how-to-start-a-travel-blog

How to start a travel blog – a professional guide

At Atlas & Boots, we are periodically approached for advice on how to start a travel blog. To help future bloggers, we have put our knowledge into a comprehensive but concise guide below. This covers not only the technical aspects of how to start a travel blog but also the editorial, helping you to plan, maintain and grow your blog in a professional way. Without further preamble, let’s begin. Continue reading

Most popular languages being learned around the world

At Atlas & Boots, we have mentioned Duolingo in nearly all our language posts, be it expert tips for learning multiple languages or tools for lazy learners. We are big fans of the app and were intrigued by its recent findings on the most popular languages being studied around the world.

The team mined data from every country in the world over the course of three months to identify the most popular languages being studied by its 120 million users. The results are fascinating. Continue reading

Jerash-ruins-Jordan-feat-img

Jerash ruins of Jordan: a once great Roman city

The Jerash ruins of Jordan are said to be the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy. At just 48km (30mi) north of Amman, Jerash is a great day trip from the capital. 

The modern city of Jerash sits alongside Gerasa of Antiquity, an ancient city housing some of the finest Greco-Roman architecture in the world. The city is positioned in Jordan’s countryside of fertile rolling hills and valleys filled with olive, plum trees, fig trees, pine forests and wheat crops. Continue reading

Poles of inaccessibility: the middle of nowhere

The poles of inaccessibility are arguably the true last frontiers for explorers. But where and what are they?

I’ve long been fascinated with the most remote places on Earth and the epic journeys of discovery to reach them. I’ve spent countless long mornings lying in bed leafing through giant reference books on the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration and even longer afternoons poring over immense maps detailing epic quests across untamed oceans.

It was the names of Amundsen, Livingstone and Magellan and their unfathomable tales of distant lands, high seas and adventure that first inspired me to travel. For modern explorers the poles of inaccessibility represent the outer limits of mankind’s grip on our planet.

Continue reading

wild-camping-tips-feat-img

Wild camping tips: a beginner’s guide

Recently, as I prepared for a hiking and wild camping trip to Dartmoor, I wrote a post on the layering system and how to prepare for the capricious weather that comes with springtime in the UK. How pleased was I that I prepared well? Very.

I found myself on an ominous moorland landscape just as Storm Katie arrived in Britai

n bringing chaos to large parts of the country. Within two hours of hiking I found myself battling high wind, torrential downpours and hailstorms. As lightning flashed overhead and the third hailstorm hit me head on, I decided I wasn’t going to make much progress that day and hurriedly pitched my tent in the most sheltered spot I could find. Continue reading

free time

22 books about obsessive searches

All travel to some extent is about searching. It may be a deep and yearning search for fulfilment, a soul-wrenching quest for absolution, or something far more base (Thailand, anyone?).

For some, travel is a way to silence an echoing need, be it for knowledge, enlightenment, glory or revenge. These obsessive searches take travellers on great journeys across the wild, usually giving rise to incredible tales of incredible lands. At times, these tales are humbling; at others, they are exasperating but never are they boring. Continue reading

10 newbie diving mistakes

At Atlas & Boots, we’ve dived in some incredible places, from Vanuatu and Samoa to Tonga and the Galápagos. Alas, it has been a whole year since our last dive and I fear making newbie diving mistakes the next time we head out.

I was a nervous first-time diver and I’m conscious of losing what confidence I built up after completing my PADI Open Water Diver course in Colombia. Sadly, there aren’t many opportunities to dive in London (especially in March) so I’m keen to brush up on my skills as soon as we head to Africa in August. Continue reading

World’s most stressed countries – ranked

It happened on a Wednesday morning. The Sandwich Man – dressed in a red T-shirt with white lettering – rode past me on his bicycle on the same stretch of the same road at the same time as the day before. I watched him roll by in a sobering moment that recalled all the horror of the five-day commute: the cyclical days, the tussling masses, the dull ebbing of a scripted month.

It took great effort to remind myself that my city, London, is in one of the safest countries in the world. More relevantly, it’s also in one of the least stressed countries in the world according to Bloomberg. We take a look at the data below.
Continue reading

things to do in montevideo uruguay - 9

12 things to do in Montevideo, Uruguay

When we arrived in Montevideo we had less than two weeks of our round-the-world trip left and very little money. There are plenty of things to do in the city but it’s a relatively expensive destination in an already relatively expensive country. With just two days and near-empty pockets we made the best of the situation and saw the city by way of a DIY walking tour.

Stretching 20km from east to west, the cosmopolitan city of Montevideo is home to nearly half of Uruguay’s population. Like other major international cities, Montevideo has a historic financial centre, bustling markets, a plethora of fine museums and an expanding expat community. Continue reading

layering-system-feat-img

The layering system: how to layer clothing for the outdoors

Springtime is finally upon us and with it come the capricious weather conditions that define the season. Mark Twain once said, “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”

Here in the UK, spring weather so often described as “mixed” or “unpredictable” essentially includes anything from perfect hillwalking conditions with blue skies, sunshine and a cooling breeze to treacherous conditions laden with mud, stormy skies and gale-force winds.  Continue reading

5 multi-purpose products to help you pack lightly

I have a rule about restaurants: if one offers two markedly different types of cuisine, I won’t eat there. Think Thai restaurants that make pizza, or British gastropubs that offer Indian curry. More often than not, instead of doing one cuisine well, these multi-purpose restaurants will do two cuisines badly and are simply best avoided.

For a long time, I applied the same philosophy to multi-purpose products. But then I started packing for our trip.

Continue reading

books-about-survival

25 best books about survival

Books about survival demonstrate what humans are capable of when pushed to their limits. Whether it’s the treacherous slopes of a mountain in hurricane force winds, being cast adrift in the middle of the ocean or a hellish trek through arid desert, the challenges described within illustrate the true strength of the human spirit.

To help you choose your next read, we’ve put together our favourite books about survival, filled with true life tales that will compel readers for years to come. Continue reading

luxury travel gifts: suitcase

6 luxury travel gifts we love

Sometimes, my siblings joke that our late father’s most lasting legacy will be our unrelenting concern about the gas bill.

In a household of eight children, there were restrictions on how long we could keep the boiler on to heat water, how long our baths could be, how long we could drain rice in the sink without turning off the corresponding hob (about five seconds) and so on.

Not surprisingly, these habits endured into adulthood. Last year, when winter set in on the tiny French village in which we were staying, I was horrified to learn that we would be leaving the heating on overnight. I expected a triple-digit gas bill. (Thankfully, it was all fine in the end…) Continue reading

long-distance hiking trails pyrenees

How to deal with a weak hiking partner

It’s safe to say that Peter is a far stronger and more experienced hiker than I am. On Cotopaxi, he bounded ahead at the front of the group while I shivered and stumbled at the back. On Matavanu, he kept me calm when I nearly broke down in tears. On Nevis Peak, he picked up trails to which I was blind.

Of course, he’s not the first to hike with a weak partner. In A Walk in the Woods, author Bill Bryson describes tackling part of the Appalachian Trail with Stephen Katz, his paunchy friend who turns up wholly unprepared for the ordeal ahead. Continue reading

Interesting-facts-about-Paraguay-feat-img

17 interesting facts about Paraguay

The most interesting facts about Paraguay we learnt during our visit to the country.

American essayist P.J. O’Rourke once quipped that Paraguay was “nowhere and famous for nothing.” He then took a business trip there, fell in love with the country and promptly moved there.

While we can’t say we felt the same striking attraction, we certainly appreciated Paraguay’s history and authenticity. The small and struggling country is a steamy subtropical land of remarkable contrasts with a tragic and torrid history filled with violence and loss.

Continue reading

Top 10 places for expat romance

Our home town of London can be a lonely place or an amazing one depending on who you are and what you want.

It, like other great cities (New York, Paris, Rome), can be a glittering metropolis of opportunity or a deeply isolating experience. It’s not unusual for first-time expats to have problems settling in and making friends. In fact, finding a partner is one of the most difficult aspects of expat life.

InterNations, the world’s largest community of expats, advises members not to ignore the importance of romantic relationships when choosing a new country. Its survey of 14,000 expats worldwide examines the top places for expat romance and highlights 10 countries in which expats are happiest in their relationships. Continue reading

How to travel without ruining your career

Our trip around the world was the best decision we ever made but it didn’t come without concerns. We both quit our jobs, Peter as head of department at a London school and Kia as product manager at Penguin Random House. We knew we wanted a slower pace of life but also that we would have to find jobs once we returned to London. (Alas, Peter’s great plan to win the lottery hasn’t yet come to fruition.)

This fear of ruining a carefully-built career has put many people off travelling. In some fields, the fear is warranted (for example, most junior doctors can’t leave their jobs for a year) but for most of the rest of us, a long-term trip is perfectly possible especially if we spend time on the road cultivating employable skills. Here are six great ways to do just that. Continue reading

El-Chaltén-hiking-trails-feat-img

6 outstanding El Chaltén hiking trails

Patagonia’s El Chaltén hiking trails are on the bucket list of every serious hiker. The trekking capital of Argentina provides access to a network of well-maintained hiking routes with some of the best alpine viewpoints in the world.

The routes are rambling and chaotic at times (underestimate the ever-present winds at your peril) but the rewards are big. The imposing towers of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre steal the show but the magnificent World Heritage-listed Parque Nacional Los Glaciares has much to offer hikers at every level. Continue reading