Hitchhiking Japan: some tips

I’m always a little bit nervous when hitchhiking in a new country, especially where there’s a language barrier. But Japan is great to hitchhike! People know the concept (pronouncing it ‘hitch hike’, emphasising the space between the two syallables). We also saw some Japanese hitchhikers. To hitchhike, you do the same as you would in…

Hitchhiking Honshu, Japan

Tokyo is surely the most capitalist, consumerist city in the world, and is not a good introduction to beautiful Japan. Billboards and lights scream at people to buy stuff. Trains are crammed with adverts whilst people are transfixed with smartphones. Everywhere I turn, there are women who  look like film stars. Looking perfect is seemingly…

Hobbling and hobbits on New Zealand’s north island

“You can’t hike any more. You have to change your plans,”  the doctor says sympathetically. “Was it your dream to tramp across New Zealand? Had you been planning it for years?” “Well, no,” I reply, “but it’s really disappointing. How long will I take to heal?” “Three more months, maybe…or keyhole surgery.” I have torn…

One month hitching Sumatra & Aceh

We travel from Malaysia to Sumatra, Indonesia, on the Vomit Boat. Its real name is the Star Express. But throughout the four hour journey we listen to everyone on board throw their dinners up into plastic bags (ironically, before this, the staff give everyone a meal of chicken and rice when the boat is still…

Hitchhiking, hiking & camping Malaysia

“Aaaaggghhhh! You fucking wankerrrrrr!” I scream at a young guy as I chase after him on my scooter. He has just grabbed my breast, whilst driving at 60kmph on his scooter, and now I’m on a high speed chase. But after just half a minute I wonder what I would actually do if I caught…

Travels in Kurdistan (part 2) – The evil eye of Turkey’s military

Read Travels in Kurdistan (part 1) here It’s late June, and we arrive in Midyat as it’s getting dark. Unfortunately for us, President Tayyip Erdoğan has also decided to visit Midyat on the same evening, after a farcical PR stunt, giving Angelina Jolie a tour of the nearby Syrian refugee camp. Police are everywhere, roads are…

friendliness versus hostility: a visit to Italy

“WHORE!” a man yells out of his car window at Nicol, as she stands at the side of the road with a sign for the next town. She screams something back at him in Italian. “Welcome to Italy,” I think to myself. Chris has joined us on our roadtrip. Unfortunately for him, both Nicol and…

On the road with Nicol and Albin

La Rochelle! The city that I have always wanted to visit since my school French class, when every character in the text book either lived in La Rochelle, worked in La Rochelle, or went on holiday in La Rochelle. A bright blue kingfisher darts through the park and the streets are calm and quiet. We…

Hitchhiking South East Asia: some tips!

During my last couple of months in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, I didn’t hitchhike as much as I usually would. I completely lost the enthusiasm for it – maybe I had hitchhiker’s burnout, so to speak. However, I did do some hitchhiking whilst I was here! These are my tips, or observations, of what worked…

Paradise Almost Lost

So speak out loud of the Things you are proud And if you love this coast Keep it clean as it evolves Cos the way that it shines May just dwindle with time With the changes it will confront Xavier Rudd – Messages Some of your people can’t hear it The cries of the Earth…

Cluster Bomb Country: more travels in Laos

I’m in Luang Prabang. A man walks past in a T-shirt that says Same Same. The phrase, known to everyone in South East Asia, sums up the backpacker life in Laos. Everyone’s travelling to the same towns, doing the exact same route, staying in the same guesthouses, eating in the same restaurants, and reading the…