Archive | January, 2012

My journeys round the world . . .

25 Jan

Just so I can remember what a blast it was . . .



Forgotten Post: The greatest journeys in the world . . .

6 Jan

(Another of those posts that didn’t quite make it)


Or at least, my world….

By Boat

Queen Charlott Sound (32)Wellington to Picton, New Zealand, through the Queen Charlotte Sound – simply beautiful as the boat winds its way through the fjord, seeming so close you can touch the banks.

Grand Canyon (173)Rafting the Grand Canyon, USA – 8 days of stunning scenery, total peace and the occasional moment of panic on the rapids. Sleeping out under the stars, and the canyon getting deeper and deeper every mile we went.

Mekong Day 2 (7)Down the Mekong river on the slowboat through Laos – stunning scenery, 150 people crammed onto old car seats, incredible sunsets

RaftingOn a bamboo raft near Chiang Mai, Thailand – watching the river drift lazily past as I built a new meditation metaphor

Barge 2003 (21)A week on a barge with my sons, my brother and his family.. Diving into the canal to rescue a sheep.. And the look on my mother’s face when we picked her up as a surprise for her 70th birthday..

Ferrry From Ovalau (19)Back from Ovelau, Fiji, on the ferry as the sun came up, painting the sky with orange and red.

Milford Sound (174)Overnight through Milford Sound, New Zealand, on the Milford Wanderer – incredible scenery, kayaking, swimming, seals, amazing stars… did I mention the incredible scenery. Heart stopping

Doubtful Sound (20)On a small boat through Doubtful Sound, New Zealand.. A chance to sample ‘the greatest commute in the world’ – penguins, a chance to drive the boat, even more incredible scenery.

By Train

imageRugby to Glasgow on the sleeper, then Glasgow to Fort William over the moors (and on to Lochailort) – I used to work on a salmon farm in Lochailort (would you believe that we used to brand the salmon) and used to go up around once a month. This was where all the old rolling stock used to go – and I would weep at the beauty of the scenery over the lakes and moorland

On The Ghan (30)Through the Outback in Australia on the Ghan – mile after mile of wilderness beauty

By Bus

Monument Valley Horse Riding (7)Canyons Tour on the Green Tortoise bus – the concept of a bus that you can sleep on is brilliant – wake up the next morning in some new and totally beautiful place – and there are so many beautiful National Parks in West Coast USA

To Wellington (4)Any one of the bus journeys in New Zealand, where every turn reveals even more breathtaking beauty and even more staggering scenery.

12 Apostles (3)Along the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide – mile after mile of stunning ocean scenery, beautiful surf beaches, incredible seastacks and ocean arches

On foot

Peru 444The Inca Trail, Peru – 6 days of hard walking (after I had already done 6 days over the mountains – a magical experience, especially when Machu Picchu came into sight through the gates of the sun.

Walk by  (15)By the Tongariro River near Taup New Zealand – tranquil, calm and peaceful

Hike The Canyon (9)An overnight hike into the Grand Canyon – great company and some of the most amazing scenery in the world… imposing, massive, breathtaking

Blue Lake from Ngauruhoe (1)Around the Tongariro National Park – climbing Mount Doom, through Mordor – stunning scenery and desolation on a two day hike

Other forms of transport

Picture 006Snowboarding down any mountain, but in particular chasing my sons down Mammoth Mountain in the USA, watching them kick tricks off the jumps and trees

imageAnd last but not least – a cycle ride round Guernsey (it’s not that big of an island)

Forgotten Post: Hanoi here we come . . . .

3 Jan

Another of those posts that didn’t quite make it first time round….

First of all, an apology to my readers – firstly, for the gap in epistles from Asia: it’s been a bit crazy here, and I haven’t been feeling too good (only a cold but still knocked me off song for a couple of days) – and I have been busy busy busy getting China sorted… and on a boat.. but enough of that in a couple of instalments.  And an apology for the paucity of photos from this episode.. photos from the bus are always a bit crap . . . so you’ll have to rely on my descriptions…

So…off on the bus. But wait! We’re stopped. Something’s wrong with the tyre – so we wait until a little shop by the side of the road replaces it. I’m a bit nervous of the aircon too – there’s a very dodgy electrical smell and I swear I saw a flash of a spark.

Charging off up AH1 (the main road between HCMC and Hanoi) and we go past a huge toilet factory (we can tell, the porcelain is outside), with the mountains creating a beautiful backdrop to the industrial town. I scribble notes as I go, which can be a bit illegible on the bus. So it took me several days to work out that ‘total farting’ actually meant ‘toilet factory’.

We go through a tunnel,which opens out to stunning scenery below before  dropping down the other side, round hairpin bends onto an island below before resuming AH1. Suddenly I can’t work out if I am in a Bond movie or a remake of The Italian Job. Hmm…. that didn’t end well for the bus…

I notice there are a lot fewer road signs in Vietnam.. probably a good thing as everyone ignores them.

A brief stop. There’s English football on the TV with a Vietnamese commentary… everyone has their favourite team, and it’s now become a guessing game to see if I can match my answer to ‘where you from…’ to their chosen team. (I never say ‘Northants’ because no-one has ever heard of it. Apart from the occasional German who spent summer in my home town – that co-incidence happens far more often than you might think for a boy brought up in Kettering!) But who on earth CHOOSES to spend summer in Kettering?

We roar past cafes on the side walk, street stalls, hotels that are lit up like Christmas. There are picnic tables in the square, where everyone is eating and drinking. We pass sweepingly beautiful bays…and then the sun sets, and the sky is orange from horizon to horizon, lit up like napalm fire.

And, finally, into Hanoi. We drive round the park, which is already a hive of activity, and people are doing all the things that they usually do at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. There’s a badminton session going on, we have the usual joggers and the slightly less usual ‘walking backward’ brigade. We have the expected tai chi group, and various people who seem to have made their exercise routine up themselves… although if they could get it on the internet they could make a fortune – it’s so bizarre it must work. And then there’s the social dancing. By the lake. On a Sunday morning. And they’re actually very good, and very polite – apart from the setting, it could be a jive venue.

Hanoi (18)

The cafes are buzzing, and there are, I swear, more bikes than there are people. I think Hanoi might be fun!

Lost post: Where God has spoken

1 Jan

Another post that never got published, it seems… but I have chosen New Years Day to publish this simply because… it’s a day of hope and of possibilities, of new journeys and new visions…

There are a few places on this trip where I have felt my heart touched in a new way. That might be because I was in a place of immense beauty. It might be because of something significant that happened. Or it might, simply, be because God chose to say something.

Palenque (4)

On top of the Temple of the Cross in Palenque, Mexico, where it felt that I had received part of what I needed to tell the world….

Krispy Kreme

In a coffee shop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I got the outline for my next book

Palenque (54)

Under a waterfall in Palenque, where I felt I understood more of my purpose and destiny

Uluru first walk (33)Watching Uluru, Australia, at sunset, when I realised that God has no special places… just amazing people

Wamoku Falls (5)Under the waterfall on the Highway to Hana, where I let go of so much of the old stuff that had been holding me back

Wat Phra Sing (7)

In a temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I finally found a deep and meaningful inner peace

Kilauea (4)

Walking through a lava tube in Volcano, Hawai’i, where I truly felt that I was moving from my old life into a new life, a new purpose, a new goal

Milford Sound (33)

Sitting under the stars in Milford Sound, feeling totally at peace with the Universe

Sat in the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok, reading ‘A Course In Miracles’ and realised that I really was already a teacher of truth….

San Juan Camping (2)

Standing above the San Juan Canyon in Colorado, and understanding some more of who I am and what my gift really is

In a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, being blessed by a Buddhist monk, and realising that the blessing of God was truly on my life


Standing close to lava in Big island Hawai’i and getting just a little more understanding of what energy is all about


Gazing up at the stars in the Outback near Uluru (picture not mine)

Reading ‘A Course In Miracles’ in the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok, clutching my queuing ticket, and learning that a teacher becomes a teacher at the moment that he decides to become one… and knowing, deep inside, that my calling was real.

Wat Arun (17)Being blessed by a monk in Wat Arun, Bangkok, as I take the first faltering baby steps towards my new role – and yet realising just how much of a teacher and leader I already am.

Through CDs and downloads, through the words of people like Neale Donald Walsch on my retreat in Oregon, Joel Osteen’s books which I have read assiduously, and his daily updates, through Serge Kahili King’s course in Huna on Big Island, Hawai’i – and through the encouragement and love of my friends and family, and many of the people I have met on my travels, who have each had an incredible impact.

Gloria Jeans

And in a hundred coffee shops, on a myriad walks, in a thousand moments, when my heart has been open and I have been ready to listen to a voice that is always speaking to me.

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