Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah, Agra, India

 

about me

sharing my love of places

Thanks for stopping by. I first dipped my toe into adventures abroad in my early twenties and haven't looked back since. In that time I've travelled to seventy five countries - and counting. In 2012 I hit my 40th country with a journey around Romania taking in the much-fabled region of Transylvania; in 2013 my 50th was Kosovo - Europe's newest and most controversial country; in 2014 my 60th was the little-known country of Tajikistan in Central Asia; in 2015 my 70th was the breakaway state of Transnistria - a country which doesn't exist. In 2016 I resigned from my job, sold the house and swapped my old life in the UK for a new one 11,000 miles away Down Under in Sydney, Australia. Travelling has become far more than just something to do but is now my reason to be. People no longer ask how I am, only where I'm going next.

Below is my world travel map; a total of 74 countries across the five continents of Asia, North America, Oceania, Africa and Europe. In Europe I have only two countries remaining: Monaco and Belarus. This total includes journeys to micronations such as Andorra, Qatar, Vatican City State, Luxembourg and San Marino. It also includes unrecognised or disputed states or territories such as Kosovo, Transnistria, the Palestinian Territories (West Bank) and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Whilst some continents are almost complete, others remain virtually, if not entirely, untouched. I have yet to make it to South America and have only danced around the fringes of Africa. This is no great shame as it leaves me with plenty of interesting places still to look forward to.

 

 

 

travel stats

Country count: 76
Continent count: 5
Unrecognised states: 4
Countries lived & worked: 3
Continents lived on: 2

map legend

 

Current location

 

Visited

 

It's on my list

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

about my journeys

Some of my bigger adventures include the European Inter-Rail trip which took in twelve countries across north, east and southern Europe; the rail journey stretching along Canada's eastern coast which also included a border crossing into the United States; my trip through seven countries of the Western Balkans by bus and, more recently, my adventure along the legendary Silk Road taking in the four Central Asia 'stan countries of Kasakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. 

I take great pride in having been to some of the less frequented places out there; some solicit complete bafflement (Lithuania, Ukraine) or just concern from the people that I tell (Palestinian Territories, Moldova). These are the kind of places most of my fellow countrymen would choose not to visit. I'm sure they have their well-informed reasons. However, I like to give the unknown a chance. It is these places which, in my experience, have the most to offer someone.

In travel writing the word icon is much overused but I know that I am lucky enough to have seen some of the world's biggest icons: the Statue of Liberty, St Basil's Cathedral, the Taj Mahal, the Lost City of Petra, Niagara Falls, the ancient Pyramids at Giza , the Blue Mosque, the Shwedagon Pagoda, the Registan Ensemble, the Dome of the Rock, the awesome purple peaks of Milford Sound and the Sydney Opera House. Check out my World Wonders Icons bucket list here.

about my adventures

Travel is about sights, but also experiences. I have camped overnight in the Jordanian desert; ridden an elephant on safari in India; climbed and abseiled down a glacier in Iceland ; white-water rafted in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro; floated in the salty waters of the Dead Sea in the Palestinian-controlled West Bank; been camel trekking in the palm groves of Morocco; taught English as a Foreign Language to teenagers in Spain and eaten lunch with mountain nomads in Armenia. 

I have also slept in a yurt on top of a mountain plateau 10,000 feet above sea level in Kyrgyzstan; showered in the cascades of a Cuban waterfall; been dolphin watching in the Arabian Gulf; climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia on my birthday and drifted high above the ancient pagoda plain of Bagan, Burma, in a hot air balloon, at daybreak, on New Year's Eve. 

A few of my more unconventional travel moments have seen me stepping foot into North Korea through the infamous blue Armistice meeting room in the DMZ; illegally entering an abandoned communist headquarters in the shape of a giant UFO 5,000 feet up in the Central Balkan Mountain range in Bulgaria; seeing Joseph Stalin's eerie death mask in his Georgian hometown of Gori, as well as travelling to the rebellious break-away state of Transnistria - a country which, as far as the international community is concerned, doesn't exist.

 

 

about life down under

As I drew closer to the 'upper quartile' of my thirties, and with the prospect of the next few decades stretching out before me like an uninspiring concrete pavement with the words "more of the same" chalked tauntingly in large, banal letters, I felt it was time for a life MOT. With punishing Australian visa restrictions kicking in at the age of forty, it was a 'go for it now or forever hold your peace' scenario. I can handle most things, but regret isn't one of them. I was at an inescapable crossroads; it was a simple binary choice. Now or never? Stay or go? Home or away? UK or Oz? Pigeons or possums? 

In March 2016, and after a gruelling bureaucratic process during which I was awarded a first class degree in tenacity, my daily life and my love of travel combined when I emigrated to Sydney in Australia. I hope the move will usher in a period of travel to a whole new part of the world hitherto a bit too long haul to get to.

In the short time I've been here I have been whale watching out in the Pacific, appeared (briefly) on Australian television, attended my first ever Aussie barbie in the neighbourhood and dealt with lizards on the sofa. That said, I'm approaching this new phase in my life as pragmatically as possible: I have no doubt that not everything is going to be sunshine and koalas but figure it will be interesting and stimulating finding out. Keep up to date with my Australia Blog.

about agmtraveller.com

It's trite to say it but my site has grown organically from an embarrassingly juvenile effort to one which I now take rather seriously. It brings together my love of travel, photography and writing. It's a great way for me to relive what I've seen and where I've been. I'm very proud that 100% of this site, including all visual and written content, is created by me and so, obviously, it is copyright protected. Please take the time to read my Disclaimer

My Destination Chronicles are the leading pages of the site. I have avoided the reductionist format of other travel sites which contract destinations in to imbecilic, list-based 'Top 5 Things to See in...' or 'Top 10 Sights of...'. Instead, I've opted for a detailed written piece accompanied by video clips and carefully selected photographs all of which, I hope, capture a sense of place and go beyond cliche. Countries which have been visited more than once have their own menu page and multiple country adventures are kept together on a single page. Whilst this leads to some long pages, it does preserve a sense of the entire journey. 

After a few variations I have finally settled on a logo for my site. Picking up on the site's tricolour of red, black and grey, the logo features a large red destination map pin containing a globe. The map pin is echoed throughout the site, featuring in my Destination Chronicle journey maps and embedded in captions. I hope you like it.

 

 

Clockwise: Freycinet National Park in Tasmania, Australia; El Nicho waterfall in Cienfuegos, Cuba; Red Fort in Jaipur, India; Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Spain; Technically standing in North Korea at the DMZ; Hot Air Ballooning above Bagan in Burma.

 

 

frequently asked questions

I get asked lots of questions - the most inevitable of which is the obligatory "How many countries have you been to?" However, not all of them are irritating. Below are a few I don't mind answering. 

Q: What is your favourite country? 
A: I get asked this question the most and can never answer it succinctly. I start off with three or four in the hope of narrowing it down from there but then end up with a longer list. The truth is, I've found something to like and love in nearly every country I've been to. Then again, I suppose that's the way it should be, shouldn't it?

Q: How do you find the time to do all this travelling? 
A: I travel during the school holidays and pretty much any slab of time is up for grabs. I have, on many occasions, chosen to squeeze in more than one trip by shortening the first ; this often means that my itineraries are pretty jam packed. I also take advantage of any long weekends for shorter haul trips to neighbouring countries.

Q: How can you afford to travel so much? 
A: I live quite frugally when I'm not travelling. I don't smoke, drink, buy expensive clothes or eat in fancy restaurants. I also spend far less time travelling than others might. Whilst some stay for two weeks, I'll stay for just one. This helps to keep my costs down. I sleep in low to mid-range hotels or homestays, organise my trips independently and only ever hire a guide when absolutely necessary.

Q: Do you want to visit every country in the world?
A: Who wouldn't! However, I'm not engaged in a purely numerical quest despite what the country counters on this site may suggest. Travel shouldn't be a competitive thing. There are countries I am desperate to get to and there are others I am far less fussed about. I wouldn't cry if I made it to my centenary year and hadn't seen every country in the world. I would, instead, take great comfort from those that I'd wanted, and managed, to see.

 

 

Have a browse around and, as they are so fond of saying in Jordan, you are welcome.
Happy and safe travelling.