The Adventure Travel Show is a fantastic show for anybody looking to for a alternative travel or adventure. During the course of the two day show in London Olympia, there’s a lot going on; planning your own adventure seminars, talks from professional adventurers, and stands from tour companies and tourist boards.
This year there were talks from some fairly big adventurers including; Sir Ranulph Fiennes,Dave Cornthwaite, Leon McCarron, Pip Stewart and Austin Vince. These Speakers all came from All the speakers who presented did a grand job of inspiring the audience to take on there own adventures. Being around so many inspirational people, it’s impossible to not feel inspired.
With the Global Convoy Team, I was lucky to be asked to present on the main stage of the Adventure Travel Show, the Adventure Auditorium. The talk in true convoy style was incredible relaxed as well as somewhat professional, as we are certainly not “professionals” more the complete opposite. Presenting first thing on Sunday morning, meant many of the audience still had headaches. Being in an auditorium for the first time was pretty daunting to say the least, although it was also a great feeling to see so many people come out and (hopefully) enjoy our talk.
Also at the Adventure Travel Show were numerous tour companies and tourist boards, with them a few new adventures where hatched up.
Stay tuned to the social media channels to find out more.
There are several hidden gems in Boston and I’m positive that this list is not all of them. This is a just select few that I found, with a little bit of help from a local. The Mapparium, located in the the Mary Eddy Baker Library. This 3 storey stained-glass globe in viewed from the inside on a 9.1m bridge. It was completed in 1935 based on the Rand Mcnally political map from 1934. Since then it has been opened up for debate to update this globe, each time it was put off.
Standing in the centre of the Mapparium, gives me the sense of listening in on everyone. A whisper here sounds like normal speech. It’s quite surreal.
Being pretty interested in Geopolitics, this to me was incredible, showing the how the world is now so different compared to 83 years ago. There are really are some incredible differences, including countries that don’t exist today and areas of the world that are still under imperial rule. It’s to think that some 80 years ago the world was a very different place. Being in the centre, I personally had never realised how far north of the equator, Europe, Asia and the North America are. I hope you take some time to visit the Mapparium, it’s well worth it. Parts of the Mary Eddy Library (were the Mapparium is) and nearby church were under going some sort of works. I shall have to explore them next time.
In November 2017, I booked a flights between the United Kingdom and Boston. Now in order to make it as cheap as possible, I choose to fly with hand luggage only and went from the cheapest destination I could find. This was a slight problem. as it In order to get the cheapest possible flight from the United Kingdom to America, worked out to fly to Ireland first and then onwards to America. It makes no sense really, but if that was the cheapest then I would do it. Doing this left me in Dublin with a 18 hour layover. Well, 15 hours after getting to and from the airport, plus having to get through pre-clearance.
My flight from Birmingham was due to land at 9pm. knowing this I had pre-arranged to stay at the Spire Hostel, in the centre of Dublin. I’ve previously been to Dublin in 2015 to obtain my Iranian Visa, for the Mongol Rally. During my weekend, I visited the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson’s Distillery and the Temple Bar Area. I have a some vague locations of some of the attractions minus the Temple Bar, I blame the Guinness!
The things of interest in Dublin
Only having a limited amount of time, I opted to visit more the historical areas of Dublin. After finding my bed for the evening, I accidentally headed out without a hat, a big mistake in -2°c. After getting lost several times I finally ended up on the Ha’Penny bridge, a place I about online to be a must visit. They’re not wrong! Not from Ha’Penny Bridge is the Temple Bar district were I was trying to get to.
In order to see as much as possible I woke up at 7am, aiming to be out the door at first light, trying to get some photos of the sunrise. This didn’t happen, in fact I left the hostel at 9. Staying in a hostel there are always interesting people. I met a Russian lady from Siberia exploring Europe. I was amazed to meet a Russian in Dublin and she was just as amazed that I had been to her hometown.
Which direction first?
I head straight for the river, were I spotted a sailing mast down river. It seemed like a good place to start, I was keen to find out more about this sailing ship., The Jeanie Johnston, a transatlantic tall ship built to carry cargo, but ended up carrying emigrants from Ireland to the New World. You can have a guided tour of the ship, unfortunately, the tours were not running on the day. Following the river further, I found signs for Grand Canal Square and Energy Theatre. They sounded interesting, until I found that they were a business area. Not somewhere I wanted to be. Luckily for me, some more signs pointed me towards the Trinity College. After navigating several back streets, getting lost and thinking a police station was the college. I eventually found Trinity College and the Bank of Ireland. Unsurprisingly the college was shut to tourists. Fortunately the courtyard of Trinity College was open. This was really calm at 09:30am in the middle of winter. I can imagine that in mind summer, it’s not so calm.
Opposite the Trinity College there is a tourist information, were I got some pointers on what I must see. The list I was given included, Grafton Street, St Stephens Gardens, the Castle and the City Hall. Now by there map the distance between all of these was only 2 miles, but to explore all of them in 2 hours, that’s a whole different game! I happened to be next to Grafton Street, which was a great start an added bonus being Christmas time it was very festive. They even had a huge Christmas tree at the end of the street. It’s a shopping street full of some very quirky and more know branded shops. I couldn’t resist looking in camera shop. At the end of Grafton street is, through a stone arch, is St Stephens Gardens a quaint peaceful garden with several water features including a small lake. I strolled down one side of garden to get a feel of the gardens before heading to my next destination, the Castle.
Finding the Castle and heading to Boston
After walking for 10 minutes, I came across the Market Arcade an old traditional market, surprisingly it was also closed. The castle, which was not the ‘typical’ type of castle, with high walls and a big keep. No this looked more like university, with a square in the centre, still it was an fascinating structure. Next to the castle is City Hall along with Christ Church Cathedral just around the corner. I didn’t really have time to even see these buildings. I did have a quick glance into the Cathedral which looked magnificent. My time to explore had come to an end, as it was now time to head to the airport and onwards to Boston.
Can you explore Dublin in 15 hours? Well that depends entirely on your definition of exploration. I mean by it’s defination: “ex·plo·ra·tionˌekspləˈrāSH(ə)n/, noun, the action of travelling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it.” I certainly explored Dublin by this definition, but in no real detail. I would definitely be looking to come back.
With 2017 over, it’s now time to have a little reflection on the adventures that I had, the people I meet and the incredible cultures that I had the opportunity to experience. In total I would say I spent over 8 months of the year adventuring which wasn’t always good fun – that’s a whole other set of experiences. Nealry all of these months were spent with Global Convoy. These are just a hand picked few experiences in places that blow me away with awe, horror and amazement, among some other emotions.
1. Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu has been on my list of things to see for a very long time. I remember seeing pictures from school and online about the Incan “University” in the Peruvian mountains. This was one of reasons that Machu Picchu made it to my list, also that a lot of it’s history, to this day, is still fairly unknown and there is something very inquisitive to me.
2. Utila, Honduras
Were do I begin! Utila is a small island off the coast of Honduras, that is home to both native Honduran’s, expats and large selection of wildlife. This is also were I went snorkelling for the first time in my life, being able to see coral reef in such a way was incredible.
3. G20 Riots, Hamburg
This was a more terrifying experience. Staying with some amazing friend’s of friend’s in Hamburg, quite literally, in the epicentre of the riots. This was an experience like no other seeing violence, from my understanding that was, for no real reason other than people could.
4. Atacama Desert, Peru
Waking up surrounded by desert, then climbing up a nearby mountain to witness the vast expanse of mountainous desert. This was a moment of realisation more than anything, why had I never heard about this huge desert in Peru? It’s a country full of jungle and mountains? How little I still know.
5. Palenque, Mexico
Palenque is one of my more “oh crap, I messed up” experiences in 2017. This was the place that me and a few others got lost in the jungle, which is a somewhat scary experience. To be fair, it wasn’t like we were hundreds of miles away from civilization, only a mere few hundred metres from the path. This was more than plenty to give me a shock.
6. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
This was more of the adventurous place in 2017, hiking up Indian’s Nose to witness the sun rise, ride on top of a chicken bus down a 1,000m mountain side, kayak through abandoned houses in the lake and were I meet some lifelong friends. In total, my time in Atitlan was a fun filled adventure.
7. Rincon del Mar, Columbia
Staying in Rincon del Mar a small village on the Caribbean coast line reasonably untouched by tourism. It was a relaxing point of 2017 being away from the city life and to meet the local people. Gaining a better understanding of life in a slightly more remote part of Colombia.
8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro in itself is a truly amazing place. What made this place stand out for me was the way I was able to explore the city. I was flown to Rio by a friend, who I met for 2 days in Ireland, who I haven’t seen in two years. He then organised for me to stay with some of his friends, who guided me around the city.
9. Salento, Colombia,
This town, in central Colombia surround by mountains and dense jungle. It also has a valley of super tall palm trees. I would have loved to have stayed explored some of the huge mountains nearby and maybe climb a few. But time on the Convoy couldn’t allow it.
10. Gualchan, Ecuador
Spending the night camping in Gualchan is one of my top highlights, staying in a really remote part of Ecuadorian mountains and jungle. Having a very relaxed evening around a fire with good friends and then spending some time with people in the local village the morning after.
11. Antigua, Guatemala
Now this was an incredible place for so many reasons firstly, it’s a really beautiful city surround by volcanoes, Fuego is very active and most days can be seen erupting. It’s also were I got together with my current girlfriend. So for me Antigua is a very special place.
12. The Bolivian Salt Flats
This day was possibly the best day of the year. Driving the Micra around the famous Bolivian Salt Flats and start of the Dakar Rally. With nothing but salt for miles in every direction, this was a good opportunity to have some fun and do some very questionable driving.
13. Peak district, United Kingdom
I had never explored the Peak District properly until 20171 Just wow! It’s such a beautiful place right only a short(ish) drive from where I live. Seeing the history, climbing some hills and mountain biking with the Adventure Pedlars who also let me and the Global Convoy Crew stay at their bunk house.
Luxembourg is one of my most visited countries. In 2017 I spent time exploring the northern part of the country with its huge amount of castles, many of which are still in good condition. I happened to be in city at the same time as the Luxembourgish National Day or the Grand Duke’s Birthday.
15. Salt Mines, Peru
Visiting the Salt Mines was a great day in its self. What made this day especially great experience, was when a group of us ended up staying after hours with the miners. One of the miners then invited us back to his town to talk some more.
16. Teotihuacán, Mexico
Teotihuacán, the Aztec Sun and Moon Temple had always been a place that I have wanted to visit. Acturally going here and exploring the Temples, learning about engineering and getting to know a little bit about the culture of the Aztec’s was really interested.
17. San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Visiting the 2nd murder capital of the world. Was an eye-opening experience even though the statistics are terrible doesn’t mean that all the people are. I personally had amazing experience playing football with children in the streets; riding a train through the city centre that had run in many years.
After failing to hitch last night we had to spend another night in the services. We put our failure down to the fact that we looked rather too crazy for the people of Gotemba. The second failure was our inability to wake up… Instead of waking up at 6 as planned we both woke up at 10. On the plus side we both felt very refreshed at least.
We waited in the services for 3 hours, waiting for a kind person to pick us up. Then we met Tagahasi the coach driver! Yes, this gentleman gave us a lift in his coach, with the understanding that he would take us all the way to Osaka. We had struck some luck at last!
Or so we thought. Due to some miscommunication, we where left in a very small services in the middle of nowhere. However, Mr Tagahasi did take us another 120km towards our current destination, Osaka and we got to watch a film.
Closer to Osaka
When reached our new home we assessed the situation we had been left in. It appeared we where at a private service station, very small but very cheap inside. We went around getting some food and started again to hitch hike. As usual we positioned ourselves next to motorway entrance or the service area exit. However, the police had over ideas for us, making us move the motorway in the most friendly way possible, it was almost impossible to take them seriously. Undeterred we tried again, this time from the front of services and finally got picked up by Jizso, the hitchhiking lorry driver. Jizso explained to us how had hitch hiked through Japan and a few other countries, also, that it wasn’t common to see hitch hikers in Japan. This generous man also bought us coffee, nuts and some cigarettes and gave us a lift to Nagoya, another 100km down the road.
A long wait…
We arrived at out 4th services of the trip at 6 o’clock, buzzing from the very high caffeine content in the coffee. This gave much entertainment to the garage opposite, with us dancing and singing. Despite all our efforts, including being given a giant sign for Osaka from the staff at the garage, it was no good. We settled down to wait in darkness, kinda of stupid on our behalf, although we didn’t have much else to do. When we hit 10 o’clock we headed for bed to get some rest for an early start. Yet again camping in a service station.
All in all it was a fairly uneventful day, in comparison to the previous days, 2 and 3.
We woke up late, but it was worth after last nights adventure. We also had an amazing view of Mount Fuji. Or would have been if it was not for all the fog. It was also the day we decided to go for a causal stroll up a mountain.
Leaving our, car park we walked up to a local campsite where the kind receptionist lets us leave our bags for the day. Our causal stroll looking at the maps was 5km or an hour an half walk, how stupid us to think this…
The mountain, was in fact part of a large ridge line that steep in all directs, including having three huge saddles or dips in the ridge. At one particular point we dropped approximately 200 metres. This meant that we had to climb back up even higher, with ground getting steeper and some sections requiring us to scramble over tree roots. This continued for what seemed like miles, finally after 2 more saddles finally reached the summit 3:30 hours after leaving the hotel. At the summit we got some amazing views of the surrounding geopark and an active volcano across the valley.
The Mountain Lady
This was obviously a major tourist attraction as there was a shop and bunkhouse at the top of the mountain, we also discovered we where might be the only foreigners on the mountain! Being bestowed by gifts of food, souvenirs and many people taking photos with us. We also tried some mystery food, much to the amusement of many people. We had to leave the good willed people as we were very quickly getting towards nightfall.
The Long Walk… to a services
As started we our decent of our Mount Kintaki, we came across an section of open ground, which to our surprise was steaming. Now this was a slight surprise as it had not rained all day and wasn’t that warm either. Having seen the volcanoes around we assumed that this mountain must also be a volcano. But hey we are not geologists.
We made it back to our rucksacks just as the night was descending, we then grabbed our rucksacks and made our way back to Gotemba, to try and grab a ride further towards Osaka. Standing just in front of a toll booth we waited for 4 hours; dancing, looking like idiots and waving. However, it was to no effort as we where not picked up and standing in the cold. This is probably due to the huge amount of people driving past in there Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s.
Abandoning the idea at the toll booth after some research of the local area we found a service station some 3km away. An interesting walk, getting lost in a forest ended up having to walk through a think forest. Eventually we got back on to a road and made our way in to the service area. Again this would be be our home for the night.
Yesterday was very eventful. What is going to happen tomorrow?
We both had a terrible nights sleep, thanks to an inconvenient typhoon. Being a typhoon it didn’t let up until morning, however it did give us a lovely new swimming pool in the park.
Having taken shelter in the toilets, we did what we could only do when your stuck in a toilet in Japan and charged our phones, learnt some Japanese and harmonized with the rain. We also went around establishing The Republic of Toiletstan, an interesting country were the currency is high fives.
Hitchhiking to Osaka
When the rain parted we begun our hitchhiking, again. We were picked up in 30 minutes by a German gentleman called Stephan, a master brewer. What are the chances! Unfortunately for us he didn’t have any of his fine brew with him, as has been to an Oktoberfest. He offered us a lift to Fuji, whilst en route when we explained that we where interested in climbing Mount Fuji. Instead of dropping us in Fuji he then turned back to drop us off in a small town called Gotemba. Stephan explained that Gotemba was one of the starting locations to walk up Mount Fuji.
Stephan had dropped us right in the centre of Gotemba leaving us with no real idea of what part of Japan we where in, we searched for a tourist information to see what was to happening around town. and when we worked out he had also dropped us off right next to the tourist information. Thank you Stephan for the ride and for going out of your way.
The lady at the tourist information told us to stay away from Fuji as it was out of season for tourists, as much as I wanted to climb the mountain we didn’t have the right gear. On the other had we found out about a campsite at the base of another mountain and that there was a small Japanese festival starting in a few hours.
Festivities Japanese style
The festival started with a group of young drummers, who put on more of a show rather than just music for everyone to enjoy. The combinations of the different drums was incredible especially when some of the children were around 12.
Next up on the stage some kids entertainment, which was quite interesting a superhero and villains sketch. With a super surprising ending. Yes our hero won! At the end of the show I was stood watching everyone, children and adults alike surrounded the stage. To then have all of the performers and what I believe was the mayor throwing sweets in to the crowd.
Night time, a time for drifting
Reluctantly, we had to leave the festival and head off to our campsite. A 4.5km walk out of Gotemba up a mountain, as we walked out of town we saw and heard a lot of drift cars heading out on to the motorway and in to the mountains. We headed further out of town climbing all the way, were we discovered an old windmill over looking the town below.
When we finally arrived at the campsite we discovered it was hmm. A bit fancy for us and we also needed to book in advance. So off we headed again to find somewhere to stay for the night luckily for us our Maps.me showed that there was a car park/viewing point just up the road.
It was a great place to camp for the night, with toilets and a good view of Mount Fuji.
As we were relaxing charging everything up in the local toilets, a couple of drift cars pulled in to the car park and started to jack their cars. Us being slightly mechanical minded we went and offered our assistance.
After much confusion between languages, we worked out that they raising the suspension. After everything was sorted and the wheels back on, asked go for drive with them which they where more than happy to do so.
As many people do my driver thought that it would be a good idea to show off to is new friend, in this instance me. All was good to begin with however, after a mile and a half we raced around a corner at 80kph (50mph) sideways. We ended up in a metal barrier, very lucky really, if there was no barrier we would be been rolling down the mountain side.
After trying to start the car a few times, he gave up and we pulled his car out of the barrier. Instead we inspected the damage to discover that it was fairly serve and called up André who was having a much better time with his driver.
There was a lot of damage to the right had side of the car, including the inter-cooler and headlights. We tried
to start the car with no luck. Unfortunately on these cars the inter-cooler is essential for them to run. Luckily for us though the drifters were out in force and it wasn’t long before, 4 cars hand stopped to lend a hand. Including one kind chap who gave us a lot electrical tap. With which and time a few hours we managed to fix his car, well in such a way he could drive it home. And give us a lift back to our camp for us to get some sleep.
Until tomorrow or check out what we happened yesterday.
As part of the Global Convoy – travelling around the world for a as cheap as possible – we got set the challenge of hitchhiking from Tokyo, Japan to Seoul, South Korea. Not an easy challenge when half the group have never hitched a “ride”, nonetheless we had a go and here is what my Team got up to.
So Team Muchantos a combination of myself and Andrè Correia a photo journalist from Portugal, started out on a very wet Saturday afternoon, not the best time to be hitchhiking. Our plan was to be in Osaka in few days time to met up with Team Highball and Team Sleepy Dragons.
We took the circular line around Tokyo called the Yamanote line, to Shiubya Station which was ideally located at the start of the Tomsei Expressway. From what we had read was one of the easiest roads to hitch on. As it is the major highway between Tokyo and the southern cities.
This started out well we where of high spirits having just eaten in the local Family Market and having wifi made time pass. Things quickly turned sour after an hour or so, as it turned out we were trying to hitch from outside of a very fancy 5 star hotel. After more research, we discovered that if we wanted to get a ride we needed to be in a services. Looking at the maps we saw that the closest services was several kilometres away, luckily for us though it was close Tocichiba train station, however, we still had a good 3kmto walk.
Camping in public…
We reached the services at 9 in the evening and having looked at the maps we knew that there was a large park close by, that we could hopefully camp in. On inspection it was rather fancy with toilets and running water. A quick tip on camping in Japan, if you can camp by a toilet you have electricity and drinking water both for free.
The park was more like a jungle to begin with with huge spiders everywhere. Having battled through got lost a few times we eventually found the opening on to a playing field with several rivers around. We pitched up our tent, had a swing of our whiskey and settled in for the night.
We were feeling very confident for the day ahead to get to Osaka.
A massive thanks to The Roverette for nominating me for the Blogger’s Liebster Award! She can be found over at the www.theroverette.com
What is the Liebster Award, I here you ask. The Liebster Award is, is an award that is given from bloggers, to bloggers, with the purpose of shining light on upcoming, new blogs that have potential to do well based on their posts, and is usually given to blogs with less than 200 followers. The concept of the award is very similar to that of a chain letter, although there are some who refuse to accept the award, therefore breaking the chain. It is not required of you to continue this chain, but by doing so, you miss out on the chance of getting your blog more views. Mahesh choose me, along with four other blogs that he believed are likely to do well in the future. In return, I will:
Link this post back to my nominator, in this case The Rouvette and her blog
Answer 11 questions about myself, that The Rouvette has asked.
Name 11 random facts about myself
Nominate 10 other blogs with less than 200 followers that I feel deserve the reward
Ask 11 new questions to the bloggers I nominate
Hear are the question that The Rouvette asked me:
Are you a morning bird or night owl?I am defiantly a morning bird, I regularly wake up between 06:30 – 07:00 every day.
What is your favourite food?Now this is a tough one, I enjoy so many different types food from so many places. Hmm I think that my favourite by a very small margin is a parsnip.
What is your favourite quote to live your life by?Determination: the will to succeed will overcome the greatest adversity!
Pick 3 words that describe you.Determined
Do you have an all time favourite classic old movie or song?My classic song for this would have to be The Police – King of pain.
What would you be doing if Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr didn’t
exist? Hmm, who knows is the real answer, although I would like to think that, even without those amazing tools I would still have travelled, but it would have been very hard if not impossible to keep in contact with all the amazing people I would have met.
What country would you always like to visit and why? Or to travel bloggers, what was your favourite country you have been to and why?There are so many countries and people that are amazing. My favourite country as it stands is Iran. The people are some of friendliest people I have ever met, the country has immense history and culture. You can I highly recommend Iran.
Would you rather travel to the past or future? How far would you go and why?I would like to head in to the past 500 years and be at the for front of exploration in 16th Century The Age of Discovery. Going on long dangerous voyages to discovery the Americas and other unknown lands across the world really was a impressive time in exploration.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?The ability to fly!
How do you pick your friends?I believe that everyone can be friends, no matter where they are and who they are. I keep my book open to let anyone be my friend. Most of the people I meet on my travels are of a similar mindset as well. We can all be friends!
You find a glass cube in the middle of the desert, that is meant just for you. How big is it? Your answer refers to how big your ego is. Do you think that is a good way of testing someone’s personality?Wow, this is a very thoughtful question! When I first read this I instantly had an idea in my head of a cud 1 foot square, not exactly huge. I don’t think that this can reflect someone’s personality, for example I think that my cube is small not due to a small ego. I would like to say now that I don’t think I have a massive ego. It being just for me makes me want to instantly share it with the world, I don’t want to take burden and take anyway some else’s cube. Thoughts?
11 random facts about me:
I could fly a motor glider solo before I could drive a car!
My second toe is longer than my big toe
Slept in crypt for 4 years (bedroom was painted in the style of an Egyptian crypt).
I am currently trying to learn Russian and Spanish. It’s somewhat of a struggle at the minute.
My favourite colour is Orange.
For my work experience at school I worked at The Royal International Air Tattoo.
I prefer to sleep; on the floor, under the stars, in a hammock, in a car, standing up rather than sleeping in a bed.
I have completed my Gold duke of Edinburgh.
I love just randomly walking with no particular direction or reason and just see what happens.
I live in the outdoors world, climbing, hiking and camping.
I have a huge appetite usually eating in 6 main meals plus snacks a day.
I have now nominated the following 5 blogs, take some time to check them out!
Barranco Beach, situated in the Algarve close to the town of Sagres. This is an amazing place to visit for many reasons; one being that there is a semi permanent hippie community on the beach. Who are a very friendly and welcoming people, sharing there stories fire and beer with us on our escapade.
The beach is amazing just like many of the beaches in the Algarve, although like others this one has not been touched by tourism or anything of that matter. As such there are no facilities at all apart a compost toilet, there isn’t even a road!
Having said that this is not what this beach is about, it’s about coming back to nature have a hand a fishing in the sea, camp on the beach and generally have a good time enjoying this picturesque beach.