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A few of my Travel Favourites

After almost 45 years of travelling the world, I’m often asked what my favourite country is, and I usually reply ‘Britain’, which normally provokes a look of surprise, both from both Brits and foreigners alike - they normally expect me to say somewhere like ‘Australia’ or ‘Tahiti’ instead of my home country.  Yes, we are governed by an incompetent and mendacious political class, we lack the civic pride of many of our European neighbours, the weather is generally depressing, the UK is hideously expensive, and most of our provincial towns are uninspiring and filthy, however in many ways we have still won the lottery of life simply by being born in the UK.  We drink clean fresh water, have a universal healthcare system that is free at the point of entry, and have very few of the diseases that routinely afflict millions around the world. Compared to the majority of the world's population, we live our entire lives in relative safety and security. We don't need razor wire or electric fences to protect our property, and we can walk our streets at night without the real fear of attack. Of the 140 or so countries I have visited, I have not found one that matches our diverse culture, our music, art and literature, our history, our embrace of 'other,' our scenery, and crucially our sense of humour, oh and our pubs!  If you know of a country that betters us on all  those measures, please let me know where it is. 

Experience:                  Flying Concorde 39 times (including watching the sun rise in the west from the cockpit....!) 

Continent:                    Europe

Countries:                    Greece  USA  Italy  Ireland  Chile  India  Yemen  Zimbabwe

US States:                     Oregon  Idaho  Montana  Maine  Vermont  Utah  New Hampshire  Wyoming  Louisiana

Cities:                            Cape Town  New York   Venice   Austin  Siena  Madrid  Portland  Copenhagen  Buenos Aires

European Regions:      Greek Islands  Connemara   Bohuslan   Umbria  Gascony   Norwegian Fjiordland   Berlin Lakes

Islands:                          Corsica  Raratonga  Easter Island   Skiathos   Zanzibar  San Juans   Mull    
Lakes:                             Cowichan  Dal  Nakuru   Buttermere   Garda   Jackson  Caragh  Ullswater Friesland Lake District
Friendliest welcome:   Ireland,  Greece and  midwest USA

Best of Britain:               Dorset  Pembrokeshire coast  Norfolk   Welsh Borders Yorkshire Dales  Argyll & Bute  Suffolk  

Wine                               Marques de Riscal Rioja, Spain                          
View:                               Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Foods:                             Italian  Indian Sushi  Fish & Chips
Airline:                             Who do you think?
Travel song:                   Promised Land sung by Johnnie Allen

Ferry Journeys:              North Uist to Harris.  Flam to Gudvagen,  Any Greek Ferry.  Star Ferry, Hong Kong

My boating:                    Brandenberg and Mecklenberg Lakes Germany and Friesland Lakes Holland        

Beach Bar:                      The Lazy Lizard, Caye Caulker, Belize and Dunes, Hout Bay, Cape Town

Al Fresco lunch:             Catalina, Rose Bay, Sydney   Cape Town's Steenberg vineyard   Any Greek taverna.
Craziest Breakfast:        A piping hot omelette eaten on the roof of the Riobamba train in the Ecuadorian Andes
Best meal:                      No restaurant in the world has ever matched a meal made by either my sister or my friend Tracy!  

Favourite Chippie:        The Jolly Fryer, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire
Scenic Drives:                Oregon Coast Road, (Rte 1) NC500 in Scotland   Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland,  Central Spain
Motorbike Rides:            Col de LʼIseran  Corsica  Alesund to Stavanger  Dolomites. West coasts of Scotland

Train Journeys:              Santiago to Puerto Montt   Fort William to Mallaig   Ponterosa to Tirano over the Bernina pass 
Best Curry:                        The Copper Chimney in Mumbai.

Favourite Pizza:              Posticino's Hout Bay, Cape Town      

Travel Guides:                Rough Guides
Travel Books:                  Jupiters Travels, by Ted Simon, and High Endeavours by Miles Clark
Travel Writers:                Patrick Leigh-Fermor, Eric Newby and Bill Bryson.
Sunsets:                          Santorini  Zimbabwe  Cape Town  Scottish Isles  Rio de Janeiro  Pagan  Baltimore in Ireland.
Dive Site:                         The Blue Hole, Belize.
Beaches:                         Santa Guilia   Nordhoek  Muri  Luskentyre  Wineglass Bay   Beau Vallon   Camusdarach,
Aeroplanes:                    Concorde  TriStar  VC10   Super Constellation  DC8  Spitfire.
Football Team:               Leeds United. 
Film:                                 The English Patient
Foreign Film:                   Cinema Paradiso

My eight Desert Island Discs (should I ever get asked)

  1. 'A day in the life' by The Beatles (well, the entire Beatles back catalogue if I can please)

  2. 'All along the watchtower' by Jimi Hendrix

  3. 'Won't get fooled again'  by The Who

  4. 'Born to Run' by Bruce Springsteen

  5. 'Follow you Follow me'  by Genesis

  6. 'Take a chance with me' by Roxy Music

  7. 'Common People' by Pulp

  8. 'Aria from the Goldberg Variations'  by J.S. Bach

Book:                Times Atlas of the world instead of The Bible, and the collected works of Eric Newby

Luxury Item:    Endless supply of Yorkshire tea and rich tea biscuits


The extent of the vacuous celebrity culture we now all live in is reflected in the rise of the so called 'travel influencers', a group of predominantly narcissistic American millennials who make pots of money posting selfies of their gurning faces on Instagram. To me they are more grifters than influencers.  The people below are my personal choices as the real travel influencers.  Experts and pathfinders in their own fields, some of them paid the ultimate sacrifice in their pursuit of travel exploration and knowledge while others will be remembered for increasing our understanding of the world and nature by bringing it directly into our living rooms. These people will be remembered long after the contemporary 'influencers' have faded into obscurity.

Click on their photos to see what they achieved and afterwards I guarantee you will feel as though you have spent your life with your feet 'dipped in very shallow water'.  

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