As a traveller, not travelling

Kia takes stock of the past year and shares what it’s like to stay in one place

The last 12 months have brought immense amounts of change for us here at Atlas & Boots. A year ago, Peter and I were living out of Airbnbs while house-hunting in the Yorkshire Dales. We viewed 22 properties, put half-hearted offers in for two of them and then saw our 23rd house which we fell in love with. It wasn’t perfect (no outdoor space and in need of a lot of work), but the 300-year-old stone cottage with its wooden beams and cobbled street seemed perfect for a writer. If you stick your head out of the skylight, you can even see a castle. 

Tall stories: 25 best climbing documentaries

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The best climbing documentaries showcase the world’s finest climbers pitting their skills against the world’s toughest climbs

Recently, we watched two great climbing documentaries: the acclaimed Free Solo (2018) at our local cinema and then The Dawn Wall (2018) on Netflix.

Both films focus on attempts on Yosemite’s El Capitan via different routes and using different climbing styles. While Alex Honnold’s free solo of El Capitan was perhaps the most vertigo-inducing film we’ve ever seen, it was the human story behind Tommy Caldwell in The Dawn Wall that we found more compelling.

How to choose a waterproof jacket: a buying guide

Our detailed guide on how to choose a waterproof jacket will help you find the gear that best suits your needs

A waterproof jacket is an essential piece of outdoor kit and should be in everyone’s backpack whether you’re hiking, climbing or cycling. 

Knowing how to choose a waterproof jacket, however, can feel a bit like alchemy. With so many different fabrics, constructions and features used in outdoor clothing, selecting the right jacket has become a real test.

Countries that eat the most meat

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The countries that eat the most meat are causing significant damage to the planet. It’s time to take responsibility and change the habits of a lifetime

There is very little left to debate on the subject. Simply put, the world must reduce the amount of meat it eats. In 2011, the world population reached seven billion and it’s now around 7.7 billion. As the global population continues to skyrocket, the planet simply cannot sustain its current levels of meat consumption.

22 interesting facts about Nepal

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We share the most interesting facts about Nepal gathered on a two-week trek in the Nepali Himalayas

During my recent Everest base camp trek, the spectacular nation of Nepal immediately became my favourite country. In fact, I have vowed to return as soon as possible to complete the Annapurna Circuit and Langtang treks.

One day, I hope to go a step further and attempt Everest itself as part of my quest to climb the seven summits, the highest mountain on every continent.

Happiest countries in the world 2019

The happiest countries in the world 2019 have been ranked in the latest World Happiness Report. This year, Finland holds on to the top spot

Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security.

17 interesting facts about Bolivia

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A selection of the most interesting facts about Bolivia we picked up during our visit

Before we went to Bolivia, my entire education on the country came from this scene from the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Although our arrival in the country wasn’t quite as displeasing as Robert Redford’s, Bolivia did prove one of the more challenging countries we’ve visited. Cold showers, uninspiring cuisine and high altitude were just some of things we battled.

The ultimate guide to packing light

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Some would argue that overpacking is a rite of passage, but there is an easier way. Here are 12 tips for packing light

I started our big trip across the South Pacific and South America with a 45-litre backpack weighing 13kg. Over the course of the trip, I managed to drop a fair bit of weight and get my bag down to 10kg. Evidently, I had failed in packing light from the start.

In some ways, overpacking is a rite of passage: you have to do it to learn how not to do it. Of course there is an easier way. By gleaning advice from other travellers and being strict with yourself, packing light will become far easier. Here’s where to start.

Most useful travel gadgets of 2019

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From practical solutions for everyday problems to highbrow electronics for luxury on the road, here are our favourite useful travel gadgets of 2019

The modern traveller rarely leaves home home without a range of gadgets and accessories. Despite years of travel and streamlining my gear, I still pack a healthy number of gadgets.

Unless I’m going completely off-grid, there are certain (usually electronic) luxuries I don’t want to be without. I want to take thousands of photographs, listen to music, watch a movie, stay in touch with my family and most importantly of all, keep track of England’s latest batting collapse (a form of self-harm I’m sure).

Canyoning in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

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Canyoning in La Fortuna with its waterfall rappels and cavernous ‘falls’ proved to be Costa Rica’s biggest thrill of all

Beneath the hulking slopes of Arenal Volcano in northwestern Costa Rica is the small town of La Fortuna. With a wealth of natural attractions nearby including lush rainforest, extensive hiking trails, myriad hot springs and two gargantuan volcanoes (Cerro Chato is also within easy reach), it’s not the town itself that draws visitors to this green district of Costa Rica.

12 largest rainforests in the world

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The largest rainforests in the world are some of the most vital ecosystems on our planet. We look at where they’re located and why they need protecting

Home to over half the world’s plant and animal species, the largest rainforests in the world absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping maintain the balance of the air we breathe while simultaneously playing a critical role in curbing global warming.

A complete travel photography gear guide

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We’re often asked about the gear we take on our travels. In response, we have written a detailed and complete travel photography gear guide

I have been involved in film or photography throughout the course of my career: initially as a camera operator, video editor and AV engineer, later as a teacher in digital media, and now as a travel blogger.

I’ve sold stock images for several years on Shutterstock and iStock by Getty Images, and my photography plays a prominent role throughout our travel blog and social channels, particularly Instagram.

11 solo hiking tips for women

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We ask six expert climbers, thru-hikers and trail runners to share their solo hiking tips for women who want to walk alone

I’ve hiked all over the world, from challenging countries like Ethiopia and Lesotho to Pacific idylls like Rarotonga and Easter Island. I’ve done multi-day treks above 4,000 metres, day hikes under a scorching sun and gentle jaunts more like walks in the park. Throughout it all, there has been one constant factor: Peter.

I’ve said in the past that it’s sexist to assume I’m not adventurous and spoken about the lack of diversity in the outdoors, but have seldom hiked alone. Peter is a staunch advocate of solo hiking, but I’ve never attempted anything longer than half a day.

Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2018

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From topical debates and trip reports to how-to guides and personal pieces, we publish a wide range of posts every year. Here’s our pick of 2018

Well, this has been an eventful year. We kicked off 2018 with a month in Australia followed by a trip to New Zealand on commission for Lonely Planet as part of our Trailblazers partnership. We followed up with various projects for Lonely Planet including judging their flagship Best in Travel 2019 campaign and speaking at their Diversity in Travel Writing event in London.

How to build a campfire: a step-by-step guide

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Our detailed and easy-to follow guide on how to build a campfire will ensure you can enjoy a satisfying and safe campfire when camping

Many a man claims to be an expert firestarter – in the same way many a man claims he does not need to ask for directions…

Alpha male or not, nothing should get between a camper and a glorious night spent around a campfire beneath the stars. This step-by-step guide on how to build a campfire will have even the most reluctant urban dweller embracing this long-standing tradition of the wild.

Is there really a best time to book flights?

News outlets periodically claim to share the best time to book flights. Is there such a thing and, if so, when is it? We ask an expert for answers

When it comes to the best time to book flights, Peter and I do very little strategising. We simply search online and book the first decent deal we see.

In the early days, we sacrificed time to save money, but as we’ve grown older and more financially stable, we’ve moved in the other direction. We’ll still endure an 18-hour layover if it saves us hundreds of pounds (like we did in Singapore this year), but will no longer sleep overnight in an airport to save mere tens of pounds (like we did in Chile three years ago).

Best sailing books: 25 tales inspired by the sea

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A list of the best sailing books including memoirs, novels and biographies, constituting the most fascinating nautical tales ever penned

After recently compiling a list of the best sailing movies we’ve seen, I was prompted into some related reading. Fresh from a delivery of sailing bestsellers (and less-sellers), I’ve put together a list of the best sailing books.

The list covers everything from epic voyages, tales of survival, investigative biographies and sailing manuals – with a few coffee table reference books thrown in.