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.
When the quake struck Nepal on 25 April this year, we reached out to our travellers for help. Our target was $40,000. A pretty serious amount of money, but within 6 hours we were well past it. After a few weeks we were sitting at $300,000, with another $100,000 chipped in from Intrepid itself.
Menhir, wild boar, magic potion, Unhygenix, Dogmatix. Sound familiar? Probably because you speak the language of the Gauls and of those mustachioed Roman fighters, Asterix and Obelix.
Travelling along the Trans-Mongolian railway was never a dream of mine. But then I stopped and thought about the enormity of it all for a minute.
Going deeper underground: subway stations that will make you think “wow that’s a really cool subway station!”
Taking the subway’s not usually a memorable experience, unless it’s for the wrong reasons: The dawning horror that you’ve taken the wrong train and getting to the airport in time is now a beautiful distant dream. The realisation that unless you’re a high-level cryptographer you’re not going to decipher the labyrinthine map and find your destination. The unforgettable experience of being smushed up against someone’s armpit in an oven-like carriage; someone who sees showering as a suggestion rather than a necessity.
On 25 April 2015, Tony Hill was mid-way through an Intrepid Nepal trip – some 2000ft above Namche Bazaar – when the earthquake struck. All of a sudden Tony, who by his own admission is “not particularly well-travelled” and his companions found themselves deep inside a disaster zone.