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Books Philosophy Of Travel Product Launches Touring Advice

There Is No Better Time To Be Planning Your Next Dream Cycling Adventure

Now is probably not the best time to be setting off on a globetrotting bike trip.

But as we’ve all discovered over the last few months, upheavals can create the ideal conditions for change – including changing the way you think.

Amid much uncertainty and, yes, real hardship and trauma, this year has brought with it a priceless opportunity to reimagine the paths we’ve been travelling through life, and to redirect those elements of our futures we can control towards newly-reconsidered destinations.

That’s why – even if your departure date remains to-be-confirmed, and even if the places you’re thinking of going are closer to home – I would argue that there is no better time to be planning your big dream bicycle-mounted adventure.

And if you’ve been sitting on such a dream for some time, it’s likely it has recently resurfaced with a new sense of urgency.

So why not start laying the groundwork right now? Why not get some of those big decisions made, those big questions answered, those big obstacles overcome?

Why not commit to beginning your journey to the starting line?

I am willing to bet that you have, over the last few months, overcome a challenge you never imagined you’d have to face, or solved a problem you previously considered unsolvable. Whether financial, existential, philosophical, or spiritual; the details don’t matter. What matters is that you have experienced the necessity of thinking in a way you’ve never had to think before.

Your mind is primed for doing it again – but this time for something you’ve chosen to do.

What is happening right now should be a source of empowerment; a reminder – if you needed it – that we are all more resourceful and adaptable than the routines of our former lives might have suggested.

It should be a lesson that whatever rationalisations or excuses or pain points have been standing in the way of that dream can be overcome, so long as you make doing so a condition of necessity.

The easiest way to achieve that necessity is to commit. Make a promise to yourself. Ignore those tropes about publicising your goals and having an audience hold you to account. Social media parted ways with reality a long time ago. This should be a deal you make quietly with your soul.

There has never been a better time to do so.

Because you’ve finally remembered that the best time is always now.

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Armenia 2018 Books

Researching Armenia’s Most Comprehensive Travel Guidebook – By Bicycle

There’s another purpose to my in-depth bicycle tour of Armenia, which is also a nice development for my occasional career as an author:

I’ve been greatly honoured with the task of researching and writing the next edition of the Bradt Travel Guide to Armenia.

This British publication is the only dedicated English-language guidebook to Armenia currently in print. The original book was put together by a husband-and-wife team who first came to Armenia in 2001 and have been revising and updating it for three further editions since. But Bradt needed a new author for the 5th edition, and the commissioning editor just happened to be in the audience for my lecture at the RGS last February.

The current edition of the book is impressively thorough and meticulously researched, particularly on the many historical sites embedded in the mountains of Armenia. My task is to broaden out its appeal to include all that’s new in terms of outdoor & adventure tourism (and that’s a lot of things), while delicately maintaining the book’s heritage.

Given the tight schedule – the book will be on the shelves in December – this will certainly be a challenge! But it’s proving be a fantastic way to continue my mission to showcase Armenia, especially in the wake of the globally reported Velvet Revolution, which yesterday took a second big step forward when the leader of the movement, Nikol Pashinyan, was elected Prime Minister of Armenia by a 59–42 parliamentary majority – an incredible display of the power of direct action, given that most seats belong to the party targeted by the protest movement.

What’s nice about the role of a guidebook author and updater is that it magically opens doors.

A random tourist might not be able to easily secure meetings with the directors of National Parks, town mayors, ecotourism NGO directors, volunteers in far-flung villages, etc; nor might they want to. But all that is now part of the journey, and it’s making the ride all the more interesting – not least because of the industry’s still-embryonic status and the consequent enthusiasm for anything that might help drag it out of obscurity.

So my increasingly weathered copy of the current edition of the Bradt Travel Guide to Armenia* now counts for a good 50% of the weight of my bar-bag; I’ve got a half-decent shirt and a stack of business cards so I can just about make myself look professional; and the stories that come out of these encounters will also form part of the narrative of this increasingly unusual bike trip.

Follow the ride on Instagram (and stay tuned for step three of Armenia’s Velvet Revolution).

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Books Photography

How To Create A Gorgeous Travel Photobook That Engages & Inspires

Syria, January 2009

Step 1: Do Something Inspirational

I don’t mean inspirational for anyone else; I mean for yourself. Creative juices run swiftest when you’re truly inspired. Seek out what moves you most and allow the process to take you places you didn’t know existed, literally and figuratively.

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Books Janapar Photography

Images From The Journey: Introducing the official #Janapar Photobook

Janapar_Photobook_Mockup_interior_a3716b

Whenever I head out on an adventure, I constantly find myself wondering why it took so much thinking and dithering before actually doing it. This still happens after years of experience. “It’s so easy just to do this! Why didn’t I do it ages ago?”

The same thing happened with the photobook that I’m launching this week. I could have created this at any point in the last couple of years. Instead, I dithered. But now I’ve got off my backside and created the definitive photo travelogue of Janapar, I’m wondering why it took so long to do it!

About the book, then: it is an unashamed slice of vicarious adventure; 66 carefully-chosen full colour images (and 2 black & white ones) that represent my best shot at communicating a 3½ year journey in pictures.

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It’ll be particularly enlightening to those of you who’ve read the book of Janapar, as it includes edited excerpts to give context to the story, but will be equally enjoyable to browse through if you haven’t.

Click here for an interactive preview and more details on the formats available. You can also download a PDF sample for a real taste of what’s inside.

Categories
Books Europe & The Near East 2007 Other People's Adventures

The Weave Of The Ride (or, Janapar from Andy’s point of view)

Tom, Mark and Andy in Montreux

In the summer of 2007, my best mate Andy Welch and I set off from my front door. We’d called our expedition ‘Ride Earth’, and were all set to cycle round the world. But the experiences that followed changed all we thought we knew about, travel, adventure and cycle-touring.

Weave Of The Ride, Andy’s own account of that eight-month journey from England to Armenia, offers an alternative perspective on the story that ends with Ride Earth’s disbandment and the beginning of two new solo adventures. In this guest post, Andy goes into detail about his new book.