Are we where yet?

I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but I was definitely younger than ten years old when I realised that England is not a big country. At least some of my early childhood misconceptions on the subject can be traced back to the military style planning with which my father would prepare for each family…

Icelandic Return: Keflavík to the Westfjords

We don’t go back to places. However much we may enjoy a particular destination, the number of places we have seen and the variety of experiences we have gained along the way are still far outnumbered by those yet to be encountered. It’s the traveler’s perennial dilemma. You travel thousands of miles, find your favorite…

Think Again

Standing behind the reception desk of a hotel in south west Iceland, the clerk was being as polite as his utter bewilderment and exasperation would allow. He was wearing the expression of someone who has just suspected he is the victim of a prank. His haunted eyes scarcely blinked as they flitted around the room,…

A few more days in Argentina

I have always been fascinated by maps. As a child, I would spend hours paging through my first world atlas; a book with a glossy, light blue, hardback cover whose spine weakened with each enthusiastic read. Occasionally, with a pen in my unsteady young hand, I would trace the borders between countries whose names I…

A few days in Argentina

There is a taxi driver in southern Argentina named Ernesto. We didn’t know each other until a few days ago and we will never meet again. We met when chance placed us in his taxi at El Calafate airport. On the drive into town he politely asked us to share the contents of his small…

Hopes, Fears and Egrets

It’s something I’ve done hundreds of times. Sitting in my preferred window seat, I watch as the aircraft makes a ninety degree turn, lining up with its back to the lights that will guide its return. There is a slight pause. The dull throb from the engines turns to a roar as their full power…

Delay, affray and the passenger in 2A

Abrupt U-turns are rarely an indication that something has gone exactly as intended. They are the change of direction caused by each missed turning, each botched product launch, each political policy failure. In the air, unless you’re part of an aeronautical display team or are pulling an advertising banner above a sporting event, you can…