Travel

The Adventure Travel Show 2018

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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.

Adventure Auditorium
Presenting on stage with the Global Convoy team at the Adventure Travel Show. Photo Taken by Ben Arthur

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.

Travel

Hidden Gems of Boston: Stuck in time, in a 3 storey map.

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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.

Mapparium
Richard in front of a model of the Mapparium

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.

Do you know of any hidden gems in Boston? 

Travel

Can you explore Central Dublin in 15 hours?

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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.

Ha'Penny Bridge
Ha’Penny ridge at Night

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.

Lyubov' in Dublin
Meeting awesome people in Dublin

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.

Jeanie Johnston
Jeanie Johnston at day break

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.  

Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College in Winter

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.

 

 

Adventure

My 17 most incredible experiences in 2017

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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.

Machu Picchu
Taken whilst on the Global Convoy.

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.

Utila
Looking over the north side of the Island

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.

G20 Riots
Staying in the Epicentre of the riots

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.

Atacama Desert
Returning from Exploring the Mountains

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.

Palenque
Exploring the Aztec Ruins in Palenque Mexico with the Global Convoy

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.

Indian's Nose
Hiking up above Lake Atitlan

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.

San Bernados Island
Sunny beach’s just off the shore of Rincon del Mar.

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.

Rio de Janeiro
Exploring Rio de Janeiro

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.

Salento
Walking through the Cocora Valley, Salento Columbia a truly amazing and magical place.

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.

Gualchan
Hammocking in Gualchan, Ecuador a truly fantastic place

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.

Antigua
Exploring Antigua’s central square

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.

Bolivian Salt Flats
Having fun in the Salt Flats.

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.

Peak District
An Autumnal walk in the Hope Valley.

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
Trying to find away down in to the valley around the city.

14. Luxembourg

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.

Salt Mines
Exploring the Salt mines in Peru

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.

Teotihuacán
Looking towards the Sun Temple at Teotihuacán

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.

San Pedro Sula
André riding on the front of a train in San Pedro Sula.

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.

Travel

Liebster Blog Award

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What is the Liebster award?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. What is your favourite quote to live your life by?Determination: the will to succeed will overcome the greatest adversity!
  4. Pick 3 words that describe you.Determined
    Enthusiastic
    Energetic
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?The ability to fly!
  10. 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!
  11. 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:

  1. I could fly a motor glider solo before I could drive a car!
  2. My second toe is longer than my big toe
  3. Slept in crypt for 4 years (bedroom was painted in the style of an Egyptian crypt).
  4. I am currently trying to learn Russian and Spanish. It’s somewhat of a struggle at the minute.
  5. My favourite colour is Orange.
  6. For my work experience at school I worked at The Royal International Air Tattoo.
  7. I prefer to sleep; on the floor, under the stars, in a hammock, in a car, standing up rather than sleeping in a bed.
  8. I have completed my Gold duke of Edinburgh.
  9. I love just randomly walking with no particular direction or reason and just see what happens.
  10. I live in the outdoors world, climbing, hiking and camping.
  11. 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!

My 11 questions, to my nominees

  1. What is the most bizarre breakfast you have had and where was it?
  2. Who would you like to have afternoon tea with?
  3. If you could start a new life with all the knowledge of this life, would you take it?
  4. What is your favourite way to travel?
  5. Who is your favourite superhero?
  6. One thing that inspired you to start your blog/website.
  7. If you could travel to any place where would you go? and why would you travel to this place?
  8. What is your favourite colour?
  9. One thing that really annoys you.
  10. Are you usually late, early or right on time?
  11. What is the hardest thing you done?
Adventure

Planning a road trip escapade – The day before

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Escapade

escapade
ˈɛskəpeɪd,ˌɛskəˈpeɪd
noun
  1. an act or incident involving excitement, daring, or adventure.
    “he told of their escapade with a ‘borrowed’ truck”

The planning stage – What’s this?

Well this one is easy, we didn’t plan anything, the ferry, the route absolutely nothing! Well that’s not strictly true the plan was to help a friend from the Mongol Rally move house from Lisbon to Amsterdam. Apart from this nothing was planned not even a ferry crossing, where we would be staying, nothing!
This trip was in fact so spontaneous that I called my ‘boss’ up Saturday morning and told him I would not be in next week and got some people to cover me for most of the week. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the whole week off and as such had to fly home on the following Friday.

Our road trip car (Later to be named Mother Theresa)

I brought the 2000 1.8l Ford Focus Estate for £350 for the upcoming Global Convoy, she needed a lot of work on her, to begin with she needed a new clutch and some sort of air hose of some kind. Apparently she also needs an idle control valve whatever one of those is, all I know is that it can make driving super hard.
I had the above fixed up before we left the UK, and replaced the air filter, checked the oil and that was it. Probably should have given her full service as you are about to find out.

Keeping costs down

We used the app Bla Bla Car to help reduce our costs and get people around Europe we had some really fantastic offers from people and meet some truly amazing people, from various backgrounds.
We also didn’t pay for any accommodation, if we couldn’t stay somewhere we camped out in the tent.
Other ways we kept costs down was trying to avoid toll roads and instead of using costly mobile data in Europe we is through large chain restaurants such as Mcdonalds, Burger kind, KFC and many others no matter where they they have free Wifi, whether it works or not is a different story.
Keeping food prices down is more difficult, especially when we are covering massive distances in such a short period of time. Super markets and cooking is by far one of the cheapest ways or another way is to go dumpster diving as taught to us by one of our hitchhikers.
There so many things that we could have done to make this trip cheaper, but that wasn’t the point of this trip. The point is you don’t need to have months do a road trip and you don’t need to spend months planning it out. However if you what to have a much cheaper road trip doing some planning is definitely advantageous.

Now on to the escapade…

road trip at dragon fest
Camping at Dragon Festival somewhere near Santa Fe
Adventure

The A to Z Challenge

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I have decided to take on the A to Z challenge in April 2016. During April I, along with over a thousand plus other bloggers will be posting to our blogs with a post that begins with every letter of the alphabet.

I will of course be posting on mainly travel and adventure topics as always but I am going to through a few spanners in as well. I hope you enjoy all the posts throughout April. However in the mean time have a look around the website.

A to Z Badge
The April A to Z Challenge 2016
Adventure

The end for 2015, the adventures of 2016

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The end is nigh for 2015, however 2016 is now here! Looking back at pictures, postcards and bits of film, it has been an interesting year to say the least. There have been many adventures, some big changes and I have met some amazing people. It has been a year of enlightenment, a year I would like to call the light bulb year! I have personally found that thing that makes me really itch and what to get up and go. Yes you might have guessed this blog is very much involved in that idea.

Well the Mongol Rally to start probably the biggest thing that happened this year. What an adventure it was driving for 2 months in a 1l Micra to Mongolia and back. This was the start, of what is to become the start of many more adventures in the near future. Some big, some small and out right mad!

He is just a quick list of some of the adventures that I am undertaking in 2016, I am sure that there will be many more spontaneous adventures;

Taking on the world and writing a documentary on how to get on the road, read more about the Biking Adventure.

Changing the two wheels for four and taking the world in Storm with the Global Convoy.

A different kind of adventure: a mental and organisational nightmare – like the Global Convoy isn’t. Organising the first Dartmoor Walking Festival which despite being at the end of August already has a full programme.

Stay tuned for many more adventures in 2016. What adventures do you have planned in 2016?

Travel

Explore huh, What is it good for? Absolutely everyone!

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The RGS Explore 2015, in the Royal Geographical Society London. A weekend of workshops, lectures  and meeting fellow adventurers and scientists.

I had the pleasure of meeting the man who first inspired me to explore. Nicholas Crane’s Map Man series is what I like to call the start of my adventurous spirit and for me starting to collect maps. The 2 seasons follow Nic, as he follows the maps that changed the way in which we see Britain.

Explore! I highly recommend RGS Explore 2015 to anyone who what’s to go an expedition, adventure, scientific research or all three!

The weekend consists of lectures, workshops, talks and loads of networking. I was not alone in this endeavour as I had went to Explore with Max. As we where hoping to get some information about our up and coming project. We are know have 2 projects after this weekend and which has a lot of support from the Adventurous community.
The inspiration and buzz in the atmosphere over the weekend is just incredible, I believe this was influenced by the first class lectures. lectures on Citizen Science from James Borrell and Communicating from the Field with National Geographic’s Justin Hall. This is only a small selection from the list.
As well as lectures I attended several workshops over the weekend, one which was blogging and writing, I thought I should try and up my game! It was a very interesting workshop and I learnt a lot about different angle and writing styles and also about the Northwest Passage from a gentleman sat next to me. The other workshops that I went along to was the mountaineering and trekking expeditions, very interesting indeed hearing what different people suggest in different environments.
This is just a few of the workshops and lectures that occurred there where so many it was rather hard to choose from all of them, to see a full list check out this years programme: Explore 2015

For a bit of a different perspective  check out this awesome video from Alexandrina Fleming check out some of her other work as well as she is also a very talented photographer. Also, see if you can spot me. I’ll give you a clue I’m the one making a fool of myself!

 

Travel

On a biking adventure… from scratch

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Motorcycle Adventure

There is no better feeling of freedom than taking a motorcycle and just riding, it doesn’t matter were you are going, it’s exhilarating. It’s the dream of many people to travel the world on 2 wheels, I am one of  those people.

To take on such an adventure the general consensus is that of a bike like Euan Mcgregor’s BMW 1200 GS, with all it’s gizmo’s and gadgets. A quick search shows that a second hand one is going to set you back £3,000, plus visas, insurance, gear. Now for many students this way out of their budget let alone having a license to ride a 1200cc motorcycle. For this reason I have teamed up with Max from Conquer Earth, to prove to it can be done a lot cheaper, but, also anyone can go on a motorcycle adventure without having to even have a full license.

I have ridden a variety of different bikes in all conditions for several years now, unlike Max… who has never ridden a motorbike, so we will be literally showing you from scratch, from what gear to take, to our bikes and even to learning how to ride!

Of course we will be documenting our adventure, from finding our trusty steads to us being stuck in the middle of some strange places!

Stay tuned, this is going to be one hell of a ride.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela