Travel for the sake of tick boxes not only undermines even the most basic reasons for travelling, but distills whole nations into one landmark, one ruin, one temple. A country is more than the sum of its famous places. And you can circumnavigate without ever leaving the Southern Ocean, thus never seeing or steeping foot in any country at all.
Jersey, I was soon to discover, had a lot more going for it than I could ever have expected. From the moment myself and my friend Amanda stepped on the plane at Dublin airport, we knew this trip was going to be different.
Gastronomy and pugilism. One, it seems, begets the other when you're standing outside the Rajadamnern Stadium in modern Bangkok, the beating heart of old Siam. You drink a glass of pennywort and hand over your baht. You sidestep to the next stall and buy some glutinous rice and pork cooked in banana leaves. Then your mind begins to drift.
YES! I can honestly say I have no regrets. Before I left, I was anxious about my trip, especially as I was travelling solo. While away I made tonnes of new friends from across the globe - some I would consider to be friends for life! Travel experiences create strong bonds and special friendships.
When our friends went off to help the Greek economy and offered us two weeks on their home 'Living the Dream', a wide beamed narrow boat, we leapt at the chance. Leaping was to become part of our daily lives from now on. Moored in Windsor, the 60ft long and 10ft wide boat had space for all creature comforts including shower room, king size bed and well-equipped kitchen.
Hello world! I am back after taking a short break from work and life. I've been in the USA for the past three weeks, spending the majority of my vac...
Travel is being independent and going along with my gut instincts. It's about trusting and building a relationship with myself. Travel is about finding myself as a person.
I've been thinking all day about how I can find the words for what we experienced last week. An hours drive from my house, then half an hour on the Eurotunnel, and we were in the world's worst refugee camp in terms of resources and conditions, yet we were welcomed with open arms. It's amazing how only the people who have nothing really know how to share.
Just as we are ready to live out our imaginations, our dreams are put into check with new fairytales - ones of cubicles, taxes and pension funds. Most of us believe them - I know for some time I did. Eventually my Peter Pan syndrome prevailed, reminding me that there's more to life than anxiously thinking ahead.
If you're after a relaxing holiday with the kids look elsewhere. Switching effortlessly from winter ski Mecca, Morzine buzzes with activities all summer. The town is swarming with mud-spattered mountain bikers, padded up like Robocop as they hurtle down trails.
Air travel is, nevertheless, an ordeal at any time and more so if your mobility is impaired (as mine has been since a 20-hour operation for the removal of a brain tumour)... I will never again be impatient when walking behind someone slower than me, should I have the ability to walk fast and unaided, that is.
London's skyline has been transformed in the last twenty years or so, and although some of the buildings may not be to everyone's taste, it's a city which has something for everyone. From up in the air it looks every inch a global city for the 21st century, a place where 300 different languages are spoken and over 8.5 million people live and work.
The name simply translates as 'North Sea' from both French and Flemish - the very body of water from which the daily catch is landed, then transported to Brussels and cooked by end of play each day.
In between, Chan - our tuk tuk driver - dropped us back at the hotel for a power nap and breakfast. In the hotel they treat us like gods, bowing, pointing their hands at us in prayer, laughing at our jokes, asking why we allow natural disasters to happen... It's a bit embarrassing actually, but tourism here is relatively new, and I suspect they'll relax eventually.
From Mexico to Lithuania to Japan, my book will chart the ups and downs of my globetrotting to date, and show how I developed from a child who thought travelling without the support of his family would be impossible, to a 21 year old who set off for Australia without them.
We had been in Hong Kong for five days, marvelling at their mild December. Through osmosis, I'd learnt even more about the culture than I already knew. But there were still parts of my history that I hadn't really considered until I was here, having dinner with long lost everyones and watching everyday life play out for the people who shared my DNA.