The Marco Polo of the Middle East

While I was travelling through Europe, people would sometimes smile and jokingly pass reference to Marco Polo, the medieval Italian merchant who brought home epic tales of Asia, now immortalised as one of history’s great adventurers, and whose experiences neither I nor anyone else stand the slightest chance of recreating in today’s world.

While I was travelling through the Middle East, people would sometimes smile and jokingly pass reference to another man, named Ibn Battuta. I’d never heard of Ibn Battuta. Some of my readers will have, but nothing like as many as who will have heard of Marco Polo.

Personal Updates

Staying Afloat Away From Home

I wrote recently about funding a long-term bicycle expedition, and I mentioned that it’s possible to find work pretty much anywhere if you have suitable skills.

I graduated in 2005 with a degree in Computer Science, which morphed upon graduation into occasional bedroom-bound work developing websites for friends of friends. I didn’t make any money doing this. But in the last six months, freelance web work, sitting in my Yerevan flat in front of a borrowed computer, has put enough money in the bank for at least another year of travel! Woohoo!

In case anybody is interested, these are some of the websites I’ve developed in the last six or seven months — a brief departure from the travel theme of my blog, but we’ve all got to pay for it somehow:

Personal Updates

10 Strange Things Bicycle Travel Has Done To Me

It’s difficult to notice the subtle changes that come over you during a journey of duration and difficulty, but certain situations have alerted me to them very strongly.


I’ve only been travelling for a couple of years, but this must be where the curve is at its steepest. Here are a few, both good and bad, of the weird things that have surprised me recently:

  1. I’m mortally afraid of moving faster than a bicycle.
Philosophy Of Travel Rants

Why Backpacking Is Great (And Other Myths)

I wrote this horribly opinionated, elitist, provocational polemic last year, and have been wondering what to do with it ever since. There may be nuggets of truth in there somewhere, but please don’t take it too seriously!


341 Photos of Fully Loaded Touring Bicycles

The FLT gallery is a fantastic testament to the world of differences and similarities of bikes taken on tour. It’s a great page to pull up whenever I need some inspiration to get planning for my next trip, or just to get out there and ride.