Category: Travel tales

We were two weeks into our epic road trip around the US, now driving through the incredible southwestern states of New Mexico and Arizona; we’d just spent two days in Albuquerque for the July 4 Independence Day celebrations (and also one of …

Hospitality and Scorpions in Marble Canyon Read More »

“Sir,” she said in a suddenly stern voice, “your bag’s tested positive for amphetamines.” My jaw hit the floor. My bag? Amphetamines? You what? I was standing in the customs area of Christchurch Airport, the entire contents of my bags …

Drugs Busted After the 2006 World Cup. Sort of… Read More »

“Stop chatting to your girlfriend and get back to work, you Pommie cunt!” The speaker was my supervisor, and we were in a Queensland tomato field pruning vines. My ‘girlfriend’ was my male coworker who, being a white Australian, couldn’t …

A Week of Fruit Picking and Verbal Abuse in Bundaberg Read More »

I looked along the deck at the picture of youthful beauty alongside me, all the long tanned legs and all the long blond hair fluttering in the breeze, and I looked out at all the beauty around us, all these …

Sailing in the Whitsunday Islands: 3 days of vomit and misery Read More »

Naked children leapt from the ramshackle pier in the tropical downpour, laughing and screaming as lightning flickered across the edges of a sky as threatening as any I’ve yet seen. “That boat?” I asked hopefully, indicating the larger and (slightly) …

Overland Adventures: the stinky Filipino fish bus Read More »

Cold, tired, and hungry, I finally dropped my bags and plonked myself down on the bed; all I had to do now was go out for food and then shower & sleep, before getting up next day to take the …

My Failed Tibet Trip: Permits, Solo Travel, Getting Stuck in Xining, and the Amdo Route from Xining To Chengdu Read More »

“Go to Guizhou, the Hidden Beauty of China,” the TV advised me. “No thanks mate – I already did, and it was kinda shit,” I replied. I was sat in my Airbnb in Taipei, doing some work with the TV …

(How NOT to) Go to Guizhou: the Hidden Beauty of China Read More »

So there I was, bottle of Singha in hand, strolling along the street through On Nut (a suburb of Bangkok) towards the Skytrain station to go meet friends, when this car brushed past me – a matter of millimetres from …

A Near Miss With One of Thailand’s Deadly Rich Kids Read More »

Bitten in Bangkok Khao San Road, circa 3am… (and this is not the first story I’ve told on these pages that picks up at that time & place!) …my Canadian buddy’s waiting for me in the street while I pop in …

Dog Bites Man: on soi dogs, getting bitten, and rabies shots in Bangkok Read More »

“That little fucker just tried to take my wallet!” Not from what I’d seen… “You sure mate?” I replied, “looked to me like you just bumped into each other.” We were drinking and dancing in the middle of Khao San …

On Khao San Road, late night beatings, and sticking your neck out Read More »

The Great Buddha of Leshan in China‘s Sichuan province is one of the largest statues in the world, 71 metres tall, and the largest stone Buddha. It can easily be visited as a day-trip from the nearby city of Chengdu, …

Leshan: Big Brawl at the Big Buddha Read More »

The cool air wafting across my face, combined with the train’s extended lack of motion, coaxed me out of my slumber. “Shit,” I thought, “where the hell am I?” To which the answer was: I was drunk and jet-lagged on …

Drunk Sleeping on the Train in Japan – and Getting Stranded in the Wrong Prefecture! Read More »

I flopped into a chair and ordered a plate of nasi goreng and a bottle of Bintang, now running on empty and entirely on autopilot. The nasi goreng was to satiate my hunger, the beer to celebrate my having survived …

Robert Plant’s Lemon Juice: surviving the Trans-Sumatra Highway (Sumatra to Java overland) Read More »

We got off the ferry from Malaysia, cleared immigration, and made a mad dash across Medan (North Sumatra, Indonesia), just catching the last minivan to Bukit Lawang by the skin of our teeth. This was one of those minivans where …

A Crazy Journey to Bukit Lawang Read More »

Spend any significant length of time backpacking, and you’ll hear plenty of hostel horror stories. Eventually, you’ll directly experience or witness your very own! I’ve had a few, but one of my hostel horror stories stands out head and shoulders …

Hostel Horror Stories: the Melbourne Bag Pisser Read More »

How NOT to travel from Thailand to Malaysia overland! (for the sensible routes from Thailand to Malaysia, scroll to the lower half of the post) Hat Yai bus station. The day was getting old, the sun dropping and the shadows drawing …

Thailand to Malaysia Overland: getting stranded at the eastern border with a lonely policeman (or, how NOT to travel to the Perhentian Islands) Read More »

Obviously, the train was packed. It was the autumn holidays, when the whole of China travels home to see family, and the only tickets available had been for the hard seat carriages – these carriages do have numbered individual seats …

Beijing to Chengdu in the autumn holiday: 27 hours in a tin of sardines! Read More »

Another mosquito drifted slowly past my face, lazy with blood. I couldn’t even be bothered to properly go for her in the heat, just vaguely wafting my hand through the humid air while I focused on the subtitles. We were …

Stuck in Siliguri (and Josh the Indian Travel Guru) Read More »

We got off the bus at some shithole bus station in a grim city that felt about two decades behind Beijing, under a smothering blanket of dirty brown smog so thick we couldn’t even see the tops of the faceless …

Hotpot Carnage in Chongqing Read More »

Beijing’s a city I’ve been to a whole bunch of times, including a spell living there for a few months in autumn/winter of 2013, so I’ve come to know the place pretty well and have plenty of memories there. But …

A Beijing Bender Read More »