Why Life in Arezzo Really is Beautiful

From the moment I stepped inside Antonio’s small second-floor apartment, I knew I was going to like Arezzo. This jovial Italian B&B owner seemed resolved to ensure that I saw everything important in his home town, even with just eighteen hours at my disposal: so after Antonio had shown me my bedroom (complete with a view of […]

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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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Che, Castro and the Legacy of Cuba’s Communism

Hugo and Consuela have a framed photo of Che Guevara above their fish tank. This middle-aged couple, my casa hosts in Santa Clara, have just bought three slices of peso pizza from the hole-in-the-wall round the corner. We sit at their small kitchen table, fans whirring overhead: I nibble at a corner of the greasy slice while Hugo sips […]

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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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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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