Home » Far Horizons

Category - Far Horizons

There are two aspects of travel that I have always found completely intoxicating. The first is the sensation of newness that comes with every fresh experience. Something as simple as arriving at an airport can be a feast for the senses – new smells, new tastes, new languages being spoken, different taxis, different buses, different body language, the grass a different shade of green, the sun at a new point in the sky, so much to take in, so much delicious difference. I find that the thrill of being somewhere new comes mainly from this sensory barrage, from your whole body and soul screaming at you – we’ve never been here before, you need to be alert, you must use your senses, you must be present. In these moments, I feel free. I know that I will succeed or fail on my own wits (and Susanna’s wits because she is always there with me) and I know that I will have to adapt to my new surroundings in order to get the most out of this fleeting new experience.

The second thing that makes my heart sing when I travel, is really a consequence of the first. It’s the unquenchable thirst for knowledge that comes with being cast adrift without the tools to communicate or navigate. I’ve always loved a map and used to spend hours pouring over them in the run up to our next trip, finding every possible place of interest, following every road and river and painting a picture in my mind that I’d use to orient myself throughout the journey. On arriving anywhere at all in the world a thousand questions will immediately start jostling for attention in my brain – I’ve never seen that plant before, I wonder what it is? I wonder how you pay for the trams here? What do the locals eat? How do I order it? What do people think of the British here? What’s the history of this place? Can I drink the water? Is that poisonous? Can anything eat me in this jungle? The invention of the Smartphone has dramatically softened this experience. The convenience of instant translation and GPS means that wherever I am in the world I don’t have to work for the answers anymore.

Perhaps for that reason, most of my stories of far horizons come from a time before the smartphone when the adventure came largely from being on your own, without recourse to that tiny Pandora’s box of infinite information and misinformation. For the last couple of years, with travel being almost impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have increasingly been taking journeys in my mind. These journeys have taken me to places that I could never physically visit, to the far reaches of the infinite vastness of space and to the equally infinite miniscule depths of the matter that we’re made of. These journeys share many similarities with my physical adventures – the newness of these places is profound, the questions are many and some, perhaps, have no answer that we can comprehend. What all of these journeys share for me is that they create memories and challenges of such persistence and power that I have to let the feelings overflow somewhere and the best way to do that is to get out my pen.



In 2001, on a research trip to Nepal, me and my girlfriend found ourselves with some spare time and decided to visit Chitwan National Park. Chitwan...



We’re all made of the same stuff in the end. I find that reassuring. Every atom that makes up our bodies has been in existence for longer than...