I have always been a traveller at heart.
In the dark days before I could afford travel, I was an armchair traveller. I poured over other people’s photos. I watched television documentaries. I soaked up the locations in movies and books.
I can tell you the moment I wanted to visit Halong Bay. It was after watching the French film Indochine. I was in awe of The Winter Palace after the extraordinary one-take film Russian Ark. I fell in love with Petra after watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Iguassu Falls after watching The Mission. Paris after A Bout de Souffle (Breathless). Rome after La Dolce Vita. Beijing after The Last Emperor.
Before movies it was books. Imagine my delight when I stumbled across the real-life location of The Jungle Book in Ranthambore National Park in India. Or the English countryside featured in The Wind in the Willows. Or the gritty LA metropolis featured in the Harry Bosch detective novels.
In 2000, my armchair travel days were over. I saved up for a seven week overland trip through South America. I now had the opportunity to see Iguassu Falls for myself. And I did. I walked the board walks, I rode a speed boat, I hopped in a helicopter and hovered high above the watery convergence of three countries: Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. It was magic!
The Falls were bookended by many other wonderful places: Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches, the Pantanal, Salar de Uyuni, the Witches Market, Teotihuacan, the Floating Islands of Lake Titicaca, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines, Colca Canyon, Arequipa….
That first trip eclipsed any book that I had read or documentary or movie that I had seen. It blew me away. I have travelled a lot since then, to the point that travel has become not so much a hobby but an integral part of my life. I now exist in two states: travelling or planning to travel.
when 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2005
where United Kingdom, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Turkey, Russian Federation, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Vatican City, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, San Marino, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Andorra, Portugal, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg
who Intrepid’s Russia & Beyond, Imaginative Traveller’s Europe Explorer, Kumuka’s Jewels of the Mediterranean, Kumuka’s Greek Islands Cruise, Kumuka’s Central European Explorer
♥ City of London, Alhambra, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Park Guell, Ile de la Cite, Prague Castle, the thermal baths of Budapest, The Kremlin, Neuschwanstein Castle
when 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2009, 2005
where Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Mongolia, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Bhutan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Jordan, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea, Singapore, Maldives, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, East Timor, Japan, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines
who Intrepid’s Russia & Beyond, Intrepid’s Mountains & Monasteries, Gecko’s Best of Burma, Intrepid’s Beachcomber, Gecko’s Pharaohs, Crusaders and Kings, Imaginative Traveller’s Moghul Highlights, Dragoman’s Kingdom of Kyrgyzstan, Wendy Wu’s Land of the Thunder Dragon, Dragoman's Silk Road between Tashkent and Tbilisi
♥ Angkor Archaeological Site, The Great Wall of China, Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bagan, Taj Mahal, Potala Palace, Borobudur, Mekong River, The Terracotta Soldiers, Mount Everest, Petra, Baalbek
when 2018, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2009, 2006
where Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Morocco, Egypt
who Dragoman's Ethiopia Uncovered, Intrepid's Kruger, Coast and Cape, GAdventure’s West Africa Cruise, Intrepid’s Gorilla Express, Gecko’s Pharaohs, Crusaders and Kings, Imaginative Traveller’s Rock the Kasbah, Kumuka’s African Safari
♥ Luxor, the gorillas ‘in the mist’, the Big Five, Okavango Delta, Ngorongoro Crater, the Slave Forts of Ghana, Ait-Ben-Haddou, Stone Town in Zanzibar, Victoria Falls, white water rafting on the Zambezi River
North & Central America
when 2016, 2015, 2010
where Canada, United States of America, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, St Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Antigua & Barbuda, Haiti
who Kumuka’s Central American Explorer, Windstar Cruises "Jewels of the Windward Isles", MSC Cruises
♥ Chichen Itza, New York City, Venice Beach, Havana, Tulum, Yosemite National Park, Quebec City, the Grand Canyon, Ometepe Island, the Strip in Las Vegas
when 2016, 2015, 2014, 2000
where Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana & Suriname
who Tucan’s ‘Coast to Coast’ in 2000, Intrepid's Explore El Salvador, Tucan's Colombia Trail
♥ Rio de Janeiro, Iguassu Falls, Machu Picchu, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Lake Titicaca, Salar de Uyuni, Nazca Lines, Colonia del Sacramento, Feria de San Telmo, Easter Island, Galapagos
Australasia & Oceania
when 2017, 2012, 2007, 2001
where New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Australia, Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa & Tonga
who Mulga’s Adventures 3 day Uluru Camping Tour
♥ Uluru, Kakadu National Park, the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbour, Milford Sound, Islands of Fiji
where Antarctic Peninsula
who GAdventures ‘Quest for the Antarctic Circle’
♥ icebergs, kayaking, camping, swimming in Whalers Bay, drinking vodka at Vernadsky Station, shopping at Port Lockroy