bank note

Travels in my Shoebox – Funny money

It’s time to rummage through my shoeboxes again for another episode of Travels in my Shoebox. I have an incredibly large collection of foreign notes and coins, but for a long time I didn’t go out of my way to collect them – I just always seemed to be stuck with a pile of money when I left a country. Yes, I’d try to buy stuff at airports or before I crossed borders, but there is a limit to how many packs of chewing gum you really need to buy. I’d been throwing stashes of foreign cash into my shoeboxes for years before I decided to skip the chewing gum buying frenzy and not only start collecting foreign notes and coins, but even have a dedicated shoebox for them. I reckon if you added them all up (and converted them to Australian dollars of course) I’d probably have a quite a few hundred dollars (or 742 packs of chewing gum). Here are some of my favourites from my collection: Read more


Travels in my Shoebox – Beer Coasters

It’s Part Two of Travels in my Shoebox and I’ve dragged out a few coasters from my impressive and, some may say, worryingly large collection of beer coasters (it’s so large that I need two shoeboxes). Coasters are one of the few souvenirs that I actually collect in my travels – okay, and maybe that has a lot to do with the fact that they are FREE. I’ve picked my way through them (or should that be pickled my way) and pulled out the coasters that have a story behind them (mind you, there are many that I can’t remember the stories – and the beer brand on the coasters may have something to do with that). So, pull up a bar stool and enjoy… Read more

air tickets

Travels in my Shoebox – Boarding passes

I have a cupboard full of shoeboxes. But they’re not filled with shoes. They are filled with mementos from my travels. Inside are maps, coasters, matches, restaurant and hotel receipts, napkins, badges, stickers and… well, all kinds of crap. I’m so organised (or have a good dose of OCD) that I even have allocated separate boxes for certain items including beer coasters, bank notes and boarding passes. There’s all kinds of interesting bit and pieces in my boxes, so I’ve decided to do a semi-regular blogisode on the contents of my travelling shoeboxes. And I’m starting with my boarding passes. Yes, it may be a little sad, but I collect my boarding passes and I have a rather impressive collection even if I do say so myself. I won’t show them all (the Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Sydney isn’t that exciting), but these are either interesting airlines or have interesting stories that accompanied that flight… Read more

world's best hotel

World’s Best Hotel (minus the stained sheets).

A survey released this week by travel website Travel+Leisure ranked Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana as the world’s best hotel in 2014. The survey ranks the tops 500 places to stay across the globe, and was compiled based on the opinions of the website’s ‘experts’ and thousands of readers. The winner was the Triple Creek Ranch in Darby where a bed for the night will set you back US$1,400 – and that’s their ‘basic’ room. Second place went to the Nayara Springs in La Fortuna, Costa Rica (US$845 a night) and in the third spot was the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest (US$750 a night). Australia gone a guernsey with the Southern Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island (US$1,300 – $2,700 a night) coming in 4th, and the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island (up to US$3,247 a night) rounded out the top five.

Yes, but do they get the true experience of travelling. You can’t have truly experienced Costa Rica unless you’ve slept in a bed covered with giants ants or got the real taste of India without stained sheets that smell like vindaloo. So, I’ve decided to make my own list. This is my Top 5 World’s Worst Hotels: Read more

vegemite and ox penis

Vegemite and Ox Penis.

I stumbled upon a website that listed the most disgusting foods in the world (by country) and amongst the camel’s feet, tiger’s testicles, pork uterus, ox penis, cow urine and maggot-cheese was Vegemite. Come on. Vegemite is not disgusting. Yes, it doesn’t look the most appetising, but it fair dinkum tastes good on ya toast in the morning. Also under the ‘Australia’ list were witchety grubs and beetroot! The ‘American’ list of disgusting foods was just as strange (as in strange that they made the list). On that list was Spam (okay, fair enough there), iceberg lettuce and peanut butter.

I’ve eaten some pretty disgusting foods in my travels, so here’s my list of the 10 most disgusting foods I’ve eaten (and of course I have to show you pics of all the grossness in all it’s glory): Read more

butlins beachcomber bar

Ten years on and still no foreign muck.

It was ten years ago today that me and me dad were at Butlins Holiday Camp in Minehead, England. We went there as part of the trip for my book I’m not eating any of that foreign muck because we went to the same holiday camp as a family back in the late sixties (In those days more than a million Britons had a holiday at Butlins every year). For those that have read my book may recall that my day Harry was 72 back then. Well, he is just about to turn 82 and is still going strong. When we were in the UK ten years ago he kept telling all his relatives that this was going to be his last trip back to England because he was too old. Since then he has been back three times. He has also been on a cruise to the South Pacific, one to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand and another to New Zealand. On all those trips, however, he still refused to eat any of that foreign muck. Read more

Cambodia beach

The Best Beaches in the World.

My daughter Jasmine and I recently went to Cambodia and one of our highlights was taking a snorkelling trip to a (virtually) untouched island where we swam in clear warm waters and…well, that’s what we did all day. It wouldn’t quite make my Top Ten list of the best beaches that I’ve been to, but it was certainly up there. There are so many other wonderful beaches in the world that I’m yet to go to, but in my travels so far here are (in no particular order) my favourite beaches:

Alofi, Wallis and Futuna
I had the entire island to myself for two days (besides a few wild pigs). I slept on the beach and lived on Sao biscuits and tins of tuna. Heaven. Read more

Cycling in Kep

My best (and worst) bike rides.

On our recent Dad and Daughter Adventure to Cambodia we went on a bike ride around the coast near the small village of Kep. We had such a lovely time – even if we had to stop quite a few times because locals wanted to take a photo of my daughter (they loved her long blonde hair and blue eyes). We skirted the coast along a virtually deserted road, stopping to watch crab fishermen haul in their catch and even lazed on a beach for a bit. I do try get on a bicycle as much as I can when I travel. It is a great way to get a feel for a city or just a pleasant way to amble through the countryside. I haven’t done any serious bicycle journeys (and I would like to one day), but these are my top 10 bike rides from my travels: Read more

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre

Monkeying around in Phnom Penh.

We’ve just got home from our Big Dad and Daughter Adventure (with my 12-year old daughter Jasmine) to Cambodia and the highlight of our trip was a behind the scenes tour of the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. The wildlife sanctuary, which is about an hour out of Phnom Penh, is home to gibbons, sun bears, crocodiles, elephants, tigers, otters, deer and over a thousand other exotic critters. The animals were taken from poachers, markets, restaurants and abusive owners and they receive care and shelter as part of a sustainable breeding program. No animal in need is ever turned away, and wherever possible the animals are released back into the wild once they have recovered. Read more

bondi beach sydney

Travel highlights of 2013.

There wasn’t a lot of travel for me in 2013 (there was a good excuse, though – see below), but I still managed a couple of overseas trips and a few jaunts in and around Australia. So, without further ado here are my Top Ten Travel Highlights of 2013:

Luca, Melbourne, Australia
On February 18th 2013 I began a great adventure. My wife gave me a little boy. Yes, I know it’s not really a travel highlight, but it is one the of the most exciting journeys you can possibly take. And he is a little traveller already. Luca is not even one yet and he has been on 12 planes – and I’m very happy to say that he is not one of those screamers! Read more