travelling love story selfies

A Travelling Love Story – In 59 Selfies

travelling love story selfies

Selfies are all the rage these days. There have been epic selfies, 360° 3 year selfies and Oscar selfies that broke the internet.

But I like to think we were ahead of the game because Claire and I have been taking selfies on our travels since way before the craze took off and became the phenomenon it is today. Dare I say we came up with it? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. But maybe…

Anyway, whether we started the craze or not, our selfies give a pretty good track record of our travels over the years, from when we were just boyfriend and girlfriend figuring each other out to being married and expecting our first nipper. Here are some of the best (you can scroll through bigger versions by clicking on the images) from over the years…

A romantic stroll by the Ile de Notre Dame in Paris…

paris - france

Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio, Brazil…

christ the redeemer statue - rio, brazil

Iguazu Falls in Brazil…

iguazu falls - brazil

At the Boca Juniors vs River Plate fiery football match in La Bombonera in Buenos Aires…

bombonera - buenos aires

Horse Riding in Mendoza, Argentina…

mendoza - argentina

The amazing Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina…

perito moreno glacier - patagonia

Sunrise over the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia…

salar de uyuni - bolivia

Halfway through our bike ride along the World’s Most Dangerous Road in Bolivia…

worlds most dangerous road - bolivia

Floating our way across Lake Titicaca near Copacabana in Bolivia…

lake titicaca - bolivia/peru

The Marvellous Machu Picchu in Peru…


machu picchu - peru

Looking over the dunes of Huacachina at sunset in Peru…

huacachina - peru

An incredible lake in the mountains just outside of Huaraz…

huaraz - peru

Looking over the cityscape of Quito in Ecuador…

quito - ecuador

Straight out of a mud bath in a volcano in Cartagena, Colombia…


cartagena - colombia

Midway through our 3 day sail from Colombia to Panama we stopped off at the San Blas Islands. Paradise…

san blas islands - panama

The behemoth that is the Panama Canal…

panama canal

Reuniting with old friends on Roatan in Honduras where I taught English on my gap year…

punta gorda, roatan - honduras

Huntington Beach – Surf City in California! And a bad hair day…

huntington beach - california

Looking out over Santa Barbara, California…

santa barbara - california

Exploring the streets of San Francisco…

san francisco - california

Camel rides across the Sahara desert in Erg Chebbi, Morocco…

sahara desert - morocco

A trip back in time at the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey…

ephesus - turkey

The Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul. Claire said she’d go if I bought her a cap…

turkish grand prix

In the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey…

blue mosque istanbul turkey

Post crash landing after our hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia in Turkey. I was planning to propose before this happened…

cappadocia balloon ride - turkey

…so I had to wait until sunset that night….

cappadoccia - engagement

Beautiful blue skies in sunny Chicago…


Our private flight on the way to safari in South Africa on our honeymoon…

private honeymoon flight - johannesburg

On a game drive looking out for the Big Five. We saw everything but the elusive leopard!

madikwe game reserve, south africa

A rainbow at the top of Le Morne in Mauritius…

mauritius - le morne

Honeymoon paradise in Mauritius…

mauritius - beach

A trip to Riga, Latvia with matching hat and ‘tache…

riga - latvia

A stroll over the Yorkshire Moors in the UK…

bolton abbey - yorkshire dales

Relaxing hammock time in Soller, Mallorca…

soller - mallorca

A stop off in Arcos de La Frontera during a road trip through Andalucia, Spain…

arcos de la frontera

Sevilla. Our home for nearly a year and one of our favourite cities in the world…

sevilla cathedral

Plaza de Espana in Sevilla on a morning run before the tour bus crowds arrive…

plaza de espana - sevilla

On the beach in Barcelona during spring time…

barcelona - spain

Tapas in Valencia…


A weekend break in Madrid…

madrid - spain

On the waterfront in the colonial town of Galle, Sri Lanka…

galle sri lanka

Hiking through Sri Lanka’s hill country in Ella…

ella sri lanka

Marathon training in Sevilla. For one of us anyway…


The view over Nice promenade, our home for 3 months…

nice - france

The final of the Monaco Masters tennis…

monaco masters tennis

Historic Antibes on the French Riviera…

antibes - france

Mixing with celebrities at the Cannes Film Festival. Seeing if we can take a better selfie than Kimmy K…

cannes - france

Walking the pitlane in the run up to the Monaco Grand Prix…

monaco gp pit walk

Grabbing Kimi Raikkonen for a snap at the Grand Prix. He didn’t stop to chat…

kimi raikkonen selfie

Down at the beach in Lagos, Portugal…

lagos - portugal

Ice cream break as we check out all the boats in the harbour in St Tropez…

st tropez - france

Watching the Tour de France in London…

tour de france - london

Mojitos in Havana, Cuba….

havana - cuba

Caribbean beach time just outside of Trinidad…

ancon beach - cuba

Trinidad, Cuba. One of the prettiest towns I’ve ever visited…

trinidad - cuba

The Schwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Burma…

schwedagon pagoda - yangon - burma

Sunrise over Bagan in Burma, with hot air balloons flying in the backdrop…

bagan - burma

A boat trip over Inle Lake in Burma, with bikes in tow…

inle lake - burma

 And finally a 360 video from when we were in beautiful Bagan in Burma!

Have you travelled far and wide with your other half? Are you a selfie addict? Let us know in the comments!

giraffe south africa

Backpacking Photo of the Week – Why Did the Giraffe Cross the Road?

Whilst on a game drive in South Africa we were greeted with this tall fellow crossing the road in front of us. Comic responses welcomed in the comments…

giraffe south africa

luxor sphinxes

Visiting Egypt’s Second Star: Luxor, Egypt

egyptian hieroglyphicsThis is a guest post from Leslie Patrick

Egypt. The name conjures exotic images of ancient pharaohs, mysterious pyramids and dunes of sand punctuated only by the palm-strewn Nile River. For good reason, Egypt is at the top of many people’s bucket list, and visitors flock to the nation’s capital each year to espy its most famous sites, the Pyramids of Giza, the elusive sphinx and the dusty artifacts at the world-famous Egyptian Museum. But what many tourists don’t consider, is that Luxor, Cairo’s little sister to the south, is brimming with stunningly impressive Egyptian relics of its own.

Luxor is a dusty city perched on the verdant banks of the Nile, as most Egyptian enclaves are, but what sets it apart is the vast role it played in Egyptian history. The ancient capital of the New Kingdom and previously called Thebes, Luxor is home to the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and Karnak Temple, among many others–in fact, there is so much to see, Luxor is often dubbed “world’s greatest open-air museum.” For thousands of years, this city was the pinnacle of Egyptian life and death, leaving a legacy that has captured imaginations throughout the centuries. Today, Luxor is a cacophonous maze of sand blown streets filled with horse drawn carriages and hawkers touting papyrus scrolls and silver ankhs, but amidst the chaos you’ll find glimpses of a time when Pharaohs ruled, the sun was god and people lived and died by the whims of the mercurial Nile.

The Temple of Karnak

Perhaps the most impressive site in Luxor is the Temple at Karnak. Built and continuously improved by a string of pharaohs during a time frame spanning nearly 2,000 years, the temple complex is a vast and dramatic sight. The entrance through an avenue of ram headed sphinxes is impressive, but more so are the giant stone statues of Pharaohs of old looming high above. Behind them, the pillars composing the Hypostyle hall tower even higher–it seems every sight at Karnak is more imposing than the last. The temple is built on a massive scale, each pharaoh having tried to assert his power by outdoing his predecessor, and what’s left is a mind-blowing collection of temples filled with monumental effigies to the once great rulers of this ancient empire.

Pharaoh at Karnak

Valley of the Kings

Cross the Nile to the West Bank to explore the infamous Valley of the Kings. Made famous by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, the Valley of the Kings is fraught with superstition and wonder. The rocky valley is the final resting place for 63 pharaohs of Egypt’s New Kingdom, and you’ll wander through the crumbling doorways into chambers where the peeling remnants of colorful hieroglyphics still cling to the walls like decorations forgotten from a party long ago. You’ll see gods and goddesses mingling, the Nile flooding, animals being slaughtered, and myriad other scenes depicting the life of ancient royalty as you meander through the burial chambers, but you won’t see any artifacts or mummies as they have all been taken to museums elsewhere in Egypt and worldwide.

luxor sphinxes

Travel Details

Getting to Luxor from European destinations is easy, with flights leaving from many major capitals daily. It is possible to take the train from Cairo to Luxor, but it is a long and frustrating experience, thus a quick flight is recommended.

Luxor offers backpackers a multitude of both hostels and hotels that are supremely wallet friendly. The least expensive options are situated downtown between the train station and Luxor Temple, where you can expect to pay less than $10 per night, including breakfast. For a more authentic experience, many guesthouses operate from the West Bank of the Nile, and exude a calmer, more relaxed vibe than those in the city center.

sunset at feluccaFive more things not to miss in Luxor:

  1. Colossi of Memnon – Two massive statues originally built in the likeness of the pharaoh Amenhotep to stand guard at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.
  2. Sunset felucca cruise – Travel like the ancients did on the Nile in a traditional Egyptian felucca, just watch out for crocs.
  3. A drink at the Winter Palace Hotel – A posh hotel frequented by dignitaries both foreign and domestic, a drink on the terrace at the Winter Palace overlooking the Nile is a must.
  4. Luxor Temple – Located in downtown Luxor, this impressive temple is easy to get to and the surrounding area exudes a carnival-like atmosphere. Wandering the crumbling ruins brings ancient Egypt to life better than any National Geographic special ever could.
  5. Temple of Hatshepsut – Carved dramatically out of the surrounding limestone cliffs, this beautiful, modern-looking monument was built as the mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut.

Leslie Patrick is an international freelance writer and journalist specializing in travel, culture and fashion. Her work has appeared in La Mode Dallas Magazine, GT Weekly Newspaper, The Penny Rose and among others. Although originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Leslie currently resides in Ulsan, South Korea.

Visit her website at or follow her blog at

For information on other great places to visit in Africa, check out our Africa travel destinations page or the TBD Facebook page

Zanzibar Sunset

Backpacking to Zanzibar Islands, Tanzania: A Photo Diary

Zanzibar is an island paradise set in the Indian Ocean just off the Tanzanian coast in East Africa. It offers beautiful beaches, stunning coral reef and an intriguing mix of cultures. With a mix of traditional African culture, as well as influences from colonial eras and Arab backgrounds, it is not just the beaches that make it worth the trip.

If you’re on an overland backpacking trip through Africa and are taking in areas of East Africa then Zanzibar should certainly be on your itinerary. It doesn’t have to be an expensive place to visit, you can certainly enjoy this beautiful archipelago on a budget.

Enough talk, the pictures can say it better than I every will:

Child Jumping Zanzibar
Man in sea Zanzibar
Man with Child Zanzibar
Skyline Zanzibar
Child Zanzibar
Bus Ride Zanzibar
Zanzibar Sunset

A big thanks to Adeel Halim for the fantastic images, visit his site for a bigger taste of his work.

You can see more stunning destinations in Africa on the Top Backpacking Destinations Facebook page

backpacking in cape town

Alive with Adrenaline: Backpacking in Cape Town, South Africa

A trembling and slightly irrational sense of positivity hits you when you arrive at Cape Town International Airport. Why? Because you know it’s one of those places that won’t let you down…. And it’s true; South Africa’s hippest and arguably most popular city is a richly rewarding destination for the wannabie Springbok.

To start with, it’s a wild place – not remote in the traditional sense – but the landscape really jumps out at you. Table Mountain is unmissable, rising up behind the city and enthroning it in ancient sandstone. There is one the of the world’s largest commercial ports here, as well as a thriving  multicultural CBD, genuine markets flogging African wares, magnificent sunshine, and a great beach side BBQ scene (a funky daytime option for many Cape Town restaurants). It’s also the site of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment (on Robben Island). It’s where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic (Cape Point) and just if it couldn’t be more interesting, Great White sharks appear from time-to-time to add that essential streak of danger to the surf perfect waters.

backpacking in cape town

You can quite easily spend a whole day or two cruising down the Cape Peninsula, soaking up the beach bar culture, catching a bit of surf down on the postcard perfect Camps Bay, and ogling at the of the lush exclusivity of the Cape Town hotels. More affordable Cape Town accommodation is found on the outskirts of the city centre. Don’t be put off by numerous signs advertising ‘Guest Houses’ – they are often very well run and can offer a safe and economical alternative to a hostel or hotel.

Cage diving with Great White sharks

Talk about jumping in at the deep end…. The morning after picking up a brochure in a bar I was on a boat, jetting out of Gansbaai Bay (about 2 ½ hour drive from central Cape Town) and out into the Atlantic with a bunch of people I’d never met before – about to come face to face with something I’d never really thought I’d come face to face with, ever…. a Great White Shark.

I was lucky on the day I went, the weather was perfect, not over cast or stormy, but a clear blue sky. Fantastic. The underwater visibility was excellent; we could see a good distance below us and around. There was someone keeping a watch for approaching sharks, and giving us direction such as ‘ down and to your left’ – at this point everyone in the cage would take a deep breath, go underwater and look to our left, just in time to see the stealthy predator making its way to the bait set out for it. Wild.

cape town, south africaSky diving in Cape Town

Alive with adrenaline, I signed on for another sort of equally terrifying diving…. The local airstrip is about an hours taxi drive outside of Cape Town and after a few short hours of induction, I was in a small light aircraft rising to 9000ft. Then you connect yourself to your tandem professional and jump. Easy as that. I’m not sure exactly how long we freefell, but it felt around 45 seconds. The parachute deploys and you calmly enjoy the rest of the way down, either with chatter as you can now hear one another, or in silence – best to absorb the view and feeling – and to catch your breath – it all happened so fast. On a clear day you can see the whole of Cape Town; Table Mountain and the mountain range and Robben Island. Spectacular.

5 things not to miss in Cape Town:

  • Diving with great white sharks
  • Taking a cable car up Table Mountain
  • Visiting Nelson Mandela’s cell at Robben Island
  • Crawling the beach bars and surfing the white foam waves in Camp’s Bay
  • Drive down to Cape Point to see the line where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet

cape town harbour

This is a guest post from Hugo Davison at

Etosha Safari

Desolate Sands, Astonishing Life: Backpacking in Namibia

Namibia tells an ancient, desolate story. It’s a country of forgotten natural wonder, where huge horizon-stretching vistas evoke wild, eerie silences, all the while encouraged by unblemished wilderness and miles and miles of rolling sand dunes. As a fact, Namibia holds claim to the 2nd most sparsely populated country in the world, with the wide Gobi stretched expanse of Mongolia just clinching it in the top spot.

Namibian Locals

Alongside the age crusted and fossil strewn sentiments of the Namibian sand, there’s fresh life in the countries roots. Urbanisation has arrived, and none more exemplified by the wonderfully dynamic, charismatic and ever-expanding capital city of Windhoek, Namibia (pronounced ‘Vind-hook’).  Most of the tourist outfits have bases here, and it is the rise in global awareness in Africa that make excursions into this countries most ancient secrets a real possibility.

Etosha SafariSafari in Etosha National Park

Etosha is reachable by excursion from Windhoek, or if you want to stay in the centre of the action, there are 3 safari camps that offer accommodation in the National Park itself. Don’t think lush greenery or thick bushland (which you are more likely to find in East Africa), think more sand beaten, raw and rocky grounds that seems too harsh for animal habitation. This makes way for one of the most special species in all of Africa – the desert elephant. Rumoured here to be the tallest in Africa, they are a peculiar species. It’s quite remarkable really; most of the animals appear to be some of the healthiest in Africa, with fat zebra often found grazing in their hundreds.

The water basin at Etosha Pan is the key. The basin provides many waterholes, and consequently is where the desert elephants are at their fiercest. For game viewers, it’s a real treat, with so little water available, species’ of every size and shape flock to the waterholes, seeking that all important hydration to sustain migration patterns in the devastatingly dry Namibian summer months.

Skeleton CoastSkeleton Coast

To be comfortable you can fly out here; to be uncomfortable, dusty and bruised you can take a bus. If you can part with the cash, the scenic flight over some of the most inhospitable and desolate, but hauntingly beautiful places in Namibia, is an awesome experience in itself.

On arrival it is immediately clear that life on the Skeleton Coast is an ongoing struggle for survival. A fierce Antarctic wind blows tirelessly onshore, the coastline is littered with mammal skeletons, shipwreck sites, roaring dunes and windswept plains. The area is extremely dry, and water is never found in excess – so don’t expect washing facilities. But as with the desert elephants, nature has a way of providing life, even in the harshest of climates. The sea air from Antarctica is unusually high in oxygen content, making the micro-bacteria levels on the shoreline surge. As a result marine life is abundant in the waters off the Skeleton coast, and there is one seal colony in particular that has over 5000 members in one place. An awesome sight, an awesome smell!

5 things not to miss in Namibia:

  • Windhoek
  • Etosha National Park
  • Skeleton Coast
  • Sossusvlei (for some of the tallest sand dunes on the plant)
  • Windhoek Animal Sanctuary (owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie)

For more information on this relatively untouched part of Africa, visit or check out more travel destinations in Africa here.

This is a guest post from Hugo Davison at


Suburbs and Safaris in Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, RSA (commonly referred to as ‘Jo-berg’ in the Republic of South Africa) is the third largest city in South Africa. The first thing that should be understood about Jo-berg is that it is not your usual tourist destination. You wouldn’t come here, buy an ‘I heart Jo-berg’ t-shirt and have your picture taken with a crowd of locals. It’s not that kind of place. The streets of its CBD are wisely advised as off-limits to all travelling foreigners and therefore accomodation in Johnannesburg is better sought outside of the heart of the city, where a safer bed can be found. It’s here, on the outskirts of Jo-berg, where I found two wildly different experiences: one in the dust filled tracks of the South African bush and the other in the glitz and beguilement of one of Jo-berg’s top after-hour attractions.


Rhino and Lion Reserve – ‘The Cradle of Human Kind’:


Situated around under an hours drive from the outskirts of Johannesburg, the Rhino and Lion Reserve is, at first glance, similar to game reserves found all over South Africa. But there are two main differences here.

Firstly, this is the only reserve in Africa set within ‘The Cradle of Human Kind’ – where the oldest human skeletal remains in the world have been found. Secondly tigers are bred here, part of a unique worldwide conservation program to rehabilitate Bengal tigers back to their native India.

Jump in a car (or take your own) and drive through the reserves vast bush land. See wild antelope, springbok and wildebeest, catch a rare glimpse of the secretive leopard in a conservation enclosure, race a cheetah in the reception area and finish the day off with impala sausages on the braai (South African barbecue). Excellent.




Fourways suburb – Monte Casino:


After a full day of hardened sun in the South African bush, head back towards Jo-berg for a night in Monte Casino.

You’ll need to head to Fourways, a suburban area 10 miles north of Jo-berg. Monte Casino is a vast complex set in a replica of a huge medieval castle and houses a quite astonishing spectacle. Walking through the castle ‘streets’ you look up and see the sky – only it’s a optical illusion – you are actually inside and there is a roof which is expertly lit to mimic the real sky outside. It’s a superb fantasy. ‘Streets‘ of restaurants and bars, with top storey windows and washing hanging out leads you to an open ‘piazza‘ where people flock to listen to live music before entering the delights of the opulent casino to make their fortune for the night. If the casino doesn’t do it for you there’s also a cinema, a theatre (currently showing Riverdance), and a number of top quality nightclubs. As far as Johannesburg hotels go, there are some of the best housed under the castle’s bewitching roof, you can stay at the SunSquare Montecasino for a reasonable price.



5 things not to miss in Johannesburg:

1.  See leopards and tigers at the Rhino Lion Reserve
2.  Party the night away in the magical Casino Monte Carlo
3.  Have a traditional South African braai
4.  Visit the oldest human residence on earth – The Cradle of Human Kind
5.  Get adrenaline kicks in Gold Reef City – a theme park set about the 19th century gold rush in Johannesburg

This is a guest post from Hugo Davison as part of a series provided by

Ouarzazate, Morocco – Backpacking Photo of the Week

Wherever you look in Morocco there is an opportunity for a great photo. I’ve discussed before the huge variety in the landscapes, the people in stunning dress and the wonderful artistry around every corner so i won’t witter on about it again!

This week’s Backpacking Photo of the Week was taken in Ouarzazate in Central Morocco. It is known as the ‘door to the desert’ and has featured in many films due to the architecture which is still reminiscent of days gone by. Much of the local area has been used in films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator and it continues to be the go-to place for film studios.

The architecture that draws the film studios in is also incredibly appealing for travellers, with terracotta walls and tiled rooves everywhere you look. This photo was taken down one of the many small streets leading into the souks deep in the city and captures a local taking a breather from his busy day:

backpacking in imlil, morocco

Imlil, Morocco – Backpacking Photo of the Week

Imlil is a small village tucked away in the Atlas Mountains and provides the entry point for many fantastic treks across the mountains. It is the doorway into remote Berber villages, stunning mountain scenery and some truly unique people. Situated a couple of hours drive from Marrakech, it is a popular place for many backpackers who are travelling through Morocco and is certainly worthy of a visit for those wanting a look into the less travelled, off the beaten track area of the country.

This photo of a thoughtful local man was taken in the middle of Imlil as the locals strolled around in the late afternoon. We were watching the world go by before departing on a trek the following day:

backpacking in imlil, morocco

See more from the Backpacking Photo of the Week series here and post some of your own photos over at the Top Backpacking Destinations Facebook page


Dogon – Do it: Dogon County, Mali

It’s a place most have probably never heard of and it’s a place with an unforgettable name which is fitting as it’s a place you’ll never forget.

What is it?
Dogon Country – once you make it to Mali, it’s all the hype and deservedly so, it’s incredible. This is a stretch of villages lining a 150km escarpment in southern Mali and it’s something else. It’s a must do in Mali, it’s a must do in West Africa and what’s best is you can do it all by foot.

What can you do?
Stand in awe of the traditional villages built into and along the sides of the mountains, mingle with the locals like nowhere else and step back in time to listen to the sounds of the lively villages from amongst the mud huts scattered across massive cliff faces – it’s a feeling like no other in this special part of the world.

What’s amazing about Dogon?
It’s like that place you imagined existed in your mind but it’s like the place you’ve never actually seen.

The Dogon people have lived in the area for 1200 years, and some of their old villages – mud huts made by hand, are nested under the overhanging cliff face halfway up the rock mountain. What is perhaps even more incredible are the Pygmy villages that remain even higher in the escarpment.

Climb through the cliffs and from the summit overlook the picturesque savannah, towards the villages below to experience the sights – the traditional way of life, the sounds of women and children crushing millet, the chaos of animals roaming the narrow walkways and the feel the life of Dogon.

The mud huts, the smiles and the greetings will welcome you in every village and if you stay longer you’ll get the opportunity to sleep on a mud hut rooftop in a small village under the stars which in reality, is one of the coolest things you could ever do. If like us you have all the luck, you’ll even be rained on by the survival rains in the middle of the night – adding further more to an unbelievable experience.

Is Dogon country too ‘touristy’?
As a backpacker it has many of the things that you’ll do anything to avoid like having to take a guide and a tour, but for this part of the world we’ll, it’s a must. They’ll get you up close and personal and they’ll ensure everything’s above board on the responsibility front.

If you’re like us and go in low season, you’ll barely see any one else travelling the area – which for us made it a more intimate and memorable experience. You will however battle the temperatures climbing well above 40 degrees every day, so take a towel. Don’t worry, when its 40 degrees, in baking sun and you’ve just hiked 4km across rock and plain there is relief in reaching the next village and knowing the hospitality and water that awaits.

What do we say?

If you’re in Africa get there. Leave your big backpack behind, take the essentials, make some new friends to bring along, find a reputable guide and you’re set for Dogon country. It’s one of the only remaining places in the world that we know of where you can get an insight into traditional lifestyles in Africa and you can also see first hand the challenges and opportunities that tourism brings to these fascinating communities.

Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t – check out what we filmed along the way.

This is another guest post from the legends over at Amateurs in Africa – check them out!