best-countries-for-hiking-chile-2Dreamstime

Best countries for hiking: 10 trail-rich destinations

We take a look at the best countries for hiking, what makes them great trekking destinations and, of course, their finest footpaths

1. USA

Best trails: Pacific Crest, Appalachian and Continental Divide
Known for: Great Plains, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Redwood Forest

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.

Edurne Pasaban in Nepal

The travel that changed me: Edurne Pasaban

Edurne Pasaban made mountaineering history when she became the first woman to have undisputedly climbed all 14 of the eight-thousanders – the only mountains on the planet above 8,000m.

She has a degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of the Basque Country, a Masters in Human Resources Management from ESADE Business School and is Associate Professor at the Instituto de Empresa.

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Sherpa film review: has it put me off climbing Everest?

Is the plight of the Sherpa set to change with the release of Jennifer Peedom’s BAFTA-nominated and exhilarating new Sherpa film?

Let’s be clear about this: I have neither the skills nor the money to climb Everest. I’ve spoken several times about my long-running ambition to climb the seven summits, but I’m not so naïve that I can’t see it may forever remain a distant dream.

Naturally, this doesn’t stop me dreaming and I expect the allure of standing on top of the world will never really dissipate. However, after watching BAFTA-nominated documentary Sherpa, I am considering whether foreigners should be on the mountain at all.

Sherpa charts the Everest story from a perspective rarely seen and subtly asks the question: is continued foreign obsession with Everest bad for Nepal, Khumbu and the Sherpas?

Eight-thousanders-everestDreamstime

How one 30-minute meeting changed my life

No-one likes to admit that they live an ordinary life. In our 20s, most of us are convinced that we’re different; that we will ‘make it’, whatever ‘making it’ actually means.

In our 30s, we realise that we’re not unique, that our lives are disconcertingly similar to nearly everyone else we know. We wake up earlier than we desire and surrender copious hours to our employers. We try our best to eat healthily and exercise, but we so often can’t find the time. We hold together the threads of life and try to weave them into something cohesive  –  all the while leading ordinary lives.

mike horn travel that changed me

The travel that changed me: Mike Horn

Mike Horn and list of accomplishments as a solo explorer are unparalleled so we are privileged to have him talk to us about the travel the changed him

The great explorers Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton would surely look upon Mike Horn with approval and admiration. He is arguably the world’s greatest modern-day explorer.

The South African-born Swiss explorer and adventurer has probably seen more of the world than any other person on Earth.

Antarctica has some of the cleanest air in the worldDreamstime

The travel that changed me: Eric Larsen

In 2006, polar adventurer Eric Larsen completed the first ever summer expedition to the North Pole. As the Arctic ice has no land mass beneath it, it’s at its thinnest and most treacherous in the summer making it impassable on foot.

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6 best Torres del Paine hiking trails, Chile

Torres del Paine hiking trails are some of the best hiking trails on the continent, if not the world

In 2013, National Geographic ranked Torres del Paine National Park in Chile as the fifth most beautiful place in the world.

Unfortunately for me, Torres del Paine represents one of my travel regrets from our big trip. We got our timings wrong and saw relatively little of some of the most dramatic scenery in Chilean Patagonia.

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Testing my limits on Cotopaxi Volcano

I knew it was going to be cold. I knew it was going to be hard. What I didn’t know is that I’d want to give up after a mere 10 minutes on Cotopaxi Volcano. Our altitude of 4,500m mixed with unusually harsh weather made every breath difficult, every step a labour. As the wind slapped my face, I closed my eyes and wondered not for the first time why I had let Peter talk me into this. Glaciers were his thing. Trekking in freezing cold weather was his hobby. I like adventure, sure, but not when it hurt this much. I prefer my adrenaline 10 degrees above freezing, thank you.

Guatape: the best day trip in Colombia

A quaint and charming town awaits you in Guatape with colourful streets and quiet piazzas, while La Piedra Del Penol offers the best views in the land

When I’m about to visit a country for the first time, one of the first things I do is scan a guidebook and pick out a few highlights or must-sees. This can be dangerous business as you’re often putting yourself at the author’s subjective mercy.

When I first scanned our guidebook’s Colombian highlights I saw colonial towns, national parks and coffee plantations. After a month in Colombia, I can safely say that the best day I had there barely gets a mention in the guidebooks.

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Our unexpected great American road trip

In two weeks, we have crossed four states on our American road trip, seeing an array of landscapes straight out of the movies

We never even planned to be in the US!

In fact, we should have been about 3,000 miles further south by the time we rocked up on Venice Beach in LA, mixing with the crowds of hippies, hipsters, tourists and homeless. I’ll admit that with my two-month old beard, huge backpack and threadbare flip flops, I blended in most with the latter.

In the two weeks since our arrival, we have crossed four states on our American road trip, seeing an array of landscapes straight out of the movies. From snowcapped mountain ranges to tumbleweed-strewn deserts, from glitzy casinos and roadside motels to the empty and silent towns of the Midwest, we saw it all. And it was magical.

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Mauna Kea: summiting the world’s “tallest” mountain

Why Hawaii’s Mauna Kea takes the crown as the world’s tallest mountain

Okay, so we all know that Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain, measuring at a staggering 8,848m (29,029ft) above sea level.

What’s less well known is that if you measure from base to peak, it’s not Everest but Hawaii’s Mauna Kea that takes the crown as the world’s tallest mountain. Mauna Kea lies largely hidden beneath the ocean surface but is a monumental 10,203m (33,476ft) in height from base to peak.

Mount Yasur volcano erupts

Hiking Mount Yasur volcano on Tanna Island, Vanuatu

On Mount Yasur volcano there was not a soul around and not a noise to be heard – other than the deafening eruptions, that is

The first few weeks of our trip had been active enough. We’d hiked, climbed, caved, canyoned, kayaked and more. It would have been perfectly acceptable to spend a few days lounging on a beach on Tanna Island, soaking up the Pacific sun.

However, you don’t go to Tanna without seeing the “Old Man” that is Mount Yasur volcano, and we were no exception.

Peter on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in TanzaniaAtlas & Boots

Climbing Kilimanjaro: Africa’s highest peak

Climbing Kilimanjaro was the first step on my path to climb the seven summits, the highest mountain on every continent

Why climb? Because it’s there… and it can actually be done by most.

Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the world’s highest freestanding mountain, meaning it is not attached to a mountain range. I trekked it in 2010 and it was inspirational to say the least.