Kia looks out across the Drake Passage

On travelling solo as a small brown woman

“People think they can push me around – sometimes literally,” says Kia as she reflects on the trials of travelling solo

I am not one of those women who move through the world looking sleek, elegant, aloof and inscrutable. You know the ones. They’re usually wearing clothes that are ‘dry clean only’ and their wrists drip with expensive accessories. Men find them attractive but also a little frightening – as if they might turn you to stone if they deigned to look at you.

The countries we most want to see

Seven years after their original list, Kia and Peter revisit the countries they most want to see

In 2017, during a long trip through Asia, I asked Peter a question: if you could see only five countries before you die, what would they be?

My rule was that he couldn’t choose countries he had already visited, nor stateless territories (e.g. Antarctica). Fast forward seven years and he has seen four out of five countries on his original list, so I asked him to come up with a new one. Given that he has been to 100 countries and all seven continents, it wasn’t easy – but he managed it.

Visiting Auschwitz from Kraków: a sobering journey

Kia reflects on a visit to Auschwitz from Kraków and defends what some dismiss as problematic tourism

The famous gates of Auschwitz are startling, not because they’re sinister or imposing but the very opposite. Usually depicted in black and white, these gates have featured in myriad Holocaust films and documentaries. Today, however, they’re not in menacing monochrome or veiled in evocative fog. Rather, they’re bathed in sunlight with a blazing blue sky behind.

Alien landscape at Dallol in Ethiopia

I’ve lost my traveller edge

After a year and a half at home, Kia finds travel a little more challenging than it used to be

There’s a certain level of hubris that comes with a travel lifestyle. I’m not talking about the curated selfies of Instagram or endless filtered sunsets but travel that predates it: the hardened journo grabbing his go-bag en route to a conflict zone, the high-powered CEO taking another red eye, or the ‘third culture kid’ who frequently flies between three cities. 

Hanging up my hat: why I’ve chosen to quit horse riding

After years of riding horses, Kia explains why she’s chosen to quit

My first impression of horse riding was how bloody slow it all was. When I first started to learn back in 2014, all we did for months was walk and trot. I thought I’d be well on my way to cantering by then. Instead, I was mired in the minutiae of technique. 

We've spent 100 days in lockdown in Richmond

Lessons learnt from 100 days in lockdown

As we approach a full 100 days in lockdown, we reflect on the things we’ve learnt while largely stuck at home

I was so blasé. Ten days before lockdown, I casually said on a podcast that I was still riding the tube, still seeing friends, still keeping calm and carrying on as is the British Way (from 22m here). 

Life under lockdown

Kia – who prides herself on discipline – examines the effects of coronavirus on her state of mind

Yesterday, I promised myself I would close my laptop at 5pm on the dot. The working hours of my week had taken on a strange, flat quality: a shallowness, like kicking my fins and striking sand.

Announcing Kia’s new book: Take It Back

Take It Back is a gripping courtroom drama perfect for fans of Apple Tree Yard, He Said/She Said and Anatomy of a Scandal

The day I got a book deal started inauspiciously. Our group of 13 had camped for a night in the Australian Outback after battling broken air conditioning in 40°C heat, a cracked windshield, a change of vehicle and an alarming array of bugs at night – as well as a snake and dingo. 

As a traveller, not travelling

Kia takes stock of the past year and shares what it’s like to stay in one place

The last 12 months have brought immense amounts of change for us here at Atlas & Boots. A year ago, Peter and I were living out of Airbnbs while house-hunting in the Yorkshire Dales. We viewed 22 properties, put half-hearted offers in for two of them and then saw our 23rd house which we fell in love with. It wasn’t perfect (no outdoor space and in need of a lot of work), but the 300-year-old stone cottage with its wooden beams and cobbled street seemed perfect for a writer. If you stick your head out of the skylight, you can even see a castle. 

5 travel problems only women will understand

For all the rhetoric about fearless female travel, there are certain problems that still endure. We tackle some below

It’s been almost five years since Peter and I packed up and left the UK for a year-long trip around the world. Many things have changed since then – some for the better and some for the worse, both at home and abroad.

Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2018

From topical debates and trip reports to how-to guides and personal pieces, we publish a wide range of posts every year. Here’s our pick of 2018

Well, this has been an eventful year. We kicked off 2018 with a month in Australia followed by a trip to New Zealand on commission for Lonely Planet as part of our Trailblazers partnership. We followed up with various projects for Lonely Planet including judging their flagship Best in Travel 2019 campaign and speaking at their Diversity in Travel Writing event in London.

Forida and Kia on a hike in the Chiltern Hills travelling with hearing loss

Travels with my sister: conquering a lifetime of hearing loss

My younger sister was born three months premature and grew up with pronounced hearing loss. After a recent change for the better, she agreed to join me for a trip…

Kia’s story

I first realised that my sister was different when I was seven and she was six. Forida was told to wear hearing aids and I remember how much they embarrassed her. The chunky beige aids were conspicuous on her child-size ears and, to other schoolchildren, marked her out as different; not one of us.

Richmond North yorkshire

The ups and downs of our move to the country

After three decades in London, would a move to the country prove horribly wrong? We share the ups and downs of our time in the Dales

We’ve finally settled down. After four years on the road interspersed by stretches in a tiny French village, we’re back in Britain permanently – well, kind of. We have trips to Namibia, South Africa and possibly Costa Rica planned for Nov-Dec and more next year, but we also have a permanent home.

Desconnexions lead

Call of the wild: disconnecting from daily life

A strange evening with Desconnexions in Catalonia reminds us why it’s so important to get off our laptops and occasionally leave our phones at home

I was on Wikipedia reading about a 2015 controversy involving a judge on the New Zealand version of X Factor when I realised I was doing it again: wasting time reading about a person I didn’t know involved in an event I didn’t care about on a show I didn’t watch.

I had fallen down the internet rabbit hole – again.

lessons from travelling the world

I’ve officially travelled the world. Here’s what I’ve learnt

Seven years ago, I asked a question on Quora: what qualifies as having travelled the world? It prompted an interesting discussion there and, later, here on our own site. We decided that it wasn’t the number of countries visited or borders crossed that mattered, but the number of Risk map regions you had seen. The logic was that visiting half of the 42 Risk regions would offer a better sampling of the world.

Does my bruise look big in this? The trouble with an outdoors lifestyle

In planning a trip to the home of bungee, Kia laments the effects of an outdoors lifestyle

This year, I turn 36 and if it hadn’t been for the dismaying discovery that cellulite also creeps across stomachs, I may have continued my diet of sugary snacks and drinks forever. Instead, I’m becoming a little more mindful about the things I eat. There are still desserts and ice creams, but a little less all round.

The fact that staying in shape will now take more effort is not a huge surprise; after all, beauty magazines have been telling me so for about two decades now. What is surprising is having to think about how I treat my body in other ways.

At the Lonely Planet Trailblazers induction in London

Announcing our new role as Lonely Planet Trailblazers

We reveal the details of our new role as Lonely Planet Trailblazers, a partnership with the world’s biggest travel guide publisher

Those of you who have followed us from our early journey across the South Pacific will know that we have worked with Lonely Planet periodically, from taking over their Instagram account to co-hosting Twitter chats and running campaigns for third parties.

Tackling London’s empathy gap

As we head to London in the wake of the Grenfell Tower inferno, the class divide is heavy on our minds

In Greek mythology, Chimera was a fire-breathing creature with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Today, her name has come to denote anything composed of very different parts: a collection of things that don’t belong together.

It’s a fitting way to describe how I felt after graduating from university. I’ve explained in Checking my privilege and Asian girl, English boy that I had a very simple childhood. My family was poor but so was everyone else’s. My parents were immigrants but so were everyone else’s. There was a uniformity that precluded envy, tension, or confusion about my identity. I was Bangladeshi and I was poor. Hey ho.