Locals I’ve met: Real life examples of why I love meeting the locals when I travel

Meeting the locals when I travel is one of the aspects of being out there that I love the most. I think it's partly because I'm insanely curious about people in general (it's a genetic trait!) and partly because over the years, meeting local people on my travels has led me on all kinds of … [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...]

The ever-changing landscape on the Trans-Siberian train

I recently re-read some of Paul Theroux's travel narratives in preparation for the travel writing course I ran, and picked out what I considered a "beautiful" passage about his journey on the Trans-Siberian: The experience of the Trans-Siberian Express is both monotony and monkish beauty: all day … [Read more...]

When people equate talking about travels to bragging or showing off

I've mentioned before that if I start a story with a sentence like "When I lived in Bratislava ..." that people sometimes have a giggle at me. Same goes for "When I was in Tunisia ..." or "When I was on the Trans-Siberian ..." As far as I can figure (and some of this figuring out comes from … [Read more...]

The art of doing nothing on the Trans-Siberian Railway

I have heard that there are people who would get really bored if they had to sit on a train for a whole week. Really? Okay, I admit I can imagine it, but it's not the case for me. When I travelled on the Trans-Siberian railway I broke the trip up with a few stops along the way so the longest … [Read more...]

My grand Russian adventure is someone else’s summer vacation

I don't remember when I decided that one day I would just have to ride the Trans-Siberian - I really think it's something that I had in mind even before I had figured out where the Trans-Siberian actually ran. When I started planning to do some serious travel, it was high on my priority list. Then I … [Read more...]

Russian-style trains, planes and automobiles

I really wanted to write this post to show you a couple of photos of great Russian cars that I saw on my travels, but as I sat down to type, the title just forced its way in. I haven't managed quite as many modes of transport in Russia as my friends Helen and Andy (just check their post on an … [Read more...]

Who can decide on a favourite place in the world? Not me!

Professional Hobo Nora hit the nail right on the head in her post this week on one of the most difficult-to-answer questions that travellers get asked: "What's your favourite place in the world?" It's well worth reading Nora's response, because she suggests quite rightly that even absolutely adoring … [Read more...]

Trans-Siberian travellers get studied

The Trans-Siberian railway is one of my all-time favourite topics, so you can imagine that I read with interest an email that arrived in my in-box this week asking me to answer questions for a Masters dissertation study into "western identity transformation on the Trans-Siberian" - I just wish I'd … [Read more...]

Virtual Trans-Siberian rivals the real thing

My love for the great Trans-Siberian rail journey across Russia is no secret, so you can imagine my excitement when I read recently that Google and the Russian Railways have joined forces to create the virtual Trans-Siberian. It's just like it sounds - go to their website, and you'll be taken on … [Read more...]