Rocks, Ruts, and Rivers: On the Road to Askja

I have driven in many of the world’s most intimidating cities, across some of its most hostile terrain, and through its bleakest weather conditions. Each time, occasionally more by luck than judgment, I have emerged unscathed – and with one more story to tell. So why was I plagued by a nagging anxiety before starting…

It’s all about the journey

A ferocious blizzard was pummeling the car, threatening to send us tumbling into unknown peril. Aside from a few yards on each side, our surroundings were rendered invisible by a forbidding wall of relentless snow. Only a series of regularly-spaced poles marking the sides of the road served to guide our tentative advance. White knuckles…

A Winter’s Drive in Iceland: Between the Yellow Poles

When you drive in Iceland, it doesn’t take too long before you stop noticing the yellow poles marking the sides of rural roads. Spaced 25 to 50 metres apart and arranged in pairs, one on each side of the road, a driver could be excused for thinking their purpose is mainly decorative. Surely one glance…

The real story of a road trip

Suddenly, there were headlights coming straight towards us. They swayed erratically as they accelerated out of the exit lane. We were no more than 200 yards apart – and the gap between us was closing at a rate of 50 yards each second. Adrenalin pumped furiously; white knuckles glowed in the dark; we could feel…

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…

The tale of the $1,000 passport

“No, I’m not making it up. I know it sounds incredible, but that really did happen.” Over the years, these words have become a standard conclusion to any story related to my experiences in mid-nineties Moscow. The words are usually greeted by intensely skeptical, almost sympathetic expressions on the face of the listener – as…