I was commissioned to write a guide book of my home county, Nottinghamshire, by Kingfisher Publishing. This covered all aspects of life in Nottinghamshire, from shopping to sports to where to dine out. You can view an e-version of this here.
It’s the schizophrenic nature of my existence as a freelance journalist that I find myself one day covering the world’s largest real estate exhibition in Cannes, the next walking along the ancient stone walls of Antibes, only 12 minutes away by chugger train but in an utterly different world. I had arrived filled with a sort of neurotic momentum. That forced pace that always builds up during a week of tearing around the miles of temporarily-carpeted drags between the row upon row of neon stands of the Palais des Festivales in Cannes. – But the further I walked through the still stones and flowered walls of Antibes, the slower I walked. My frequency changed. I could physically feel my muscles and my mind untangle with every step I took through the Old Town. With tired eyes I took in all the new colours and gentle light from the bouquets and ornaments that twinkle on the pale beige walls and wooden doors along the narrow rues and alleyways. After a little while I turned some little corner, somewhere around the Musee Picasso, and found myself face-to-face with a Spitfire-grey Mediterranean Sea. I’d allowed myself a few glances out over the previous six days, but somehow between the masts of multi-million Pound yachts dolled-up with corporate banners, and an ocean of ruddy-cheeked middle-aged men in suits braying to each other over the sound of Euro-pop, the Mediterranean doesn’t seem quite so idyllic, or natural even. This time it felt much more […]
I took a trip to Belfast in January, to write a feature for TNT Magazine (due to be published in February). Here are some of the pictures I took, of the city centre, the Peace Walls, the Harland & Wolff docks where Titanic was built and a few other sights to be found wandering around this wonderful place.. [Show slideshow] 12►
In September I spent a blissful few days in Bordeaux, exploring this gorgeous town by myself with a notebook and camera in hand. Here’s the article I wrote for TNT Magazine, and below are some of the pictures I took…
This article was picked up by TNT Magazine in April 2014 One summer day two years ago I heaved my rucksack over my shoulder and set off on the trip of a lifetime. Over the next month I sat on train after train, either alone or thrown in with some truly colourful company, whizzing between some of the great European cities: Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, on to Moscow, through the wilderness of Siberia, the plains of Outer Mongolia, the Gobi Desert, the lush greenery of China’s countryside and the madness of its colossal cities, until finally my last ride ground to a standstill in Hanoi and I stepped down onto the dusty ground, a hot, sweaty, happy mess. Sometimes the memories echo back so vividly that my nerves tingle. But it’s not just all those mesmerising moments from the trip haunting me now. I also remember with sheer clarity how I felt just before I left. I was filled with adrenaline. My system rushed with emotions. The type that surge through the nerves and heighten the senses, soaking obscure details from the present straight into the long term memory. Travelling can tell you a lot more about what you’re walking away from than where you’re going. It’s as if just as you head out into the unknown, you turn around one more time to take a nostalgic picture of your life as it stands. Those special eyes you’re preparing for mysteries yet to be uncovered can also look at the […]
A recent article of mine which appeared in TNT Magazine. I followed indie band The Jezabels for a few days on tour through Portugal and Spain, and this was the result
You can read a brief extract from the European leg of my London to Vietnam by rail trip in the summer of 2012, which appeard on the Rail Europe Blog, the ‘Train of Thought’.
An article I wrote on the weird and wonderful food I ate along my trip from London to Vietnam by rail has appeared on the We Blog the World Website
This article originally appeard in the October issue of ‘Destinations Travel Magazine‘, a major international travel site and a Kred ‘Top 50 Travel Blogger Sites’; and here on Traveldudes, a well known travel site with a huge social networking following. 10 TIPS FOR THE LONE TRAVELLER It can be utterly bewildering taking on a new city, metro system or train station alone. You arrive aching, dizzy and drenched in sweat, the only traveller among thousands, where nobody knows you or gives a damn, unable to find your hostel, bus or train, and not even knowing how to begin to ask a passer-by for help. But remember, there’s always a solution. Stay calm, focus, and keep these simple common sense tips in mind and you will get over the hurdles.
I was nominated as a finalist in the Wimdu & Travel Dudes ‘City I Love’ Competition! One of my blogs, ‘Hectic, Electric, Magnetic, Hanoi’ was put forward to the last 10 out of hundreds of entries after the organisers asked writers to submit articles explaining what they love so much about their chosen cities. Thanks Wimdu and Travel Dudes, looking forward to spending my voucher!
In June and July I took my biggest trip to date, a 10,000 mile adventure from London to Vietnam entirely by train. In two months of intense travelling I went through Paris, Brussels, Bremen, Berlin, Poznan, Warsaw, Vilnius, St Petersburg and then Moscow. From there I boarded the Trans Siberian Railway, through Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude and on into Ulan Bator, Mongolia. All that was left from there was Beijing, Guilin in Southern China, and finally the last big stretch was Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. While I was travelling I wrote all the time; notes, thoughts, stories and dramas. A portion of these writings appeard in the form of a series of blogs for major US online-newspaper the Huffington Post, which has a global following of some 80 million users a month. The series was called ‘Track Records’.
If I had to do one thing for the rest of time, I would walk the streets of Hanoi. There’s magic in those streets, where every sense tingles with a vivid intensity. The colours, sights, smells and sounds you take in with every step and the thunderstorm of motorbikes and taxis that explodes every day. And the food, ah the food. Those delicate but powerful flavours of the noodles cooked just that little bit differently in each street restaurant, the little baguettes with a myriad of mysterious fillings or the barbecued pork that smokes as it grills on a street corner in the warm evening air. Perhaps it’s the feisty characters you meet there, whose tough fronts drift away into heart-meltingly honest, unreserved smiles that light up their faces like a firework show.
Dear all.. so it’s official now I’m going on a big trip (or maybe a farce) starting in two weeks, travelling from the UK to Vietnam by rail, including the Trans Siberian Railway. It’s a reckless ‘end of 20s meltdown’, during which I will be spending a disturbing amount of time in small train carriages with questionable toilet facilities and no doubt a good cross-section of bodily odours. Can’t wait. And before I go I was wondering if peeps might be able to give me some tips….
You can feel the energy around you change as you approach London. It’s something in the atmosphere; the pressure rises and the speed increases as though you were approaching some great vortex. The view out of the window of the train becomes busier, harder, greyer, denser. The eyes have less space to see out to and more details to focus on. Perhaps it’s just nerves. It’s a journey I’ve taken too many times to count but more often than not there’s some big reason to be going back to the city I lived in for four years, the place where my career began. Usually it’s a bit of work that’s plucked me from the forgiving easiness of Nottingham straight into the epicentre. A busy office, an important meeting, an event or gathering that needs me to hit the ground already in top gear. It’s familiar but so are the jitters.
St Pancras stood cool and strong, a serene rock. I cursed my own bad planning and dashed red-faced from platform to platform, as though if I moved stealthily enough I might be able to slope across the grand old station and avoid its disapproving stare. It had hardly been the smartest preparation for another big slog. I’d only groaned through the front door eight hours ealier, ragged and feeble after a day of travelling, and already the four o’clock alarm was screeching in my ear. It was pointless setting one, looking back. I had hardly sunk into anything more than a thin stream of unconsciousness during those three or so hours, certainly nothing deep enough to find any peace under. And the previous night hadn’t really happened either. When I did finally close my bloodshot eyes back in Barcelona it was almost time to get up.