Isla De Ometepe: My Barefoot Volcano Hike

Isla de Ometepe is very simply an island comprised of two conical volcanos looming out of Lake Nicaragua. What else was there to do on the island but to climb them (or at least one of them)? It was a decision that would bring me the closest to a near death situation on my trip and, indeed, my life. But before getting to Isla de Ometepe we spent a few days in San Juan del Sur. After smiling nicely at a local in the surf shop, he slung us in the back of his truck and took us down the … Read more

My 10 Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat Experience

This post about taking a 10-day meditation retreat in India is part of my First Time Around The World Series (my very first set of posts, way back when) which you can read in this section here. Having completed a 10-day stint at a Vipassana Meditation Centre I thought I would share this particular experience while the memory is still very raw…I mean fresh in my mind. Before I got to India, the spiritual epicentre of the world, I knew I wanted to give meditation a try. Let’s face it, drinking and partying is so low on India’s agenda as … Read more

Water, Water Everywhere: A Trip to The Pantanal in Brazil

With an ever so slight tequila hangover I set out on what would prove to be a long journey to the Pantanal. After 14 hours by overnight bus (‘Philip’ my bus buddy encroaching on my personal space for most of it, though at least he had the courtesy to introduce himself first before stretching his legs and arms across me), five hours by minivan, and an hour by jeep, I finally arrived at the Brazilian wetlands. I am borderline (read: completely) embarrassed to admit that I was inspired to visit this far flung corner of Brazil after reading a John … Read more

Flat out: Visiting The Bolivian Salt Flats

Recharging in La Paz…kind of After my Intrepid tour ended I holed up in Loki (hostel in La Paz) for a few days to recharge and catch up with myself. The potential problem was that Loki was so inviting I was at risk of never leaving. The rooms were less than a fiver a night, perfectly clean and safe. The toilets were western, had seats, flushed, didn’t stink (most of the time), came with loo roll and…wait for it…soap. Add to this a cool bar on site that served cheap booze and all manner of comfort food – chips and … Read more

The Equator, Quito: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

The first thing I noticed about Quito is that none of the seat belts work in the taxis. But that is the least of your worries. You might think the biggest concern would be the recent politicial situation but despite the national state of emergency declared just days before we travelled, it all seems to have been a storm in a tea cup – when the BBC were showing images of tanks on the streets, the army forces had long moved on, any remaining presence of armed guards being the norm. As I said, this is not an issue. The … Read more