12 maps that changed our world view

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In ode of this great instrument of adventure, we run through 12 maps that changed our world view starting where else but Greece?

There are few things that evoke the romanticism of adventure quite like a map – especially old maps. Full of exotic names (Persia, Abyssinia, Rhodesia!) and olde worlde lettering, they are reminiscent of a time when men sacrificed their lives for adventure and exploration.

Maps ignite hopes and inspire dreams. They encourage one to sail away from the safe harbour and, in the words of Mark Twain, to explore, to dream, to discover.

In ode of this great instrument of adventure, we run through 12 maps that changed our world view starting where else but Greece?

Celebrating two years of Atlas & Boots

As we hit the two-year mark, we take a moment to take stock of where we are, to celebrate our achievements and to look forward to the challenges ahead

When we officially launched Atlas & Boots in August 2014, we agreed that it would be a blog for travellers, not a blog for bloggers.

The mechanics of running a site are certainly of interest to a minority of readers, but we wanted to spend our time talking to travellers, not looking inward.

With that said, the two-year mark seems a good time to take stock of where we are, to celebrate our achievements and to look forward to the challenges ahead.

I haven’t chosen travel over kids; I just don’t want any

I recently came across a friend’s Facebook status which made me laugh because it echoed conversations with my own family.

Posted with permission A friend’s Facebook status

The pressure to settle down comes not just from family but often friends, colleagues and acquaintances too. Sometimes, the nagging is lighthearted. At others, it’s annoying. Occasionally, it’s downright offensive.

Hiking first aid kit: an essential checklist

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A comprehensive checklist of what to pack in your hiking first aid kit, from apps that could save your life to must-have gear for the great outdoors

Peter and I have a running joke that I’ve fallen off my bike in the most beautiful places in the world, from Bora Bora to the Galápagos Islands. The worst fall happened when cycling through the quiet country lanes of our tiny French village.

I hit the ground first with a knee, then a hip, then my head. Stupidly, I put my dirtied fingers into my mouth to check if I had lost a tooth. I hadn’t but there was plenty of blood. Later, I paid the price for this mistake. I spent the afternoon not only shaken by the accident but throwing up whatever nasty substance I had drawn into my mouth.

Thankfully, I’ve managed to avoid similar incidents while hiking but it’s likely a matter of time given that we at Atlas & Boots enjoy things like climbing Nevis Peak unguided and trekking active volcanoes. As such, I’ve put aside my complacency and put together a hiking first aid kit, perfect for those who wander outdoors. Here’s what’s in it.

How to improve your vocabulary: 6 tips for language learners

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After five months in South America followed by several months of self study, I’ve finally got a handle on Spanish grammar. I’ve now shifted focus onto vocabulary which is much more fun. As part of my efforts, I’ve put together six tips on how to improve your vocabulary, along with useful tools that will help at each juncture. If you’ve successfully improved your vocabulary in a foreign language, share your secrets in the comments below.

How to start a travel blog – a professional guide

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A comprehensive but concise guide on how to start a travel blog, covering both technical and editorial aspects of creating, maintaining and growing a blog

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.

Jerash ruins of Jordan: a once great Roman city

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The Jerash ruins of Jordan are said to be the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy. At just 48km (30mi) north of Amman, it’s 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.

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.

22 books about obsessive searches

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We list some excellent books about obsessive searches – perfect reading for your own journeys of discovery

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.

10 newbie diving mistakes

Being a good diver involves so much more than the basics. We asked expert divers to name their top newbie diving mistakes. Here’s what they said

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.

12 things to do in Montevideo, Uruguay

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Even if your pockets aren’t deep, there are lots of things to do in Montevideo. Here are some of our favourites from our DIY walking tour of the city

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.

20 cruise tips for beginners

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In May last year, I posted the below photo to Facebook with the caption ‘My birthday swag describes me in a nutshell: aspirational but lowbrow at heart.’ And it’s true: despite the ballet shows and horseriding lessons, I’m a working-class girl at heart. You will understand then why our 16-day cruise from Tahiti to LA via Hawaii was a bit of a test in terms of etiquette.

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.

It’s a predicament many a traveller has faced. When embarking on a long-term trip, every inch of space counts. To help future travellers pack lightly, we’ve put together a list of well-loved multi-purpose products that are ideal for travel.

Best books about survival: 25 true life tales

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Our selection of the best books about survival includes astonishing accounts of endurance to tales of daring escape and everything in between

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.

6 luxury travel gifts we love

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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.

17 interesting facts about Paraguay

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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.