Back to the future: 10 places I have to revisit…and why!

As is customary for most people at this time of year, including travel writers, thoughts turn to the year to come and travel wish lists are drawn up. 12 months ago saw me being oh-so-ambitious about my travel plans, only to have most of them scuppered for one reason or another. This got me thinking about travel wishes in a different light. Rather than always hankering after new destinations for the coming year, my thoughts...

Top Winter Solstice Celebrations in the Northern Hemisphere

The December solstice, often misleadingly called just the ‘winter’ solstice, is a phenomenon which marks the point of midwinter in the northern hemisphere (and conversely, midsummer in the southern hemisphere). It occurs around the 21st December (it can vary slightly) on the longest night of the year – or of course, the longest day if you’re in Australia or Patagonia, for example! In simple terms, we experience the solstices because the Earth is tipped at...

Memorable Moments from a Round-the-World Trip Bid

The one time I attempted a round-the-world trip, a few years back, I spectacularly failed to complete it. When I say ‘spectacularly failed’, I mean circumstances outside my control forced me to reluctantly head home after just 4 months. And yet, almost every time I talk about that particular trip, I seem to skim past the months of adventure leading up to the moment when it all went wrong, focussing instead on the tale of...

The Breathtaking Beauty of Bolivia’s Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve

Bolivia is often overlooked in favour of its more accessible neighbours Peru and Chile, but to bypass it is to miss out on one of the most captivating countries on Earth. With Amazonian jungle, Andean plains, colonial cities and the incredible Salar de Uyuni salt flats, the diversity of this landlocked nation deserves to be appreciated. And it was to one of Bolivia’s most striking landscapes that I was most drawn during my South American...

From Fishermen to Fine Art – A Walk Around Old Stavanger in Norway

It’s an uncommonly warm and sunny September morning in Stavanger, Norway. The locals go about their daily tasks as visitors stroll around the harbour taking in the picture-postcard prettiness of it all. It’s not somewhere I had thought to explore, to be honest. It stands to reason that when you imagine a cruise around the Norwegian fjords, what first comes to mind is the lavish scenery resulting from eons of glacial activity. I suppose the...

A Warm Welcome at the Star Hotel & Restaurant in Twynholm, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

My host, Linda, greets me as I pull up alongside the pub-restaurant front and apologise for my tardiness. I’m well over an hour later than I first said I’d be, thanks to some traffic along the (mainly) single-carriageway A75. ‘Oh, it’s not a problem at all, I’m only just down the road’ she reassures me. And with that warm welcome, I began my stay with the Star Hotel and Restaurant in the sweet little Scottish...

Impressions of India Part 3 – Mumbai and Home

India’s popularity as a tourist destination has increased in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, but on arranged tours travellers often see only the surface of what this incredible country has to offer. To get right down into the underbelly of a place, you either have to stay a while longer and go for ‘slow’ or ‘experiential’ travel, or approach it from a different perspective altogether. Here, we do just that, as...

When Travel Dreams Fade – The Eclipse That Wouldn’t Wait

  I’m sitting here writing this tale of discarded travel plans, wondering whether I should have let it get to me so much. I mean, I’m not the only one who has had to soak up the disappointment of cancelling a dream holiday due to those pesky ‘circumstances beyond our control’. But as a unique and memorable travel adventure, this trip was off-the-scale awesome. And the series of setbacks leading up to this moment at my...

Summertime Bees and Blooms – A Wildflower Meadow in Hampshire

This month has been a busy one beyond belief for me, for a hotchpotch of reasons, some good and others not so much. I’ve been industriously buzzing around sorting, organising, planning for everything from a likely house move, through a (not-looked-forward-to) operation, to a couple of weddings – one in the glorious setting of Amberly Castle, the other in Sweden. All of which hasn’t left me much time to put hands to keyboard and turn...