The travel that changed me: Melanie White

In a new memoir, former yacht chef Melanie White examines the dark side of luxury travel. Here, she explains why it was important to tell her story

At age 22, Melanie White is flying high. With good grades at school, a reliable university degree and steady graduate job, her feet are firmly planted on the ground until she finds herself plunged into the superyacht industry – despite having been on a boat only three times in her life.

The museo subacuático de arte is one of our surreal man made dive sitesAndriy Nekrasov/Shutterstock

In videos: 12 surreal man-made dive sites

From lost ancient cities to the world’s largest underwater theme park, these man-made dive sites are sure to intrigue

At Atlas & Boots, we’ve dived some astonishing sites, from Steve’s Bommie in the Great Barrier Reef to the Sonesta plane wrecks in Aruba. We’re pretty hopeless at fish identification, so when it comes to diving, unless it’s a truly amazing reef system, we’re generally more interested in something unusual or unique (like an airplane or enormous bommie).

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, TurkeySamet Guler/Shutterstock

10 most visited countries in the world

We profile some usual suspects plus one or two surprises in the top 10 most visited countries in the world

Have you dreamed of a romantic kiss atop the Eiffel Tower? Perhaps you’ve thrown a wish into the Trevi Fountain or stopped and stared at the Sistine Chapel. If so, you’re certainly not alone.

Back to Baros: what happened when we returned to our island paradise

Should you ever try to recreate a perfect trip from the past or is it better left alone as a memory?

When my editor at Asian Woman Magazine sent me on a trip to the Maldives, I couldn’t quite believe it. A week at the luxury private island of Baros with flights, accommodation and all excursions paid for seemed thoroughly fantastical. What’s more, I was told to bring my boyfriend on this would-be honeymoon.

map of the most peaceful countries in the world 2021GPI

Ranked: most peaceful countries in the world 2022

The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2022. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

Iceland is once again the most peaceful country in the world followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Austria.

However, the world is a slightly less peaceful place as the number of countries experiencing violent internal conflict rose, the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) suggests.

mountaineering calendar whitney usaDreamstime

Non-technical mountain climbs: 13 trekking peaks

There are no ‘death zones’ on these non-technical mountain climbs but they offer plenty of challenges for mere mortals like me

As a climber, I have completed several indoor climbing and winter mountaineering courses but my technical climbing skills still leave a lot to be desired. I have mastered basic rope, ice axe and crampon skills but don’t practise them as often as I’d like.

map of the poorest countries in the world

Poorest countries in the world – ranked

African nations dominate the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank

We all have preconceptions about places. Take Ethiopia for example. As children of the eighties, Kia and I were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia has faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine.

It was easy then to imagine a vast desolate dust bowl ahead of our visit in 2017. 

A hiker in Finland – the world's happiest country

Ranked: happiest countries in the world 2022

Finland tops the rankings of the happiest countries in the world for the fifth year running

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.

An abandoned whaling boat in BarrowDreamstime

12 of Earth’s most remote places and communities

From eastern Greenland to northern Alaska, we explore some of the most remote places on Earth

Whether it’s astronomical distances, inhospitable climates or extreme terrains that define these remote and hostile lands, there’s one thing they all have in common: they are on my bucket list. That and the fact that people live there.

japan has the most powerful passport

Ranked: world’s most powerful passports 2022

Japan and Singapore have the world’s most powerful passports with the UK and US in joint sixth. We take a look at the rest of the results

It feels a little masochistic to look at the world’s most powerful passports after yet another year of recurring lockdowns. However, as we’ve said before, we remain hopeful about the future of travel. We believe that exploration is a human instinct and that as soon as it is safe, people will return to the road.

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Best travel books 2022: our top 10 picks

From a grumpy hiker’s outing in the mountains to the isolated shores of North Sentinel Island, we list the best travel books 2022

Travel memoirs are tricky beasts. In theory, 400 pages about someone else’s trip isn’t exactly appealing – like a protracted version of Jenny from Accounting’s week-long trip to Tuscany. 

Nanga Parbat was once known as "killer mountain"Witthawas_Siri/Shutterstock

Eight-thousanders: the 14 highest peaks in the world

The eight-thousanders are so ferocious that only 44 people have summited them all. We explain why they bewitch climbers all across the globe

Most boys grow out of their fascination with mountains and the great outdoors. Those that do not usually end up on the side of a mountain, asking ‘what the hell am I doing here?’ But, as the saying goes, the best alpinists have the worst memories and so they venture once again into the ether.

Norwegian adventurer Cecilie SkogFair Use

Ice work: 10 first ascents by female mountaineers

In a world dominated by men, a select group of women have shattered the ice ceiling. Here we review some daring first ascents by female mountaineers

I’ll be honest: it rankles to write the words ‘the first female’ to do such and such. It feels patronising, as if to say you weren’t good enough to play with the big boys but I’ll pat you on the head anyway. 

seven second summits k2 - 1

The seven second summits: a tougher challenge

The seven second summits are considered to be a much harder mountaineering challenge than the more popular seven summits

Previously, I’ve written about my dream of climbing the seven summits and laid out a realistic if not deeply challenging and expensive program of how to achieve that goal.

This week I look at the seven second summits; the second-highest mountains on each continent. The highest summits are a dream of mine, but I draw the line at the second-highest – they’re simply too scary for an amateur enthusiast like me!

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Gateway of India in Mumbai, IndiaAiko3p/Shutterstock

The travel that changed me: Vaseem Khan

Award-winning writer Vaseem Khan tells us how India’s ‘city of dreams’ turned him into an author

There’s no denying it: Vaseem Khan is an overachiever. Born and raised in Newham (one of the UK’s most deprived areas), Vaseem went on to study at the London School of Economics, one of the best universities in the world. 

Ama Dablam is a thing of beautyDaniel Prudek/Shutterstock

30 most beautiful mountains in the world

The most beautiful mountains in the world have captivated climbers for centuries. Here, we examine their lethal appeal

“You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you,” said John Muir, the renowned naturalist, author and environmental philosopher.

If our resident seven-summit hopeful is anything to go by, Muir makes a valid point. Those who spend time in the mountains seem to be driven by a deeper force.

interesting facts about sri lanka

22 interesting facts about Sri Lanka

We learnt a host of interesting facts about Sri Lanka on our month-long trip through the country. Here, we share the best of them

Sri Lanka is a rich and fascinating country that seems to have everything a traveller could want. It is one of the best safari destinations outside of Africa with an abundance of wildlife squeezed into its 26 national parks.

Cold shoulder: 10 dramatic climbing controversies

From dubious first ascents to tense clashes at high altitude, we chart 10 dramatic climbing controversies – some resolved and others less so

There was a time when climbing controversies were sportingly confined to the slopes. The petty trivialities, the robust exchanges and the heated clashes were just part of the cut and thrust of the mountaineering world.