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E D I T O R ’ S


Welcome back travel enthusiasts! It's crazy to think that parts of the UK were several inches deep in snow just weeks ago, and now, as we enter into spring/ summer we can look forward to some long awaited vitamin D courtesy of our friend, the sun! As we wave goodbye to the "Beast from the East", get your sun tan lotion and ip--ops ready because here at TPG, we're optimistic about the Summer 2018 Forecast which will be released on 27th May, ngers crossed for that! wide across the You're in for a real treat this issue - we explore far and alls, we've got waterf ful beauti most world's the at globe, taking a look we unveil the our top tips for people lucky enough to visit Maldives, a selection misconceptions of Monaco, venture into Venice and review talks to Wood n Leviso bars! and ants restaur rooftop nest n's of Londo g the Nile, us about how he risked his life on an epic journey walkin and caught up taking him through 6 countries and multiple war zones, and made John Ward, the man who started backpacking broke with Johnny world! the in y countr every visiting whilst $1,000,000+ featured on If you're a travel blogger and would like to get your work utor? You’ll our website, or in our magazine, why not become a contrib e and social websit your add to unity opport the have and d be credite lf and reach media links to your bio section, helping to promote yourse our rs on more people. The contributor of the month also appea Rogers who's website homepage - currently in pole position is Joseph travelling to nce experie his ng includi articles g amazin some written many more watch the Formula 1 races, exploring Wales, Prague and within this issue, places. In fact, we've included one of Joseph's articles to follow us so read on to nd out more from him too, and don’t forget nts! discou and s feature news, travel r regula for on socials

Ben Farrin | Founder and Group MD
































All Rights Reserved © Pocket Media Group Ltd 2018. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form. The publishers do not accept responsibility for any of the views or opinions expressed in this guide, errors or omissions which may have occurred, or accept liability for any services or facilities featured. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that all information is correct, changes may and can occur.



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Whilst the planet is full of natural wonders and astonishing sights, waterfalls are perhaps one of the most appreciated and it certainly isn’t difficult to see why. Continue reading to see five waterfalls which, in our opinion, are the most beautiful in the world and can offer a truly breathtaking experience.

The Victoria Falls is one of the most famous and spectacular waterfalls on the planet. It is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe and the water falls in a straight line for 108 metres. Whilst the height is impressive enough, the width measures at 1808 metres meaning the spray from the water rises so high it can be seen from many miles away.

Marking the US and Canada border is one of the remarkable waterfalls in the world and is so large it is formed of two sections. The American Falls on the US side and the Horseshoe Falls on Canada’s side – they are separated by an island in the middle. The Horseshoe Falls is the most popular attracting tourists and travellers from all over the world. The water here falls approximately 53 metres.

Located in Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia are stunning Plitvice Falls. Whilst the waterfall isn’t particularly tall, it is often visited for its looks; the water falls over many cascades and creates a tantalising turquoise which flows into a magical azure.

It is the tallest waterfall in Yosemite National Park and is actually the tallest in North America with water cascading 739 meters. It is made up of three different falls; the Upper Yosemite Falls, the middle cascades, and the Lower Yosemite Falls. It is located in Sierra Nevada in California and is the result of snow melting in the mountains above.

The Angel Falls are found in Venezuela in the Canaima National Park and is the tallest waterfall to exist on the planet with water falling 979 metres. It is protected by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and is named after US aviator Jimmie Angel, its discoverer.

g n i g g o l B

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“They could've left us for dead and nobody would've even found us, so that was very concerning”

Levison Wood has dedicated his life to exploration, and has walked the Nile from its source to the sea. A 4,200 mile journey, taking him through 6 countries. 7 million steps and 9 months of solid walking later, we caught up with him to discuss the epic journey. Hi Lev, congratulations! You are the first man to have walked the Nile from its source to the sea. How does that feel? Thank you. It was something that I had been planning and preparing for, for the best part of 3 years. So it took a long time to get together. And until I had actually got to the end, it was almost impossible to imagine that I was ever going to do it. It was an incredible feeling to actually make it. How long has this been a goal of yours and why? It is something that occurred to me originally about 7 years ago. I’ve always travelled quite a lot. My job has always revolved around travel, whether that’s as a writer or a photographer, and in the army I did a lot of travelling, and several (too many) gap years after university. For me, trying to create a life out of travel and exploration has always been my dream and this was kind of the next step. I had already setup my own travel company, guiding and leading other people through expeditions. I just wanted to do my own big expedition that would really test and challenge me to the limits. Is it strange when you look back and think you actually walked through a mine field in South Sudan!? Well yeah it is a bit bizarre! It’s such a stark memory too, all of it I remember very well which is strange because I can barely remember what I did yesterday! So yeah, it’s weird to try and think back, and to watch it on TV was such a surreal experience as well. It must’ve been terrifying walking for miles, past fleeing refugees and burnt out vehicles, whilst the country was in the middle of a war! How did you keep yourself focused and carry on? To be honest that wasn’t the hardest bit. I have been to plenty of war zones before. I was in the army and as a photographer I have been to lots of conflict zones, so


I have seen quite a lot of war before. And when you’ve got that experience you kind of know what the risks are and OK, it is certainly dangerous but you can figure out ways to get around it. The biggest challenge really was trying to mentally motivate yourself to push through. I wasn’t necessarily scared of mines or people with guns, because I have dealt with all that before. It’s more just the unpredictability of knowing how long it is going to take, am I going to be able to physically get through these areas. It’s the unknowns that are really the more challenging things. You were robbed whilst in Rwanda. I must say you handled it very well and it was a good job they didn’t realise you were filming! What was going through your mind at this point? Yeah, I got robbed lots of times and you could only show it so many times on telly otherwise it gets a bit boring. But that was just one of several times that people robbed us or threatened us. So you just get used to it and accept it’s part of

the experience. That one in particular was quite scary because it was a very remote road and we hadn’t seen anyone for days really, apart from this car that eventually stopped and all these blokes got out - around 5 guys and you don’t know what they want or what they wanna do. That was genuinely scary because they could’ve left us for dead and nobody would’ve even found us, so that was very concerning. You just have to stay calm and try and figure out what they actually want and of course they wanted money. You don’t see that on the film but Boston who was my guide, was quick witted enough to say “do you honestly think if we had money we would be walking?” That sort of confused the robbers who said “yeah, that’s a fair point” so that’s why they just ended up stealing my belt, my bag and my hat. You mentioned that there were lots of other robberies, can you think of any other significant scenarios that you were put in that weren’t caught on camera? Yeah loads. There were plenty of times when there were road blocks by rebels, by government soldiers and police. Not everyone is in uniform, so you don’t know who the good guys are. They initially stop you and demand to see your papers and before you know it, you’re in the cell waiting to be asked “what’s going on?”. Plenty of people pulled the guns on us and said, “who are you?” For people to encounter random strangers walking through their tribal area or their land is unusual. So people wanna know what’s going on. And they wanna piece of the pie! They want a bit of money or they want to see some paperwork. A lot of the people can’t even read but unless you’ve got a piece of paper with a stamp on it they’re not going to let you through. On one occasion in Bor, South Sudan, a guy came running up with his gun out pointing it at us saying he was going to kill us all because he thought we were U.N. How did you get out of that scenario!? Well the guy was drunk as well but luckily we had a body guard with us who was one of the local policemen who basically had to almost fight this guy and threaten to shoot him back, it was fairly tense! There were some super lows, but also super highs, and you weren’t in Uganda long before you became a celebrity! How did that


feel? Hahaha yeah, the incredible thing is communications in Africa are quite sophisticated because landlines don’t exist, EVERYONE has a mobile phone! So you can travel to the poorest, most remote villages, and people spread the word, and say that in 2 days these guys are going to arrive and before you know it you’ve got the local press who like the story and they put it in the papers. It was a bit weird when you got into these villages and there’s hundreds of people expecting you. Getting back to Bor, which you entered and classed as a no-go zone (where there had been recent tortures and killings): On the programme you described Bor as a time bomb waiting to explode, and later that evening, there was a battle outside your hotel and you rushed to the roof. What was going through your mind at this point? We didn’t really know what was going on because we had heard all different stories. Trying to get information in a war zone is very difficult because we weren’t in touch with the other side (the rebels), who were attacking all of these towns. But it turns out it wasn’t actually the rebels, it was basically a load of youth malitia/angry civilians really, who had basically taken up arms and they were attacking the U.N. base. They ended up storming the U.N. base killing about 60 people which was basically just next door to the hotel we were staying in. I call it a hotel but it was more like just a compound. So we tried to escape by getting onto the roof and getting an idea of what was happening. But there were bullets flying all over the place. Was that the scariest part of the expedition? It was definitely up there! It was either that or getting robbed. When you’re surrounded, there’s no escape, literally. All of the roads are blocked. Everyone had guns. It’s not like you can blend in so you’ve really got to be careful. So that was scary! Let’s talk a little bit about the Sahara Desert - you walked through the Sahara in mid-summer when temperatures can reach 50 degrees, and at one point you were dehydrated with no water left. Luckily you reached a well in time. Would there have ever come a point where you would’ve said enough is enough and stopped the expedition? The thing is you can’t really stop it. You’re in the middle of the desert and if you stop you’re gonna die. There’s not a

lot you can do. So we had to keep on going. There were certainly times when you think is it really worth it? But for me I couldn’t really have faced going home with the shame of not having got to the end one way or another. This was something that I’d been working towards for a long time and to just quit would’ve made the whole thing pointless. You walked a marathon a day for 10 days and your feet started to rot! Jack on Facebook wants to know: What are the best type of shoes? Walking those distances, in that heat is incredibly hard especially when you’ve gotta carry your own gear and you can only carry so much water. By that stage though, 7-8 months in, I had been walking that distance everyday and it was just a case of getting on with it really. The best boots you can get are called Altberg boots. They are a very small

British company based in Yorkshire and they supply a lot of the army’s boots, so they’re really good and I only ended up getting through 2 pairs for the whole trip! Kieran on Facebook would like to know: If you could go back to one part of the trip, what moment would you go back to and why? That’s a really good question, I like it! I think just reliving that last day, because by then, mentally I was so focused on getting to the end that I was almost in a trance-like state. I wasn’t even paying that much attention to what was going on around me. I just wanted to get there. So it would be nice to go back and really enjoy it because I was surrounded by all of these journalists, soldiers and people, and it was so distracting that I didn’t have time to think and take it in. Which is a shame. What’s life like for you when you’re not exploring the world? Usually preparing for the next one really [laughs]. I spend most of my time either travelling, writing books, doing photography. But it’s always to do with travel one way or another. Where in the world is your favourite place? The one place I do actually love that I’ve just mentioned is Thailand. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but as a traveller it was one of the first places I went as a young student and I know it’s changed over the past sort of 15 years, since I went for the first time but it’s just such a vibrant, buzzing place and it’s easy to travel around. Great food, super cheap and amazing beaches and friendly people and it’s a great place to meet other travellers. That’s brilliant, thanks very much Lev, I really appreciate your time. My pleasure!

Discover the World Exuma, The Bahamas | TPG

Prolonged among the profundities of the north Atlantic and Florida's eastern drift, the Bahamas includes more than 700 islands and 2400 cays, most uninhabited, and all bordered by dazzling coral and exquisite sea trenches. Watch Jakob Owens amazing video capturing his memories travelling Exuma, The Bahamas...

Havasupai Falls, Arizona | TPG

Follow Andrew Schuch hiking deep in the Grand Canyon on a 10 mile hike each way to the beautiful Blue Green waterfalls of Havasupai. The Grand Canyon is layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history. Lipan Point, with wide views of the canyon and Colorado River, is a popular place, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Amalfi Coast | TPG

The Amalfi Coast is a 50-kilometre expand of shoreline alongside the southern fringe of Italy's Sorrentine Peninsula. It’s a popular holiday destination, with sheer cliffs and a rugged coastline dotted with small seashores and pastel-coloured fishing villages. Check out Philip Heuser’s brilliant video exploring the area.

A Trip to China | TPG

Last summer Sam and his squad travelled to China where they explored the Jiangsu Province, specifically visiting Nanjing, Jiang Zhang, Su Zhou, and Shang Hai. China is a country in East Asia whose significant landscape encompasses grassland, desert, mountains, lakes, rivers and over 14,000km of shoreline.

Sardinia from Above | TPG

Sardinia is a large Italian island within the Mediterranean Sea. It has almost 2,000km of shoreline, sandy beaches and a mountainous interior crossed with trekking trails. Watch this stunning video of @colineaerial exploring Sardinia with a DJI Mavic Pro and a GoPro Hero 4!

Swimming with Sharks | TPG

Not for the faint hearted! Watch and grit your teeth as Jakob Owens goes free diving and snorkelling with 25+ sharks in the open ocean! It’s bizarrely beautiful to watch such dangerous and huge fish swimming together in their natural habitat as Jakob paddles so closely with them.

Procida, Southern Italy | TPG

Adam Ventures and his partner Lucie celebrated her birthday visiting the island of Procida, just off the coast of Naples in southern Italy. The picturesque island is home to an abandoned prison and some beautiful fishing ports. The island is between Cape Miseno and the island of Ischia.

Thailand Holiday Vlog | TPG

Follow Carl Thompson and Sophie Milner on their vacation over the New Year in Thailand and across its beautiful islands.Thailand is a southeast Asian country. It's recognised for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, historical ruins and ornate temples showing figures of Buddha.

The south of France is synonymous with glamour, sunshine and summer indulgence. Many will be familiar with St Tropez, Cannes, and Toulon, each having their own take on the relaxed, heatdriven atmosphere loved by tourists across the globe. Further east, close to the French-Italian border, the principality of Monaco takes this air of vacation exuberance to levels beyond expectation and for most beyond financial limits. However given the opportunity, this 2km² of wealthy sovereign state can become a fascinating insight into the high life, even for those visiting on a budget.

One common misconception with the principality, ruled by a monarchy for much of its history, is that those without a certain level of opulence are made to feel uneasy or unwelcome. Like many other resorts and cities in this area of Europe, tourism is a huge part of the local industry and so like the neighbouring French city of Nice, Monaco offers open arms to travellers from all over the world. Prospective visitors may well have seen the signage displaying guidance for a dress code in public and whilst this is strictly enforced, the reality is no different to that of religious sites across the globe and a generally sensible attitude sees this easily adhered to.

Prices of hotels, restaurants and cosy cafĂŠs range to suit most budgets, with unexpected bills only likely to appear for those truly naĂŻve about where they choose to dine or stay. Towards Fontvieille, on the west side of the city state, some of the classic high-rise buildings host more standardised accommodation in the form of large 4-star hotels and the nearby shopping centre has its own branch of McDonalds with prices easily undercutting those on nearby French Autoroute service stations. Social housing is also provided for a number of residents in Monaco, though quite how someone qualifies for this remains something of a mystery.

Given its proximity to the French and Italian borders, its easy to assume that culturally, Monaco sits somewhere between the two. In fact with a vast and diverse history of its own, including the seldom-used Monegasque language, the country emits the noticeably different feeling of an alternative European nation. Signposts are written in the native tongue, along with French and English, and much of the infrastructure; schools, post offices, police cars and shops contain a Monegasque flair in one form or another. Naturally, one form this flair takes is the immense beauty and cleanliness of the buildings, streets and gardens. As one of the world’s most expensive places to live, there is little surprise in seeing the prices of apartments extend well into the millions. Le Simona, for example, a tall, bright, white-clad skyscraper built only in the last decade has just a dozen or so apartments, each taking up multiple floors and rumoured to have private swimming pools. Even structures less private such as the Palais du Prince and CathÊdrale Notre-Dame-ImmaculÊe ooze historical significance in a manner much more indicative of an area where finances rule.

Access to Monaco is another aspect often cited as a challenge for visitors. Aside from the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, where the stars of Formula 1 dictate a routine shut down of the famous roads along the marina, the principality provides all manner of public transport connections including regular trains through to Marseille, Nice and Menton. Buses are a common site as in any other European capital and for those looking to blend in with the locals, the Héliport de Monaco whisks travellers to and from Nice airport. For meek observers, not wishing to flirt with the lifestyle of the rich, royal and famous, the result is merely an opportunity to appreciate the fine detail with which Europe’s centre for exaggerated wealth has been created. An afternoon walking the streets, gazing through windows and admiring the high life is a pleasure no matter where you might stand financially, but perhaps more so in knowing that you don’t need to join the principality’s party in order to revel in it.

When faced with an unruly flight set to last several hours – forget about the stress and uncomfort with these accessories set to make your next long haul a holiday in the skies.

Compression Socks

These cleverly designed socks are designed for sportswear but are also great for those who sit for long periods of time. They improve blood flow and work to reduce muscle fatigue and puffiness. They are typically sold in airports and may seem uncomfortably tight at first, but that’s how they work to improve circulation. The socks are also useful for preventing a serious case of pins and needles!

Cooling Gel Eye Mask

If you find it difficult to get some rest during a flight, you’ll know the unfortunate results a lack of sleep can bring including red-ringed, puffy tired eyes. Gel masks are designed to reduce the puffiness and swelling of sleep deprived eyes. Keep it cool before your take off and then you can enjoy a relaxing and soothing power nap during your ascent into the sky knowing your eyes will feel refreshed by the time you land.

Thermal Spring Water Mist Regardless of how efficient your skincare routine is, a long flight is bound to ruin that. With the recycled air drying out your skin causing breakouts and oiliness, it would be wise to carry some thermal spring water mist with you to keep your skin feeling fresh and healthy. Silica-rich and low in minerals, this sensitive skin spray works to keep your skin soothed and nourished during your travels.

Nap Anywhere Pillow If you really want to achieve a decent amount of sleep that doesn’t give you neck pain or restless dreams, then this is classed as an essential. The best thing about travel pillows is the endless styles, materials, colours, and prices so you can be sure you will find one that suits. The pillow aims to support your neck and provide you with comfort during travel when you don’t necessarily have somewhere safe to lay your head.

Slow Energy Release Snacks As you travel through time zones, it can get difficult to know when your next meal on the plane is coming. On a flight back from Turkey I was served chicken curry at 3:30 in the morning! So to fight off hunger and keep your internal hunger clock on track, pack some slow energy releasing foods such as cereal bars, nuts, dried fruit, and pasta. The more carbs, the better.

Those fortunate enough to travel to the popular honeymoon destination that is the Maldives, are lucky to be visiting one of the most exquisite and heavenly places on earth. But as a first-time visitor, there are a number of things you should be aware of before booking your flight.

There are a number of strict rules surrounding the consumption and purchasing of alcohol due to a high percentage of the population being Muslim. Visitors must not bring alcohol into the country nor consume it on the islands. However, your accommodation will have a license to serve alcohol, just be sure you only drink your cocktails inside the walls of your resort.

Again, for cultural and religious reasons, you should dress appropriately outside the walls of your resort. Both men and women should only wear shorts below the knee, and should wear loosefitting clothing. Women are encouraged to cover their shoulders, and public displays of affection between couples should be kept to a minimum. Whilst you can dress however you like in your resort, sunbathing naked or topless is prohibited regardless of where you are.

The islands are in a particularly delicate situation when it comes to the environmental issues surrounding them; the Maldives are the lowest lying islands in the world with some of them hardly breaking the water surface. When choosing your leisure activities, be sure they prioritise sustainable practices that aren’t damaging towards the environment. You should also limit your own consumption of water, waste production, and energy usage during your stay in the Maldives.

The waters surrounding the Maldives offer some of the most incredible diving and snorkeling spots on the planet. With over 2,000 species of fish, a variety of rays – including the gentle giant the manta ray, and the magnificent whale shark, you’ll want to splurge on a decent underwater camera to capture all the beautiful marine life the Maldives have to offer. It’s an experience of a lifetime, so make sure you can preserve those precious memories.

According to holiday leaflets, the Maldives are pristine, turquoise seas surrounding bone-white sand, which is completely true. But it doesn’t always look like that. The best time to visit the Maldives are between November and April when rainfall is at a minimum. And even if it does rain, it never lasts long enough to completely dampen your holiday.


In the last 30 years, the world has seen more than half its coral reefs destroyed which poses the beginning of a serious ecological catastrophe. At this rate, scientists have concluded that 90% of the earth’s coral reefs will be dead by the year 2050. With over a quarter of marine species supported by coral reefs plus supporting half a billion people around the world, a disaster as such would be fatal for the planet’s health. Marine biologist, Julia Baum has stated, “This isn’t something that’s going to happen 100 years from now. We’re losing them right now.” Without drastic intervention from the human race, we risk losing it all. The importance of these coral reefs is often overlooked by many of us. With one in four marine species inhabiting the reefs, destruction would ultimately result in the extinction of a large fraction of sea life; with a prominent food chain under the waters, even a small drop in reef life could seriously affect even the largest members of the fish family. The population of sharks will be at risk as they see their prey numbers fall dramatically. Coral reefs are the fabric of the ecosystem and receive visitors from all over the world to appreciate the beauty they bring to earth. The most popular being The Great Barrier Reef in Australia which has also been suffering at the hands of global warming. With coral reefs acting as barriers protecting the land from waves, flooding, and storms, as well as producing a large percentage of the oxygen we breathe, it’s important we begin seeing them as more than just distant holiday and diving destinations...


Whilst there is no quick fix for the destruction of coral reefs so far, we can all work together to prevent it in the future and save the plants, animals, and fish that depend on them.


The burning of fossil fuels have contributed massively to the warming of ocean temperatures and bleaching of coral reefs. Don’t be a part of it and perhaps consider taking a bus, walking, or biking more regularly as opposed to the car.


Volunteer to take part in a coral reef cleanup when you go on holiday to help the reefs look and stay healthy.


Coral is fragile, try not to stand on the reef as this could easily damage the area. Also, take care when anchoring your boat, anchoring on the reefs would certainly kill delicate coral animals.


With everyone knowing the fundamental importance of the coral reefs and the benefits they bring, we can all work together closely to prevent an impending ecological disaster which could shape our world for the worst.

Sunbeds are not uncommon, however, there are people out there who like to use them on a more regular basis to maintain sun-kissed skin. But are they safe to use even if it’s just “every now and then�?

WHAT ARE SUNBEDS? Sunbeds are mechanical tanning booths that emit ultraviolet (UV) rays which triggers the production of melanin in the skin. Melanin determines the colour of your skin and hair – the levels of melanin vary from one person to another depending on their ancestry. As melanin rises to the skin’s surface, it becomes brown thus resulting in a tan. UVA and UVB rays speed up melanin production which results in quicker darkening of the skin than a natural tan from sunlight.

WHY ARE SUNBEDS RISKY? Rays from the sun itself are only 5% UVB rays whilst modern sunbeds are considerably higher. This makes them damaging to the skin. Also, it is a safety requirement for all sunbed users to wear protective goggles to prevent eye damage from the UV rays. It’s important that you understand your own personal risk factors if you choose to use sunbeds; this includes session lengths, your skin type, medical conditions, ancestry, and your age. The darker a person naturally is, the more melanin is in their skin which means they are better protected by UV rays – hence why people with a pale complexion are more prone to burning. Although sunbeds are a controlled way of exposing your skin to UV rays, regular long-term use could lead to a number of skin issues and skin cancer.


PROTECT YOUR SKIN If you do choose to use sunbeds then it’s important that it is used in moderation and precautions are taken. Minimise damage to your skin by; GOING NO MORE THAN TWICE A WEEK TO BUILD A GRADUAL TAN. COVERING SENSITIVE PARTS OF YOUR SKIN SUCH AS GENITALS AND NIPPLES. WEARING THE GOGGLES PROVIDED TO PREVENT EYE DAMAGE. LOOK AFTER YOUR SKIN AND KEEP YOUR SKIN MOISTURISED It is also a good idea to use a tanning accelerator to speed up the tanning process which means less tine spent on the sunbed. Ingredients in a decent tanning accelerator such as L-tyrosine will help the skin build a deeper, darker tan more quickly whilst simultaneously protecting it from the harmful rays. So if you’re planning on heading to the tanning salon anytime soon, remember the above and always look after the skin you have.

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Ever fancied working at a festival? Volunteering is a great way of improving your skillset, become part of the ALSO team as well as getting to experience the UK's greatest boutique festival for world-class ideas. More information at

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29th JUNE - 1st JULY


An interview with the man who Started broke, went backpacking, started blogging, made $1m+, visited every country in the world

Hi Johnny! Thanks so much for wanting to chat with us. Where are you right now? I’m in Ireland recovering from a wedding in London at the weekend. I’m off to Thailand in two days again to focus on finishing my course, then Taiwan next weekend for a bar opening!

Wow, so pretty non-stop for you then! So what or who inspired you to become a travel blogger? I wanted to be free and I wanted to travel, that’s the crux of it really. I wanted to make money online so I didn’t have to answer to anyone, so I didn’t need a doctor’s note when I was sick, or go begging with a cap in hand for a ten day break in Spain. I also don’t want to generate revenue for other people to keep; if I work hard, and revenue is generated, I prefer to keep it myself! More important than that, I want to be able to pick up and drop off my work from any corner of the world. All I need is my Macbook and wifi and I can be in Bangkok, Bali or Burkina Faso. That freedom is priceless.

I bet it feels amazing to have all the freedom in the world! After your last university exam you set off on your adventure. Did you have any idea on what route you were going to take after heading to the US? No idea! I was broke, so I had a summer working on a special needs camp in Pennsylvania. After that all I knew was that I wanted to party in Vegas then travel until the funds ran out that didn’t take too long!

You always found a way to fund your travels – how? First by working as a counsellor on summer camps in the US, then through medical research - that was a crazy 5 weeks locked in a hospital in Belfast in Ireland, testing drugs. You’re not allowed out, no visitors etc, but it gave me the cash I needed to pay off my travel debts and fly one-way to Thailand where I started teaching English. I did that for a bit, and then I hit South Korea with a lot of budget travel in between! Since then, it’s been my blog which has kept me afloat. What motivated you to keep moving on despite the difficult times? I wouldn’t call them difficult times - mid 20s, bumming around the world, working out ways to make it work, how to get from A to B. It was pure travel; romantic, beautiful, adventurous. I was broke sure, but it wasn’t a difficult time, it was an awesome time. At least it wasn’t difficult! But was it difficult starting the journey alone? For sure. I get scared even now when I take on these epic trips Thailand to Ireland overland, Cape Town to Cairo, Mexico to Antarctica, whatever. But what’s worse than being scared? Regretting staying in your comfort zone, that shit will be the death of you.

So when you were in Australia, was born – how did that come about? I had heard rumours of travel bloggers making a couple of grand blogging, and these dudes were pretty boring to be honest, so I figured if their stories were popular, then surely I could have a chance with my ‘real’ travel! So I started, and it worked out okay, and I’m still rumbling on. Also, I hated working in Oz. It was my only ‘real job’ experience, so I used my time in the office to work out how to blog etc, not the most moral way to spend your employers time and money, but we all have to start somehow. Once it was up and running, I quit and flew one way to Zimbabwe.

Tell us about your travel and teaching experiences in Asia. Teaching - I taught in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 13 months - one of the best times of my life. 22/23 years old, moving solo to Thailand, broke, earning 400 or 500 quid a month and loving life with late nights and early starts. Teaching isn’t my calling, but I tried my best and did a decent job, but the friends I made, and the bond I made with Thailand, its language and its culture is strong to this day. The South Korean summer and winter camps were a life saver when I ran out of money in Malaysia once, and then in China another time. I love SK actually, awesome country. The travel experiences in Asia could take forever! From North Korea to Sri Lanka, Pakistan to East Timor - perhaps the best region in the world to travel, although the middle east runs it close - it’s often classed as Asia too though.

I would love to visit Asia! You actually decided you wanted to visit every country in the world when you started making money online from blogging. Was travelling to every country in the world not your plan in the first place? It kind of was, but I come from a single parent family in Ireland, surviving on welfare most of my life. People like me, from my upbringing, don’t voice big goals like that. Getting to uni, getting a good office job - these are normally the heights of our accepted ambitions. It wasn’t until I was free that I could outwardly own my goals, now I hope I show people they can own them early on. Dream big!

You had some difficulties getting into Yemen and Saudi Arabia towards the end of your journey, what other countries were difficult to visit? Eurrrgh, politics eh?! War zones are always scary places to enter, so they’re often tough. Algeria was tough (but amazing), Angola was really hard to get into, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Turkmenistan I was rejected from all these places, but got there in the end.

Did you ever fear for your life at any points during your travels? More times than I care to count! From watching people getting shot in Luanda, Angola, to being in earthquakes in Tiber, crashing my motorbike and breaking my legs, shoulder etc in Thailand, being chased down the streets of Mongolia and Russia - it’s part and parcel of a lifetime of travel.

You must’ve had some crazy experiences! What has been the best and worst accommodation you have come across whilst travelling? The best is Sri Panwa, Phuket, Thailand or maybe Niyama in the Maldives, also the Chedi in Msucat, Oman - UNREAL. The worst? Wow, there’s been a lot! A locust infestation in Agra, India, a bed of maggots and a rat’s nest in the mattress in Khartoum, Sudan. Sleeping on the cargo ship to Yemen covered in cockroaches - I travelled for years on $10 a day, so I could go on forever!

What was your first real travelling adventure? I was teaching in Thailand and I always dreamt of China as ‘real’ travel but during the holidays I couldn’t afford to fly there, so I hitched a ride on a cargo boat up the Mekong with 8 Chinese sailors. What I thought was a 12 hour trip turned into 5 days, 2 of which were spent getting drunk after illegally entering Burma so the sailors could stop at this brothel town, it was madness. Your mother has joined you on many occasions during your travels. What did it feel like sharing some of those moments with her? Amazing. My mum sacrificed everything for my sister and I growing up, we were her life and she was determined that both of us would have a better life than her. So she ensured it, she supported me, even when I was broke and bumming around and people were asking “When will johnny get a real job”, she still had my back. So for it all to have worked out, to be able to show her the world, to give her a new lease of life.

Which country has the most amazing food/drink? Food would be Thailand, Mexico, Lebanon or Italy. Booze? Ireland or Argentina I think. That Malbec by the bottle in Argentina, for lunch, at around $3 is insanely good!

Thai is by far my favourite food! You’ve done a lot of great charity work throughout your journey – can you tell us a bit more? Thank you. It’s perhaps the thing I’m most proud of. Even after all the media picked up my story about travelling to all 197 countries and making $1m+ online etc, the charity stuff trumps all that hype. We started the to ‘give back’ to places which have given us so much fun and joy. Travel has given me and many of us so much, so now it’s time to repay a little. So we build playgrounds, dormitories etc in impoverished schools and communities around the world, and we bring 15 people along to help. We do a 4 day project then have a lot of fun exploring the region - I’m convinced that this kind of stuff is the future of travel - crazy fun but make a little difference on the way. Our next one is in Myanmar Oct 28th to Nov 11th, can’t wait! Where was your greatest road trip? Around New Zealand south island? Or all around Ireland? One of those two I guess, or a tuktuk race across Sri Lanka - it was insane!

Most beautiful country you’ve visited? One is impossible! Ethiopia? Iceland? Both insane scenery, same for China, Canada and Indonesia too.

What’s been your worst ever travel experience? Trying to smuggle myself into Liberia during the Ebola crisis and getting arrested was tough, so was the 2 day journey back to Abidjan, the Capital City of Ivory Coast, getting held up by bandits. It’s a long story but it was awful!

What’s your ultimate travel packing list for girls and guys? Honestly, you don’t need much. Flip-flops, a hoody, Macbook, iPhone, a visa and a mastercard, $200 cash for emergencies and a one way ticket. Don’t over think - you can buy anything you need pretty much everywhere. You decided to finish your journey in Norway – why? It’s close to Ireland and the UK where lots of my friends and family are still based, which meant they could come and celebrate with me. Also, it’s safe, easy and still an awesome destination with bucket list stuff to see and do. I didn’t want to finish in Yemen or Saudi because the Champagne wouldn’t exactly be flowing there, and it would be tough to drag my buddies along to those too! For the man that’s visited 197 countries across the world, what’s next for you? You really have lived a dream! I really want to build the charity bigger, I have a provisional book deal, in talks with a travel show and I’m releasing a course showing people how I did what I did, step-by-step for people who don’t understand online stuff, so other people can live the dream too, there’s plenty of room for more of us!

dge them ugh to deol scams. o n e rt a sm trav sily avoided k we arele fall victim to n We all thin ca be ea eop y p e y th n , a m m but of the ing aware But by be

A very common one in Central America and countries such as Turkey – part way through your journey your driver may tell you the meter is broken and will charge a ludicrous amount of money that even the most inexperienced travellers will be skeptical of. To prevent this from happening to you, check that the meter is working before you choose to get into the vehicle. Or alternatively, negotiate a price beforehand that you are comfortable paying.

This is a particularly common scam that tends to happen to travellers in large cities or areas that are heavily populated by tourists. A local posing as a rather intimidating police officer may ask you to hand over your passport and wallet for “identification” purposes. They will either steal those and run or discreetly pull some of your money from the wallet and put it in their pockets.The most effective way to avoid this is to tell them your passport and wallet are in your hotel’s safe and that they will need to accompany you back to your hotel to retrieve them. You can also ask them to prove they are part of the police force by calling the real police.

Common in the Dominican Republic and Morocco, scam artists will use unmarked taxis to pick up unsuspecting tourists from places such as airports before driving them somewhere secluded to rob them. These drivers will often drive around with their windows down and offer you “cheap rates” to your destination. Avoid this scam by only using authorised taxi services, or only use the taxi your hotel offers you. You could also ask the officials in the airport what the most reliable and trustworthy taxi companies are.

Possibly one of the most common travel scams. A charming local will prey on those who they can see carrying cameras. They will offer to take a group photo of you and your friends. As you all pose, before you know it, the “charming” local has made a run for it with your expensive camera. Don’t hand out your camera to strangers. If you want a group photo, instead ask someone yourself as opposed to them offering. To be on the safe side, ask a fellow tourist to take the photo and then return the favour.

This can happen in almost any country you visit but is very common in South Africa. A seemingly friendly local will claim they can help you avoid ATM fees and will assist you in your transaction. However, what they are really doing is trying to scan your card with the card skimmer they most likely keep in their pocket and then watch you enter your pin. They can then drain your bank account later. The moral of the story; never let anyone near you when you are using an ATM. Always protect your pin number and take your card to another ATM if you feel like someone might be watching you.

This could be one of the most malicious travel scams and is very common in countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. When you rent a motorcycle, it is suddenly damaged overnight. When you take it back, the owner will demand that you pay for the damages which will be extremely expensive. What you don’t know is that friends of the owner were more than likely paid to damage the motorcycle themselves whilst you slept. An easy way around this is to never tell the owner where you are staying, even if you have to lie. And be sure to keep the bike locked up and out of sight at all times when not in use.

This is more targeted at female tourists, but it can happen to anyone. A seemingly polite local will put a bracelet on your wrist and tell you it’s free. However, once the bracelet is on, they will demand that you pay for it and cause a dramatic scene in the busy street. Some even go as far to say you are attempting to steal from them. These kind of travel scams are common in countries such as Spain and Turkey. To prevent this from happening to you, don’t ever accept any “free” gifts from anyone on the streets unless you truly believe they are genuine.

We often look to get on a plane when it comes to going on a getaway. However, in recent years our capital has been voted the best city in the world for quality of life, beating Paris and New York! That being said, what better way to spend overlooking the beautiful sites London has to offer than sipping a cocktail with your friends or partner. With this in mind, here’s a list of 10 amazing London rooftop bars you must check out!

Situated on the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane, this place oozes sophistication with an interior evoking the glamour of the 1930s. Sit in the bar with views overlooking Canary Wharf, the London Eye, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and Wembley Stadium, with DJs spinning tracks at weekends, or make a reservation in the Michelin-starred restaurant and experience seasonally inspired menus based around modern French haute cuisine.

Located on the 38th and 39th floors at Bishopsgate, just a stone’s throw away from Liverpool Street station, for added convenience, this place is very special indeed. Offering a unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, culture, music and striking design. According to their website the location features the highest outdoor dining terraces in Europe, offering 360 degree views of London city. As soon as you enter you are instantly wowed by everything you see, from the bold black and white gloss floor to the tall open bamboo ceiling, glass windows with breath taking views and orange tree on the terrace.

Lounge in the sky all year round and relax on the rooftop terrace, sip cocktails, wines, spirits and crafted beers from the bar, or indulge and dine whilst admiring captivating views of London’s skyline in the restaurant on the 37th floor at Bokan. I found the staff very polite and helpful, who listened to my drinking taste and made a cocktail specifically to suit my preferences.

Set beside three rooftop gardens are the Roof Gardens in Kensington. Away from the business that London brings, this bar is worlds apart and comes complete with flamingos which only enhance the elegance of this unique rooftop bar. You can dine in style as the Roof Gardens are as glamorous as they come and the events held here are beyond spectacular. Enjoy a delicious meal and sip your champagne as you take in the tranquillity the garden has to offer.

Often referred to as ‘the walkie talkie’ due to its unusual and unique shape – the Sky Garden is a grand restaurant located on the top floor of a sky scraper approximately 155 metres high. The stylish restaurant offers views overlooking the capital and beyond and is a dining experience like no other. Its British contemporary menu includes a wide range of meat and fish dishes with excellent vegetarian choices – all very beautifully presented. This exquisite location takes up three storeys of the famous enlarged glass dome on 20 Fenchurch street and offers open air terraces and modern public gardens.

Whilst enjoying the iconic views of London, you can indulge in the British-American styled cocktails and cuisine surrounded by lush greenery and music from some of the hottest bands and DJs. The comfortable lounging spots and the chilled atmosphere makes it the perfect rooftop bar for those looking to simply enjoy the company of friends and tasteful dining in modern London.

By Tiffany Jones

Venice was a place I had always dreamed of visiting. Exploring the city of water, bridges and masks for only £50 on a boat trip from Croatia, where I was on holiday – I just had to go. Leaving Pula port at 8am, we arrived at San Basillo at 11am. Venezia Lines offered optional excursions, and after a great sell we bought the package. For €83 we had a boat ride into the centre of Venice, a free tour of St Mark’s Square, a quick Italian lunch, a Gondola ride and a water taxi through the Grand Canal, which still left two hours of free time before the boat back. The minute we arrived, the sights in front of us were outstanding. Everyone mentioned how smelly Venice was but it’s barely noticeable with the grandeur of the city immediately taking your breath away. Stepping into the streets of Venice, is like stepping back in time. Historic buildings and rich palaces, I felt slightly under dressed in my Converse. How they managed to build such a beautiful city on a swampy lagoon is unimaginable! But it’s easy to see how Venice is the most romantic city in the world. Walking by the exquisite architecture of the Basilica and the Bell Tower in St Mark’s Square I witnessed a marriage proposal.

You’re never short of things to see whilst in the Piazza. The sculptures on rooftops, St Mark’s horological clock, to the columns of San Marco and San Theodoro known as the official gateway to the city. But do not walk through them! Venetians believe that doing so brings bad luck, as prisoners were executed between the two during the 18th Century. We were warned that prices in St Mark’s Square were steep, but a walk around the corner past Doge’s Palace we found a vendor selling authentic Italian ice-cream for only €2! One thing which is well worth digging into your pockets for is a gondola ride. With no cars it’s the best way to get around. Top tip is to walk deeper into the city and catch one from there. Riding through the canals was surreal! So quiet and so mesmerizing! You could hear each time the oar met the water and the only sounds were those of the Gondoliers singing in Italian to each other. With our free time we explored the souvenir shops all adorned with Venetian masks and gifts. Chanel, Dior and Tiffany’s were a little too pricey for us to venture into. On our way back to the Port, we saw the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs and even Sir Elton John’s house, along with the Churches and over 100 palaces! Although nobody really mentioned it, Venice is famously sinking. I urge anyone to go to before the “Floating City” is lost forever, you will not regret it for a second!

Leave the ‘pro camera’ at home. With these apps, all you need is your phone and a sense of adventure!

perfect365 Perfect365 is an effective photo editing app that allows you to remove blemishes, shrink your face, soften skin, whiten teeth, and even give you longer, fuller lashes! Not only that, Perfect365 allows you to try out virtual makeup looks. The app allows you to play with more than 20 beauty tools and over 200 pre-set makeup looks. So if you are concerned about not feeling your best in your travel photos, Perfect365 will help to give you that confidence boost.

touchretouch Available on iOS and Android is TouchRetouch – a superb photo editing app that enables the user to remove unwanted objects from their photos. The Object Removal tools will eliminate the distractions in the photo with one simple touch or flick.– there is no need to be too accurate as the tool will find the lines for you.


Available on iOS and Android is VSCO Cam which is commonly used by professional mobile photographers. It stands out from the rest of the free photo editing apps and is a great and efficient way to edit and share your travel photography.With an array of film-inspired filters and a variety of professional image tools including lighting adjustment, cropping, exposure, contrast and crop, you can capture your moment and enhance it accordingly. With no public followers, likes, or comments, you can take a step away from typical social media.

fragment For £1.99 you can download the astounding photo editing app, Fragment – Prismatic Photo Effects. With this app you can get in touch with your artistic side and create stunning photos with incredible geometric shapes and effects placed over them to create masterpiece photos with that little something extra. With great interface and being simple, and easy to use, it’s no wonder why so many travelling artists and photographers have fallen in love with it.

snapseed Snapspeed is available on iOS and Android with all the image tools you could possibly need including cropping and rotating, a variety of lighting and exposure adjustments, and even a healing brush to remove any unwanted objects such as photo bombers! You can choose from a number of filters including grunge and glamour to really enhance your photos. One of its newest features, Double Exposure, allows you to blend two photos together and choose which parts of the photos you want.

LONGER TRAVEL TIMES Booking your flight at the last minute might mean any direct flights are already fully booked. Connecting flights can add hours to your travel time turning a 4 hour flight into an unbearable 12 hour flight especially if there is a long layover. This will inevitably take time off your holiday and you’ll be faced with a very uncomfortable and long flight trapped in economy.

Tip: It’s as simple as this; don’t leave your flight booking until the last minute or you could face missing your chance of a flight altogether.

YOU WILL FORGET SOMETHING It’s inevitable isn’t it? Packing at the last minute significantly increases the risk of forgetting something important. Not only that, but procrastinating with your packing will result in you not having the time to do it efficiently and strategically. Not only could you forget a key item, you could over-pack and end up paying up to £50 for overweight luggage.

Tip: Plan your packing – make a checklist,

plan your outfits, and only take the essentials. Keep your passport, visa, and other key travel items in your hand luggage and have it on your person at all times. But most importantly, give yourself time to do it properly.

IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE We’ve all heard of people leaving their booking to the last minute and getting themselves an amazing holiday deal, but if you’re someone who has a specific destination, date, and airline in mind – you will be paying considerably more. If you’re not fussed over the holiday destination and aren’t too worried about the specifics, this probably won’t matter much to you and you will more than likely score a good deal. But for those travellers who have their heart set on somewhere special, it might not happen when and where you want which ultimately leads to you paying more or having to fly from an airport half way across the country if you give in to travel procrastination.

Tip: If you truly want to save money and aren’t fussed about where or

when you go, then last minute deals might actually work for you. But for those with a specific date and location in mind – be prepared and book in advance to avoid having to pay more than you need to.

THE MIDDLE SEAT So, you were lucky enough to book seats on the flight you wanted despite leaving it until the last minute due to travel procrastination, but you’ve ended up with a middle seat – so was it really worth it? No one wants to be trapped between two strangers or a crying baby on a long haul flight hence why aisle and window seats are always snapped up first.

Tip: Some airlines have a no-advance-seat-assignment system which could give you the chance to grab a window or aisle seat if you check in early. Or you can book your flights more in advance – on a recent holiday to Turkey we booked our flights so early we were able to have front row seats which meant plenty of leg room and being the closest passengers to the toilets.


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Long Distance Is it: absence makes the heart grow fonder, or out of sight, out of mind? Long distance relationships can be tricky but they can work! Here are some tips to make your love last...



With so many different ways to communicate nowadays, there is no excuse not to keep your partner updated. You can text, phone, Skype, WhatsApp or even write an old fashioned letter to your loved one. Vary your form of correspondence to keep things fresh and exciting. Whatever medium you use, try and set aside some time each day to let your sweetheart know what’s going on in your life – this will help them feel involved.

Equal Effort

There’s nothing worse than one-sided effort. The person doing all the ground work will start to be resentful and feel unappreciated. If they called you yesterday, why not call them today? If you travelled home to visit them last time, why not suggest next time they come and see you? Doing this creates balance and ensures both parties are behind the success of the relationship.


Having faith that both of you are committed to one another is very important in a long distance relationship. This means you can both be independent and have your own lives, as well as being a unit. Being in a relationship based on trust tends to result in far less arguments, as neither feels insecure. You are each free to go out with friends and not worry the other will be doing the naughty behind your back!


Going out tonight? Don’t hide it. Feel something’s not working? Say it. Be an open book. The worst thing you can do is keep it all inside or lie to your partner. It doesn’t benefit either of you. If you wouldn’t want them to do it to you, don’t do it to them – it works both ways!


It’s all in the mind! There’s no doubt about it, long distance relationships are not a walk in the park. However, it’s important that you remain positive. Being away from your loved one isn’t all doom and gloom. See it as an opportunity to pursue your own wants and desires. Furthermore, as you can’t see them all the time, you’ll appreciate the time you do spend together. Breathe. Don’t stress. Take one day at a time and remember if it’s meant to work out, it will.

James Benn Illustration.

Here are 6 home security tips to keep your home and belongings safe while you’re busy exploring the world‌


Cancel any scheduled deliveries such as groceries, newspapers, or anything you ordered online. With no one home to accept the deliveries, they will inevitably build up outside your house which could alert thieves of your absence and make your home a potential burglary target. Alternatively, use Royal Mail’s Keepsafe scheme; it will keep all your post safe for up to 66 days which you can have delivered on your return for a small fee.


Alerting friends, families of your absence will give you peace of mind while you’re away. They can keep an eye on your home; ask them to pop over and water the plants and cut the grass. Not only will this keep it looking healthy while you’re gone, it will mean your house won’t be left unattended. An overgrown garden could let passerbys know you haven’t been home.


The key to efficient home security is to make your house look occupied while you’re away to ward off potential break-ins. You can buy switch timers which will automatically turn lights on and off in your home. Make sure the light is visible from the outside of the house. If you have any outside lighting, switch this on in this evenings too.


On the off-chance you do have someone sneaking around your home looking for items to steal, make sure before you leave that you have hidden anything valuable out of sight. Either keep them in a safe, ask a friend to keep them at their house, just make sure they are not visible from outside.


It’s perfectly fine to tell your friends and family you’re going away, but don’t go shouting about it all over your social media channels. All it could take is for someone to overhear you in a private conversation or see one of your posts anticipating your holiday, and before you know it, they know your address and where the keys are kept. Don’t take any chances and be mindful of who and where you announce your travel plans to.


Make sure all your doors and windows are locked and keep your keys safe. If you plan on leaving your keys at home, make sure they are out of reach from the letter box as someone could easily grab them with either their hand or maybe even a coat hanger! You should also ensure your shed and all tools are out of sight and locked up; things such as ladders and hammers could be used to force entry into your home.

Editor in Chief: Ben Farrin Feature Editors: Chloe Gascoigne, Lucy Rix Digital Marketing & Subscriptions: Elliot Norman Graphic Design: Make North Contributors: Heather Drinkwater, Jack Viant, Jack Shannon, James Benn, Jesse Payne-Wilkins, Joe Rogers, Lucy Drinkwater, Tiany Jones.

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Travel Pocket Guide Spring/Summer 2018  

Interviews: Levison Wood & Johnny Ward, plus travel deals, tips, reviews including: Maldives, Monaco, Venice, London rooftop bars, festivals...

Travel Pocket Guide Spring/Summer 2018  

Interviews: Levison Wood & Johnny Ward, plus travel deals, tips, reviews including: Maldives, Monaco, Venice, London rooftop bars, festivals...