An interview with Mel & Michelle

Mel & Michelle
Melanie Joe and Michelle Ellison are two remarkable ladies who recently completed a challenge that not only involved physical and mental strength but also an incredible amount of tenacity to overcome all the barriers and
red tape that had prevented other people doing what they did.

They paddle boarded the lenth of the Thames from source to sea, a distance of 206 miles.

The navigable part of the River Thames ends at Putney and by law, no one is allowed to pass Putney Bridge.  Mel and Michelle were curious about what it would take if, one day, maybe not their day, but someday, someone was allowed to complete the rest of the journey through central London to Southend Pier.

Muddy but Magical

Muddy but magical - The day I spent running with Elise, Becky, Terri and  Charlotte.

Becky, Elise and Terri


10 Quick Questions with Dave Cornthwaite

Dave Cornthwaite
Dave Cornthwaite
 Dave Cornthwaite is a record-breaking adventurer, author, filmmaker and entertaining motivational speaker.  He is a big believer of SAY YES MORE and also very generous with hugs.

Following a summer series of SAY YES campouts where he invited his Facebook friends to become real friends and come wild camping somewhere near London with him, he started work on the first ever Yestival, an October gathering around a campfire in a field near Guildford where the air of positivity was palpable. 

Shortly after Yestival, I met with Dave and asked him a few questions about the event and his forthcoming 1000 mile walk across the Middle East with his friend, adventurer and film maker, Leon McCarron. Walk The Masar

A City Break in Reykjavik

Iceland is perhaps not the most obvious place to go for a city break but with a flight time of only 3 hours from London, less from Glasgow, you could find yourself exploring the world’s most northerly capital city, Reykjavik.

Reykjavik Harbour
Reykjavik Harbour

Great Ambiance in Brading's Old Wax Museum

You may be forgiven for thinking that breakfast at an old wax museum might taste a bit...fake. But Brading's old wax museum has been transformed into a chic new table service cafe serving locally produced food.  And as a bonus, there is also a chocolate factory and shop next door.

Waxworks Cafe
Inside the Waxworks Cafe

10 Free Things to do in Reykjavik

Before I went to Iceland, I thought it was going to be a struggle to find anything free to do in Reykjavik because everyone kept telling me that Iceland was expensive. However, I couldn't have been more wrong, I found loads of free things to do in Reykjavik, 10 of which I've shared with you below. Reykjavik is relatively expensive but no more so than London or Tokyo and if you hunt around, get away from the main streets, you will find bargains and low cost accommodation and transport.

1. Harpa Concert Hall
The Harpa concert hall and conference centre is a stunning geometric shaped glass covered building overlooking Reykjavik harbour. At night it is lit up with waves of red, gold and green lights which dance across its facade.  It's not just a beautiful building to admire form the outside, it's free to explore inside too and the internal natural lighting effects are a photographers dream.

Harpa Concert Hall

A Microadventure with Dave Cornthwaite and the YesTribe

What are you doing at the weekend?

It's a familiar question in offices on a Friday afternoon and the responses usually vary from:

'Going down the pub with my mates, watching a bit of TV, getting to the next level in.....'
'Taking Sophie to ballet then Jake to karate then Sophie to horse riding and Jake needs new shoes...'

But rarely is the response...

'I'm meeting a bunch of strangers at Fenchurch Street station and we're all getting the train to Leigh-on-Sea for a bit of wild camping.' Which was exactly my response when I was asked last Friday.

Walking La Gomera

There's something quite special about being able to explore a small island; a circular coastline marking our boundary and allowing us to wander freely, safe in the knowledge that we won’t get too lost.

The Island we were exploring was La Gomera, the second smallest of the Canary Islands with a pleasant year-round climate and a character quite different from its big sister, Tenerife.

Loving Lisbon

Lisbon guidebooks wax lyrical about the elegant facades of the gothic cathedrals, Moorish castles and Manueline palaces but if I’m completely honest, I’ve never taken much interest in architecture.  To me, a building is a practical structure and as long as it doesn’t clash with its surroundings, I generally don’t notice details in its construction.  That was, until I visited Lisbon.

An old Lisbon Tram
One of Lisbon's Famous Trams

5 Reasons to Visit The Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has recently been voted the UK’s second best Island by Trip Advisor and had a great write up in Olive magazine for its gastronomic delights. Discover what else the Isle of Wight has been hiding other than great beaches and Cowes Week.

It has been a literary magnet for hundreds of years
Many great names have come to the Isle of Wight for its tranquillity and beauty.  Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield while he was staying in Bonchurch;  Darwin wrote the first chapter of his Origin of Species while holidaying in Sandown; Tennyson moved here for a number of years and Keats and D H Lawrence both found inspiration while visiting the island.   And although not a writer, the real Warrior, the horse the Germans could not kill, lived and exercised on Brook Beach on the Isle of Wight.

Tennnyson Down - a beautiful walk on the Isle of Wight

The Bongo Goes to Scotland

We took our old Bongo up to Scotland recently, a journey of just over 1000 miles from the south coast of England.  A trip down the road to Australians, Americans and Canadians but for the British – that’s almost as far as you can go without leaving the country.

Bongo Camping by Loch Leven

Down Under Down Under - The Emotional Ups & Downs of Learning to Scuba Dive in Western Australia

What could be more pleasant than learning to scuba dive in the tropical waters off the coast of Broome in Western Australia, where the water is warm, visibility is clear and the sea life is abundant, and mostly harmless, I was assured.

I had imagined embracing the explosion of life and colour in this new environment; swimming effortlessly alongside shoals of coral fish and marvelling at the giant manta rays as they glided effortlessly above my head. But I was brutally wrenched from these notions before I even reached the bottom. 

Meet the Locals at Windjana Gorge

Windjana Gorge in the Kimberley region of Western Australia is an ideal place to see freshwater crocodiles in the wild. So we stopped off there for a photo opportunity on our tour of WA.

Wight Walker walks the Isle of Wight Coastal Path

Walking the Isle of Wight Coastal Path for Country Walking magazine to coincide with the Isle of Wight Waking Festival; the biggest walking festival in Europe.

Ticket to Ryde as seen in Country Walking Magazine April 2015

As I Scramble over boulders the size of small cars and lower myself from a six-foot ledge, I question the wisdom of deviating from the official coast path through the woods and following the beach instead. I clearly spent too long chatting at the floating cafĂ© in Bembridge and the incoming tide has made my passage to the secluded pristine sands of Priory Bay an ungainly and undignified event.  This is the final day of my trek around the Isle of Wight following its coastal path; a distance of 69 miles that I have walked in six easy-going days. I have lived on this Diamond Isle for 20 years and explored for many miles on its footpaths, but this is the first time I’ve hiked right round its shores.

10 Free Things to do in Bruges

When you think of Bruges you probably conjure up images of luxury coffee shops overlooking romantic tranquil waterways graced by royal swans. Your hot beverage will undoubtedly be accompanied by a piece of the world’s premium chocolate and your table will be covered by the finest of lace both of which would have been crafted very close to where you are sitting. You can almost smell the chocolate in every street in Bruges; temptation lurks around every corner.

Here are 10 free things to do in Bruges in between coffee and chocolate.

1. Interesting Rik Poot Sculptures
 Look out for the cheeky statues by Rik Poot in the grounds of the Groeninge Museum. The bronze horses and riders depict Death, War, Famine and Plague and are somewhat phallic. Looking at the horses necks, you can see each one represents the various stages of arousal. Looking at the riders, you will see they are mimicking their horses.

Rik Poot Scultpure Bruges

Rik Poot Scultpure Bruges

10 Free Things to do in Lisbon

Lisbon is a city which is meant to be lived outdoors.  Even in February, the temperatures are pleasant during the day and the street life in the evening is fascinating.  Compared to the UK, eating out is very reasonable and fresh fish is top of their culinary specialities.  Austerity measures have hit the Portuguese hard and some activities that used to be free are no longer free of charge.  However, here are 10 things you still can do for free in Lisbon.

1. Street Art
Lisbon is a great city to explore on foot and the local government tolerates and even encourages street art.  Many of the larger murals reflect local political situations, some depicting feelings towards the  austerity measures with slogans like "Until Debt Tear Us Apart"  Lisbon has attracted street artists from all over the world including famous names like C215 and Vhils who have contributed to the artwork around the city.


My Earliest Travel Memory

“A half to Ayr, please,” I said to the bus driver as I placed my money on the tray.  Mum was still standing on the pavement making sure I’d asked for the right thing and as I took the change and stuffed it in my pocket; I turned around and waved excitedly to her before the bus moved off.
I was 11 ½ and travelling from Glasgow to my Great Aunt’s house 30 miles away by the sea. “It’s only down the coast,” I heard my Dad tell Mum as they were discussing the wisdom of letting me travel on my own. To me, it felt like I was going to another country.

old glasgow to ayr bus
Old Glasgow to Ayr bus

A Survivor’s Guide to the Adventure Travel Show

In less than thirty seconds we’d travelled  two floors and covered a distance of several thousand miles to arrive in the southern hemisphere.  

 “Adventure Travel Show,”- the lift attendant announced.

As the lift doors slowly parted, colourful head masts in red, green and gold screamed ‘African Safaris’. Self Drive Botswana posters teased us with 4-wheel drive adventures through wildlife-laden savannah while a video of Kalambo Falls in Zambia cascaded silently behind an African woman in a flamboyant traditional musisi dress.

 It’s that time of year again; a month past the shortest day, the streets of London are grey and it’s drizzling most of the time. The brightest things on your daily commute are the reflections of the shop lights in puddles. 

You’ve seen the posters while you wait for your tube and the full page ads in the weekend broadsheets.  You’ve fantasised about winning the lottery and quitting the job to travel round the world but are you really prepared for an Adventure Travel Show?