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Pompeii: Time Travelling in Italy

The fallen city in the shadow of the mighty Vesuvius I’ve been told it’s overrated. It’s ‘too touristy’. It’s not as good as people thought. Good? It’s not a word I’d use to describe this landscape of time travel. Of destruction. Of death. Of incomprehension. No, good...

The Truth About Travel: You Have to Make Up Your Own Mind

There is no universal experience When I was 20, I backpacked across the US from Chicago to Los Angeles over two months. My best friend and I volunteered on tiny organic farms and caught trains and buses across eight states. All of our friends said the same thing....

Homesick for the 50th Parallel North

I arrived in British Columbia in early autumn after having lived in the tropics and subtropics for a year. I’d left the UK the previous year and sailed south. I’d been to countless Caribbean islands, lived in the mangrove jungles of Panama and sailed across an ocean....

Sailing in a Lightning Storm: a little close to the edge

    Lightning at sea makes you pray to the gods   We’re only two days out from the Bahamas on a month long ocean crossing to Europe, when the lightning starts. It’s midnight and the wind has been howling for hours. Now, it’s ceased almost entirely. It’s...

The Best Route Up Pen y Fan

Without much time for flexibility, I decided that the Easter Bank Holiday weekend was the ideal time to climb Pen y Fan for the first time in about seven years. The night before I drove up to Wales, I read news reports that there were two miles of cars parked along...

January in Sidmouth: a view from the shore

The sky is unmoved today. It's neither tempestuous nor sunny. It's not oppressive but it doesn't quite feel clear either. The clouds seem undecided, on the fence. They break here and there for shafts of sunlight and out on the southern horizon squalls play with...

Islands of History – Exploring Malta in November

'What's next?' 'Popeye Village.' 'What?' 'We're going to Popeye Village,' I repeat. 'There's a village named after Popeye?' 'No, it's literally Popeye Village.' A year ago, I had an urge to go away. After three years abroad, I'd found myself back in England and...

Exploring Brussels: The Heartland of the EU

Brussels is every city. It has the sprawling pedestrianised shopping streets of France, Germany, Austria and Spain, dotted with Zara, H&M and Calzedonia. It has streetside seating housing huddled groups drinking Leffe and laughing together. It has bicycles chained...

Dartmoor Walking – A view through the ancient forest

Research clearly points to time in a natural landscape being good for your mental health. But do we really need research to know that? I get an itch sometimes. No, not sometimes. Often. Perhaps it's a factor of my upbringing, one that was spent weekly roaming in the...

Boat Hitchhiking Part 8: How to Deal with Seasickness

Seasickness is a feeling wholly like any other (except maybe morning sickness, I’m not sure, I haven’t had children). It makes you feel as though you just might die. It can be incapacitating. Coastguards have been called out to rescue boats due to severe seasickness....

Free Book Extract from ‘In Bed with the Atlantic’

An extract from Chapter 4 of my first book, In Bed with the Atlantic. ... Five hundred miles was something I could get a handle on, something I could picture. It was around the same distance as Falmouth to Spain’s La Coruna, less than the trip from Portugal to Porto...

An Idiot-Proof Guide to Solo Travel in Copenhagen

I've travelled in four continents and in 23 countries but you know what? I've never travelled alone. Well, that's technically not true. I attempted a solo trip to the USA in 2011 but it didn't exactly go as planned (if you want the full story, you'll have to read my...

The Sound Between the Darkness and the Light: Copenhagen’s Cisterns

Søndermarken is in autumn. In fact, it seems to be both summer and autumn here. Not even a transition, just both. Many of the trees are still a vibrant green while others have long lost their leaves, which lie in golden piles across the paths. Copenhagen's green...

Turning 30 – A Decade of Adventure Travel

“A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.” ― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel 20 I'm standing on the top of a...

A Day Out at a Book Launch – In Bed with the Atlantic

I'm walking through a massive marquee, trying not to bump into anyone. I walk around the ChartCo stand, filled with sailing books of every possible kind. I spot my publisher and start to walk towards him. I spin around to face my dad. 'Oh my god.' 'Go on then, go say...

Boat Hitchhiking Part 7: The Languages of Sailing

Long distance sailors are a mixed bunch of nationalities but the following are particularly common: French, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch and British. Without a doubt, there are more French sailors in the Canaries than any other nationality and they are...

For the Love of Literature – I have a Book

My mother tells me that she hadn't heard a peep out me for a while when I was a small child. She went upstairs to find me sat on my bed with my head in a book, at a time when I could barely read. My sister was the more ferocious reader when we were child, or at least...

A Foray Around the West Indies – Sailing in the Caribbean

Slow Travel in the West Indies There is no better way to extensively explore the West Indies than by boat. There's just not. This string of islands peeling north from Venezuela to Cuba is made up of many countries and offers no backpacker trail, no comprehensive ferry...

A Traveller’s Guide to Dawn

It doesn't matter where you are, dawn is the same. I know dawn. We go way back. Early dawn My first associations with dawn is that nausea you get when you have to wake up Too Early and drag yourself out of bed. I specifically remember this feeling as a child, when my...

Hiding there in the dark, just out of reach

Three weeks ago I lost part of my sight. Overnight. I realised on a Saturday morning and it might sound strange, but it took me until Monday morning to realise that it was real. I got a lift to A&E. A vast swathe of vision in my left eye had just disappeared....

Boat Hitchhiking Part 6: Money Matters While Sailing

I mentioned in the last chapter about ensuring that you have the money to complete your journey. This is exceptionally important because if you can’t prove it to the skipper, you may not get a place on a boat and if you can’t prove it to customs on the other side, you...

The Culmination of Everything – A Book

Less than three weeks until my first book In Bed with the Atlantic is published. It's entirely unbelievable to me that it's happening after so long, but it's true. I started writing the book proper in the Bahamas in the very beginning of 2016 but I had really been...

Boat Hitchhiking Part 5: Useful Skills for Sailing Crew

Okay, in reality, not that many boats are looking for crew. Huge yachts will have a professional crew, small yachts will only have two people onboard and can’t physically carry the food and water for more and most boats in between will have enough people or will get...

A Sojourn in Teignmouth – a seafront town defined by its solitude

I've come to Teignmouth to write, to think, to sleep in silence. A year ago I made landfall in nearby Dartmouth after three years away. I remember it as though it was yesterday. The glide of my boat as she stole up the river through silted water. The peace of...

Boat Hitchhiking Part 4: The Reality of Sailing Across the Atlantic

The Dream The sound of water whooshing past the hull. A gentle breeze across a relaxed ocean. Flying fish shooting out from the sea. Dolphins chatting and playing under the bow. You imagine it clearly – you’ve read the posts online on travel sites. It’s easy and such...

Boat Hitchhiking Part 3: How to Find a Boat

There are plenty of things you can do to improve your chances of securing a passage even if you’re not an awesome chef, super experienced sailor or a doctor. Most of them are common sense but somehow totally missed by so many boat-hikers. Adverts. Your first action...

The Azores – A Subtropical Paradise in Europe

I first heard of the Azores around 2010. Yup, that's true, I'd never heard of them before. I read about them in an edition of the Lonely Planet magazine and the spread was filled with photographs of glistening azure volcanic lakes and forested mountains. I had to look...

Boat Hitchhiking Part 2: How an Atlantic Crossing Works

Welcome to Part 2 of the How to Hitchhike on a Boat series! If you missed it, you can read part 1 here. In Part 2, I'll talk about the best time to cross the Atlantic. The best time to cross the Atlantic Although boats can technically cross the Atlantic at anytime,...

Cycling the Exe Estuary Trail – an impromptu peddle

Let me tell you, being single after many years really blows your weekends wide open. It's quite astounding actually. Suddenly there's no one to suggest things, no one to go on an impromptu cinema trip with and no one to lie around in bed with in the morning making...

Boat Hitchhiking Part 1: Why Hitchhike Across the Atlantic

Welcome to the How to Be a Boat Hitchhiker Series! This 11-part series will go through everything you need to know if you want to head out to one of the marinas famed for their boat hitchhiking opportunities. Whether you want to hitch across the Atlantic or simply...

Review: Lean Greens Superfood Powder

'Is it a vibrator?' asked my friend over Whatsapp the day before she was due to visit me. I'd told her I had a NutriBullet. 'No...it's a smoothie maker!' I'm not one for kitchen gadgets. They look useful but I never get around to actually using them. From sandwich...

You Don’t Know What You Can’t See – Optic Disc Drusen

‘It looks like you’re missing half your vision,’ says the optician. She’s looking at me like I’m crazy. Like, how could you not know this? I struggle for an appropriate response to this simply unbelievable piece of news. ‘Do you drive?’ she asks, suddenly horrified....

People of Venice; a human city

Venice, right? It's a city of bridges and canals and gondolas and pigeons and palaces and masks. And Venice in the morning is beautiful, when the streets shine with water and dawn. The worn stone steps, the parquet floors, the iconic architecture. It's all so...

A Storm in England; how weather gives us back our nature

Last weekend I was staying at a friend's at Land's End, a peninsular that stares down the Atlantic and gets the full force of the Atlantic winter storms. I woke up in the night as the 40 knot winds kicked and punched at the windows, cracking the curtain to see the...

Review | SubZero Factor 1+ Base Layer

Up until a few years ago I didn't know what base layers were. I layered up in winter with vest tops and t-shirts and wondered why the layers weren't keeping me warm. When I did finally discover that base layers existed, I became duly obsessed. I've been a bit of a...

When Your Brain Lies to You and Says ‘Don’t Do It’

Having to manage anxiety on a daily basis is like having an incredibly persistent child who is continually throwing a tantrum, dragging on your legs and telling you not to do something, please oh please, let's not do it. The only way I've found to manage this, is to...

Earth, Mud and Mountain Bikes – A Trip to Afan Forest

Mist peels its way up the valley and I'm glad. There's something very comforting about being incased in cloud. In mist. In a trillion trillion suspended drops of water. Clear days can be so....clear. Sometimes you don't want clarity, you don't want the big picture,...

Travelling in the UK: Seeing Our Country with Fresh Eyes

I drove past Stonehenge the other day. I didn't even stop. In fact, I drove past Cerne Abbas too. You know, the chalk man on the hill? In Peru two years ago, I toyed with the idea of taking a flight above the Nazca Lines. the Nazca lines! I thought. A once in a...

A Homecoming of Sorts – Sailing Back to England

There is a huff off the back of the boat. This is always how it starts. A huff. That is what has defined this adventure, this voyage of discovery. The ones who huff. I've arrived in England almost exactly three years after leaving. Conceptually, it always seems...

The Glass City and the Sea – Visiting La Coruña in 2017

They call this the glass city. I can see why. It's filled with galerias, endless lace-like enclosed balconies covering the outsides of buildings. They look down upon you as you walk the endless streets, their tapas bars spilling out, their patrons laughing with tiny...

How I Built My Travel Blog (And the tools I used)

*This page contains affiliate links from TSOhost and StudioPress - because I LOVE THEM. If you buy something through those links, I get a commission. Which would be awesome. You also get 10% off your hosting though! Learn how I built my travel blog below 🙂   I...

Video Blog: Sailing with Cetaceans

It's 9:30 at night and I've got my back to the setting sun. I sit in the corner of the cockpit and watch the ocean roll and swarm downwind. I'm listening to a creepy podcast. I downloaded tens of hours worth before setting sail on this 1000 mile voyage. There's...

Video Blog: Day Sailing in the Subtropics

The alarm goes of at 5am and rain is tap dancing on the forehatch above me. The skipper says something to the effect of 'front passing over - alarm for 6:30'. And I fall back asleep. I wake up again at 6am and all is calm and quiet. I'm cosy, so cosy but I know that...

Why You Need a Good Poker Face When Eating in Portugal

There's a minute bifana on the menu but we've walked a long way - I'm more hungry than that. I order what I translate to be beef and rice. The Portuguese, after all, don't eat lunch the same way we do in England. I relax in the sun, talking with the skipper about the...

A Sailor’s Guide to Terceira

The Azores have been on many a sailor's list for many decades. These sub-tropical islands offer a sanctuary for the sailor and offer unique experiences. Read this sailor's guide to Terceira to see why this island on the periphery of the Azores is definitely worth a...

Cloud Islands: Volcanoes in the Ocean

There's a perpetual cloud over the mountain nearby. It's more than a cloud. It's an immense white-grey pillow of damp. It gives the vibrant green to this island, the innumerable dairy cows their grass, the people their food. These are cloud islands. They lie alone in...

Video Blog: Life in a Boatyard

Writing is one thing, but it lacks the immediacy of being put on the spot and talking as you think. So this is my first video blog! Sign-up to find out when new video blogs are released! Email Address First Name

A Life Lesson from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I’m not in the habit of quoting from films in the Harry Potter universe for one obvious reason; nobody can learn anything from them because they’re too caught up in wishing they were 11 and that letter on the carpet isn’t a reminder from HMRC but an invitation to...

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