When a bird sounds like a jet plane

When a bird sounds like a jet plane

I went for a walk in the jungle at dawn. Alone. Of course I did. Still jet lagged and awake at at 5am, it seemed sensible to be up and ready at the park gate in time for the 6am opening. With no electricity and not a huge amount to do during that hour, I was early, arriving at the gate around sunrise. It’s possible to be admitted to the park before the opening time, but you have to pay…

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Soloing the Sawtooths

Soloing the Sawtooths

After my friends had departed back to Portland, I set out back into the Wilderness alone. Hiking alone sounds antisocial, but for me it’s an opportunity for introspection and examination of my connections with others at a distance. As they say, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. I’m not sure that’s necessarily the case, but it’s certainly possible to realise or remember how much people mean to me when I’m alone. Alone in the mountains, anyway. It’s also about being…

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The Mountains of Idaho, a Solar Eclipse, and Intense Emotions

The Mountains of Idaho, a Solar Eclipse, and Intense Emotions

I find it incredible how much the mountains can amplify emotions. Everything is intense, the highs are higher and the lows much lower. The first three days in Idaho ran the gamut. I had set out with two friends, primarily to see the solar eclipse from a beautiful location. It turned out that was the easy part. There’s a lot on my mind at the moment, partly the company, partly my pre-existing “meta thoughts”. I’ve been thinking a lot about…

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Starting a Journey from Portland

Starting a Journey from Portland

Portland, Oregon is one of my very favourite cities. It suits me perfectly. It has a wonderful vibe, it’s easy to walk around, it’s got mountains nearby, excellent coffee, places it’s actually easy to find vegetarian and vegan food. Showing someone else around a place I love is always slightly awkward though. What if they don’t love it as much as I do? Thankfully Alkis had an excellent response and is now hooked on Portland too. I only had two…

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Sensations and Suggestions of Guatemala

Sensations and Suggestions of Guatemala

As a contrast to the otherworldly landscapes of my first day in Guatemala, today I take a trip to Antigua. The old capital of Guatemala has many reminders of the Spanish invasion from the Baroque churches to the Moorish arcades. The colours are incredible and though the centre of town is very clearly changing to accommodate the increasing tourist population it is still charming. Antigua was designed around a grid system which helps navigation but also conceals several surprises. The…

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Volcanoes in Guatemala

Volcanoes in Guatemala

Being in a new place can be an intense experience. This is more likely when it represents a marked departure from the things and people I’m accustomed to encountering day to day. Guatemala has provided plenty of opportunities for new sensations. The place that I’m staying is palatial, with a balcony on each floor looking out towards the volcanoes that lie south of Guatemala City. It has an avocado tree in the yard, and hummingbirds that frequent the bright flowers…

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Reflections on a Journey

Reflections on a Journey

It’s funny how my experience of airports and stations is so different from the experience of journeys and the destinations themselves. An airport visit is often an integral part of the journey and yet it is entirely separate and unique. I often pass the time writing in the notebook that I carry everywhere, reading a book, listening to music, but mostly I like to sit and watch, listening to the sounds of the terminal around me. They’re the sounds of…

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Cycling in Memorial Park

Cycling in Memorial Park

I wasn’t all that excited about Houston. My office is here, and there’s a pretty awesome Space Centre, but it’s kind of sprawling, it’s really hot and it’s terribly humid. Arriving into the face of thunderstorms and floods hadn’t done a lot to change my opinion. But then the rain stopped, the flood waters receded and the sun came out. I finished up my day’s work as quickly as I could and headed for the park. I’d been lent possibly…

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Paying a visit to the gods of old

Paying a visit to the gods of old

Don’t you love friends who greet you not with “Hello” but with “Let’s go on an adventure!” whilst unconcealed excitement sparkles in their eyes? I do. So when my friend Alkis suggested flying to Greece for the weekend to climb Mount Olympus, I didn’t have to think long – I’d booked flights before I’d asked for the time off work. According to the ancient tales, Mount Olympus is the home to the Twelve Olympians, the major gods of the Greek…

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Burning Man 2016

Burning Man 2016

Burning Man made me remember. So many people say that Burning Man changed their life. But for me, it made me remember that my life had changed already. After almost a year back in civilisation, I’d begun to grow back into London life. Working, commuting, buying, rushing, worrying. I hadn’t forgotten, but I had noticed that certain thoughts were becoming more distant. Lessons I’d learned were slowly becoming a haven of memory, a place to visit by choice, rather than…

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