We’re all aware that travel is supposed to be about exploring the globe, meeting amazing people and finding yourself. The web is littered with blog posts about life-changing and eye-opening moments. However, it’s not all heartening tales and romantic anecdotes.
Navigating the Li River, China
I was backpacking with a friend through China in 2008 (my first big trip out of Europe!) and was keen to see as much of the country as possible.
So, when we arrived in Guilin after a long flight, we decided against the bus journey to Yangshuo and opted instead to take a boat (really just a motorised raft) along the 83-kilometer section of the Lijiang or Li River as it’s also known.
Chittorgarh Fort in India: it’s not the Taj Mahal
Chittorgarh Fort is the Rajasthani gem rarely promoted as a must-see
If you decide to take that trip of a lifetime to go and “find yourself” in India, it will probably include a trip to the Taj, a date with the Dalai Lama, a tour around the pink city of Jaipur and any number of other “spirit of India” experiences the guidebooks will throw at you.
These sights are all, of course, worthy of your time but don’t miss Chittorgarh Fort, the Rajasthani gem rarely promoted as a must-see.
Return to India part II: my father’s story
In the first of this two-part series, Peter recounted his tale of India in search of his father’s long lost friends. Five years after his initial visit, father and son return to India to reunite with those friends. Here is his father’s story.
This article was featured on National Geographic’s Traveller magazine website on 14th February 2015
Christmas Eve, 2013. It was the middle of the afternoon and the sun was warm on our backs. We stood on the roof veranda looking down on the dusty streets. A soft breeze was blowing which barely stirred the tangle of electricity and telephone wires that were draped between the houses in this relatively wealthy suburb of Bhilwara, Rajasthan.
Each house was painted in different pastel shades of blue, green and peach and set against an azure sky. It was quiet and the roads were almost empty.
This was indeed surprising, as this was India.
Beng Mealea: the ‘other’ ruins of Angkor Wat
Beng Mealea is an otherworldly set of ruins far from the crowds that flock to Cambodia’s most famous sight, Angkor Wat
I love playing Indiana Jones on my travels and regularly get into character whenever the location seems right. I’ve done The Temple of Doom in India, The Last Crusade in Jordan, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Nevis Peak.
Even though Cambodia was never a location for the films, Beng Mealea seemed just so right for Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Poverty tourism: why it’s not as ugly as it sounds
Last week I read The Case Against Sharing, a post on Medium which referred to Airbnb, Lyft and similar services as ‘Big Sharing’. The phrase immediately raised my hackles.
It drips with cynicism, taking something really quite lovely and reducing it to something soulless: a corporate vehicle that only exists to create money. ‘Big Sharing’ sullies the phenomenon of real sharing.
Return to India part I: my story
Peter retraced his parents’ footsteps on a return to India to track down his father’s long-lost friends…
When I was younger my father would write out my name in Hindi Sanskrit on scraps of paper. I thought it was some magical language from a fantasyland like Narnia or Lilliput and Blefuscu.
When I was older I would sit with him and my mother in front of the TV and listen to him exclaim at Michael Palin’s latest travels through the foothills of the Himalayas or the dusty roads of Rajasthan. “We have to go back,” he would declare with gusto, turning to my mother. “The smells,” he would say. “The colours,” my mother would respond. “We have to go back…”