An Explorer’s Motivation

Sir Ranulph Fiennes doesn’t like climbing. “I get vertigo,” he says matter-of-factly to the sea of faces in front of him, explaining that for a long time he refused to embark on any possible expeditions which involved heights. That is, until his wife Ginny died twelve years ago, when he set about trying to confront the fears […]

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What Makes You Happy?

This afternoon, a man on a bike cycled past me. He had headphones jammed in his ears and was singing along to music which was only faintly audible: the song was one I didn’t recognise, but the big smile on his face spoke for itself. ‘How nice – that man is really happy!’ I thought. And […]

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Life Above the Arctic Circle

Life Above the Arctic Circle

I woke with a start at 2.45am. The ship was pitching and rolling like a mad thing: coats on their hooks sliding back and forth across the cabin wall; the ladder at my side threatening to jump from its hinges and crash to the floor. From the bunk below, my cabin mate Helena sleepily opened our small […]

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A Pilgrim's Ode to a Camino Packing List

A Pilgrim’s Ode to a Camino Packing List

On September 12th 2015, I started walking through the city of Leon in northern Spain. For the next twenty days I walked to Santiago de Compostela, then onward to the coastal towns of Finisterre and Muxia where I arrived on October 2nd. It’s been almost a year since I set out on the Camino, and I’m starting […]

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The Day I Saw a Polar Bear

“Today, we’re entering the food chain.” Despite living on board the Quark expedition ship for a week, this was our first full day at sea. No more afternoons spent harbour-side in quaint little Norwegian towns; no more cruising past the open mouths of fjords. The ship was edging closer to predator territory, and now we had a new rulebook […]

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Sea of Hull: Why I Got Naked & Blue with Three Thousand People

At 4am in an English park, a man with a megaphone told me to strip. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only person he was talking to. The crowds of people around me had all been waiting a few hours for this command, and none of us hesitated to obey. As clothes began to fly and the bare […]

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