Asia offers an astounding variety of travel destinations. There are so many, in fact, that it can be difficult to decide where to go first and which to miss because of time constraints. The reality is that it's impossible to cover them all in one trip unless you're lucky enough to have plenty of time and money to spare.
Financial inclusion has become a buzzword for governments intent on tackling poverty and inequality among their citizens. India's Prime Minister Modi just announced that he wants to end 'financial untouchability' with an ambitious target to provide most households with a bank account in a matter of months.
It is hard to think of two countries that have more in common than Australia and Britain. We share a language and a rich history - and, in the main, a sense of humour. We are both maritime trading nations. Australia inherited many fine British institutions including parliamentary democracy and the common law...
We can't escape the fact that throughout history countries are most carbon-intense and least sustainable on their way to becoming rich; not when they get there. So if the message to developing countries is that they are not allowed to develop in the same way as rich countries developed... are we sure that they will sign up to this?
Improving quality in Pakistan would also be a huge breakthrough. In rural areas many primary schools lack sufficient classrooms to provide a proper five year cycle: In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for example, more than half of the schools do not contain the requisite 5 classrooms (one per grade). If you were a parent, would you send your children to school, and keep them there, if school conditions meant that your children were unlikely to learn the basics?
Around the world 100million older people have to live on less than 60p a day. Many of them support and care for their grandchildren. The grandparents often go hungry so that the children can eat. Many are also having to cope with the challenges of getting older, including managing difficult health conditions.
Increasing evidence and scientific analysis is showing why these events are associated with human induced climate change. The related impacts are becoming more widespread and complex, affecting society from health issues to agriculture, from transportation to economics, and becoming more severe, long-lasting and costly with increasing frequency.
When we drank our first San Miguel Light on Siargao Island to toast our small victory against the travel overlords, the sense of relief among our group was muted. We'd just reached the Philippines for a two-week beach, spa and city break, just a week after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the centre of the country, 70 kilometres north of our first stop.
A little over a year ago I highlighted the work of PAWA, the Pan Asian Women's Association, which focuses on global development and girls' and women's empowerment across multiple territories. By raising and carefully apportioning funds for credible, manageable-scale local charities, PAWA's work covers 30 countries from Iran to Japan, Indonesia to Kazakhstan.