You're Not From Around Here, Are You?

A travel blog covering living, working, volunteering and travelling in over 90 countries

Looking back through the travel archives #My7Links




Travel website is currently running a web series where people are asked to dig out old posts, in answer to seven fixed questions. Amer from Tend To Travel was kind enough to nominate me, so here goes:

– Your most beautiful post

Crossing the Atacama Desert

I’ve a real love of deserts, so I chose Crossing the Atacama desert in a 4×4 from Chile to Bolivia. My note taking seemed to be affected by the altitude, so the text is still a bit random, but I do still love all the photos of the Atacama Desert, especially the vivid colours during sunrise compared to the brilliant white barrenness that overwhelms once the sun has fully risen.

I also considered Sossusvlei in Namibia, for the photos, but the accompanying text is sparse to say the least.

– Your most popular post

Gates to Hell in Darvaza, Turkmenistan

A short post from 2006 about visiting the burning gas crater in Turkmenistan, also known as “The Gate To Hell”, gets far and away the most hits from all over the world after it was referenced on Wikipedia and translated into numerous languages.

– Your most controversial post

Beijing Zoo

A recent post on the poor animal treatment at Beijing Zoo got many comments, both here and on social media link sites. The majority that put their name to their comment agreed that it’s an unpleasant place, but a few anonymous messages from the contact form were little more aggressive, presumably from the same sort of people who enjoyed throwing bottles at the animals.

– Your most helpful post

When I needed to get a new Chinese Visa there were many sites saying it’s easiest in Hong Kong, but no actual instructions, so I went to Hong Kong and wrote about my experience. Variations of “Chinese Visa in Hong Kong” have been the most popular incoming search term for the last few months.

– A post whose success surprised you

Kek Lok Si in PenangI was surprised that so many people had heard of a small temple in Malaysia, but an older post that still gets a lot of traffic is a few photos of Kek Lok Si, on Penang, during the Chinese New Year illuminations.

Close second:

Another was a 700 word whinge about failing at learning Mandarin Chinese, but commenters came through with some excellent suggestions and I’m back on track now.

– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

Snorkelling in BonitoAgain, another old post short on text, but with some lovely pictures. The post doesn’t warrant much attention, but I do feel that if you’re ever in the area you should try snorkelling in the rivers of Bonito, as it was such a random and unexpected experience.

– The post that you are most proud of

Mount Roraima from above

Mount Roraima from above - image from

I’ve been to quite a few interesting places, but the one I remember the most fondly for many reasons is climbing to the top of Mount Roraima, a sheer sided, two kilometre high tepui that straddles Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. It was a personal success as I was still in the grip of a long bout of hepatitis caught whilst cruising down the Rio Madeira.

Honourable Mention:

I get the occasional question about how to afford lots of travel. One way to travel cheaply is by volunteering. I spent 8 weeks building houses with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. Despite the constant agony and ridiculous lack of safety precautions at the time, I look back on it very fondly, and am still proud of most of what we did.


Here are the Bloggers I’ve nominated in order to keep the project going. Some I’ve been following a while, others are recent discoveries that I’ve enjoyed but not had time to read their older posts, so am letting them do the sifting work for me!

Here are the #My7Links rules to follow and I look forward to reading the posts. Cheers!





Since leaving London in 2006 I’ve travelled, worked, volunteered and lived in over 90 countries. Highlights so far would be driving along the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul, a complete circuit of South America and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. I’m currently back in Beijing, as a base to visit more of Asia and attempt to learn Mandarin.


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