Words that Inspire Me

Landscapes inspire me, but so also do words. I make my living as a writer, putting one word on a page (OK, a screen), followed by another and then another. Usually I shuffle them around into this position and that, and then typically I move them all back to where they began. When I’m done, I hope they’re interesting enough for some people to want to buy them, and for others to want to read them. Continue reading

Friday Foto: Eliot Falls, Cape York

Eliot Falls

A few years ago I cycled with five friends from Cairns to Cape York, the northern tip of Australia, a three-week journey of around 1200 kilometres across some of the roughest roads in the country. There were days we pushed our bikes as much as we pedalled them, grinding through sand and over corrugations that had ambitions to one day become the Grand Canyon. Continue reading

Top 10 Mountain Treks: (#8) Skyline Trail

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been writing about my favourite mountain treks, trying to narrow them down to the finest 10. The journey now crosses the Atlantic Ocean to Canada, ascending into the Rocky Mountains outside of Jasper, where the Skyline Trail joins my previous nominations: Gokyo Ri (10) and the Picos de Europa (9). Continue reading

Crocs, Yaks and Camels: The Joy of the Open Air

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Colorado found that camping has the ability to reset our body clocks. In dragging us away from the electric lights that so disrupt the natural order and cycle of daily life, camping isn’t just good for the soul, it also apparently recalibrates our sleep patterns. Continue reading

Friday Foto: Mt Oakleigh, Tasmania

View over snowy treetops on the slopes of Mount Oakleigh

Last winter, I spent a week in Tasmania’s mountains, hiking the Overland Track. Setting out at almost the exact moment of midwinter, it was a journey to experience Australia’s most popular long-distance walking trail at its least popular time. It was a week in which a whole lot of rainy days bracketed this one perfect day of snow. Continue reading

Top 10 Mountain Treks: (#10) Gokyo Ri

Three weeks from now I will be back on the road. On this next trip I’m heading home… as in, I’m heading to the mountains, the place where my soul resides even when my body is inside bricks and mortar in a city. I’ve been blessed, even spoiled, to see and hike through so many of the world’s great mountain regions, and as my next mountain journey – to South Africa’s Drakensbergs – approaches, it’s set me wondering. Of all the treks and mountains, which few have crystallised in my mind as the finest of all? Continue reading

Cycling Manali to Leh, India

Between the Indian cities of Manali and Leh, a highway wriggles through the Himalayas. It travels for 500 kilometres, crossing five high passes, including some of the highest road passes in the world. It journeys from the monsoon-washed greenery of Himachal Pradesh to the high, stark desert of Ladakh, passing through terrain so gorgeously brutal that the road is usually open for just three or four months of the year. That time of year is now. Continue reading

The Monk Who Walks Only to Freedom

In the Indian town of McLeod Ganj, above Dharamsala, you sense that you’re at the very edge of high drama. The mighty Himalayas rise beyond, and so many of its residents are here to escape persecution in Tibet. Tourists come for many reasons.  Curiosity. Spirituality. A break in the eye of the travel storm that is India. A chance glimpse of the Dalai Lama at his home-in exile. A few, like me, come to hike. Continue reading