What’s In Your Bag, Graham?

I often get asked what's in my bag.  I’ve already done a blog on what (not) to take backpacking, but I didn’t really get into the technical stuff, so here goes: CAMERA: I use an old 2006 Sony HVR-A1(E) HDV camera. It takes mini-DV tapes, which are surprisingly easy to get anywhere on the road. The hand-held successors in this product line were mostly hard-drive cameras, which are fantastic, but in environments where things can go missing, humidity can affect drive heads and stuff is likely to suffer from knocks, tapes are a better idea than hard drives. When I first started I used the top-mounted XLR mic plugged into the hot-shoe on the A1, but after a couple of weeks I ditched it – at arm’s length the A1’s inbuilt mic was just as good and in stereo. I use a cheap Chinese-made 37mm wide-angle lens so…

Continue Reading What’s In Your Bag, Graham?

The Seven Ages of Facebook

  All the world’s a Facebook page, And all the men and women merely players; They have their laptops and their iPhones, And one user in their time plays many parts, Their acts being seven ages.  At first the newbie, Preening and sulking in the bathroom mirror; And then the student, with his mates, All shiny happy shit-faced, their mugs collide Gurning to be cool. And then the groupie, Pics from the moshpit, of woeful quality Hoping to impress their iPeers. Then a traveller, Full of strange lands, and bearded like a tard, Jealous acquaintances so quick to laurel, Stands before ancient rubble weary, Sullying the Canon’s frame. And then the gegger, Infers the chap from telly won’t mind, With great unwashed posed by their side, Full of guess-who-saws and modern inferences; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the dreary and…

Continue Reading The Seven Ages of Facebook

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…

Continue Reading Day 886: An Open Letter to Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson

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,…

Continue Reading Day 885: The Frog and The Scorpion

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…

Continue Reading Day 883: A Breath of Fresh Air

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…

Continue Reading Days 816-882: But I’m Still Here