Last 12 months
Gude book used. Synopsis.
Globetrotter, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide. Fire & Ice:: in search of volcanoes and icebergs.
Lonely Planet, Rough Guide. Revisting the haunts of travels past.
Hungary, Romania(1997)[ web link ]
Lonely Planet. In search of Vlad the Impaler, the basis for tale of Count Dracula.
Hungary, Austria, Germany. (1997)
No Guide book. Went to a party in a far flung part of Hungary. Decided not to come back to the UK and started off in an interesting direction. Ended up trekking in the mountains around Salzburg, exploring Munich during Octoberfest and being deeply moved by the remains of the old East/West parts of Berlin.
Hungary (1997) [ web link ]
Lonely Planet. Awful guide book, no use at all. Discovered Budapest, which I can only describe as the Soviet Paris. Ended up camping without a tent by Lake Balaton and staying with a Hungarian family, who refused to stop stuffing me with food.
The Gambia, Senegal (1997)
No Guide Book. Joined an existing expedition, to help with telecommunications, photography and to do a spot of duneboarding. Lots of off road driving, in hot and wet conditions, plus ground-crew support for paragliding. Got caught up in an attempted coup. Lots of truck maintenance due to the expeditions poor choice of equipment. Met an incredible Italian mechanic who used to race the Paris-Dakar. He ended up buying a compound and has lived in the Gambia for 15 years.
No Guide book. Was invited to a party in downtown New York by a journalist I had never met or seen. Got on a plane Friday evening, landed at JFK, subway into town, no maps, no information, found Jazz club, changed in coat check, walked in embraced first person I saw, who turned out to be my host. The weekend was an experience, accidentally found the diner used for THE scene in "When Harry met Sally". Was on a plane and at work 9am Monday morning.
Lonely Planet, though unused, as I had a host whom I had met previously whilst travelling through China. An experience as I met a rare name-sake of mine, an Irish Musician who landed in Denmark 12 years previously, never left and can now tell jokes in Danish with a strong Irish accent.
China (1996) [ web link ]
Lonely Planet. The LP Guide for China is the bible. Even though I had traveled to China previously, I learnt a lot from the current edition. Traveled with a friend of mine, who had to return after a week. Re-visited Tiananmen Square, the most incredible feeling of being in a location that everybody remembers for all the wrong reasons. Went east to the Terracotta Warriors and then by myself west to Taian to climb Taishan, where, from it's summit, Mao said "The East is Red" and Confucius wrote "The World is small". Met a guy who has become a firm friend and whom I introduced to his mow future wife. Trekked the Great Wall in an area not visited by western tourist, where the wall meets the sea. Lots of solo travelling on trains, always being found by the one person on the train who could speak English – a real eye-opener.
France, Switzerland, St Lucia, St Vincent (1995).
Various holidays, from snowboarding, to touring in my old MG and visiting long lost family members. Guide books were not used as the trips were not too adventurous.
Italy, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan, USA, Canada. (1992-1993)
This was my graduation travelling bonanza. Lonely Planet Guides throughout, excellent in all cases. From visiting locations in India from my past, trekking in Nepal, typhoons in Thailand, hospital investigations in Malaysia, awe-inspiring culture in China, to staying with a living Goddess in Japan, meeting, after 6 years, a penpal in the USA and finally missing my cousins wedding by a day in Canada. Learning to snowboard, to bluster customs, to travel with someone for a long time, learning how to take care of myself and appreciate foreign cultures and people. This trip hit home to me my love of travel.
USA, Canada, St Vincent (1990-1991).
No guide books. I worked in the USA and Canada one summer, door to door sales, marketing for Amex and cycle couriering. Previous year, a friend of mine went to St Vincent and told me to call a certain number if I ever turned up. I did and we spent a month living on the island, during which time I was recognised by a long lost cousin who I had not seen since I was 4 or 5 (this sort of thing happens to me – a lot)
France, Germany Austria, Spain, Switzerland, India, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, USA.