Urban life in Russia is a far cry from the adventure that lies further out, and it’s only here, among the icy Siberian tundra; among communities who have never seen a foreign tourist; among Nomadic desert tribes on the Mongolian border, that you’ll find the true soul of Mother Russia.
And it’s this soul that is so perfectly captured in Fabio Bertino and Roberta Melchiorre’s new book “Destination Russia. A ship and a cat in the tundra and other extra-ordinary encounters”.
Having recently been released in English after immense success in Italian, the book is a captivating collection of stories that takes you on a journey with Fabio and Roberta as they travel to the farthest corners of the country, discovering the treasures (and adventure) that lie beyond Russia’s increasingly westernized veneer.
We’ve well and truly entered an age of female empowerment, and as far as 2020 is concerned, I’m dubbing this the year of the wander woman.
Over the past few years women have tipped the scales to become the majority of travelers over men. We’re taking more active adventures, and saying no to sipping cocktails on the beach. And we’re not letting age be a limiting factor (the world is now being taken OVER by amazing traveling grandmas).
Some women are doing it solo, some are traveling with their families, and some are dragging along their husbands (lucky guys!). Some have quit their jobs and sold everything, while others travel while holding down a job and a mortgage.
Women these days who want to travel aren’t letting anyone tell them how it should be done, they’re making their journey their own. But even better, they’re writing about it to inspire the rest of us.
If you’re looking for a great travel memoir to add to your summer reading list, make sure you pick up one of these; brand new titles from kick ass women who haven’t been afraid to follow their dreams.
I didn’t exactly know when or where I was going to find my forever partner, but I never could have predicted it would involve a man who lived 15,000km away from me.
Having successfully navigated the 1am phone calls, the miscommunications, the extreme highs of seeing each other after so long, followed by the extreme lows of being kept in immigration limbo, we have compiled our experiences and advice into the ultimate ‘how-to’ guide.
Our ultimate goal with publishing this book? To offer other long distance couples the tools, knowledge, and the hope that your long distance relationship can be just as successful as our own.
I met Oren Liebermann in 2014, 5 months after he had been diagnosed with diabetes. Though his journey to diagnosis was anything but conventional.
In the middle of a yearlong backpacking trip around the world with his wife, Oren was teaching English to young Buddhist monks in Pokhara, Nepal, when his body began to fail him. He had picked up a virus in Kenya weeks earlier, and had been traveling for two months as a medical time bomb.
He had been brushing off signs of poor health for months; dismissing constant thirst as a consequence of the Bangkok heat; exhaustion in the Himalayas to the altitude, and weakness / extreme weight loss to malnutrition.
But after visiting a local clinic in Nepal, a doctor gives him a diagnosis that will change his life forever: “I’m sorry to tell you, my friend, that you are a diabetic.”
The Great Ocean Road is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, and is certainly a jewel in the crown of Australian tourism. Its stunning coastal road hangs precariously on soaring sea cliffs and winds between pretty towns and beaches, all set against the backdrop of the Great Otaway National Park, the site of Australia’s few temperate rainforests.
Though for one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations, most visitors to the area sadly see very little, and most of that through a coach window. But you won’t see the best sights from your car.
Much more than a scenic highway, this region is home to a myriad of coastal tracks, rainforest trails, and hikes which connect historic seaside villages, taking in ocean views and dramatic waterfalls. If there’s one thing for certain, the best way to discover the Great Ocean Road is to walk.
“Stop!” he yelled at me from across the courtyard. “Yes, you!”
“Show me your student card! How did you get in here? The school is closed today. You’re not supposed to be here!”
The ironic thing was he actually looked like Vernon Dursley and was about to have a palpation that I had snuck past the guards.
The many colleges of Oxford University were closed for orientation day, and tourists were being turned away as students passed through the gates. Though I hadn’t traveled from Australia to see my Harry Potter trail go cold, and as an 20 year old employing the idea that if I didn’t look suspicious, they wouldn’t have reason to stop me, I walked myself straight through the gates.
It’s my favorite kind of travel read; a laugh-out-loud travel memoir that reveals backpacking’s awkward side. So upon picking up Sue Bedford’s new book “It’s Only the Himalayas and Other Tales of Miscalculation from an Overconfident Backpacker“, I naturally became engrossed.
Sue is a disenchanted waitress when she embarks upon a year-long quest around the world with her exasperatingly perfect friend, Sara. Expecting a whimsical jaunt of self-discovery, Sue instead encounters an absurd series of misadventures that render her embarrassed, terrified, and queasy (and in a lot of trouble with Philippine Airline).
Whether she’s fleeing from ravenous lions, dancing amid smoking skulls, navigating the torturous Annapurnas, or (accidentally) drugging an unfortunate Englishman, Sue’s quick-witted, self-deprecating narrative might just inspire you to take your own chaotic adventure.
Real movie lovers realize that it’s not only the plot, music, or great direction that matter when they kick back with a film, looking forward to be transported to another world. No, a lot of the time the make or break comes down to the setting.
A number of locations around the world have proven to be popular with many movie makers, whether they are exotic spots, busy cities or rural settings. And these locales appear in our favorite films again and again. So what makes them so special and why are they chosen so often? Read on to find out.
For more than a thousand years, pilgrims have been making their way on foot to the Spanish city Santiago de Compostela, the purported resting place of the remains of Saint James, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. The pilgrims walk hundreds of miles that make up the Camino, which in Spanish means the path, a road, a route, a way.
Pilgrims from every background are today drawn to the Camino from all over the world and for a wide variety of reasons. Some are ill, some grieving, some confused, some celebrating, some walk out of devotion or in fulfilment of a vow and others are just simply curious. Some will have walked a hundred miles, others five hundred and others more than a thousand.
What is nevertheless common to them all is that they will have left behind what is familiar and habitual in order to wake each day to a new vista, to a new stretch of road, to the scents and flavours of a land other than their own.
The best way to prepare for such a walk? To know if this pilgrimage is for you? The Road to Santiago movie is a very real account of the journey as walked by Alan Fields; an authentic, down to earth documentary which will transport you to the trail and put you in his shoes.
Earlier in the year we reviewed “Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago”; a 90 minute documentary which provides up-close look at the ancient spiritual pilgrimage known as the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James.
The documentary itself was fantastic, and you can read our full review, though while watching the journey of each pilgrim unfold, I found myself equally as fascinated with the process of making the film.
How did they cast the travelers who took center stage? What was the budget for this kind of a film? How did the camera crew cope with completing this same trek but with all of their heavy equipment?
Determined to find out what goes into the making of a travel documentary, I decided to consult an authority on the matter. This week’s interview is with Lydia B. Smith, the director and producer of Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, on what it takes to make a travel film. She takes us behind the scenes.
WILDLIKE is the latest film to be set amid a stunning Alaskan backdrop to promote the power of adventure and wilderness for personal healing.
In this thrilling coming-of-age adventure, a troubled teen must face the dangers of the Alaskan wild, as well as her own past, in order to find her way home. Sent to stay with her uncle in Alaska while her mother is in treatment, 14-year-old Mackenzie is forced to flee as her uncle’s attention turns threatening. Unable to reach her mother and afraid that the authorities will return her to her uncle, she embarks on a journey across miles of wilderness to find a way back home to Seattle.
As she plunges deeper into the Alaskan interior, a chance connection with backpacker Bartlett proves to be her only lifeline. Mackenzie shadows him across the rugged frontier, thwarting his efforts to cut her loose until he has no choice but to help her survive. Against the backdrop of a spectacular landscape, they discover the redemptive power of friendship.
Nothing beats the feel of a good book in your hands, and sometimes the best way to inspire wanderlust is with a great travel read. And there are many out there! Authors who write of foreign and far off lands, who take us with them on their adventures and misadventures through every country on Earth.
Earlier in the year I joined the Travel With Books Project to “encourage people to read more books, to discover lesser known titles and to enrich their knowledge of places before they travel”.
With that same goal in mind, here is the ultimate summer travel reading list: 10 books you should have on your shelves.
Seven Years In Tibet is a 1997 film which chronicles the true story of Harrer (Brad Pitt) who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China’s takeover of Tibet.
Despite a fairly woeful attempt at an Austrian accent, Brad Pitt’s interactions with the curious Dalai Lama are fantastic – it’s a seven-year personality transformation condensed into 140 minutes, and is captured perfectly, right down to the Dalai Lama’s eager curiosity still sharp at an old age.
There is no better story which highlights conquering the parts of our personality that make us arrogant and self-centered, and no better way to achieve this than setting sights on the highest mountains in the world. And what better place to learn such important lessons than that of the Himalayas – the home to the Dalai Lama.
From North Korea to Benin, from Mongolia to Madagascar, Albert Podell is one of the few people to have visited every country on earth. It took him fifty years and during his travels, he blasted his way out of minefields, came within seconds of being lynched, and coped with riots, voodoo priests, trigger happy child soldiers and Cape buffalo – all of which is recounted in great detail in his exciting new book “Around the World in Fifty Years: My Adventures to Every Country on Earth”.
He has eaten everything from old camel meat and rats to dung beetles and the “pulsating brain of a live monkey.” These are Albert Podell’s absolutely incredible tales from his adventures in eating abroad.
There is a special spot in our hearts for travel films and documentaries. They inspire our wanderlust to explore every inch of the globe, and draw us into a completely different world, even if only for a few hours at a time. They recount stories and epic tales of adventure, and motivate us to get off the couch and witness our world in living color.
Though travel films are more than merely inspiration for Nigel Allison – the editor and creator behind UnevenToast, Nigel combines his passion for both travel and film by reviewing the travel features and documentaries he holds dear, and has begun to build quite an audience who eagerly await hearing about brand new travel films.
There’s nothing worse than experiencing culture shock – that alien feeling of the unfamiliar, so much so that a new environment becomes stressful and completely disorientating. And it happens a lot when we travel – forced into new environments where the culture and behaviors are polar opposite to that of our own, and stripped of the comforts of home.
The concept of culture shock is analysed in depth Helene Rybol’s new ebook, Culture Shock – A Practical Guide, as it is only when we can truly strip a concept down to it’s core and understand why it affects us and why we react in the way that we do, that we can be truly prepared to fight it.
The events of Into the Wild are set in the 1990’s when access to mobile information and communication is nowhere near the level it is today; it’s so commonplace now that it no longer stands out. I’m talking about communal areas in hostels and hotels full of travelers, their faces illuminated by a plethora of devices. Bars with well dressed types sat round a table with their heads buried in their phones, and family day trips where each member sports a different piece of buttonry, eager to deplete their energy and sap their general attention.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no different. With free wifi available on every street corner, I certainly can’t judge. Though in Into the Wild, Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) leaves it all behind to seek solitude by slowly making his way to Alaska, forming a series of life-changing relationships along the way.
Can a single film motivate you to experience all of this and more? Can one documentary inspire you to walk 500 miles?
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago is a 90 minute documentary which provides up-close look at the ancient spiritual pilgrimage known as the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James.
Following the journeys of six modern-day pilgrims as they walk 500 miles and cope with blisters, exhaustion, and loneliness along the way, this documentary successfully captures the universal themes of this physically challenging, spiritually nourishing, and profoundly enlightening journey, and offers a very realistic insight into what a traveler attempting the Camino should expect from the journey.
Having volunteered at an orphanage in Kenya, trekked around glaciers and lagoons in Torres del Paine, kayaked in the rough Adriatic Sea off Dubrovnik, witnessed the Saints win Superbowl in New Orleans, and flirted with penguins in Antarctica, Longy (Longzhen) Han has definitely experienced her fair share of epic travel experiences.
Having independently traveled across all 7 continents, this intrepid traveler is inspiring other young adults to get out there and experience the world, however adventurer by day and children’s book author by night, she is also aiming to bring the world to young children through a colorful and captivating picture book series “Gusto and Gecko”.