THE ODYSSEY: Review of 2010

January 2010 I started the year in fine fettle.  Having met Mandy at the pyramids in Egypt for midnight on New Year's Eve we spent a wonderful week together before she flew home and I hit the road once again.  Before the month was out I had made it to Sudan, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.  Iraq was amazingly easy to get into and so I decided to spend a few days there.  I’m glad I did. Countries Visited: 8 Running Total: 141 February 2010 I started February in Cyprus and then headed to Istanbul from where I was expecting to hit Greece, Italy, Tunisia and then (finally!) Libya and Algeria.  But after finding out it would be a couple of weeks before my visas came through, I decided to head back home for a bit, drum up some publicity and set off…

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Top 10 WORST Hotels In The World!

Since I'm the only human being to have visited over 200 countries and territories of the world without flying, I feel (almost) qualified to say that something is the [superlative goes here] 'in the world'. That being the case, here's a list of what I regard as the TEN WORST HOTELS IN THE WORLD: be warned, staying at these places could mean you end up dead, or worse... The Overlook Hotel COLORADO, USA Cold, isolated, eerie – the barstaff seem friendly enough but the lifts are often full of blood, the doors aren't axe-proof and the maze in the back garden is a potential death trap. Grand Hotel BERLIN, GERMANY Although overpriced and glitzy, it would be quite a decent place, if it’s clientele wasn’t so chock full of scoundrels and drama queens. After a few hours with these self-obsessed loonies, you’ll vont to be alone,…

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The South Sudanese Timebomb

As many of you worldly-types are no doubt aware, it’s very likely that very soon a new nation will be born.  South Sudan is coming. Back in 2008 when I was planning The Odyssey Expedition, I was aware of Sudan’s potential to split into two nations, but assumed (wrongly!) that I would be finished travelling by now. And while I fully support South Sudan rising up and breaking free of the shackles imposed on them by the brutal dictators of Khartoum, it doesn’t half put my quest to visit every country in the world into quite a bit of turmoil.  I didn’t visit South Sudan when I was in Africa, I just visited the town of Wadi Halfa in the north of the country. If the result of last week’s referendum is in favour of self-determination (as I’m sure it will be), then South Sudan will…

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For Those In Climate Change Denial…

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have a tendency to go off on tangents occasionally, usually something to do with my deep-seated animosity towards politicians or modernist architecture. Well today is no exception and I think I’m going to blow a gasket on this one, so if you’re easily offended, please look at this picture of a nice fluffy bunny instead. Still here? Okay: Climate Change Deniers.  WHAT THE F--- IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE??  I’m quite a verbose chap, but I’m honestly stuck for words when it comes to these pitiful loons. Conspiracy Theorists So I’ll take it slowly and start with Conspiracy Theorists in general.  Conspiracy Theorists used to be mainly confined to their homes – fearful to go outside, jumping at shadows, boring their mum with their crackpot theories about lizards taking over the world (who then, bizarrely, make TV…

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Days 725-762: What’s Happening, G…?

26.12.10-01.02.11: Well, I was hoping to be back on the road by now, but as anyone who’s been watching the news in the last couple of weeks will tell you, this is not the best time to be mooching around the South Pacific IN A BOAT. Monster storms like Cyclone Yasi here would make short work of an aircraft carrier, never mind a Sloop John B. So I’ve been spending my time wisely, I’ve been working on the book of my adventures, I’ve got myself an agent (finally!!) and a manager (finally finally!!). I’ve been in contact with fellow adventurers Tim Cope and Steve Crombie (who, interestingly enough, is one day older than me… must have been some solar activity around that time) and they’re really helped me out with getting my s--- together. I’ve had a couple of meeting with Lonely Planet and yes series…

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Days 763-815: The Three Most Amazing Things About You

An old friend of mine wrote a note on Facebook saying not to cry because she’s gone, but smile because she lived, and that she did.  So in that vein and in memory of my big sis, I want you join me in taking a step back from whatever you’re doing, whatever is going on in your life, and just take half an hour to sit and consider just how amazing you are.

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Days 816-882: But I’m Still Here

27.03.11-01.06.11: I’ve been in a state of enforced hibernation for the last few months and I guess I owe you all an apology and an explanation. I’m sorry.  I knew from the start that the hardest part of The Odyssey Expedition would be tackling The Pacific Ocean.  Unlike The Caribbean – where the next island is just an overnight yacht trip away – the distance I need to cover in The Pacific amounts to more than Liverpool to New York and back… and back to New York. While the lower Pacific islands of Fiji and Vanuatu might be easily accessible by cruise and cargo ships, the upper Pacific Islands are next to impossible to ‘hitch a lift’ to. This is why I intended to leave The Pacific until last.  Up to this point, the lack of any outside funding for The Odyssey Expedition has not impeded…

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Day 883: A Breath of Fresh Air

02.06.11: For somebody with my fun-seeking personality traits it may come as a shock to some of you that I’ve never knowingly taken an illegal drug. The closest I’ve got was haplessly sharing a ‘Happy Pizza’ in Cambodia back in 2002: coming from the country that also has a ‘Happy Rifle Range’ I (rather naively) thought it would be the Cambodian equivalent of a McDonald’s Happy Meal.  Well it wasn’t for kids and I didn’t get a toy, but do I have to concede: it did make me happy. So despite all the travel, all the gigs, the random house parties and music festivals I’ve attended over the years, nobody has ever seen me smoke a joint, snort a line of cocaine or declare I can fly after taking acid.  I don’t need acid to fly, I have Ryanair. Okay, some people may have seen me…

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Day 885: The Frog and The Scorpion

04.06.11: It cracks me up that so much positive emphasis is put on stuff that is ‘natural’.  Talk to your average punter in the street and they’ll invariably make the assertion that the more natural something is, the better.  The fact that arsenic, earthquakes and cancer are 100% natural and that most things human beings do is pretty goddamn unnatural seems to idly pass them by.  We should be getting back to nature, they say, whereas I say - much in the manner of Kate Hepburn in The African Queen - that 'nature' is what we are here to rise above. Nearly everything you do in your waking life is magnificently unnatural, and rightly so.  You get up and eat cereal covered in cow’s milk (eek!) – which is rather unnatural.  You then brush your teeth with unnatural fibres, put on clothes woven with unnatural materials,…

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Day 886: An Open Letter to Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson

05.06.11: After the death threats I received for slagging off the Cape Verde police force on this very blog, I learnt a pertinent lesson: don’t say what you really think until you’ve left the damn place.  I was therefore saving my torrent of abuse concerning the Australian government's wretched treatment of tourists until after I was well shut of the otherwise good land of Oz. However, after finding out it’s going to cost me $255 to extend my AUSTRALIAN TOURIST VISA (which I shouldn’t need in the first place), the dam has burst. The fury leaping out of my fingertips must be converted to 1s and 0s and plastered all over the net before I explode. The Aussie Tourist Visa (that’ll be $29 please, thanks KA-CHING!) lasts just a paltry three months.  Then you’re supposed to fly to another country and back to renew it for…

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