6 strange things about travelling in the Balkan state of Kosovo

Visiting a European country half the world doesn’t recognise When I told my boss I was going to Kosovo, he looked at me like I’d just set fire to his desk. “I drove through Kosovo in a tank,” he said, after a long pause. My boss used to be a soldier. In 1998, he wasContinue reading “6 strange things about travelling in the Balkan state of Kosovo”

Why do plot writers rely on your lack of geography knowledge?

The real reason producers make up countries that end in -stan Urzikstan hasn’t had it easy. The country endured 20 brutal years of Russian occupation between 1999 and 2019, and its cities are scarred with terrifying reminders of a long-running conflict between insurgent factions. Urzikstan also doesn’t exist; not outside the fictional setting of CallContinue reading “Why do plot writers rely on your lack of geography knowledge?”

Identifying as a “traveller” does not make you superior

The comparison between travellers and tourists smacks of snobbery “The Traveller sees what he sees; the Tourist sees what he has come to see” is one of the most tedious inspirational quotes. Wannabe vagabonds come out with this adapted passage from G.K. Chesterton’s autobiography like a call to arms. “Why would you want to beContinue reading “Identifying as a “traveller” does not make you superior”

Albania is one of the most criminally under-appreciated tourist destinations

The country where reputation definitely doesn’t reflect reality “When someone from the Albanian Mafia is choosing a new car, uppermost in his mind will be this: ‘Can I get a dead body in the boot?’” Having set the scene, Jeremy Clarkson and his two Top Gear co-presenters struggled to lift a stout Albanian man theyContinue reading “Albania is one of the most criminally under-appreciated tourist destinations”

How to spot and avoid travel braggers

A critique of the backpacker who has been there, done that and told everyone I stumbled upon a travel blog post the other day that had stirred up a lot of controversy. Lurking in the bowels of the Internet is “‘I did Europe this week’. Please stop saying this!!” The article admonishes tourists who sayContinue reading “How to spot and avoid travel braggers”