Life is full of journeys and it has taken hundreds if not thousands of them to produce what you find here. Thus far, my explorations have taken me around Europe and North America with many of them involving self-powered travel around urban and rural settings. What continues to drive me is the search for memorable encounters with pleasing sights and soothing moments.
Wilder, emptier places are what thrills my spirit and it follows on from a bequest from my parents of a fondness for mountain and coastal scenery. Experiencing these is what led to an enduring interest in photography and self-powered travel. It helps that walking, hiking and cycling all allow more intimate explorations and opportunities to encounter quieter moments of peace that heal the wounds of modern living.
Hopefully, you feel likewise after what you find here. After all, we all like reading each other’s stories and I have found that others like reading mine as much as I enjoy reading theirs. This is very human and brings us all together, something that is needed more than ever these days. Of course, we need to live a little to have our stories and how we go about that is very much up to us...
My travel activities have internationalised steadily over time. They once were limited to Britain and Ireland but the portfolio of places visited now includes numerous European countries and a venture into North America that I hope will see more when the occasions allow.
There is a very big difference between exploring the country where you live and doing the same for another one where you are just a fleeting visitor. With the first, you can learn organically while the research often happens all at once for the second. Even then, it is easy to see why some let others do the organisation for their overseas trips.
One thing gets shared though: it is often those lesser frequented spots that offer the most rewarding experiences. Finding them instead of the more usual honeypots needs one to get below the surface of a destination and that takes a bit more time and effort than maybe a short visit can allow.
The above has inspired this part of the website and what you will find is a range of useful portals to learning more about different parts of Europe, North America, Africa and the Antipodes. The content is meant to go beyond being a set of information directories but that is a very unfinished journey for now. Towards that end, there are some articles relating to travel experiences so there is a variety on offer here.
There have to be motivations for travel and everyone has their own set. What often draws me is the pursuit of quieter, emptier, wilder locations and that is what is at the heart of this part of the website. This comes from having had a sense of wonder at nature aroused by an English teacher and an appreciation for mountain and coastal scenery bequeathed to me by my parents.
Of course, the best way to experience a place is to take things slowly. It is for that reason that self-powered travel on foot or by bicycle is what I favour. Going any faster means that you miss out on so much and it also helps if you stop along the way to soak in the ambience of your situation.
In all of this, you need to be truly present in a location and not engrossed in the activity that you are pursuing. For some, it is the activity that matters but I take a more transcendental view for it is the spiritual and emotional experience that matters. For that, solitude and silence do come into their own.
Here, you will find tales of my wanderings around parts of the European and North American countryside as well as musing on related subjects like nature and equipment. This happened because of the encouragement of others when I had not realised our appetite for each others' stories. Throughout the travails of life, nature remains a place of restoration and that adds to the enduring memories of beauty that we often gain.
When it comes to nature and the environment there is an oft-repeated mantra: take only photos and leave only footprints. Having photos is one way of ensuring that memorable moments endure. They often remind me of forgotten details while writing up trip reports and could take anyone back to happier times when circumstances feel more hostile.
In some ways, the practice of photography can have a circular relationship with travel. In one way, photographs are a result of a trip away from home while the prospect of making photographs together with the sight of one or more images can be motivating. That is how it works for me.
What is clearer though is that having a selection of photos got me going with a now-defunct Geocities website in a time when image galleries were not as common online. Unlike today, there was much dross to be found because early adapters were not always the best photographers and many grey day shots were included when they would be overlooked nowadays. With some inspiration, a life journey had started.
Not all of this was spent online and centred around digitisation so places around Britain, Ireland and the Isle of Man got recorded before I started venturing to sunshine islands and North America as well as alpine and nordic locations. There are some locations to which I fancy returning and there are others to come. In this, hope that the variety of images and locations will expand and be enhanced. For that, I need to keep travelling.
Our explorations of the world around us are not dissociated from what goes on around us. That is one of the ideas behind this section and is what is happening to offcuts from the travel section. There are news listings as well as musings over matters that intrude on everyday life and useful tidbits that may have a use in life's wanderings.
This is not just about external surroundings either since what happens inside of us matters too, particularly in response to discomfiting developments. There are times that we gravitate towards comforting writings and it is for that reason that I include off-copyright essays from the likes of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. That is completed by a few songs and poems that I have collected and some of these were written in appreciation of nature, a subject that can become mystical and transcendental.
Photography is very much about appreciating the natural world too so I have added content collecting what else you can find. Selected practitioners of the art get listed and so do some photography magazines. Seeing how others visually interpret the natural world can help with your efforts. Sometimes, even aping others can enhance the development of your style of presentation.
In summary, this section collects matters intruding on human experiences as well as how we artistically communicate what we experience things in life. That makes for a varied collection yet there is something of a common thread too. This is a newer part of the website than others so there is more evolution in prospect.