Culture shock. If you’ve ever travelled, you’ve experienced it; if you’ve travelled as much as I have, you have experienced it in all the colours of the rainbow.
I still clearly remember my first major dose of culture shock. Of course I’d travelled before; through my childhood and adolescence I spent plenty of holidays in France in particular, and was used to the concept of things being different from how they are at home.… Keep reading
I’m writing this sitting on a plane at 35,000 ft. And I need to kill the boredom.
This is the decidedly unglamorous side of travel. I remember, growing up, reading my mother’s series of “Shirley Flight: Air Hostess” books – she had the complete set and they are still on the bookshelves in my spare room – which portrayed air travel in the 1950s and 1960s.… Keep reading
Among my many and varied talents (ahem) is the fact that I’m a linguist. And because I’ve used the words “talents” and “linguist” in the same sentence, which starts to sound a bit full of myself, and because I’m British and we don’t do that, what I mean is that I enjoy languages, I tend to be better than average at them, and as a result I am worse than average in a number of other activities (in which anything athletic features highly).… Keep reading
I’m staring out the window of a 737 as we clear the coast of Borneo. Down below me is a sea of palm trees, one of the many palm oil plantations which have taken over the island in recent years, causing untold damage to the ecosystem. But from up here they are a beautiful sight, extending in pleasingly uniform rows across the landscape.… Keep reading
When they think of Cambodia, most people think of two things. There is the splendour of the temple complex of Angkor Wat, glowing golden in the sunset at the jungle’s edge; and then there is the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, the reign of terror which I still clearly remember seeing on the news in my late childhood and teenage years.… Keep reading
Now, if you’re anything like me, you grew up thinking that monkeys were cute. I mean, what’s not to like? They’re fluffy, with long tails to swing from trees, plus they have tiny hands just like ours on their feet. They tick every box.
Then I started travelling. To be fair to monkeys, they probably are cute, deep down.… Keep reading