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Why does pilgrimage have such a hold on those of us who are not religious, but merely seekers on a path that so many millions have walked before us? Author Imogen Clark talks about her Camino, the highlights and challenges, the lessons learned, and why she still yearns to set off once again. Imogen Clark is the best-selling author of eight contempo…
 
Hello travellers, I’m Jo Frances Penn, and in this episode, I’m talking to Nick Jubber about the momentary encounters that bring a journey to life. We talk about how religion weaves its way into travel, especially in the middle east and north Africa, and how sometimes we can sense the intensity of faith, even when we are not religious ourselves. Ni…
 
I’ve been traveling to the USA regularly since the mid-90s, for family trips and then business conferences and book research. The pandemic years meant a long hiatus (for us all!) but recently I went back to the US for my first trip in a long time and it felt quite foreign in many ways. I’d forgotten so much about how our cultures differ, and I thou…
 
We all pick up ideas about a country from a lifetime of media consumption, and stereotypes can shape our opinions, persisting even once a country has changed, as Colombia has over the last 30 years. Lachlan Page talks about how he ended up in Colombia after prioritizing travel first and work second, his recommended places to visit from jungle to co…
 
How can we step away from the established patterns of life and choose a path that makes us truly happy? How can we redefine travel to find it in our own country, and choose a home in a place that calls to our soul? Brianna Madia talks about her unexpected road to an unconventional life in the desert of Moab with her four dogs. Brianna Madia is the …
 
What does it take to sail around the world — and stay in love with your partner? Liz Alden talks about how she and her husband circumnavigated the globe over four years, the places they loved, and how wanderlust and a love for the ocean is something that never leaves us. Liz Alden is the author of the Love and Wanderlust series of romance books, as…
 
Sometimes you don’t have to leave your own country to find a culture that is different from your own. Michael Sean Comerford talks about the unique language, lifestyle, and attitudes of the carnies, the people who work on the traveling carnivals. Michael Sean Comerford is an award-winning journalist and travel writer. His latest book is American OZ…
 
Weird travel is visiting places that other people try to leave or places that are not usually thought of as tourist destinations. Adam Fletcher talks about North Korea, the unexpected beauty of Chernobyl, a tuk-tuk race across India, and the death rituals of Sulawesi, as well as the peculiarities of being British, and how to notice the unique weird…
 
How does Myanmar’s complicated history shape the country today? What are some of the wonderful places to visit — if tourists are able to travel again? Jessica Mudditt talks about her experience in Myanmar, as well as facing fears around travel, and the experience of reverse culture shock on returning to Australia. Jessica Mudditt is an Australian f…
 
Can we ever be satisfied with life if we are always ‘hooked on the horizon?’ Tom Dymond talks about some of the highlights and challenges of sailing around the world — as well as the mindset issues around living for a future state, and returning to real life after years away. Tom Dymond is the author of Wrongs of Passage and Hooked on the Horizon: …
 
Paris has so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming if you try to do it all. In this interview, Cynthia Morris talks about how to visit Paris like an artist and how walking and wandering is a great way to see the city in a more relaxed way. We discuss how to manage museum and art gallery overload, how to pay attention to your curiosity and tap …
 
Peter Fiennes talks about his search for beauty — and hope — in Greece. We discuss the different areas of the country with recommendations for ruins to visit, as well as how the ancient Greek myths still resonate in modern times, with their tales of the darker side of humanity. We consider whether generations of belief can somehow imbibe specific l…
 
Slovakia only became an independent state in 1993, so it is less than 30 years old. In this interview, Sarah Hinlicky Wilson and I discuss borders and how strange it is that history draws lines on a map that don’t necessarily represent the people who live within them. These layers of invasion and empire can shape lives for generations. Sarah also r…
 
Folklore encompasses legends, fairy tales, and myths; physical objects and practices to protect and ward away evil; spirits and supernatural entities associated with particular places, and so much more. You might not even know that you practice folklore — but did you ever leave a tooth out for the tooth fairy? Or wonder at carvings of the Green Man…
 
How can you travel light even on an extended trip? How can traveling light be an attitude to life as well as a practical way to pack your gear? Katherine Leamy talks about these questions and more in this episode. Katherine Leamy is The 5 Kilo Traveller, a freelance travel writer, and blogger based in New Zealand. Show notes Why traveling light is …
 
The challenges of travel can help us expand our comfort zone enough to drive change in our lives. In this episode, Karen Espley talks about how a trip to Antarctica helped her change direction. Karen Espley is an author, speaker, and businesswoman. Her latest book is The Impulsive Explorer: One Businesswoman’s Accidental Journey of Self-discovery o…
 
“It is difficult to speak adequately or justly of London. It is not a pleasant place; it is not agreeable, or cheerful, or easy, or exempt from reproach. It is only magnificent.” Henry James London can never be contained or defined in one way. Everyone has a different perspective and experience that changes over time, and my relationship with the c…
 
Some places are so dense with history that stories emerge from every stone. Canterbury in Kent, England, is rich with literary and religious history and you can walk in the footsteps of pilgrims who have visited the city for almost a thousand years. Anna Sayburn Lane is an award-winning short story writer, novelist, and journalist inspired by the h…
 
Sometimes we find home in a place where we don’t even speak the language. Louise Ross talks about discovering Portugal, a gentle country with ocean-gazing people, and recommends places to visit, as well as an attitude to self-reinvention. Louise Ross is the author of Women Who Walk and The Winding Road to Portugal. She’s an Australian currently liv…
 
How can travel help us as we search for a new direction in mid-life? Why does nature offer us insight into ourselves and experiences that go far beyond the physical? Toby Neal talks about her experience of the US National Parks. Toby Neal is an award-winning USA Today best-selling author of mysteries, thrillers, and romance, as well as travel memoi…
 
Good travel books are not just about a physical journey or a place. They are also about the emotional side of travel and the feelings we experience along the way. In this interview with Mark Probert, we discuss his motorcycle journey through Britain following the path of writer John Hillaby 50 years after the original book — and how the passing of …
 
There are places where the ‘veil is thin,’ where we can connect with the Other in the landscape — if only we learn how to listen. In this interview, Jini Reddy talks about how to find magic in the natural world. Jini Reddy is an award-winning author and journalist. Her latest book is Wanderland: A Search for Magic in the Landscape. Show notes How c…
 
What are the truths behind stereotypes of Australia — and what are the things that might surprise you? Pamela Cook talks about rural places, diversity of people and landscape, and the attractions of the city in this interview. Pamela Cook writes rural and contemporary Australian fiction featuring complex women and tangled family relationships and i…
 
“Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.” Soren Kierkegaard When life becomes unbearably painful, sometimes the only thing to do is go for a really long walk. In this episode, Chandi Wyan…
 
“We’re all so far downstream from who we used to be.” Pam Mandel We all have ideas about places that are far away from us, but when you talk to real people who live there, it’s hard to hold on to your preconceived notions. Those encounters can remain with you in memory even as you change and the place you left changes too. Pam Mandel is an award-wi…
 
Imagine sailing through the night across the Pacific Ocean with the sound of a gentle wind on the sails, the creak of rigging, and an array of stars above you. Nadine Slavinski talks about the joys and challenges of sailing across the Pacific with her husband and son. Nadine Slavinski is an archaeologist turned teacher whose sailing adventures insp…
 
Experiencing the dark of night can help connect us with nature and perhaps we need to tap into that animal side more often in order to respect the cycle of the seasons, renew our energy and our mental health, and help wildlife that need it to survive. In this interview, we also talk about the attraction of pagan fire festivals and the Northern Ligh…
 
What does pilgrimage mean when you don’t adhere to a particular religious tradition? Can we find ever find ourselves when we travel, or will we be forever searching? Victoria Preston has roamed far and wide in her 30 years advising corporate and government clients around the world. She is an associate fellow at the King’s Centre for Strategic Commu…
 
Sometimes it’s not the most iconic travel destinations that resonate most with us. Sometimes it’s the hidden places and the unexpected moments that echo in our memories many years later. In this episode, Steve Brock talks about how we can cultivate curiosity and blend serendipity with planning to make the most of our travels, as well as finding hid…
 
Vienna brings to mind images of grand architecture, the sounds of classical music, and the smell of coffee and sacher torte. In this interview with Katarina Bordet, we explore the Gothic and Baroque churches, the museums, and the iconic coffee shops, as well as the darker places to visit — the asylum, the catacombs, and the echoes of psychiatry and…
 
In this episode, we escape to the mountains of the Tibetan Highlands, which lie at the intersection of the Sichuan and Yunan provinces in China, in search of Shangri-La. Shivaji Das talks about the stunning natural beauty in this remote place, and we also discuss the cultural clashes in the region and the people he met along the way. We talk about …
 
What does it mean to be a secular pilgrim — when you’re not a Christian, but you love churches, history, beauty, and religious symbolism? In this episode, Howard Kramer talks about some of the most beautiful places to visit in terms of architecture, as well as natural locations, and how sometimes, the most emotionally resonant places, those that in…
 
How can you see your own country with the eyes of an outsider? How can you follow your curiosity and discover new things about a place you already know? In this interview, Roz Morris talks about finding fragments and tiny miracles while exploring England and how we can experience our own land from a new perspective, increasingly important while we …
 
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…
 
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