Sending postcards with Lettr and keeping in touch with travel friends

One of my absolute favourite things about travelling (and especially living in a foreign country for a while) is the people you meet, locals and ex-pats alike. It's not surprising that the fellow ex-pats I've met while living abroad are some of my closest friends, because we obviously have a love of … [Read more...]

8 things I learnt from staying in a Penang resort hotel for two weeks

I am not known as the kind of traveller who stays in a resort hotel. In fact, I've only ever bought a "resort package" style holiday once, on a last-minute trip to Egypt just after I'd arrived in Germany to work, but was promptly given two weeks off as all the students were going on holiday … [Read more...]

Don’t listen to tour guides: Enjoying Yekaterinburg, Russia

When I was on my Trans-Siberian trip across Russia (if you're contemplating it - DO IT!), I stopped off at half a dozen spots along the route, turning the week-long train journey into a three week exploration. Half way through, I remember so vividly standing at the Irkutsk train station, chatting … [Read more...]

Animal travels: It’s funny what you see walking down the road …

My endless folders of photos from my trips show up a common theme: I love meeting animals on my travels! Perhaps it's a variation on meeting the locals. After my recent heavy post on the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps, I felt the need to get a bit more light-hearted and remember some of … [Read more...]

How to choose a holiday destination: Penang thanks to our Malaysian friends

Over the years I've done my share of choosing destinations based on famous places I want to see but if I look at my last couple of years of travels, the biggest deciding factor on destinations seems to be related to our friends and relatives. Our entire Europe trip last year was inspired by our … [Read more...]

Meeting the locals, the Inis Meain way

Easily one of my favourite things about travelling is meeting local people, which is one of the reasons I particularly loved living in Japan, Slovakia and Germany for a year or more each, because that was really the way to get to know the locals. On our recent trip to Ireland I cheated: I stayed … [Read more...]

Where is Yuko? Can we find my long-lost Japanese friend?

I made some very dear friends when I lived in Japan, and I'm still in touch with quite a few of them, even though it'll be ten years ago this July that I left Osaka. It's been wonderful (though scary) to see the kids I taught turn into teenagers, the young women I taught marry and become mothers, … [Read more...]

Let’s go grab a camel (said a Tunisian man to me)

I have mentioned my experience with Tunisian camels before - the short version being, don't bet on a camel in a camel race because it's unlikely your camel will even run in the direction of the finishing line. Yes, that's a lesson I learnt at the Sahara Festival in Douz in the south of the country. … [Read more...]