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Love, Loss and Jewellery, Eight Years On

My mum once pierced her ears with a needle and an ice cube. Well, not exactly. Mum was eighteen, travelling in the US, and it was her American friends who happily volunteered to do the piercing for her; Mum’s friend Lainey who slightly misjudged the needle’s point in Mum’s right earlobe and made the hole a few […]

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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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Being Naked and Being Human

It started in Oslo, on a muggy summer Sunday with a hint of rain in the air. After two weeks on board an expedition ship I was relishing the chance to be walking around outside, with an entire day at my disposal to explore a city I didn’t yet know. Oslo has a fantastic amount of […]

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My Quiet London Love Affair

“Shall we walk home through the city?” Beverley and I had been out for lunch on a sunny Sunday in London’s Southbank, treating ourselves to burgers and beers beside a window that curious tourists kept peering into. After wiping up the last of the ketchup with our remaining sweet potato fries we headed outside to […]

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Thoughts From the Window Seat

It’s finally springtime in London. Joggers and dog walkers are multiplying; people walk down the pavement with sunglasses and smiling faces. This morning I am sitting at a desk in the new house I recently moved to, with the green spines of my flatmate’s aloe vera plant snaking towards my laptop screen. I am writing – more […]

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The Spanish Challenge: a Surprise Return to Paracas, Peru

Men scurry along either side of the barrier which divides the congested highway in two. They carry paper-covered boxes of snacks to sell to car drivers through their windows: small biscuits, wafers, hot peanuts. Boys with stacks of newspapers pass women wearing tracksuits and pushing supermarket trolleys, who yawn as they delve inside their bumbags filled with loose change. The […]

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The Day I Walked to the End of the World

Arriving in Santiago didn’t feel the way I expected. The Spaniards I had been walking with for the last seven days had tears in their eyes as we walked through the city’s winding streets and emerged in the central plaza. The famous cathedral towered above us, its facade draped in netting and scaffolds. My friends began […]

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From Syria to Calais: Nine Years of Changing Perspectives

In the summer of 2007 I travelled to Syria. Our group were on a trip around the Middle East when we crossed over the Jordanian border to arrive in the ancient walled city of Damascus. A collection of women from England, Australia, Canada and the US, we walked past palm trees and half ruined architecture above multi-coloured parasols. My […]

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Kindness and Community on the Camino

Kindness and Community on the Camino

They say the Camino brings out the best in people. I didn’t believe them at first, but it’s true. Becoming a pilgrim means talking to, befriending and helping out others just for the sake of it. Walking the Camino turns individual people from strangers into a community – and a special one, at that. Where else would you […]

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