Outside Context travel writing has been featured on some of the world’s top websites. Articles have been purchased by Airlines, featured in iPhone Apps, published as questions in degree level English examinations and comments have been posted by everyone from Lonely Planet writers to US Special Forces Lieutenant Colonels!
In the last of my series of films re-examining my output over the last 10 years, I present the definitive [...]
The magic of the temples of Angkor are almost beyond imagination. I met many people on my travels who have [...]
After watching LOTR for the first time I started a long journey of the heart. The first steps were the [...]
Endings are actually beginnings too. This is what I told myself as I sat in the tiny, oh so tiny, [...]
I have written before about travellers wanting a point to it all, to travelling. In part this is perhaps seen [...]
Writing an article about Zen is almost a contradiction in terms. That is unless I simply leave the rest of [...]
4am in Tokyo, Japan trickled around and we were ready to go. We skipped breakfast and headed down to the [...]
"So," said Cesca loudly and clearly, just as I was drinking from a water bottle, "What's all this about China [...]
Everyone loves Pandas and at the Panda Conservation Centre near Chengdu, China is probably the best place to see them [...]
"You have to imagine," said the man in broken English, "that this..." he gestured his hands at the view in front of us, "big lake... flood wide and deep... great water!" He broke into a wide toothy smile.
When you travel through a country, especially if you are using a published travel guide, you are walking a well trodden path. Indeed maybe a thousand people are doing it with you simultaneously. This has a very strong effect over time, as more and more guest houses start catering only to the backpacker and spring up all along the route, which had myriad knock-on effects. Such as: taxi services who know the guide books better than you do and hordes of travellers at ever corner all "experiencing" the local atmosphere; all the time failing to realise that they are in a "bubble" like a Disney theme park ride.
As a traveller you know, and even expect, the unknown to occur. You want this; for some it’s the whole point of leaving their home in the first place. It’s usually to do with the fun stuff like walking the Great Wall, eating Sushi in Tokyo Fish Market or jumping off a bridge in New Zealand with only an elastic band to prevent your death.
Eating food in India is no joke. On one hand there are high-end coffee cafes that have prices that could only make sense to the gainfully employed. High-end coffee needs to be carefully metered out as it is too comforting and familiar a western experience to eat in such a cafe. Not only does it take you away from your local-encounters in this mighty country, but also takes a large amount of Indian coin from your purse and that directly affects how much you have to spend on the fun things.
Kerala the beautiful; the green of a million palm trees, the blue of warm waters. Kerala the red of the [...]
In India, catching a tuk tuk and negotiating the fare – or even the simple existence of the destination – is a national pastime. Not one driver, in three months, took us where we wanted to go without comment, argument or an all out fight. At first, this grates on the nerves and then you cant help but be brought down by it. Then you feel victimised for being western and (relatively) rich. You start to think that they are all out to get you personally. However, it is none of these; it is an official sport. Take it as a sport, a sparring match, and you suddenly find it fun.
Bangalore is a strange place because it is just like cities at home. Almost slap bang in the middle of [...]
The most common question I have been asked by people after returning home is, “which was your favourite country to [...]