Chile Here We Come

Watch this space! The writer (myself) and the artist (my wife) will be heading off for our honeymoon adventure in Chile – the other side of the blue planet. We’ll be travelling down to Patagonia, the most remote landscape left on earth, as pristine and desolate as a Martian landscape. We’ll also be travelling to…

The Distant Mountain Tops

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”   – Gustave Flaubert   I’ve been mulling over that quote for quite some time now as I prepare for my honeymoon adventure to the other end of the world. It’s a blindingly obvious thing to say, but: Chile is a…

An Ode to Travel

  “Journeys are the midwives of thought.” This quote from Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel goes a long way in explaining why almost everything I’ve ever written has been tinted with wanderlust. Human beings are lofty animals because we, uniquely, have a name for happiness. Other animals can only ‘do’ happiness – be…

The Origins of Travel: Grace Under Pressure

  We are often told that travel is freedom. It’s a romantic view of what is essentially leisurely migration. I don’t see it that way. Not anymore. Wanderlust: one of the most beautiful words in the English language (and typically of Germanic origins) is an evocative word that breathes mountain air and wistful breezes. But…

The Voyages of a Devoted Reader

Literary Travel Guide to Europe and the Americas   Travel guides. Is there anything more miserable, more cliché-making, complacent and sheepish than those small, compact dictionaries-of-places that you can conveniently, nay embarrassingly, carry in your pockets? All you need to scream out ‘tourist’ even louder is a sun-hat, bermuda shorts and sandals. What happened to…

Cenote of Maya Blue – Part I

  The smell of the suckling pig flew into the air like the musical aroma created by a butterfly’s flapping wing. If you go close to it as it marinates in the banana leaves you could smell the potently acidic citrus that comes from the bitter orange that drowns it. Angelica moves past me and…

Day of the Dead

In the Xicotencatl, somewhere in the soul-deserting streets of the Coyoacan neighbourhood, Alicia found La Santa Gula. It was the only place in the whole of Mexico City where she could hope to speak Maltese. Her Spanish was pitiful, lazy, and speaking it elicited painful memories that used to be happy. No: she changed too…

Pool, Bulls and Humanity

What does Mosul and the festival of San Fermin have in common? Humanity. A photograph I saw recently on Twitter (the featured photo above), of a group of Mosul residents, including children, playing pool in a recently liberated district of Mosul where IS previously forbade pool, filled me with that rarest of elements: hope. Hope…

Valletta: the European Capital of Hipsters

    “On the long dinner table a field of food waved yellow in the dim light of dusk. The Cuban prepared deep fried pork rinds like they did in Cuba, but the rest of it was Maltese stuff; cold pasta, timpana, Maltese bread and sausages, aljolli, and saucers with olives and capers.” The above…

Why Attenborough’s Planet Earth II Matters

Ps put this on while reading: “Metaphysics must flourish. He who understand baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.” Charles Darwin The seemingly irreverent, joking quote of Darwin rang incessantly through my mind as I watched the whole of BBC’s Planet Earth II series from beginning until last Sunday’s Desert episode. It’s a phrase…