Highlights From My First Decade Travelling


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August 30th 2012
Published: January 1st 2013
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Flying Over AlaskaFlying Over AlaskaFlying Over Alaska

The colours and shapes were cool


This blog post is a prelude / accompaniment to a book I have just finished writing and soon hope to be publishing.


The book contains extracts from the diaries that I have written over the years, used to re-tell some of the weird and wonderful things I have done during my first decade travelling.


Below I go through a trip at a time listing those interesting things I have done.




Alaska to Argentina - Backpacking



• Flying over Alaska
• Hiking in Denali National Park and bumping in to 6 Bears
• Looking over the Harding Ice Field
• Taking the public Ferry down the Alaskan coast
• Going under the Mendenhall Glacier, in to an ice cave
• Enough trout to walk on them next to a waterfall
• Waking up in a stand overlooking an american football lesson
• Getting drunk and losing the car we had just bought in Bellingham
• Our roadtrip - 7000 miles in 6 weeks from Bellingham to L.A
• Climbing Mt St Helens
• Diving in to Crater lake and losing my breathe
• 1000 yr old redwood trees
• Getting moved from sleeping in a McDonalds car park by 3 cop cars
• UTAH - the entire state is
Flying Over AlaskaFlying Over AlaskaFlying Over Alaska

Watching the sun rise
full of amazing scenery
• Our car breaking down and a bloke fixing it with a pen
• Kicked out of Mirage casino in Vegas
• Being in the audiene for the filming of Weakest Link
• 9 people in a taxi in Mexico
• $1.50 for a litre of sugar cane spirit
• My bag getting soaked in piss on a Mexican bus
• Bullfight in Mexico city
• Zipolite on christmas day
• Tulum + chichen itza
• Climbing Tajamulco - Central Americas biggest mountain
• The ruins of Tikal
• The Honduran Island of Utila – where I spent 3 months diving, there was no power between 12-6am and we were invaded by sand flies, the little suckers that you can't see
• Corn Islands - Nicaraguan islands that took 3 days to get to and only 45minutes to get back
• Costa Rica – 3 policemen came to question us and missed what was o the table
• Inca Trail – we started at midnight the night before due to protests and road blocks and had our tyres punctured so had to walk to the start of the trail
• Floating Islands – Lake Titicaca
• Trying guinea pig (Ecuador), Insects (Thailand) and Ox testicles (Cambodia)
• Nazca Lines + Candelabra - Huge rock carvings
• Huancayo visiting family - I left an answerphone message in English for a woman and she invited me for lunch
• Interview on radio - a live, hour long interview on Peruvian radio about Genetics
• Tear Gas Ecuador - some students were protesting and the cops didn't like it
• Rafting Ecuador - The raft capsize in the first minute and we fell from the raft
• Riding on train roof - the devil's nose train journey
• Iquitos brothal - getting asked to perform on stage and then a local guy performing for less than 30 seconds
• Boating down Amazon River
• 50 cent accomodation Manaus - in another brothal, no lights, no water, plenty of cockroaches
• Porto Velho – anteater being beaten by locals
• 42hr bus ride - the bus breaking down after 30 hours, mud lakes on the road as it was rainy season so getting dragged through by diggers
• Pantanal tour – guide barefoot chasing caiman, beautiful scenery
• Rio - festival, hookers everywhere + cops giving us coocaine, Hang-gliding over the city
• Payphones next to goal football stadium Sao Paulo
• John O Groats Landsend – being hit by truck, strange asian religious thing in sccotland, climbing Ben Nevis
• Protesting all
Flying Over AlaskaFlying Over AlaskaFlying Over Alaska

It was great seeing the glaciers from above
over South America - especially Buenos Aires + Bolivia
• Bife de Lomo – lovely steaks for 10 pesos, 3 Dollars
• Paragliding in Cordoba
• 7 colours valley
• Bungee Jumping - some young lads working there, tieing a shit knot then saying 'ok jump'
• Potosi mine - 13 year olds working for a pound a day and us buying TNT and blowing it up
• South America football Cup Final – the atmosphere was amazing, the crowd were chanting and jumping up and down even when 4 blocks away
• Sand Dune Boarding - Peru + Brazil
• Waking in Florianopolis hospital with 5 people holding me down
• Foz do Iguazu – Taking valium and waking 18 hours later in a bus station
• Foz do Iguazu – Being surrounded by 6 guys, 2 with knives and fighting them off (with a little help from the Police)
• Che Guevara country
• The Most Dangerous Road in the World - cycling from La Paz down in to the jungle
• Tiwanaku - some ancient ruins
• La Paz - protestors burning tyres on the tracks and our train delayed about 5 hours
• Uyuni Salt Flats – beautiful scenery, a red lake, geysers
• Markets and the interesting things they sell
• Geysers
Hiking in DenaliHiking in DenaliHiking in Denali

Getting our stuff ready
in Chile
• The Ciudad perdida Trip - Visiting the ciudad perdida ruins, a cocaine factory and an indigenous village
• Mud Volcano in Colombia
• Fashion Show - walking down the catwalk in Cali, Colombia, it was live on TV
• Tango with Dad - doing some tango lessons and seeing a show
• Speedboat ride in Brazil for my birthday




European Cycle - Cycle Trip



• French fireman saves my day - after 5 days of rain, with all my stuff wet a fireman picked me up and drove 100km to the next town, bought me a beer and then drove me to a cheap hotel
• There was a series of tunnels on the Italian coast - I was stopped before the last tunnel and had to climb 900m to continue
• Coming to an empty supermarket and helping myself to some batteries, someone came running after me and took them back
• Cinque Terre National Park - is a beautiful park with a rugged coastline on the Italian Riviera with some really pretty towns
• Pisa - just a cool place
• Rome campsite - I couldn't find anywhere to camp in Rome so had to sleep on top of a
Hiking in DenaliHiking in DenaliHiking in Denali

Crossing a freezing river
wide wall
• Venice - a beautiful city
• Camping next to a dog kennel in a posh park outside of Venice, hours of barking gave me a way to security and I was moved on
• Lying in a field next to a little stream with food poisioning and being accused of fishing
• Slovenia - camping hidden in the woods next to a car park when a car came along and two couples got drunk, played loud music and smashed bottles until about 3am
• Halstatt, a beautiful lake side town in Austria
• The scenery while crossing the Alps
• An American family having their photo taken outside a McDonalds in Salzburg
• Arriving in a town in the Czech Rep and it was full of Nazi’s and Swastikas - they were filming something
• The torture museum in Prague
• Nurumberg - standing where Hitler made his speeches and making a Nazi salute
• The Colditz POW camp and the attempts they made to escape
• World cup 2006 – The fan fests and my beer trick of collecting pint worths of dreggs and taking it back to the bar, 550 euro tickets - for a 90 minute game and the S.Korean fans cleaning a plaza after watching a game at a fan fest, they left it spotless and even scrapped chewing gum from the ground
• Berlin museums - Recent German history is fascinating
• Wash out at festival - I went to a 3 day festival and a storm on the last night flouded all the fields and tents were floating away




Time in New York - Living



• Climbing Empire States Building - the views are amazing
• You've got to love the Americans - at Coney Island they have Hot-dog eating competitions and 'Shoot the freak'
• Tattooing - I tattooed Jo and watched Jessie (Jo's friend) tattoo herself, her first ever tattoo
• Watching Dad get tattooed
• "Big" Piano - the huge piano in the FAO Schwarz
• Working in New York - I was a Courier, a waiter, a doorman and I did some painting and decorating - all voluntary
• Foam Henge - coming across a foam replica of Stone Henge
• New Orleans after hurricane Katrina - It was like a ghost town
• Seeing Elvis's house
• Married in Vegas - I got married at a drive-thru chapel, driving thru in a convertible mustang
• Seeing Manu Chao in Brooklyn park
• My Investment banker friend
Hiking in DenaliHiking in DenaliHiking in Denali

The mother bear and her 2 cubs
visiting NY and us visiting the Federal Reserve
• Niagra Falls
• Firing a rifle in Canadian woods
• Seeing Ronald Reagans Airforce one plane
• Eating coconuts off of Puerto Rican beach - I had a week holdiay from NY




Greece Lightning - Cycle Trip



• Cycling through burnt areas - after the fires in 2009
• Crossing a toll Bridge on bike that didn’t allow cyclists
• Waking up in an olive plantation with people harvesting
• Delphi - the ancient ruins set in a beautiful locations
• Meteora - amazing scenery with Monasteries on top of pillar-like rock formations
• Crossing a mountain close to Metsovo and getting caught out by a blizzard
• Albania - Seeing the skin sheep on the side of the road using a bike pump
• Albania - No legged beggar in middle of the road asking for money from passing cars
• Albania - Fully stocked bars in petrol stations
• Albania - An evangelical christian's kindness - he bought me beer, bread and then caught me up 2 miles down the road with a bag of food
• Kotor - a beautiful town in Montenegro
• Waking in puddle Croatia and watching the lightning strike the mountains close by
• Dubrovnik - another beautiful medieval town
• Adriatic Coastline - beautiful scenery

South East Asia - Backpacking



• Bangkok - temples, buddhas and thai boxing
• Eating insects
• Seeing people cage birds and then ask for money to release them
• Riding an Elephant in the jungle and visiting an elephant sanctuary
• Feeding the wild monkies in Lopburi, Thailand
• Getting a Bamboo tattoo - surprisingly not pain and healed within days
• Going to a restaurant and having a Ladyboy waiter(ess)
• Golden Triangle - seeing the effects of the opinum drug trade
• Boat to Luang Prabang - taking a 2 day trip along the Mekong in Laos
• Luang Prabang – a village with ancien temples, the public feeding the towns monks at 5 in the morning and hiring a motorbike which broke down in a little village, the locals were very helpful
• Plain of Jars - fields of mysterious megalithic structures
• Tubing down the Mekong river
• Laos - Boating along a river that had carved its way through a mountain creating a 7km long cave
• Wat Pho near Champasak - ancient temples and animal carvings on rock
• The locals in Laos had a fridge that wasn't plugged in with the door open and
Harding Ice FieldHarding Ice FieldHarding Ice Field

An icefield covering 1000 square miles
a rotary fan pointing at the inside
• The Paddy fields of Asia, pretty scenery and typically Asian
• Interesting things in Markets like stuffed bat ornaments in Cambodia
• Getting everything from their vehicles - the buses are very old and falling to pieces in most developing countries but in Asia it was amazing to see what they could get on a moped from 8 people to huge desks
• S21 Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - a school used as a prison during the genoide in Cambodia, there were plenty of children that were considered enemies of the state and tortured - horrible but fascinating
• The number of decapidated people in Cambodia - evidence of the Vietnam war and the genocide
• Bokor Hill Station - An abandoned town on top of a hill, the place where I heard a ghost
• Angkor - The entire city was sensational, one of my favourite ancient sites
• Trying Ox testicles - they were horribly chewy
• James Bond Island - visiting the beautiful island where they filmed 'the Man with the Goldengun'
• Seeing Line dancing in Malaysia
• Cycling a tuk tuk in Melaka, Malaysia
• Having a Singapore sling in the Raffles hotel Singapore
• Singapore – chewing gum is
Taking the FerryTaking the FerryTaking the Ferry

Days of sailing passed icebergs and lush scenery
illegal, it was strange as it felt like the UK, the same shops, same road signs etc, and I had fun crossing the border as I had a couple of knives and a throwstar and customs weren't impressed
• Seeing so many ships in one of worlds biggest ports
• Borneo – Baku National Park with the long nosed probiscis monkies
• Visiting a Longhouse in the jungle - we went snail hunting for our lunch, I got to drive a boat, try on a wedding dress, blowing bubbles for kids who couldn't believe what they saw, the elderley ladies with blue tattooed arms
• Niah caves - nest hunting for the famous birds nest soups and rock paintings
• The friendly people of Borneo and Indonesia
• Staying in a floating hotel in Semporna, Malaysia
• Ferry trip from Borneo to Sulawesi - very friendly people, we felt like we were famous and there were alot of people all squashed in like sardines
• Tana Toraja, Sulawesi – a beautiful area with a unique culture, they had roofs that looked like boats, tombs for their dead cut in to the mountains with life-like dolls displayed on the outside and they had tombs cut in to the trees
Mendenhall GlacierMendenhall GlacierMendenhall Glacier

Awesome blue colours
for dead infants
• Bali - Magic mushrooms were on sale in the shops
• The island of Sumba - more unique tombs, unique roofs and carvings
• Kelimutu coloured lakes - there was a turquiose one, a brown one and a black one
• Gum tree moving - the road was blocked by a fallen gum tree and the bus just sat there until I rallied the passengers to get out and help me move it
• Seeing the Komodo dragons and taking a Boattrip of the area
• A fire dance on Bali
• Gunung Bromo - a huge cratered volcano
• Dieng Plateau - Geothermic ativity and boiling mud
• Seeing the Vietnam war from the Vietnamese side - The Amerians were evil, dropping Agent Orange to destroy the jungle and mutate the people.They also raped and tortured
• Vietnam war - seeing the tunnels the vietnamese built with their hands
• Halong Bay - I took a boat trip around some beautiful rock formations




Spain - Cycle Trip



• Festivals – las fallas (Valencia), Easter in Seville
• Benidorm - seeing the Brits fly the flag so well with mushy peas and fish and chips on sale
• La ruta de las pueblos
Mendenhall GlacierMendenhall GlacierMendenhall Glacier

Looking out from underneath
blancos - pretty mountain scenery with white villages dotted around
• Gibraltor - weird to see the massive rock that is part of Britain
• Cow Piss Story - I was cycling along the motorway when all of a sudden a truck carrying cows passed me and one pissed all over me
• Las medulas - A Roman Gold Mine in the North of Spain
• Picos de Europa - a really pretty national park with a big mountain crossing followed by a
• Pyrenees Mountains



West Africa - Backpacking



• Chefchaoen - a pretty mountain town with a painted blue centre
• Fes – lots of history and skin dyeing
• Bud bug bites - getting attacked by 100's of little bed bugs
• Ait Benhaddou - a mud village in Morocco
• Morocco - Aggressive carpet sellers
• Morocco - Warehouse out of town selling booze
• Learning that the desert ruins cameras in the Sahara
• Time in the Moroccan desert - Big dunes, a Camel ride, turbans, sunsets and sunrises
• Climbing Mount Toubkal near Marrakesh but going the wrong way and not reaching the summit
• Blue and Red rock paintings in Morocco
• Western Sahara and its huge Moroccan military presence
• Crossing the border from
Walking on TroutWalking on TroutWalking on Trout

You could pick them out there were so many
Western Sahara in to Mauritania, with burnt out cars
• A mechanic called Commando let me stay in his shanty town house
• Iron ore train ride - riding for free on the iron-ore train and getting covered in iron filings
• Chinguetti in Mauritania – beautiful scenery, rain in the desert and a Canadian policeman I met who was training to cross the Sahara with a camel
• Mauritania – there were very few hotels as people used to just stay with families
• Al Queda almost kidknapping - I hitched a ride to cross the border in to Mali and got stopped by the police and put in to a taxi
• Dogon Country – fairy tale place, lovely people, great dances, beautiful craftwork and fantastic scenery
• Niger river boat trip - I caught malaria and got sick but the scenery was brilliant
• Going to Timbuktu and a nearby festival in the desert
• Djenne mosque - a big mud building
• The age of cars in africa - the roads and the journeys were an experience
• Pays Bassari - great senery, great people and some interesing termite mounds
• Gambia boat ride - we saw loads of monkies, baboons, an aligator and loads of hippos
• Female
Stormin NormStormin NormStormin Norm

Our car for 6 weeks
Thailand – Male prostitues in Sengal and The Gambia
• Senegal and beaches full of crabs
• Rubbish beach - disgusting to see but amazing a beach metres deep in rubbish




Egypt - Backpacking



• White desert - amazingly shaped white rocks, sleeping under the stars and being visited by some desert foxes
• Hot air balloon ride over the valley of the kings
• Karnak Temple - its carvings, statues and obelisks
• Nile boat ride on a felucca
• Going under a pyramid and seeing the weathering on the sphinx




Wedding in Italy



• Beautiful location and a beautiful Castle
• Being with so many loved ones
• Walking from terrace through the streets to the champagne reception




USA - Backpacking



• UFO Tour - seeing 20 - 30 unidentifiable objects, so many we lost count
• Seeing Chem trails in the sky in Sedona
• Visiting Utah again
• Visiting Monument valley and seeing fossilised dinosaur footprints in the desert




Portugal - cycling



• Douro Valley - the beatuiful valley carved out by the Douro river which is full of vinyards
• Monsanto - an amazing hilltop town built
Mount St HelensMount St HelensMount St Helens

A viewpoint of the lava flows
around massive boulders
• Cromeleque dos Almendres - the Portugese stone henge, where we camped amongst the eerie stones




Turkey Splits - cycling



• Camping in a mosque - The weather was awful so I set up camp in a mosque being built
• Ephesus - very impressive Roman city, the biggest Roman settlement outside of Pompeii
• Kaya Koyu - Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside and were abandoned during the 1923 popultion exchange
• Myra - impressive rock-cut Lycian tombs
• La chimerea - 15 - 20 flames coming from the ground
• Pammukkale - beautiful scenery at the site where a spring deposits a white mineral
• Cappadocia - Amazing rock formations, amazing rock-cut churches and some restaurants in the middle of the river
• Kaymakli - one of 40 underground citie in Cappadocia that could house up to 60000 people
• Nemrut Dagi - watching the sunrise and seeing the huge heads on top of this mountain
• Gobekli Tepe - the 'smoking gun' of archeology, 11000 year old henges buried close to the Syrian border, some of the statues were very unique
• Hasankeyf - an 11000 year old town set next to the Tigris river surrounded by
Mount St HelensMount St HelensMount St Helens

View from the top
hundreds of caves
• Badza Cave - a huge cave system with right-angularwalls and pillars
• Perperikon - an ancient hilltop site with some interesting carving in the rocks, it looked like some sort of ancient processing plant
• Cycling from Montenegro to Bosnia - following the pretty turquoise river from Pluzine to Brod, which flows through some fantastic canyon scenery
• Bosnian Pyramids Experience - 2 weeks excavating on some huge pyramids in Bosnia, a brilliant experience


So that's the highlights from the first decade, can't wait to see what the next will bring




Additional photos below
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Crater LakeCrater Lake
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