My Latest Work

Portland’s drug hell should serve as a warning to Glasgow

Ihave spent the past four years living in Portland, Oregon, a previously attractive city on America’s west coast. A few hours’ drive from Seattle and not far from both a standout coastline and the beautiful Cascade Mountains, this was a heavenly spot for successful tech and media types who also valued their health, the outdoors and a much cheaper cost of living than San Francisco.

Alas, the city’s progressive outlook has meant that since legalising “recreational” marijuana in 2014 and small amo

As a Brit who spent years living in America, these are 10 things that are better across the pond

The lesser-known parks are wild to the point of desolation, and as such offer unparalleled opportunities for solitude and self-reliance. For me, summer in the wilderness of the west, with hiking, endless blue skies and sunshine, millions of acres of forest, freshwater lakes and rivers to swim in, and campfires at sunset, is the American dream.

Just try to do things in America and you’ll find yourself supported, whether it’s driving for hours to try to see Big Bend National Park in half a day or

The essential life skill that Britons are no longer using

“Is it over there?” I said, confidently gesturing into the far distance from the top of Longstone Moor. Our course leader Austin Knott, a retired transport planner from Staffordshire, smiled knowingly. “Have you followed the steps?” he asked patiently. I look down guiltily at my tools: a 1:25000 scale Ordnance Survey Explorer map of the White Peak area and a baseplate compass. I was wrong, and lost, again. Old habits are hard to break. The day began at 10am in Foolow village hall in the depths o

Why Nottingham is England’s most underrated city

“It’s got everything you could ask for – a great nightlife, a vibrant art scene, a rich history and an abundance of green spaces,” Tom Suchoruczka, a Nottingham-born, half-Ukrainian politics and geography teacher, tells me. As we admire the view from a park bench at the Colwick Woods nature reserve, taking in Colwick Hall, one of the ancestral homes of the Byron family, and the wider Trent Valley, it’s hard to disagree. Yet Nottingham, though loved by locals, tends to be overlooked when it comes

Fight for equality is far from over despite Lionesses’ victory

Amid all the joyful celebrations of England’s Women’s Euro victory on Sunday, I was sadly reminded of the disgraceful difficulties many of us had playing football in recent decades in the country that likes to think of itself as the sport’s home.

Despite being an avid England and Manchester United fan I was denied the chance of playing football at school, so I started late in life, in London in the early 2000s. I was working to start my career, had suffered the untimely deaths of both of my par

I nearly died on a 'calm' river in Oregon

In over 20 years of travel to more than 100 countries, I’ve had my fair share of scrapes and numerous brushes with death. I’ve visited Iraq, Yemen and Syria and been robbed at gunpoint in Kenya. I’ve been very nearly run over crossing the street in Tokyo and Abu Dhabi. I was on a flight from Seattle to Seoul which experienced a mid-air emergency thanks to severe turbulence over the Sea of Japan. In Sri Lanka, a failed whale-watching mission left me and a colleague on a rickety old boat in high s

A Road Trip to ‘Nomadland’

THE SCENIC ROUTE from Portland, Ore., to Lake Mead in southern Nevada cuts a jagged line over 1,000 miles southeast through the Great Basin Desert. The largest endorheic watershed (the type that doesn’t drain into the sea) in North America, it’s a harsh, empty land of mountains and plateaus, ranches and mining sites. It also encompasses vast quantities of open public land that attract modern-day nomads, people seeking a long-term, off-grid lifestyle since anyone can camp at their chosen spot for

The thawing of relations between Israel and the UAE is great news for travellers

Of all the thrills in store once international travel is resumed post-pandemic, perhaps the most extraordinary roll-out of “normality” beckons with the life-changing prospect of direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Under a tourism plan folded into the peace agreement to be signed between Israel and the UAE in the coming weeks, the decades in which the UAE has childishly and hypocritically denied the existence of Israel - you couldn’t even dial the country using the UAE’s pho

Wildlife cruises: Swimming with sea lions and spotting whales in Mexico

Snorkelling with sea lions didn’t sound like a real activity, so I hadn’t paid much attention to the rumours on our cruise. Sea lions are so huge, so loud and so unwieldy that surely no liability-obsessed American cruise company would offer such an excursion.

However, after yoga and breakfast one day, I changed into my wetsuit, donned my mask and fins and jumped into the water from a skiff to do it myself. I had seen sea lions sunning themselves on rocks on countless previous wildlife tours, bu

Follow Me