The beaming and curious smiles of the locals watch on as we load our bags into the back locker of our overland truck. The dirt road snakes its way onwards through gentle hills, punctuated by traditional thatched straw homes. Smoke from early morning cooking dots the horizon and mixes with the cool mist in the early morning sun. Another epic day on the road awaits.
I’ve been fascinated in Astronomy since I was a child learning about the solar system at school, watching The Sky at Night and visiting planetariums. But I have no real knowledge of the subject on an academic level, so I was a little nervous to join a specialist astronomy tour heading to Svalbard to witness the total eclipse in case I found myself surrounded by Astrophysicists and (quite frankly) feeling a little stupid.
‘What is travel?’ is an interesting question, but more for what it tells you about the people doing the asking. The meaning of travel, despite ‘definitive’ articles to the contrary, is pretty subjective. And your relationship to it changes as you get older and begin to spend your weekends doing things like browsing health insurance policies. Reasons and motivations begin to wrinkle, just like us, revealing character.
Several years back I was in Senegal with a friend waiting to be served some lunch. The time was a little past midday, the weather of the hottish variety, we were the only ones in the restaurant and had been waiting over an hour when I spotted something that perturbed me. It was three women peeling potatoes.
This post was written and snapped by Pete and Dalene Heck (aka the lovely team at Hecktic Travels).
Even the name ‘Zanzibar‘ sounds exotic. Add in the phase ‘spice islands’ and the mind boggles with vision of pirates, cinnamon, chalk-white beaches and cinematically swaying palms. With a rich history as a gateway for treasure-hunters in search of gold, wild animals, slaves, or simply a tropical paradise, to this day Zanzibar still owes its livelihood in large part to travellers.
I have a ritual whenever I land in a new city. I pick the most famous local dishes, Google the best places to find each one, and then plot them on a map. I note down the walking times between each dish and chart the most efficient route between the dots.
It was a cool morning in Tanzania, and my husband and I rose a little earlier than most to sneak into the sheltered kitchen and grab coffee before the breakfast rush. The tents were beginning to stir, but we had a few minutes alone to enjoy the first of the sun’s rays, the squawking of unnamed birds, and to stares of the giraffes nearby.
The number of official countries in the world currently sits at 206, with the latest to join the party being Kosovo in 2008 and South Sudan in 2011. That doesn’t include the strange, tiny countries (Population: 1) that some people set up in their backyards, complete with Monopoly money currency and a flag knitted from their mother’s old quilt.
For the misanthropes among us, Asinara Island sounds like a dream destination: a remote island just off the coast of Sardinia, crystal clear water, and, according to a quick Google search of the Italian census, a population of one solitary person.