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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)

The Boys are Back in Town

3 Jul

(and Snuff is back too – but Snuff is a girl. I think.)

It’s been odd, being back – sometimes I am not sure what to do with the time, and other moments I am just grateful that I don’t need to worry about what to do next – how to get from a to b, where to stay, what to do, what to see….

Perhaps it’s a time to reflect on this trip… a time for gratitude, a time to look back and think… bloody hell, I did that..a story told in 10,971 photographs and 184 blog posts; over 20 countries on four continents, on 23 islands, nearly 80 towns and cities, and the same number of hotels….. on a hundred bus rides, boat trips, train rides and plane journeys . .

It’s been an absolutely amazing year…

I’ve sailed under the myriad of islands in Halong Bay, Vietnam.I’ve walked round Uluru in Australia. I’ve sailed Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound.

Halong Bay (43)_thumbUluru From View Platform (3) - Copy_thumbDoubtful Sound (19)_thumbMilford Sound (69)_thumb

I’ve trekked the Tongariro Circuit and climbed Mt Doom. I’ve walked through Mordor. I’ve dived the Great Barrier Reef.. I’ve seen sharks.. I’ve swum with turtles. I’ve poked a stick into a volcano (and cooked a burrito beside molten lava).

Ngauruhoe (5)_thumbTo Oturere Hut (1)_thumb

Turtle (3)_thumbIMG_6503_thumb

I’ve dived into cenotes, swung off ropes into rivers and jumped off the side of boats. I’ve walked through ancient lava fields and sulphur springs.

Cenotes Trip (22)_thumbBumpass Hell (11)_thumb

I’ve meditated in Buddhist temples and joined pilgrims on their journey into enlightenment. I’ve felt the power of transformation under a waterfall and on top of a Mayan pyramid. I’ve been blessed by a Buddhist monk and a Buddhist nun.

 Chichen Itza (8)_thumbPalenque (5)_thumbPalenque (61)_thumbWat Arun (17)_thumbWat Pho (44)_thumbKubum Monastery (101)

I’ve celebrated Christmas in Melbourne, New Year in Adelaide… and Penang… and Phnom Penh.

Kek Lok Si Temple (16)_thumb

I’ve  shared rice wine with the Khmer Rouge. I’ve stood in the shadow of Mount Everest, and climbed the peaks of Kata Tjutu in Oz. I’ve ridden horses with native Americans through Monument Valley, rickshaws in Nepal and travelled on mule driven carts over ancient railway tracks.

 Zion  (7)_thumbMonument Valley Horse Riding (7)

I’ve travelled on bamboo rafts and on elephants in Thailand, on overcrowded boats in Cambodia, on Chinese junks, sleeper buses and trains with extra oxygen.

I’ve watched the sunset over the ocean, over fjords, over mountains. I’ve seen the sun rise over Everest and over the rocks at Halong Bay, over the Great Barrier Reef, the coastline of Fiji and Cambodian islands, the coastline of Cuba, the wide open spaces of the Outback… and so so many more moments when God lit up the sky – thunderstorms I couldn’t capture, moonlit nights and incredibly rich starfields.

Ferrry From Ovalau (20)_thumbSunrise at Asses ears (5)_thumbHavana Sunset (2)_thumbSunset on the Reef (11)

I’ve said hello to red pandas, emus, giant pandas, kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, penguins, hawks, koalas, glowworms  and echidnae. I’ve eaten with a native Fijian family and had cashew nuts, mangoes, bananas and coconuts straight off the tree. I’ve eaten fish so fresh I could taste the sea, and food so spicy it took six toffee bananas to calm my mouth down.

Brambuk Centre (2)_thumbCurtin Springs am (3)_thumbWallaby (3)_thumbShanghai Zoo (69)

I’ve slept under the stars in a swag in the Outback, on the deck of a boat in Vietnam. I’ve stayed in a nunnery, a monastery, a prison, a village hut and a yurt, in a cabin over the Mekong and a lodge high in the New Zealand national park.

I’ve been bitten by mosquitos, attacked by leeches and nibbled by sandflies. and yet I’ve stayed well and healthy, and avoided any stomach upsets… and I’ve lost a bunch of weight and got a tan for the first time ever.

I’ve ridden the world’s longest escalator (in Hong Kong), watched the world’s greatest permanent light show (Hong Kong again), stood in the shadow of the world’s highest mountain (Everest) – and the world’s tallest mountain (Hawai’i’s Mauna Kea). I’ve stood on the world’s longest fortification (The Great Wall of China), walked round the world’s largest public square (Tianamen Square)  and swum the world’s largest reef system (The Great Barrier). I’ve ridden the world’s highest railway (Beijing to Tibet) and stood by the world’s highest lake (Nam Tso, Tibet).

HK Skyline (11)Everest (16)_thumb

Mauna Kea (10)Great Wall - Badaling (51)_thumb_thumbTianamen Square (26)_thumb

I’ve walked through lava tubes and crawled through ravines. I’ve climbed to the top of Angel’s Landing and into the depths of the Grand Canyon. I’ve swum in icy volcanic lakes and thermal springs, I’ve swung on ropes over a raging mountain river, I’ve scree-jumped down mountainsides, ridden on elephants and kayaked through island seascapes.

Hike The Canyon (9)_thumbCrater Lake (16)_thumbUp to Angel's Landing (23)Halong Bay (78)

I’ve wept in the face of human savagery and rejoiced in the light of human kindness.  I’ve met wonderful amazing people who have their own story to tell.  I’ve marvelled at incredible dramatic natural beauty and awesome human achievement

12 Apostles (12)_thumbBryce (39)_thumb.Bayon (37)_thumbCrater Lake (14)_thumbKhao Ping Gan (18)_thumbTasman bay Walk (9)_thumb

I’ve sat on top of ancient Mayan temple ruins and heard the voice of the Infinite speak to me. I’ve heard a new heartbeat in the coursing of a waterfall. I’ve got back in touch with myself in a myriad of coffee shops, in miles of walks on pristine beaches, sitting looking out to see on piers and rocky headlands, on tiny islands, on gruelling treks and just shooting the breeze. I’ve done impromptu talks and shared hope with some people who needed to hear it. I’ve danced salsa and jive, blues and ‘just for the hell of it’. I’ve studied Hawai’ian shamanism and New Thought Spirituality, Buddhism and Maya ritual, aboriginal journeytime and Fijian folk medicine. I’ve been a part of a Laos baci ceremony and a summertime Christmas concert. I’ve practiced Tai Chi on the shore of Hong Kong harbour. I’ve walked in the footsteps of the Maya, the Aztecs, the aborigine, the Maori, the Hun and a myriad of ancient peoples.

Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs (14)_thumbBig Buddha (5)_thumbDSCF4521_thumbNananu Pier (1)_thumb

 

I’ve come back with a new vision, a new understanding of who I am, a new set of beliefs and values, a new and deeper truth. I’ve reconciled my competing world views and started to understand the truth about Personal Evolution and the power to create my world the way I want it.

And deep inside is an incredible gratitude for the opportunity. I’m grateful for my sons for their blessing on their father’s great escapade (and for missing Christmas and a birthday – sorry Davey). I’m grateful for my ex wife storing my stuff and to so many of my friends for offers of places to stay. My thanks to Heather, my recious friend, who helped me see that all this was possible. I’m grateful to my dear friends Yve and Sue for helping me out financially. My brother, Chris, has carefully opened my mail and scanned anything important for me to deal with – what a hero.

And finally, thank you to you all – those of you who have followed my adventures, listened to me rabbitting on and tried to work out why I get so excited. Thankyou for letting me develop my faith – and my writing – through this blog. Thank you to those people who have stayed in touch on Facebook, on email, on text messages – and those who have been thinking about me and praying for me. I’m looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

And, finally – the path that led me here wasn’t always comfortable. In fact, it was bloody painful some of the time, full of searing heartache and despondency, of panic and a sense of failure. And yet, in all of that, I have found a new truth, a new faith, and a new understanding of my own self worth. And for that, my thanks go to my Creator for creating this opportunity – for putting the pieces together that enabled me to end up here.

I think I know where the future lies – or at least I have glimpses of the promise that it holds. I’ll let you know more of that over the next few weeks, as it unfolds. But until then – this is where the last adventure took me…. here’s to the next one!

The full itinerary is HERE but in summary – this is where I went….

image

  • Hawaii (Big Island)
  • Maui
  • Oregon USA
  • USA National Parks Tour
  • Mexico
  • Cuba
  • Fiji
  • New Zealand
  • Tasmania
  • Australia
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • Laos
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau
  • China
  • Tibet
  • Nepal
  • India
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