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Caye Caulker sunset

Belize, I Like You, But…

September 3, 2014 | Belize | 22 Comments

After a quick side trip to Tikal, we returned to Belize and headed for the coast. What it lacked in jungles and ruins, it seemed to more make up for in beaches, and that was just fine by me. Plus, with distances being so short, we figured it was relatively easy to get from one place to another without taking all day to do so.

Apparently, we figured wrong. The 200km trip from San Ignacio to Placencia ended up taking over nine hours, involving three buses, a long and miserable wait and a kind-hearted water taxi driver who saved the day.

I’ll admit that wasn’t quite how I’d imagined things would go when I’d woken up that morning… but on the upside, there were fewer dead bodies this time around.

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Monks at a train station

Back on the road

February 22, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 4 Comments

It was a strange feeling.

Standing in my apartment in Chiang Mai, idly picking things up and putting them back down again. Throwing out all those little pieces of paper and other junk that accumulates whenever I stop moving for a while. Finding new homes for the few household items that I’d bought (who wouldn’t want a used teaspoon anyway?)

Leaving.

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Old man

Why I’ll be a 73 year old backpacker

February 15, 2012 | Article, Travel | 28 Comments

I finally got around to watching “A Map for Saturday” a few days ago. A cult movie amongst long term backpackers, it is the documentary story of the highs and lows of one guy’s year on the road.

I really wish I hadn’t waited so long to see it, because it’s fantastic.

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25 Tips for Backpacking Around South East Asia

Serene monks on mobile phones and corrupt politicians in limousines. Stinking traffic jams and stunning deserted beaches. Ancient ruins and gleaming skyscrapers. Armani suits and subsistence farmers. Full moon parties and silent contemplation. No matter which way you look at it, South East Asia is one of the most interesting, vibrant, beautiful and complex areas in the world. For me, it’s utterly fascinating, achingly beautiful and one of the greatest places in the world to backpack, and I find myself returning there time and again. Here’s a few things that I’ve figured out to help you enjoy your time in the region, and avoid a few of the pitfalls along the way.

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Laptop

The changing face of backpacking

April 11, 2010 | Article, Travel | 11 Comments

Back in February I spent several days doing a road trip around Tasmania where I spent most nights staying in hostels ranging from the pretty crummy through to one that was flasher than some hotels I’ve been to. What struck me at all of these places, though, was just how much technology has changed the way that backpackers travel in the last decade.

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Backpack

6 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Backpack

When it comes to travelling for the first time, other than maybe buying a plane ticket I reckon there’s nothing that tells you that you’re really ‘doing it’ more than going into the store and buying your backpack. Striding up to the counter, credit card in hand and a big smile on your face, proudly telling the poor shop assistant exactly what it is that you plan to do with your new purchase. “Oh, I’ll be carrying this for six months around Europe”, you happen to slip into the conversation. “I hope this is big enough to fit in everything I need for my round the world trip”, you proudly proclaim.

As with all important purchases, however, it’s vital to pick the right option. Especially when that option is going to be sitting on your back with all of your possessions in it for the next several weeks, months or years. Getting it wrong will almost certainly result in frustration and unnecessary expense, limit your options and probably provide you with a visit to the chiropractor to boot. Here’s a few pointers that I’ve come up with over the years that I wish I’d known when hitting the travel stores for the first time.

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