport in Germany. I looked down at the lights of the small towns on the ground and...

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My travel moment in Madrid

It was a night that I would never forget, but not for the reasons one might expect. It wasn’t romantic. It wasn’t even fun. I threw open the hotel room’s double windows so I could look upon the street below. It had been...

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My Travel Moment; India

My husband and I were on Week 3 of our 2 month backpacking through India adventure. Mentally and physically exhausted from the constant challenges that India presents, particularly to first time visitors, we...

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My Travel Moment; salar de Uyuni

We arrived at the amazing salar de Uyuni; a bleached desert continuing until the eyes generated shimmering mirages, devoid of wildlife except cacti and pink flamingos. Perception was cruelly played with by...

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My Travel Moments

Sometimes life puts you at a crossroad until you are at loss on what to do. The beginning of the trip was already chaotic. We were rushing to catch the last ferry out to the Puerto Galera but we arrived too late due...

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Natural gas

There were signs, I am sure, but maybe they were in Spanish. Last night the sky had been scarlet, long lingering dribbles of scarlet, fireworks that never do their job. The cracks and booms raising the tension...

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New Zealand: I’ll Go it Alone

There's a dead look in her eyes and I know what that means. She twirls the car keys round her finger, staring at the Arrivals board. I go to kiss her and she turns away, offers a perfumed cheek. It's not the welcome I'd...

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Next stop: Sarajevo

Peeling my T-shirt away from my hot, sticky skin, I stepped off the ancient train and onto the platform, closely followed by my four friends and our enormous rucksacks. After a very long day winding our...

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Night of Healing

My husband’s passion for his hobby, amateur archaeology and Rock Art in southern Africa, has led us to many adventures across the continent. Tsumkwe, where we stopped to get a permit and directions, is the nearest...

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Not so much a cookie jar

“If the radio gets stolen, don’t worry about it. It happens all the time.” With this line my rental car was delivered to me in my house in Cape Town. I didn’t know what to say. I was stunned. I was just...

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Nudist Beaches

We’d trudged half an hour through a Menorcan pine forest when we spottedthe azure sea through the trees. ‘What a great view!’ I shouted. ‘Clay!’ My wife exclaimed. Too late. It was a naughty joke on a Brighton postcard. A few yards away, on her back, lay a nude woman. A naked, protective bronze...

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Of Bubbles and Vibrant Colors

I have always loved the ocean, so it was only natural that I picked up a mask and snorkel on my first Caribbean trip. I was mesmerized by the vivid blue, green and yellow fishes below me. Then something else caught my eye...

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One day?

It has taken me fifty years to get to the Andes. I was ten when I read a book about two girls chasing international jewel thieves across Peru. There were three pictures in the book, of jagged white peaks...

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Only in Africa

While filling up with diesel at a dilapidated petrol station in Tanzania, I came across the most ill treated car I have ever seen. The car in question was an under loved, overloaded 1980’s Land...

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Orange Summer

A singular tattered wooden shed accompanied by a dishevelled donkey for a sentry zips past the window: the most noteworthy event in what seemed hours of sprawling fields and planes. Blurred...

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Out from Alice

I stare into the flames and remember the holiday. The colour was the first thing that struck me. Flying into Alice the straight orange roads leading away into the desert, the low red roofs of the town surrounded by sudden...

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Outside The Gate

“What have they got in there, King Kong?” my cousin mocked as we approached the extravagantly high gate arch that marks the entrance to Botswana’s Chobe National Park. We were greeted there by a man who introduced himself as...

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Parahawking in Pokhara

When you decide to backpack around the world, there are many inevitable moments when you come face to face with the ‘big bad world’–uncomfortable long journeys, unfortunate bed bug encounters and unavoidable ‘Delhi belly’...

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Paris, A Never Ending Pleasure

As everybody, I have the intimate illusion that the wonderful moments lived during my holiday trip could appear in my mind along the starting season and help me like a shield to reinforce me when the...

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Passing Time With Baboons

Like the tormented ghostly sailors of the legendary Flying Dutchman, we feared the Cape of Good Hope would be our purgatory, though it was not the treacherous waters that threatened a poor fate...

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Peeing on the Holy Mountain

This kid wasn’t taking “But I don’t have any money” for an answer. He just stood there, legs spread, palm outstretched, ready for a fight...

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Portrait of the Kumbh Mela

Over the bridges by the tens of thousands, shouting, chanting, singing, thrusting spears and tridents into the air, some painted orange, some wrapped in saffron robes, some naked, some wearing crowns and capes, some...

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Pura Vida

My family and I were traveling the winding roads of Costa Rica from San Jose to Manuel Antonio, it was the summer of 2005. For months we had talked about our trip. For years I had dreamt of going to Costa Rica...

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Pure moment on a desert beach on the Lamma Island

Sitting on the ferry and waiting for its departure, me and my girlfriend were eager to arrive on the Lamma Island in Hong Kong (China). After about 40 minutes sailing on the sea, we reached Sok Kwu...

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Riding into India in style

I was on the final leg of my six month round the world adventure, with three weeks in my final country, India, to polish off a fantastic trip. I had heard horror stories about India, particularly about Varanasi, of half...

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Russia: Landscape and History

Russia, a vast and ubiquitous place was to constantly surprise and contradict my preconceptions. The family I stayed with, resided in a one bedroom, a typical soviet tower block, the grandmother, mother and son...

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San Fermin Opening Ceremony

We stood arm to arm in a cobbled square in the middle of an otherwise quaint Spanish town with thousands of people. Before long we had sangria running down our faces, burning our eyes, staining...

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Saying Goodbye

They smile now - when I approach. “Hello sailor!” One shouts, his English barely recognisable. I give my customary, mock salute. The man who sells “fresh orange juice” looks up and starts clambering over the boats towards me...

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Scotland the final frontier

Breathtaking moments are many and varied in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Glass topped Lochs can multiply the savage beauty of the mountains as vivid greens reds and copper tones stare back at you from vast...

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Selo griyo The lost temple

I found this place Selogriyo temple accidentally. At about 8:00 AM, I left the town of Magelang up the nephew's motorcycle loans. I deliberately took the path-Windusari Bandongan-Tembarak, and avoid...

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Shades of Varanasi

Whilst visiting India recently we travelled to meet the river Ganges at Varanasi, or Benares as it is called by local people. Nothing prepared us for the assault on our senses that this destination would...

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Snowing In Tianjin

I made a winter trip from Tianjin to Hainan with a group of Chinese teachers and Korean students. On the flight back, the pilot made an announcement and a Chinese lady passenger began to scream...

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Soul Therapy in the Sinai

The soul, so the Bedouin saying has it, travels at the speed of a walking camel. Unfortunately one of Suliman Yemani’s two camels had been taken ill three days ago, so Mohammed, his son, had loaded...

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Stand By Me

Our first stop was Khao Sok National Park, which is comprised mainly of ancient jungle. If the guidebook was to be believed, it was teeming with wildlife. Maybe Jess and I would see a gibbon, spot a clouded...

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Strong and Pure

When I was eleven years old my father announced we would be traveling through China. There were no computers or cell phones in 1984; the only place I could “log onto” was my imagination. It told me...

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Surf , sun and siestas

Roughly twenty years ago I hired a surfboard while on holiday. After many failed attempts I managed to stand up and I was hooked, or so I thought. A few days later I returned to my country home, went...

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Surfers is a Paradise

It's 5.30 in the morning and we are staying with our cousin in Runaway Bay, on the Gold Coast, in Australia. The five of us get dressed; outside the dark is just starting to lift to the light of the dawn, the...

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Sway

The hand painted sign says ‘Casa de la Tradiciones’ but nothing else suggests that this house is a bastion of traditional Cuban music. Clinging to the sharp gradients of the Tivoli district in Santiago de...

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Take Time to Stop and Smell…the Monkeys?

I thought I was going to die. Whose idea was this anyway? For my birthday my husband asked what I wanted to do. We had been in Bocas del Toro, Panama long enough to have heard of the gorgeous beach on the...

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Terror on the Nile

Having just left the cosy sanctuary of a five week long volunteer project on the ruggedly idyllic Kenyan island of Wasini, my introduction into the world of ‘solo’ travel was to begin with the question ‘where now?...

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Thank God For God!

I used to take very long holidays. A year and a half was the longest one. Mind you I found work along the way; at least I usually did. October 2001, North of Geneva, homeless, penniless, depressed but still moving!

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The Agony and the Ecstasy

“How on earth did I get here?” my mind wails even as the dead weights strapped to my waist drag me deeper into the ocean. I'm sinking like a rock, the water around me impaling my eardrums like a silent drilling machine...

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The Alps Are the Alps

Bella and I boarded a small train in the Swiss village of Wilderswil that creaked up a mountain for 1400 meters and dropped us off at Schynige Platte. All around were startlingly beautiful, snow capped...

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The Best Ice Cream Shop In The World

The real excitement builds about 5 in the evening. First a trickle, then a great surge. It’s that time. It starts with a car parked up on the pavement outside with its hazard lights flashing. Inside, a woman alone...

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The boy with the white hair

Mum was worried about me going. However, having had my trip of a lifetime cut short twice already through illness, I was determined to ignore what fate seemed to be trying to tell me. So, I insisted on packing my rucksack...

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The Buildings Of Astana

The president had a vision for Astana in the same way that Australia had for Canberra, and Brazil for Brasilia – one of the smaller things he wanted after noticing that most capital cities have a river right in the middle...

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The Cornish Coastal Path

I've always liked a bit of a challenge so instead of spending two weeks in the sun eating, drinking and lazing around i decided to take three weeks off in august and walk the cornish coast; a distance of 270 miles...

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The Crash (a cautionary tail)

After 2 and a half months on the road in Australia we (Ash and I) had become fairly antagonistic toward one and other and would frequently squabble over simple things such as who was to push...

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The Hidden Valley

The cable car doors opened and a throng of skiers marched confidently off into the thick grey cloud, disappearing from sight in seconds. Instant panic set in, thoughts swirling, drumming an increasingly loud rhythm in my...

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The hitchhiker’s saviour

I have been standing on the same dusty spot on a barren road in the Argentine Andes for 14 long hours. I use a piece of rock to scratch a line into the verge every time a car drives past – I am up to 72 and onto my...

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The Icelandic Phone Book

I’ve been reading the Icelandic telephone book, an interesting document discovered because I wanted to interview local celebrity and queen of camp, Páll Óskar. After asking a few people how I might contact him, did he...

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The Last Taste of Thailand

The smoother choice would be to take a boat, but the shoestring adventurer in us opted for the cheap truck on the island of KoPha-Ngan, in Thailand. We were leaving Bottle Beach to catch a ferry and...

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The Magic Egg

A few years ago my wife Sarah, my son Kieran and myself spent a few weeks backpacking in South India. Kieran was just five years old at the time and although he handled most of what came his way...

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The Old City of Paphos

As I walk through the dusty, rugged old city of Paphos, I am hearkened back to a bygone era. For a moment I am a Roman soldier parading through the town in my finery. I am powerful. I am admired...

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The Paradise of Insects

I flew to Amazon jungle 6 times in total. At the second trip, I finally met an Indio, Amazon indigenous, who was born in deep jungle. At my first meeting with him in the suburb of Manaus, I felt wind blowing...

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The Problems of Sight-seeing

I like making itineraries, they keep me busy in the boring wait for the holiday to arrive; I pour over books and maps and plan my days. I’m not talking minute by minute, but a general idea of the order in...

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The reptilian Zen master

The path taken to find myself on a 10 day meditation retreat in a forest monastery in Thailand had been somewhat meandering. I spent time trekking with the Karen tribe in the north Thailand hill stations, and had...

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The Rickshaw Ride

The scariest thing that ever happened to me may or may not have actually happened. Such is the case when you’re in a foreign country: the difference in language and culture can prohibit you from ever knowing the truth...

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The sands of hell

"So where is the turning for Durissa Bay?" Asks Charlie. This is the last stop before the Skeleton Coast - a 1600km strip of desiccant earth running down Namibia’s Western coast. Belligerent currents and thick sea frets have...

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The Sands Of Time

The sands of the Cote Sauvage are like the beaches of my childhood. Tucked under the sheltering arm of the Ile d` Oleron on the Atlantic coast of France, vast tracts of empty seashore stretch into the...

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The Siafu of Africa

Leaving a wake of destruction tantamount to a Biblical plague, the reputation of Siafu ants has surpassed them in the Western world of pesticides making them almost, mystical in their ability to devour anything and...

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The Sichuan-Tibet Highway; the artery into the heart of ancient Kham

Upon leaving Kangding in the early hours of the morning, the bus wove its way up and over the Guoda Mountain pass and headed into the valleys beyond. Looking back on that clear morning, I watched the sun rise behind the...

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The Wettest Day In The Desert

26th February. San Pedro, you know the place with all the sand. A desert. A dry uninhabitable place for any specie to live. Unless your a human and can supply food and water to any part of this planet. Today was...

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To Belong

As human beings, we have an inherent desire to belong. Whether it is to a country, a community or a companion; belonging plays a huge part in who we are, and who we develop into. Look around you...

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To Cruise Or Not To Cruise?

I have just come home from my first cruise. My husband and I were to fly out from Dublin to Barcelona, spend the night there and met up with the cruise ship the following morning. Simple? No! Flight delayed. Arrived at hotel...

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To Cyprus -- with Style and Dogfood

I’m not a stylish traveller: I’m always too hassled, too sweaty, and too nervous when I fly. But on my last trip to Cyprus, I was doing better than usual. When we waved goodbye to our friend at the airport...

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Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore...

Scarlet bourganvillea trails down the pastel walls of Batopilas's colonial townhouses. There is a faded, understated beauty about this tiny village, which lies at the bottom of Mexico's Copper Canyon...

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Travel moment: a glimmer of hope in the mountains of Dali

It was nearing midnight in Dali, an ancient town in Southwest China famed for its laidback atmosphere, cobbled streets and stunning lakeside location. And where were we? Stranded halfway up a mountain, picking our way along a...

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Under the desert

Let me tell you a story, of a true life adventure in the desert of Oman. It starts with 3 friends, ploughing through the sand dunes in their Landrover to reach a hole before sunrise. They’d seen it on the map...

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Varanasi Old City

Varanasi exploded before my eyes. The narrow dense mazes of cobbled streets were filled with shops selling vibrant beads, bronze Bhuddas and bowls of curd. Half naked children scurried...

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Walking on a Glacier

I tried to envisage eight Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other. I couldn’t. Yet this is how high I was, 3,228 metres above sea level on Mount Titlis in the Swiss Alps. My friend Ian and I were...

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Walnuts in Srebrenica

I rounded a corner on the mountain road, temporarily blinded by the early morning sun that cut low over the sawtooth hill-line. I was making my laborious way through the Drina valley, in eastern Bosnia; it was barely...

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Why was Jungfraujoch furious?

“This is not the way to welcome your guests, Jungfraujoch!” I muttered, looking outside the windows of the enclosed place – unable to go out onto the plateau. Inspired by its beautiful pictures, flooded over the internet...

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Wings

My first ever flight was last year. Considering I am now 28, to some people that may seem strange. Funny how my first experience of flying was a 15 hour flight from London to Tokyo. Honestly I can say it was probably the...

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Worlds Apart

It was my first night with the family and Rubin s last. We had just finished dinner and the eight of us were sitting around a coffee table in the living room. Darkness had descended outside almost three hours ago and Mama had already closed the wooden shutters and bolted the door...

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“Red Pick Up” – Margaret River Wine Region, Western Australia

Ok. I get it. You’ve traveled near and far. You’ve seen sights I could only ever imagine. You’ve climbed the highest mountain, seen the most glorious views, and you’ve bathed in the holiest waters… That may be so...

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“Yalla, yalla!”

I was haggling at the time, in Aleppo. Mid-sentence, in fact, in a tiny shop at the end of the souk, lined with intricate boxed backgammon and chess sets. “Chai?”, offered the charming owner, expertly demonstrating...

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