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An island nation off the coast of Africa, Madagascar has an incredible diversity of unusual landscapes and wildlife, of which lemurs are the most famous but by no means the only ones! 90% of its flora and fauna are endemic, found nowhere else in the world. While there are some resorts, much of Madagascar is remote and escapes the influence of moder…
 
“Man’s real home is not a house, but the Road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.” Bruce Chatwin In late October 2020, I walked the Pilgrims’ Way from Southwark Cathedral in London to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, 182 km/113 miles on foot, alone, carrying my own gear… during a global pandemic. A Roman road 2000 years ago, the r…
 
From the ice of the glaciers to the black church near the lava fields and on to the steaming hot pools of the blue lagoon, Iceland is a country of stark natural beauty and interesting folklore. In this interview, Michael Ridpath talks about the hidden people, the trolls, and the ghosts in the mist, as well as the landscape as a character, and why h…
 
From the stunning Northern Lights of Lofoten, to the fjords of the western coast, scenic train journeys across the mountains, Viking history, and the culture of the cities, David Nikel evokes a country that has much to explore. In this pandemic year, I’m certainly dreaming of kayaking the fjords! David Nikel is a British writer specializing in all …
 
“The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book … it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.” Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi The Mississippi River runs through ten states and has brought life to countless generations, from the first Native Americans, through to the settlers, and into …
 
“All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.” William Shakespeare, Hamlet If you enjoy walking in cemeteries, exploring graveyards, and discovering the artistic bone structures of ossuaries, then you’ll love this interview with Loren Rhoads. We discuss our mutual love of these places where nature often reigns in peace and beauty, a…
 
“It’s not the mountain we conquer, it’s ourselves.” Edmund Hillary As I write this, I’ve started four ultra-marathons and finished three of them. I did the Race to the Stones 100km in a weekend (2016); Cotswold Way 50km (2017); Isle of Wight 50km (2018 — I dropped out at 22km); Chiltern Challenge 50km (2020). I’ve learned something new each time an…
 
If you spend years planning your dream trip, what happens when life gets in the way? Do you change your plans or do you plow on regardless? Is the journey more important than the destination, and are you living in a way that honors that choice? In this wide-ranging interview with Doug Walsh, we talk about how fears and expectations can shape our tr…
 
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Ibn Battuta Mallorca is a beautiful Spanish island in the Balearics, rich with history and culture, from the medieval architecture of Palma’s old town to the picturesque coastal village of Deia and the mountainous interior. Many come to the relaxed island for an escape, but …
 
“Man’s real home is not a house, but the Road, and life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.” Bruce Chatwin Walking for a longer-distance can bring clarity of mind, a reconnection with nature, and a sense of well-being that does not emerge with a short stroll. It takes time to settle into your physical body, and walking an ancient path can hel…
 
If you look below the surface of an ancient city, you can travel through time and find its deeper layers. In this episode, David Morrell talks about how he researched Victorian London for his historical mysteries about Thomas De Quincey, and how he brought to light the “chasms and sunless abysses” of the first British serial killer. David Morrell i…
 
Bath is known for its ancient Roman spa, medieval abbey, and sweeping Georgian terraces. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site in Somerset in the south-west of England and visitors often come on a circular cultural trip that takes in Stonehenge and Stratford-on-Avon. But it’s not all Jane Austen bonnets, Regency dresses, and afternoon tea — there is a …
 
In this wide-ranging interview with Ben Aitken, we talk about challenging cultural stereotypes, identifying as the ‘Other,’ and how to find beauty in the ordinary, as well as thoughts on where to visit and what to eat and drink when visiting Poland. Ben Aitken is a freelance writer, playwright, and the author of three travel books. Today, we’re tal…
 
The word Kosovo brings to mind images of the Balkan War — a place of blood — but Elizabeth Gowing talks about it as a place of sweetness, a place of honey with wonderful food, welcoming people and a complex patchwork of religion that manages to get along together in a tiny country. She also explains how her unexpected move to Kosovo led to her love…
 
Adventure is a mindset. You can find it in a pocket of wilderness in your local area just by doing something different and seeking out the unusual — or you can find it by running Great Britain barefoot, cycling the Andes, and running the length of New Zealand! In this interview, adventurer Anna McNuff talks about the definition of adventure, findin…
 
The word Ararat brings to mind an adventure into myth and history and in this episode, I talk to Rick Antonson about his journey to the fabled resting place of Noah’s Ark, as well as some of the research into Biblical history and ancient myths of the flood. My ARKANE thrillers center around Biblical archaeology, history, and myth, so this was a par…
 
Great cathedrals are places of awe and wonder, no matter your religious belief. Whenever I visit a new place, I always go to the cathedral or church, or place of worship in the area. There is always something new and interesting to be found and you can get a particular sense of a region that way. I also love to take photos of religious architecture…
 
Would you cycle across Europe on a ‘sit up and beg’ bike with little experience and no map reading skills? Helen Moat talks about how her adventure unfolded in an inspiring interview that will have you reaching for the guide books and considering where you could travel next. Helen Moat is an author and freelance travel writer for Wanderlust and BBC…
 
There are certain places in the world that are so full of stories, they become ‘catnip for a novelist,‘ as Layton Green talks about in this interview. We delve into the lure of far-off cities, why the occult draws us both, and how to turn a trip to a new place into a book. In the introduction, I talk about my own experience of traveling for book re…
 
“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” Galileo Galilei So much of the joy of travel is eating and drinking and I certainly love to try local wines when I visit new places! In this interview, Caro Feely talks about why she and her husband gave up successful careers to take on a rundown vineyard in a new country, the struggles they went through …
 
Hello travelers, I’m Jo Frances Penn and in today’s episode, I talk to Angelina Kalahari about Namibia in southwest Africa. We recorded the interview a few months back as I tend to batch my interviews and so it was well before the coronavirus changed our perspective on world travel. But perhaps in difficult times, it’s good to hear about interestin…
 
As I write this in the middle of March 2020, the world is gripped by the spread of coronavirus COVID19. Countries are shutting their borders, people are asked to stay indoors, shelter in place and self-quarantine inside. Restaurants, bars, gyms, schools, and other public places are closing. Airlines are on the verge of going bust or re-nationalized…
 
Travel can be about place, but it can also be about time, and in this interview, I talk to Alison Morton about how the ancient Roman empire continues to inspire her alternate-history Roma Nova thrillers. Alison Morton is the author of the Roma Nova series, Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines. Show notes The early genesis of…
 
Mumbai is a fascinating city with diversity in religion and architecture, and in this interview, Vikram Chandra talks about the colonial impact of the Portuguese and British, as well as the Zoroastrian, Muslim, Hindu and Christian holy places in the city. It’s also a feast for the senses, as Vikram evokes the taste of seafood from the harbor and th…
 
Sometimes we can only find our true selves by leaving everything we thought we wanted behind. Matt Buchman was a successful business consultant, but when he lost everything, he set off to cycle around the world. It was a way to escape his old life, but also to find a new path. In this interview, he talks about some of the highs and lows of the trip…
 
In today’s episode, we’re heading for the Northern Territory of Australia as Dr. Amanda Markham talks about some of the Aboriginal Dreaming stories of the area and how the vast landscape impacts living and working there, as well as the best places to visit if you’re traveling. Amanda is of Wiradjuri Aboriginal descent and speaks an Aboriginal langu…
 
What would you do if you only had a short time to live? Most people have some kind of travel on their bucket list, and when Susi Holliday had a near-miss in the London terror attacks, she decided to head off on a round-the-world trip. Her experience on the Trans-Siberian Express resulted in a crime novel years later, and in this interview, we talk …
 
In today’s episode, we’re heading north for cross-country skiing under the aurora borealis, sailing amongst the Baltic islands, and silence amongst the Finnish forests. I worked in Helsinki one summer in my twenties. The nights were bright and we drank vodka in the sauna and then jumped in the Baltic to cool off. I remember how musical the Finnish …
 
There are books that remain with you over time, that spark the imagination and echo down the years of your life. I read The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon by Richard Zimler in the late 1990s around the time I read The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco while I was studying Theology at Oxford, which I talked about in episode 12. The themes and characters of …
 
New Orleans is one of those cities that has a special place in the imagination of a traveler, even if you haven’t been there. It’s famous for loving life — for Mardi Gras parades, a vibrant music scene, drinking and eating and gorgeous architecture in the French Quarter — but it’s also known as the City of the Dead, with cemeteries, Voodoo, ghost s…
 
China is a rising world power, increasingly challenging the USA in terms of global influence and technological development, especially around artificial intelligence and biotechnology. It’s also an ancient culture with fascinating places to visit, and in this interview, thriller author L.H.Draken shares her thoughts on traveling to Beijing. LH Drak…
 
Australia is truly a land of two halves. There is nature in all its diversity — from the vast outback to ancient rainforest, from the coral reef to the desert; and then there are the great international cities, from Sydney’s Harbour Bridge to Melbourne’s coffee culture, where multi-cultural Aussies work and play in the Lucky Country. It’s also the …
 
“Solvitur ambulando: It is solved by walking.” St Augustine We live in a mostly sedentary world, with our days seated at a computer working, and our evenings in front of streaming entertainment. This life shows in our physical and mental health, but since much of our modern malaise can be solved by regular walking in nature, how much more could wal…
 
Traveling by train is fantastic because you can watch the world go by from the carriage, sometimes for days on end, and you have somewhere to sleep and wash and eat while you travel. You can catch glimpses of places you might never visit as the train passes through and you arrive in the heart of the biggest cities relaxed and ready to explore. In t…
 
Greenland is the world’s largest island. Three-quarters of it are covered in a permanent ice sheet and with only 56,000 people, it’s the least densely populated country in the world. It is considered a region of Denmark, but Greenland has recently been in the news as President Donald Trump talked about buying the island for its rich natural resourc…
 
Djibouti is a meeting place of cultures with French, Somali, and Yemenese influences. It’s shaped by its geographical position between the desert and the sea, on the borders of Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea as well as the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. In this interview, Rachel Jones explains how she came to love the country she now calls home, some…
 
Traveling to a new place is about art, architecture, food, and culture, but it can also be about the people you meet and the memories — and even souvenirs — you bring back. In today’s interview, Laura Morelli talks about Venetian artisans, the joys of limoncello, and shares her tips for finding the perfect way to remember your trip. Dr. Laura Morel…
 
The north-east of England combines the ancient history of Viking raids and English castles, with the stark beauty of Lindisfarne island cut off by the tides, and the vibrant city of Newcastle linked by its seven bridges. In today’s episode, mystery author, LJ Ross talks about love of home, why she sets her books in the area, and tips for visiting. …
 
Berlin is a modern city with vibrant street art, a growing tech scene and world-renowned museums and galleries — but it also has the dark history of the Nazi Third Reich and the Berlin Wall. In today’s episode, American thriller author Rebecca Cantrell talks about her love of the city and how it features in her historical mysteries. In the intro, I…
 
I sat there on my first morning in class, heart pounding, as I realized there was no way I could keep up with the work. I would fail here. I would have to leave Oxford almost as soon as I had arrived … That was day one at Oxford and I’ll finish that story during this episode because, of course, I did find a way to stay on. Thriller author J.F.Penn …
 
Hawaii is more than just a paradise of beaches and blue sea. In this interview, mystery and memoir author, Toby Neal, brings the wild and beautiful islands to life. Toby Neal is an award-winning ‘USA Today’ bestselling author of mysteries, thrillers, and romance with over 30 titles. She’s also a mental health therapist, and today we’re talking abou…
 
How does a book inspire a journey a generation later? How does an adventurer who loves to travel alone reconcile himself to a life more ordinary? In today’s interview, I talk to Alastair Humphreys about his walk across Spain in homage to Laurie Lee. Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer, author, and motivational speaker named as National Geographic a…
 
Sometimes we need to get away in order to heal, to take ourselves out of the routine and recognize how short life is, and how precious. In this episode, Dr Karen Wyatt explains how travel helped her face grief and embrace living well in the face of death. Dr Karen Wyatt is a hospice physician and best-selling author of books about death, loss, and …
 
Travel is about curiosity, the desire to discover new places and experience the extraordinary. It is often about pushing boundaries, extending our comfort zone to the point of challenge and beyond in the hope of discovering something new about ourselves and the world. In today’s episode, I’m talking about scuba diving and the wonder of traveling be…
 
Most of us spend our days on dry land within the walls of offices and our homes, but many of us understand the call of the sea. In this interview, Carrie McAllister talks about her love of sailing on the tall ship Elissa out of Galveston, and how it has given her confidence as well as adventure. I talked about my own tall ship sailing experience fr…
 
Montreal is more than just music festivals, street art and the St Laurence river. It also has a dark side. Mark Leslie is a Canadian horror writer with a passion for haunted places and, today, we’re talking about his book, Macabre Montreal. Show Notes On the old world feel of Montreal and it’s history The influence of the St. Lawrence river on Mont…
 
Today I’m talking about The Myth and Reality Of Travel, and focusing on Venice in particular, as well as giving you some tips and book recommendations if you are going to visit. There is a problem inherent in travel, especially in a world of filtered Instagram photos, social media bubbles and glossy travel magazines. There are some places in the wo…
 
Andalucia brings to mind balmy evenings with the scent of oranges in the air, the sounds of flamenco guitar, and the exotic architecture of the Moorish Alhambra. In this podcast interview, I talk to David Penny, author of The Thomas Berrington Historical Mysteries, which are set in medieval Spain. You can listen above or on iTunes or your favorite …
 
One of my earliest memories is looking out my window over the fields by night at the back of our house, wishing I could be out there. I cuddled my white fur seal teddy, fingers clutching the white window ledge. I must have been six or seven and my Mum lived in Malawi, Africa after my parent’s divorce. My little brother and I lived with my (wonderfu…
 
Orna Ross is an Irish novelist, a poet, non-fiction writer, and creative coach. Today, we’re talking about how Ireland features in her writing. You can listen above or on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below. Show Notes Writing about a country you’re from vs. writing …
 
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