Travel

Briefly Berlin

Briefly Berlin

Before going freelance, I decided to take some time off during February. Part of this included spending a few days in Berlin.

Andy Higgs: Journey into Africa

Although it’s easy to feel envious of Andy’s travels around the world, his writing is vivid enough to make you believe you had joined him. His latest series of posts, detailing a trip trough Africa, are no different. It sounds like an amazing continent, one that offers the intrepid traveller some incredible sights:

Great rich earthy trails of red, amber and ochre form streaks across huge plains of deep green foliage and scrubland. Huge white outcrops soar up through groves of yellow-pocked acacia trees, chunky bare-trunked baobabs and the fluttering sprouts of the banana plants…

Blade-like roads slice directly through villages where bright white eyes peer out from under the leafy shade of communal trees, and terracotta coloured, tin-roofed houses are lined up like matchboxes to each side of the varying qualities of tarmac – which range from rough to barely present.

Yet this beauty is threatened by a persistent danger, be it from wild game circling your isolated camp, or from fellow humans in a crime-ridden city:

It was repeated to me a few times that you don’t stop at red lights after dark in Johannesburg, nor do you drive with your windows fully up (it stiffens the glass which makes it an easier task to smash with a crowbar at an intersection). Security is a massive concern of daily life, and every brick built house squats in a concrete or iron-fenced compound, and comes with a big board showing which particular company will provide the armed response. It’s quite a strange sight for European eyes.

What an experience.

(Re)introducing Bradshaw’s Guide

(Re)introducing Bradshaw's Guide

Based on the 1866 edition of George Bradshaw’s handbook for tourists using Britain’s nascent railway network, my latest project puts his historical insights into the hands of a new generation, many of whom use the same routes he described 150 years ago.

Exploring the Causeway Coast

Exploring the Causeway Coast

After attending Build in Belfast last month, Chris Armstrong gave Ethan Marcotte, Chris Shifflet and myself a tour of the Causeway Coast which, as the name suggests, is home to the famed Giant’s Causeway.

The Journey

A new pair of jeans, the reignited love for a city and an inevitable answer to a surprisingly surprising question. Just some of the artefacts collected during two weeks in America.

On The Road Again

On The Road Again

Once again, I’m in Austin for SXSW Interactive; the forth time I’ve attended an event I find easy to disparage. Yet this is the first stop on a trip that will take in several hundred miles of Interstate highway between here and San Francisco; two points of familiarity on an itinerary that promises to be anything but predictable.

San Francisco: There and Back Again

San Francisco: There and Back Again

For the final leg of my North American tour I transcended the West Coast on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. Getting to San Francisco wouldn’t be much fun, boarding a coach in Vancouver at a ridiculous hour in the morning and dealing with an offensive US border guard before arriving at a closed King Street station in Seattle sounding its fire alarm.

Vibrant Vancouver

Vibrant Vancouver

Sat in the front seat of another float plane, I enjoyed a breathtaking view of Vancouver as I descended into its harbour. For such a densely populated city, I felt I’d arrived somewhere small and friendly.

Across the Salish Sea

Across the Salish Sea

After eight days exploring North America, it was time to visit some of its more westerly extremities. Flying out from Toronto, my first stop was Saltspring Island, via Vancouver Airport and a float plane.

A Taste of Toronto

A Taste of Toronto

Some cities are best arrived at by air; only by flying over Sydney, London or New York do you get a sense of their scale and majesty. San Francisco is best approached by car, with some of the best views of that city seen as you cross the Bay Bridge. Others are best suited to arrival by train. Toronto is one such city.

Onwards to Ottawa

Onwards to Ottawa

After four days in Washington, it was on to another North American capital, Ottawa. I encountered a city that was cold yet plentiful in ATMs that would refuse to accept my debit card.

Back in the District

Back in the District

My North American adventure started in Washington DC; ostensibly so I could attend an edition of this year’s An Event Apart conference. Yet it was also a good excuse to catch up with Shannon, who graciously planned a tour of the city for me and Andy.

Continuing Adventures in America

Having tried so diligently last year to reduce the amount of flying I do, I hoped to keep this year’s long-haul flights to one. With an important part of my family now settled in São Paulo, and some of my best friends based in San Francisco, maybe such lofty goals are foolhardy. Before I write about my most recent travels, I address the hypocrisy in taking such a trip.

Remembering Brasília

Somewhat forgotten in the last few months has been my thoughts on Brasília which I visited all the way back in March. For such an incredibly city it seems remiss not to record my thoughts before they fade into distint memory.

Ampersand & More

Much of the excitement has come in the form of web conferences, and looking back, I find it surprising just how many I’ve attended this year already.

The Brasília Palace Hotel

The Brasília Palace Hotel

For anyone coming to Brasília for its modernist architecture, no visit would be complete without a stay at this hotel. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer and opened in 1958, it hosted dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth and Che Guevara before being devastated by fire in 1978. After facing decades of abandonment and neglect, it was modernised and reopened in 2006.

The Streets of San Francisco

Me, after a day spent exploring my former home of San Francisco:

Underground cables rumbling, sirens wailing, horns beeping. Trams ringing and drums thumping. San Francisco has a soundtrack, and I like it.

SXSW: Greener is Better

I’ve decided to attend next years SXSW Interactive festival followed by a tour of North America. The details of where I’ll be visiting and for how long remain undecided, but I imagine my itinerary will be varied and involve much travelling by train.

A Green Focus

I ended my review of 2009 promising to write more about green issues and how I plan to lessen my impact on the environment. Now I expand on those ideas further.

Celebrating the New Year in Sydney

Celebrating the New Year in Sydney

Since visiting Sydney in 2003 I’ve been longing to return. In the intervening years I’ve visited more cities and for a time considered Chicago to be my new favourite – understandable given my love of architecture. As I flew over Sydney Harbour I quickly realised I was wrong.

Absolutely, Positively, Wellington

Absolutely, Positively, Wellington

From Nelson I reluctantly headed back to Wellington, cursing myself for not having an itinerary that continued south. However, Wellington will remain the most memorable city of this trip, although perhaps not entirely for the right reasons.

A Small Taste of the South Island

A Small Taste of the South Island

Having arranged my flights into and out of New Zealand before I had decided upon a full itinerary – departing from Wellington rather than an airport further south – meant I had little time to really explore the South Island.

My LA Ex

My LA Ex

I hoped that almost missing my flight would be the worst my trip to New Zealand would have to offer, but thanks to overzealous immigration officials at LAX, that was nothing but a minor blip.

Europa!

As predicted, I was unable to blog during my travels across Europe last month, although less predictable was this being due to the death of my laptop mid-trip. I’ll be posting reports and photos from the cities I visited over the coming weeks, but here are a few general thoughts to start off with.

SFO/LHR

Today was largely taken up by a flight back to London from San Francisco, where I spent the last ten days.

That’s Not My Name!

As I approach the end of my latest trip to America, I continue to fight the losing battle that is getting people to understand me when I say my first name.

Chicago: A City Apart

Chicago: A City Apart

I briefly encountered Chicago in March, relaxing there for two nights after three long days aboard the California Zephyr. At that time it was a snow covered, cold and blustery city, but I saw enough to want to come back.

Seattle: Finding Gems in the Emerald City

Seattle: Finding Gems in the Emerald City

The first stop in my four city tour of America was Seattle in the north-western state of Washington. Probably best known for it’s iconic Space Needle, it’s perhaps no surprise that I spent most of my time fixated on this slender looking tower.

Riding the California Zephyr

Riding the California Zephyr

The California Zephyr is a 56 hour, 2348 mile long train journey that starts in Emeryville, California. After speeding across the deserts of Nevada and Utah, it climbs over the Rocky Mountains, tunnels under the Continental Divide before heading towards its final destination of Chicago’s Grand Union Station.

Looking for older posts? Browse the archive