My New Blog at

If you stumbled across this old blog I would like to point you towards my new blog which can be found at this address:

This blog is now my archive in that I’ve got loads of old material that I’d like to keep.

My new blog is mainly about travel and is aimed at people who want to travel independently and just need a bit of encouragement. I share stories, offer advice and hope to answer questions about equipment, money and anything else people are worried about. This is probably the most useful article: 10 Skills for Independent Travel. Continue reading

Congratulations to Romania for 25 Years of Democracy

Romania’s “televised revolution” was the most exciting event of 1989, that momentous year when country after country fell out of the crushing embrace of the Soviet Union. This week is the 25th revolution of the Romanian’s violent but successful revolution.

The fall of the Berlin Wall provided the main drama of that year and the revolutions in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the other central European countries were smooth and “velvet” compared to what happened at the end of the year in Romania. Continue reading

Do I Need Hiking Boots?

This article is for people who are wondering what kind of walking boots they should get.

My last visit to Scotland was transformed because I took my big hiking boots. They added a lot of bulk and weight to my rucksack and this made me determined to use them. Continue reading

The Books I’m Travelling With

Judging by my articles on the best travel book and how much luggage to take you might think that I travel light and only take one slim book to read. If only it were so. I am reminded of the old Romanian expression which goes something like this: Do as the priest does, not what he says! Continue reading

The Separatists Have Won Although They Lost.

Our family is divided about Scottish independence. Here is my Dad’s view:

I’m coming in late on this Devo Max debate.

One thing is for certain. Whatever the Westminster Gov provide as extra powers for Scotland, the Yes crowd will say it’s not enough, we’ve been shafted/lied to/blahhhh. Continue reading

Scotland can Learn From Breakup of Yugoslavia

One of my main fears about Scottish independence is based on my experience of nationalism in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. It was nationalism that started the war that killed almost a quarter of a million people and broke up a once-great country into seven small states (most of which are bankrupt). Continue reading

Scotland Contemplates Suicide

I wish I could believe in the promise of an independent Scotland: a land that will be free, green and wealthy. I have listened to passionate nationalists who tell me that Scotland has been exploited for centuries, that we pay more tax than we get, that we have vast reserves of North Sea Oil, that it doesn’t matter if big business moves out and that a currency union with England (and EU membership) is guaranteed. Continue reading

I’m Going into Rehab

Tomorrow I will be admitted into Castle Craig Rehab Clinic as an addict. For ten days I will join a community of alcoholics, drug addicts, therapists and medics – and be asked to open up about the psychological issues that caused my addiction. My mobile, laptop and Kindle will be taken away from me and I will be expected to stay on the campus 24/7. Continue reading

How to Write an Article

My friend George is taking a month off to travel to Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia. He recently set up a company in Bucharest making (and selling) the most perfect eclairs. But building up a new company is hard work, George is a perfectionist and he’s exhausted. George said he would like to write articles and I said I’d like to publish them. I also said I would write an article about how to write an article — and here it is. Continue reading

What’s the Best Travel Book?

My criteria for “Best Travel Book” has nothing to do with travel writing, a genre that is overpopulated with intellectuals showing off about their adventures. Continue reading