5 language learning myths

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One of the things on my bucket list is to learn Spanish fluently. I learnt the basics during my GCSEs (16 years ago!), took an evening class at UCL in 2010, and have also dabbled with Rosetta Stone and Duolingo.

In the lead-up to our big trip, I decided to get serious and enrolled on a Rosetta Stone course online. I tested at intermediate level B1 and am currently working my way up. Meanwhile, Peter is brushing up on his basic French.

Asian girl, English boy: travelling as an interracial couple

More than once, I’ve shaken off Peter’s affectionate arm around my shoulder or his hand in mine – in the crowded streets of Cairo, the empty aisles of Jerash and even the markets of Whitechapel right here in London.

I think it’s fair to say that I’m more attuned to the disapproval our relationship might trigger, so while he’s innocently reaching for my hand, I’m assessing who might see us, what they might think, what they might say, what they might do.

Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland: captivating, surreal, stunning

gullfoss-waterfall-iceland

Gullfoss Waterfall in Iceland rages with sensational beauty and power

Kia has many talents but there are three things she just doesn’t do: cook, drive and navigate. This is fine – unless I’m on a snowy and slippery road with low visibility and she’s by my side insisting that she can’t read the map.

Luckily, on this occasion, I spotted a sign with a familiar name, þingvellir, and managed to navigate to our destination without the help of my lovely ‘assistant’.

10 tips for travelling in a developing country

how to take better travel photos

I’ve been lucky enough to experience a decent cross-section of the world – rich and poor – and all the charms it has to offer.

From the pristine streets of Berlin to the dusty roads of Delhi, from the clockwork metro in Austria to the rickety network of dalla-dallas in Tanzania careering along at breakneck speeds, and from 5-star luxury in the Maldives to a cockroach-infested Cambodian dorm – they all have their allure and if I’m honest.

5 tips for talking to strangers

talking-to-strangers-tips

As an avid traveller, teacher and part-time photographer, I’ve been lucky enough to meet lots of people from lots of different backgrounds. Some became lifelong friends while many more melted into the heap of faded friendships and acquaintances we all leave behind.

That’s not to say that these fleeting encounters are immaterial – even a short conversation can prove to be unexpectedly enlightening or, at the very least, thoroughly entertaining.

International borders: 10 awesome frontiers

We take a look at some amazing images of the awesome international borders to be found across the globe from Asia to America

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an impressive collection of new websites, blogs and social media accounts dedicated to ‘travel porn’. They’re filled with big, sweeping images of fairytale lands and precarious precipices. Sometimes, like this incredible piece on architectural density in Hong Kong, they’ll depict urban decay or stifling poverty – always gilded by the photographer’s lens.

Return to India

return to india

Six years ago, Peter retraced his parents’ footsteps on a return India to track down his father’s long forgotten 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 Himalaya 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…”

7 tips for travelling alone

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1. Don’t feel like you have to make friends

All the travel experts bang on about how you’ll meet amazing people and make lifelong friends on your travels but sometimes that’s just not true. Granted, locals are usually friendly, surprising, eye-opening and delightful but fellow travellers are often of the single-serving variety.

I recently boarded a plane and chose a seat next to two young women, thinking they would potentially be good to hang out with. Almost immediately they began to talk 100 words-per-minute about bags and shoes and shopping, and which shoes to wear while shopping, and which bags are best to store shoes in when swapping shoes from heels to flats when shopping. Groaning inwardly, I put on my headphones and turned up the volume.

How to keep a sense of humour when travelling

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Keeping your sense of humour will ensure that you remain calm and respectful, and will help make your trip as amazing as you had hoped

Sometimes – not often, but sometimes – travelling proves better in theory than in practice.

This might be when you arrive in your cheap hostel room in Delhi to find rotten prawns in the shower, or when a random guy in Nairobi blatantly tries to distract you so his friend can get in your bag, or when the bus that’s meant to pick you up is three hours late leaving you alone on a Cambodian roadside at three in the morning.

5 pitfalls of long-term travel

5 pitfalls of long-term travel

We investigate the common pitfalls of long-term travel

So you saved for a year, quit your job and told all your friends that you’re off to see the world on your first ever long-term travel adventure. You bought your round-the-world ticket, subverted the naysayers and bid adieu to the prescripted life.

Now you’re several months in and you tell yourself that you’ve broken free; that you’re an iconoclast; that you’ve stuck it to the man. You think you’re having the time of your life, little aware that you’ve fallen into one of the common pitfalls of long-term travel.

Here, we list 5 things to ask yourself to make sure your trip is all you hoped it would be…

What qualifies as having ‘travelled the world’?

travelled-the-world

Many people say they want to have ‘travelled the world’ but how can we quantify this? Countries visited? Passport stamps? Borders crossed?

How many times have you heard someone say it? Or read a blog post about it? Seen it in an Instagram status or on a bucket-list? Scores of people (including me) say they want to ‘travel the world’ but how can we quantify this? By the number of countries visited? Stamps in our passports? Borders crossed? Cultures experienced?

Kia asked this question on Quora a while ago and received a response from Jay Wacker, a former Stanford professor who offered up Hasbro’s Risk Map as a measure, suggesting that you can say you’ve travelled the world once you have visited half the territories on the map – that’s 21 out of 42 in total.