A South American love story: 10 years of travelling in South America

Ten years, almost. Ten years since I first got on that plane, stepping into the unknown, finally fulfilling my lifelong dream of travelling to South America. All those years of looking up flights, poring over maps, dreaming of places I’d maybe never see.   Until there was someone who shared my dream, encouraged it, searched…

Visiting Tana Toraja – an unforgettable stop on your Sulawesi trip

“Do you know the story of why the Torajan people have houses with roofs shaped like boats? It’s said that our ancestors arrived from the north in a fierce storm and their boats were badly damaged, so much so that they couldn’t take to sea again. So instead they used the boats as shelter.” Tana…

Travel inspiration: An Evening with Levison Wood

Did you know that there’s a ‘wanderlust’ gene (DRD4-7R), commonly found in explorers, risk takers and people who love to travel, but only 20% of us have it? Levison Wood is definitely a man whose genetic makeup may go some way to explaining that insatiable desire to get up, head out and get as far…

Whale-watching in the Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi

The limpid waters of the Lembeh Straits lapped the black sands of Tangkoko as our outrigger canoe pushed out in search of pilot whales. The fuzzy edges of the nearby volcano slowly sharpened into view as dawn broke over this little-visited corner of Indonesia’s 17,000 or so islands. The hot roti hurriedly  collected from a…

A Sulawesi state of mind (tips for where to visit in Sulawesi)

What image does the word Sulawesi conjure up for you? Have you even heard of it? Maybe if you’re older you might know it by the names of Celebes. Sulawesi is one of the largest islands in the Indonesian archipelago, oddly shaped like an octopus or spider. Its northern tip and southern province welcome some tourists…

2 weeks in Java and Sulawesi – trip highlights in photos

The stupas of Borobudur, central Java The incredible Hindu temple of Prambanan, central Java The keraton (sultan’s palace) in Yogyakarta Javanese dance in Surakarta An amazing sunrise boat ride spotting pilot whales, Tangkoko national park, North Sulawesi   Relaxing in paradise a.k.a. Bunaken island, North Sulawesi The fascinating cliff burials of Tana Toraja, Sulawesi Torajan…

Stevie in the sunshine: a perfect summer weekend in London

Last night was something I’d been looking forward to for months – Stevie Wonder performing his classic ‘Songs In The Key of Life’ album live in Hyde Park. And Stevie did not disappoint playing for over 3 1/2 hours with a fantastic medley of his hits and other album tracks. It was great to hear…

What to do in Lisbon? 5 different places to see

Lisbon has mixed reviews, it’s fair to say. The city seems to divide opinion but I found much to like during a visit back in January. It didn’t hurt that the sun shone all the time; sometimes the weather can be quite overcast but we were lucky. It’s easy to get around on Lisbon’s buses,…

Revisiting an icon – when is the best time to visit Iguazu Falls?

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Iguazu Falls twice now and it’s definitely an amazing place to add to your South American trip. But the two experiences were quite different; one in February (summer) and one in July (winter), when the water reached exceptionally high levels due to floods in Parana state. You can read…

Adventures in the Bolivian Pantanal

“We usually eat them whole, with our hands.”   She mimed chomping across the bony flesh, then gestured to the knife and fork on the table. “But you can use those.” Piranhas have a fearsome reputation but most of the time they’re harmless enough. Just don’t get into the water with them during mating season….

What’s in your travel bag? My 5 travel essentials

I recently joined Instagram, which is a terrible time-waster   great source of travel inspiration. I love the wanderlust-inducing travel shots, but also the small insights into people’s worlds, halfway around the globe. A morning coffee here, a pet photo there. And I love the little details about travel most of all. I’ve been meaning to…