lonely planet

The Big Ice Hike over the Perito Moreno Glacier

When I visited New Zealand in January, after reading Jeremy@TravelFreak’s account of hiking the Franz Josef Glacier I was looking forward to a similar experience. Unfortunately, with a tight day-by-day schedule and weather too poor for the glacier company’s helicopter to fly me up to the glacier on the day I intended, I had to leave New Zealand empty handed on the glacier front. 
After I got back home to London briefly at the end of that month, I pondered where I could see another glacier on my next travels. Looking at my A Year of Adventures book for travel inspiration, I found that the Perito Moreno Glacier was a prime candidate. It’s one of only three Patagonian glaciers that is growing and it’s so big, the icefield is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water. 
The town of El Calafate is the best jump off point for visiting Perito Moreno and so as soon as I arrived, I found that Hielo y Aventura were the stand out people to visit the glacier with. I booked a “Big Ice” hike and packed my bag for the early start needed. Here’s how the experience of hiking the Perito Moreno Glacier was like…
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The Importance of Building Relationships as you Travel

They say that building relationships is an important part of life. It’s known to be crucial to our social, as well as spiritual well-being. Everyone, at some point, would have felt the importance of close friends and family in their lives. Some would have come across the necessity for strong relationships in business too – more so, the further up the ladder you climb.

Building relationships isn’t normally at the forefront of most long term travellers thoughts. Before I went travelling, I read “The Lonely Planet Story: Once While Travelling”, which is essentially the story of how Tony and Maureen Wheeler, the founders of the Lonely Planet, started their business many years ago. The takeaway I had from the book, was the number of people who they met on their first journey, from England to Australia, that re-emerged as significant friends/colleagues in their lives.

Through my travels, I’ve come to realise how building relationships can be just as important and make your journey on the road orders of magnitude deeper.

In this post, I’ll describe what I mean by relationships, why it’s important to do it as you travel and the how you would go about building them.

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Bangkok Shenanigans

I was advised that travelling doesn’t really go to plan. So far, for me, it had gone very smoothly.

But when I left Hong Kong for Thailand, it wasn’t the smoothest transition I had imagined. I learned plenty from it though.

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Moving from a Small Town to the Big City of Beijing

By Monday night, my time at the Wugulun Kung Fu school had come to an end. Two months there had flown by. I can’t emphasise enough how much of a good experience it was. What I learned about myself, understanding the benefits of the repetitive traditional kung fu training, discovering the fundamentals of mastering any martial art and meeting such an open and loving bunch of guys. Before I left, I bought some gifts to give out to the students – sweets for everyone and for the students in my group – a badminton set for the young ones and some bracelets for the senior ones. When it was announced at the dinner line-up that I’d be leaving the following morning, 30 sad-looking faces turned to face me followed by questions like “tomorrow?” and “you come back?”. It didn’t last too long (realising there were sweets up for grabs) and I had a precession follow me back to my room after to find the sweets. The most senior student had them all line up outside and each one stepped forward to take the sweets, thank me with a hug and fall back into line.
It was a far cry from the initial culture shock I felt when I landed at the school. It’s amazing how things change. How much will I miss it? I’m not sure – but time will tell. 
After a two hour cab ride to Zhengzhou airport, I caught my flight to Beijing. Even at airport, I began to feel the changes moving from a small town like Dengfeng to a big city. […]

Hidden Skills Of A Kung Fu Master

This morning after lining up outside, we were told that Saturday is a half day. Training for an hour in the morning, then cleaning duties and free time. It was a joy to see all the kids grabbing mops, brooms and sponges and cleaning the school up. They were wearing their regular clothes and the mood was much more light-hearted. They would dash past with some sort of cleaning apparatus and say “Ni Hao” (hello). I think it’s […]