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live like a gentleman

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Having travelled the world so much, I’m all too familiar with tourists and how frustrating they can be. Sure, most are friendly and upbeat once you have the chance to meet them, but they don’t walk or talk with consideration to the locals, they’re finicky and tough to accommodate in restaurants, cause a cringe-worthy scene whenever a celebrity is around, and tend to display a general lack of situational awareness.  And what do they usually all have in common? They haven’t done their homework on local culture, which is the only way to seamlessly blend in with native strangers in unfamiliar territory. Feeling at home in a new city can be simple once you’ve studied up a bit, and it doesn’t take a ton of effort to appear respectful, in-the-know, and completely comfortable in new surroundings. No matter the destination on your suitcase tag, you can bet that a bit of preparation will make your transition go a lot more smoothly.

Study the Local Manners

Most people who haven’t ever left the United States would be shocked at how something as simple as a handshake can have all kinds of nuances depending on where in the world you’re travelling. So keep in mind that every country has its own unspoken social rules, manners, and customs. You can’t take it for granted that even your best manners will be understood or properly interpreted abroad. Before the landing gear deploys, you should be familiar with the local dos and don’ts of navigating and interacting with your temporary home. Learn how to greet people casually and respectfully, get familiar with proper local table manners, study up on what culturally taboo topics you’ll want to avoid, and memorize a few foreign language keywords you’ll need to get around to avoid fumbling through a translator app every time you need to ask for directions. This’ll make it simple to avoid stepping on any toes and will help to make each interaction with strangers a positive and memorable one.

Dress the Part

While you should always be comfortable and dress to your preference, it’s embarrassing (and potentially dangerous) to be labelled a gullible tourist at first glance. Looking too casual or travel-ready (I’m talking cargo pants, big backpacks, and gym sneakers) is a dead giveaway.

You can’t go wrong with well-fitting, slightly dressed-up gear in neutral colours. If it fits well and it has a collar, chances are it’ll look great no matter where you are. And avoid wearing flashy jewellery and accessories, or risk being a target for pickpockets. Yeah, your Rolex looks great and makes being on-time easier, but it’s probably not the best idea to flash it in a foreign environment where your street smarts are lessened.

Plan Your Menu

Authentic, local food is indisputably one of the best parts of travelling. And while playing it safe and sticking only to stuff you’re already familiar with (I’m talking to you, picky eaters) isn’t necessarily disrespectful or rude, it’s a massive missed opportunity. A trip to a new country is the perfect time to experiment with new cuisines impulsively, but it doesn’t hurt to get familiar with some of the local delicacies, and the way they’re commonly served and eaten before you arrive. So do a bit of research, make a short list of a few dishes your host city or country does best, and gravitate towards those when you bib up at a new restaurant. No need to memorize every dish or local ingredient; if you’re lost on what to order, it’s always an option to ask your server for a recommendation as long as you’re polite. With those details in mind, you’ll get more out of your trip – and then return home a more experienced, well-rounded traveller. Now, have fun out there. And don’t forget to grab meaningful memories to share with everybody back at home.

World Book Day is tomorrow as it is every 23 April.  Commit yourself to reach back to the classics, then begin reading.  Some book titles included in this list are expected, though there are a handful of surprises.  And, if you’re thinking what to read during a general free time on the sofa, or by a pool or an ocean, I’ve got you covered.  

A well-read gentleman is also a good conversationalist.  It’s the perfect excuse to get lost in a good book.  

Self-Control: Its Kingship and Majesty by William George Jordan

The turn of the 20th century was the golden age of personal development books. In contrast to the self-help books of today, which are filled with flattering, empty, cliche platitudes, they’re direct, masterfully written, and full of profound and challenging insights that centre on the development of good character. Even in this golden age, one author stands supreme: William George Jordan. His Self-Control is full of beautifully written wisdom on self-reliance, calmness, gratitude, and more.

 

 
How to Be A Gentleman: A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners by John Bridges

Being a gentleman isn’t just being a nice guy, or a considerate guy or the type of guy someone might take home to meet their mother.  A gentleman realizes that he has the unique opportunity to distinguish himself from the rest of the crowd. He knows when an email is appropriate, and when nothing less than a handwritten note will do. He knows how to dress on the golf course, in church, and at a party. He knows how to breeze through an airport without the slightest fumble of his carry-on or boarding pass.  And those conversational icebreakers―“Where do I know you from?” A gentleman knows better.  Gentlemanliness is all in the details, and John Bridges is reclaiming the idea that men―gentlemen―can be extraordinary in every facet of their lives.

 

 

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces is one of my favourite books of all time.  This New Orleans-based novel won author John Kennedy Toole the Pulitzer Prize. Its perfect comedy of errors is centred around the character of Ignatius J. Reilly, a lazy and socially ignorant, but very intelligent man, who still lives with his mother at the age of 30. A Confederacy of Dunces serves as a guide for what a man ought not to be while providing sound entertainment all the while.

 

 

Lord of the Barnyard: Killing the Fatted Calf and Arming the Aware in the Cornbelt by Tristan Egolf

A literary sensation published to outstanding accolades in America and around the world, Lord of the Barnyard was one of the most auspicious fiction debuts of recent years. Now available in paperback, Tristan Egolf’s manic, inventive, and painfully funny debut novel is the story of a town’s dirty laundry — and a garbagemen’s strike that lets it all hang out. Lord of the Barnyard begins with the death of a woolly mammoth in the last Ice Age and concludes with a greased-pig chase at a funeral in the modern-day Midwest. In the interim there are two hydroelectric dam disasters, fourteen tavern brawls, one shoot-out in the hills, three cases of probable arson, a riot in the town hall, and a lone tornado, as well as appearances by a coven of Methodist crones, an encampment of Appalachian crop thieves, six renegade coal-truck operators, an outraged mob of factory rats, a dysfunctional poultry plant, and one autodidact goat-roping farm boy by the name of John Kaltenbrunner. Lord of the Barnyard is a brilliantly comic tapestry of a Middle America still populated by river rats and assembly-line poultry killers, measuring into shot glasses the fruits of years of quiet desperation on the factory floor. Unforgettable and linguistically dizzying, it goes much farther than postal.

 

 
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

I saw the theatre production of Treasure Island at the National Theatre not once, not twice, but three times.  Then, I read the book again with much delight.  Pretty much everything we think of when we think of pirates comes not from the pages of history but from this book: treasure maps with “X” marking the spot, deserted islands, peg legs, parrots, and more. Published as a children’s tale (and a rather adult one at that), American novelist Henry James praised it as “perfect as a well-played boy’s game.”

 

 
The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton

Read Hamilton’s Federalist Papers, then read the Constitution.  Composed of 85 articles, The Federalist Papers served to explain and encourage the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The majority of the essays were penned by Alexander Hamilton and originally published in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet. While the Constitution lays out the laws of the land, these essays provide the 18th-century version of the ballot/blue books we get the mail around election time, explaining the laws that are being proposed. It is essential reading for any civically minded American.  Forget the theatre production.

 

 
Your Car’s Owner’s Manual

Yep, that dusty book in your glove compartment. Come on, bring it out and get to know your car better. So, it’s not exactly “literature” but it’ll teach you something that will come in handy.  Guaranteed.  By the way, I was shocked to learn the battery in my Mercedes is located under the driver’s seat.

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

The fundamental work on free-market policies: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” Want an education in economics?  This book is a great start.

 

 
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The granddad of books about people skills, the advice found in How to Win Friends and Influence People is still sound and applicable 80 years later. Carnegie writes about skills like making people feel valued and appreciated, ensuring you don’t come across as manipulative (which happens unintentionally more than we think!), and essentially, “winning” people to your viewpoints and ideas. While it can sound a little disingenuous in its description, these are true skills that people use every day, and this book is a great resource for boning up your social game.

 

 
The Republic by Plato

The Republic is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning the definition of justice and how a just city-state should be ordered and characterized. It is the great philosopher’s best-known work and has proven to be one of history’s most influential works of philosophy and political theory. In it, Socrates and other various interlocutors discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man, as well as the theory of Forms, the immortality of the soul, and the role of the philosopher in society.

 

 
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Robert Jordan is a young dynamiter in the Spanish Civil War. He’s an American who’s volunteered to fight against Franco’s fascists and is sent behind enemy lines to take out an important bridge to impede enemy forces from advancing. He lives in a rudimentary camp with anti-fascist Spanish guerillas and comes to embrace their hearty way of life and love. And of course, there are some incredible battle scenes, which were informed by Hemingway’s own time as a correspondent in the Spanish Civil War.

 

 
On the Road by Jack Kerouac

A defining novel of the Beat generation, On the Road, is fictional, but a semi-autobiographical account of two friends’ road trips across America, against the backdrop of a counter-culture of jazz, poetry, drug use, and the drunken revelry of back-alley bars. Along with their travels, they’re searching for what many young men are: freedom, ambition, hope, and authenticity.  

 

 
Travels With Charley In Search of America by John Steinbeck

To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colours and the light—these were John Steinbeck’s goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.  With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco. Along the way, he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers. 

 

 
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s.  A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.

 

 
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

After a terrible storm, the Swiss family Robinson becomes shipwrecked on a deserted island. With teamwork, ingenuity, and a bit of luck, the group strives to overcome nature’s obstacles and create some semblance of community and civility within their new environs. A truly classic survival and adventure tale.

 

 
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

While there’s plenty of political, moral, and economic philosophy in this book, it’s coated in an action thriller of a story. Set in the near future, our protagonists are Dagny Taggart, heir to a transcontinental railroad empire, and Hank Rearden, the head of a steel company who’s invented a revolutionary new alloy. Together, they battle against evil government bureaucrats and socialists to hold civilization together, while all the while powerful industrialists are mysteriously disappearing, leaving behind only the cryptic phrase “Who is John Galt?” Though this book is associated with passionate libertarianism, the story is an interesting one to ponder no matter one’s political persuasions.

 

 
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

The ultimate tale of betrayal and revenge. Edmund Dantes, days before marrying his beloved Mercedes, is brutally betrayed, arrested for treason, and consequently taken to a prison on an island off the French coast. The story goes on to tell of his escape from prison (don’t worry, it’s early in the novel and doesn’t ruin anything) and his becoming wealthy and re-entering society as an educated and sophisticated Count. He plots his revenge, eyes reclaiming his love, and ultimately…well, you’ll just have to read it.

 

 
Self-Reliance & Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Self-Reliance” contains the most prominent of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s philosophies: the need for each individual to avoid conformity and personal inconsistencies, and to follow their own instincts and ideas. You’re to rely on your own self versus going with the ebbs and flows of culture at large. Other essays in the collection focus on friendship, history, experience, and more.  Is it just me, or is this Self Reliance a necessity in today’s world?  I’m anything except a conformist.

 

 
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

There is nothing more manly than a bout with the Devil. Mikhail Bulgakov wrote this entertaining commentary on the social bureaucracy in Moscow during the height of Stalin’s reign. Lucifer himself pays the atheistic city a visit to make light of the people’s scepticism regarding the spiritual realm. The novel also visits ancient Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate’s rule. Even for the non-religious, this book will provide plenty of food for thought.

 

 
Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

This 1897 play follows French cadet Cyrano de Bergerac. He’s a poet, musician, and expert swordsman — a true Renaissance Man. Unfortunately, Cyrano has a tragically large nose, which hinders his confidence to the point that he’s unable to profess his feelings to Roxane and feels he isn’t worthy of anyone’s love. What is a man to do in such a situation? Read and find out.

 

 
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

It’s all well and good to be a dreamer, but a man must also be grounded in reality. It’s a lesson that Don Quixote comes to learn in the 17th-century eponymous book, which is widely considered to be the world’s first novel. Quixote, along with his squire Sancho Panza, travels the world in search of grand adventures and heroic deeds which would earn him the title of Knight. He continues against all odds, and in some cases, against all common sense. It’s funny, surprisingly easy to read given the fact that it’s over 400 years old, and can provide a man many lessons on the aspirations of heroism.

 

 
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This short, but ever-popular tale is a young woman’s take on humanity and horror. Mary Shelley was just 21 when Frankenstein was first published in 1818, and the book is widely regarded as the first popular science fiction/horror novel. While you surely know the monster and the story of mad scientist Victor Frankenstein bringing him to life, it’s a much darker and more philosophical book than what pop culture has made it out to be. You learn about science, ego, pride, and ultimately, what it means to be human.

 

 
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Dickens should be a part of every man’s reading life, and A Tale of Two Cities is a good starter. It’s set in London and Paris during the French Revolution and depicts the plight of the French peasantry, their turn to violence towards the aristocrats who marginalized them, and the parallels to London society during the same period.

 

 
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

In this travelogue, Paul Theroux recounts his 4-month journey through Europe, the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia on the continent’s fabled trains: the Orient Express, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express and the Trans-Siberian Express. His well-documented and entertaining adventures have come to be considered a classic in the travel literature genre. This journal satisfies the vicarious traveller and inspires the adventurous man.

 

 
The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer

These epic poems are some of the world’s oldest pieces of literature. They’ve been read, enjoyed, and studied for thousands of years, and for good reason. They are not only beautiful to the ear, but contain lessons that every man can learn about heroism, courage, and manliness. The Iliad takes place during a few weeks of the final year of the Trojan War and details the heroic deeds of both Achilles and Hector, as well as a variety of other legends and stories. The Odyssey, a sequel of sorts, is about the great warrior Odysseus’ voyage home after the Trojan War. He faces various obstacles in his return to Greece, and we also see how his family back home dealt with his assumed death.

 

 
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The novel that catapulted Hemingway to worldwide fame and success. The Sun Also Rises follows Jake Barnes and a group of ex-patriot friends through Spain and France, with plenty of wine-drinking and bull-fighting. The novel is a bit semi-autobiographical in that the main character is trying to deal with his war wounds — both physical and emotional — and escape to the supposed romanticism of travelling and eating and drinking to your heart’s content. Does Jake find happiness? You’ll have to read to find out.

 

 
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

While the book’s plot centres on an ageing, disinterested father and his three adult children, the substance found within goes much beyond that. Dostoevsky’s final and greatest novel, this book also involves spiritual and moral dramas and debates regarding God, free will, ethics, morality, judgment, doubt, reason, and more. It’s a philosophical work clothed as a novel — which of course makes Dostoevsky’s weighty ideas easier to digest. The McDuff translation gets rave reviews.

 

 
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Written in the early 1500s, this is the classic guide on how to acquire and maintain political power (even if those methods are sometimes unsavoury) — a so-called “primer for princes.” Its precepts are direct, if not disturbingly cold in their formulaic pragmatism. It asks the classic question: “Do the ends justify the means?” A worthy read for any man wishing to better understand the motivations and actions that tend to rule modern politics.

 

 
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Set among New York City elites in the roaring ‘20s, this book is considered one of America’s great literary products for a reason. Narrator Nick Carraway is befriended by his mysterious millionaire neighbour, Jay Gatsby, and proves to be a crucial link in Jay’s quixotic obsession with Nick’s cousin, Daisy. The metaphors, the beautiful writing, and the lessons one can garner about reliving the past all make The Great Gatsby worth reading, again and again. Our interview with NPR’s Maureen Corrigan is worth a listen. She is the author of So We Read On: How To Great Gatsby Came To Be and Why It Endures. We discussed her research into why a novel was written about Jazz Age New York that resonates with Americans nearly a century later.

 

 
1984 – George Orwell

Read 1984, then go delete your Facebook account.  Perhaps the most essential to re-read today, 1984 sets stage in an oppressive futuristic society monitored by the ever-watching Big Brother. Protagonist Winston Smith goes to work every day at the Ministry of Truth, where he rewrites and distorts history. However, Smith decided to begin a diary — an action punishable by death. Amid modern-day data mining, the fall of Net Neutrality, and lunatic leaders, we cannot forget the toll of tyranny and totalitarianism.

 

 
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Another assigned high school read you probably didn’t appreciate when you were sixteen, it’s time to revisit the ambling of George Milton and Lennie Small, migrant workers who search for jobs throughout California amid The Great Depression. And with all great novels, it’s been banned time and again for its mention of violence, swearing, racism, sexism, the works, but it’s an essential commentary on the nature of The American Dream, the dichotomy of strength and weakness, and the loneliness of isolation.

 

 
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

Often called “the greatest American novel,” The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn proceeds Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and is renowned for its use of written vernacular in imitation of southern antebellum society. The story follows teenager Huck Finn and his friend Tom Sawyer as they navigate themes of race and identity. So, yeah, you should re-read that one today, especially given that the original novel has been the subject of censorship in schools for years.

 

 
The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

If you need an “excuse” to read some of the best love poems ever written about oceans and women and the earth, say you’re brushing up on your dating one-liners. But the words by Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician Pablo Neruda are so much more than kindling. They are pure fire and combustion. This book will wake up your soul. It also mends broken hearts.

 

 
The Stranger – Albert Camus

An ordinary man finds himself on trial after committing a murder in one of the greatest novellas of the 20th century. A dissection of morality and the philosophy of the absurd, The Stranger is particularly relevant today as we face a world of heightened sensitivity and, perhaps, a society that makes no sense to us.

 

 
The Call of the Wild – Jack London

Try this: Take the novel on a long, boring, or otherwise dreaded journey. Close the last page a changed man (it’s that phenomenal) with a new outlook on struggle and bonds. Set in Yukon, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, London writes of Buck, a dog that is abducted and forced into the chaos and brutality of frontier life. In a word: rugged. Secretly: a tear-jerker.

 

 
Lord of the Flies – William Golding

A band of British boys are shipwrecked on an island and try to maintain order and normalcy the way governments do. As you might guess, it all goes terribly, terribly wrong. Lord of the Flies, the first novel from Golding, is a perfect glimpse at the nature of savage inclination. It’s a short read but it’s a damn good one.

 

 
Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger

We’ll bet you first glimpsed the vibrant red cover of Catcher in the Rye some time in high school. But don’t let your memory fool you into thinking it’s a kids book. Possibly the best coming-of-age tale in all of literature, Salinger writes of the young and relatable protagonist Holden Caulfield and his first-person commentary on the world as he struggles between embracing adulthood and hiding in his childhood memories.

 

 

How To Be A Gentleman

With Valentine’s days away, why not learn how to say I Love You around the world?
This tip is invaluable if you find the love of your life in a foreign country and feel the need to blurt the words before thinking.  Love can happen anywhere if you let it.  But, what if you can’t say I love you in the right language?  Your love at first sight moment could turn into the one that got away.

Years ago I wanted to tell my housekeeper I appreciated the job she did and I wanted to give her some time off to reward her.  The housekeeper spoke only Spanish and I only knew a few choice Spanish words.  Read into this, I could not complete a coherent sentence in the housekeeper’s language.  So, I used a free translation website so I could tell her just what I shared with you.  How clever, right?

I wrote the words down on a clean sheet of paper, then shuffled across the house to tell her she’s done a great job and she deserved a holiday.  After the words came out of my mouth in what I thought was a symphony of Spanish, she burst into tears, flung the dust cleaner across the room, then forcibly shoved the sofa against the wall with a crushing and deadly blow to my cat.  Moments later she burst out the front door and I never saw her again.

Needless to say, the free translation website was wrong, which then meant I was wrong in what I said.  I lost my cat.  I lost the housekeeper.  She was a bit moody on a normal day but had I known the language, or enough of it, the horrific day wouldn’t have happened.  My example is a bit off the wall but explains the need to know the language when you’re trying to say something important.  By the way, I miss my cat more.

To help you celebrate a successful Valentine’s Day, here are 49 ways to say I Love You in a foreign language.  Whether you’re travelling or you simply want to impress your lover, you can now express your love and desire in a variety of ways.

 

Photo of Multiple Bokeh Hearts

English ::  I Love You

French ::  Je T’aime

Spanish ::  Te Amo

Irish :: Gráim thú

Portugese ::  Eu Te Amo

Dutch  ::  Ik Hou Van Jou

German ::  Ich Liebe Dich

Italian :: Ti Amo

Maltese ::  Inhobbok

Czech ::  Miluji te

Slovenia ::  Ljubim Te

Slovak ::  Lúbim Ta

Croatian ::  Volim Te

Hungarian ::  Szeretlek

Romanian ::  Te Uubesc

Bulgarian ::  Obicam Te

Serbian ::  Volim Te

Albanian ::  Te Dua

Greek ::  S’agapo

Turkish ::  Seni Seviyorum

Estonian ::  Ma Armastan Sind

Belursian ::  Ja Ciabe Kakhaju

Ukranian ::  Ya Tebe Kohayu

Polish ::  Kocham Cię

Lithuanian ::  As Tave Myliu

Latvian ::  Es Tevi Milu

Norweigan ::  Jeg Esker Deg

Danish ::  Jeg Elsker Dig

Swedish ::  Jak Älskar Dig

Icelandic ::  Ég Elska Pig

Georgian ::  Mikvarhar

Inuit ::  Nagligivagit

Russian ::  Ya Tebya Liubliu

Mandarin ::  Wo Ai Ni

Japanese ::  Aishiteru

Thai ::  Pho Rak Khun

Indonesian ::  Saya Cinta Kamu

Korean ::  Sarang Hae

Vietnamese ::  Anh Yêu Em

Bengali ::  Ami Tomake Bhatobashi

Hindi ::  Main Tumse Pyar Karta/i Hoon

Hebrew ::  Ani Ohev Otach

Persian ::  Duset Daram

Brazilian (Portugese) ::  Amo Te

Afrikaans ::  Ek Het Jou Lief

There are obvious reasons to Love London – the ones the tourists flock to the city to find.  Big Ben, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown and the list goes on and on.

Are there more meaningful reasons to adore London?  In the video above I explore 24 reasons to love London.  My reasons aren’t superficial, but ones you can’t really see or capture with a camera.  Do you get a feeling when you are in London?

My List of 24 Meaningful Reasons To Love London
::  It’s a city of infinite possibilities.
::  You don’t have to travel far to see a famous landmark.
::  London gives you the freedom to be who you are and be what you want to be.
::  London IS the universe and you’re in the middle of it.
::  The remarkable feeling of walking over the Thames River at night.
::  The contrast between old and new; what came before and the future.
::  The buzz and the endless energy of London.
::  There are stories and history at every turn you take in London.
::  Sometimes being in London is like walking around in a movie.
::  There are endless creative opportunities in London.
::  The Royal Family (i’m not convinced of this one).
::  No matter how long you’ve been in London, there is always a new place to discover.
::  There are monuments to everything that ever happened in London.
::  Culturally, London is a mecca.  You’re blessed with culture no matter where you go.
::  London is as international as it is British.
::  When you’re in London, you can choose a life of adventure.
::  You’ll never be bored in London even if you have nothing to do.
::  London welcome eccentricity.
::  Old London architecture is some of the finest in the world.  The verdict is out regarding modern buildings.
::  There are quiet spots to escape to amongst the hustle and bustle.
::  When you’re in London, you imagination expands beyond comprehension.
::  Whether or not you like The Shard, it does have stunning views you shouldn’t miss.

::  London’s double-decker buses are not only iconic, but they’re cool.
::  We might loathe the London Underground, but it’s a marvel of engineering.

I can easily say everything I learned I learned from London.  This city opened my eyes and broadened my way of thinking.  During university days, I saw two men kissing in Earl’s Court Road outside the Underground Station.   I had never seen this before in public.  You can imagine my fascination with this public display. Multiple languages, different dress styles and a freedom of expression far surpassed anything I’d experienced elsewhere.

Museums, theatre and even store windows inspired me to learn more and explore creativity beyond what I thought I was capable of achieving.  London taught me to push myself further, test my limits and stretch them to new heights.

The American in me says I can be anything I want to be.  London taught me I will be anything I want and not care what others think.  London touched me at an early age and continues to do so today.

24 Reasons to Love London.  What are your reasons to love London?

view of london from primrose hill

Destination:  London

Trafalgar Square fountains and traffic in a bokeh video.  Can you find the double-decker buses?  

Trafalgar Square transformed over the years into what it is today.  
Originally, there were no fountains in Trafalgar Square, nor were there lions.   Can you imagine?  The lions are a huge attraction as today so many people use them as props in their photos or selfies.  The fountains were added in 1845 to reduce the space for public gatherings.  The lions arrived 25 years after The Monument to Lord Nelson was erected.

My earliest memories of Trafalgar Square:  one, the road went right around the square.  Cars and taxis could pass right in front of The National Gallery.  And Second, hordes and flocks of hungry pigeons populated Trafalgar Square until they were removed in the early 2000’s.  Little did the pigeons know they were a tourist attraction.  All the dirty birds wanted was the bird seed or bread tourists would give them for the perfect photo op.  I’m guilty of feeding the pigeons as you can see in the photo below (circa 1986).  I must say, however, thank goodness the pigeons were banished from the square.  What do you think?  Do you miss the dirty birds?

 

If you have a walk around the square, you’ll find the world’s smallest police phone box, now used as a storage room for the cleaners.  In case you’ve missed the police box, I’ve included a photo of it below.  You’ll also find a plaque commemorating the very centre of London.  All distances in London are measured from here.  Walk to the roundabout directly in front of Trafalgar Square and have a look behind the statue of King Charles I; you’ll find the plaque there.

 

The current St Martin in the Fields church building dates back to 1721, though the history of St Martin in the Fields reaches back to 1222.  It was King Henry VIII who rebuilt a church here in 1542 to keep plague victims in the area from having a pass through to his Palace of Whitehall. During this time, the church was literally in the fields, an isolated area between Westminster and London.  

Whenever I’m in Trafalgar Square, I try to imagine the lone church standing in the fields.  There actually was a time when this area was outside of London.  Next time you’re in the square, close your eyes and challenge yourself to go back 475 years to the year 1542.  Can you place yourself in the fields?  Below is an image of today’s St Martin In The Fields church.  What a beauty she is.

Destination:  London

The Gentleman Wayfarer goes on location in Curaçao with his Hasselblad to capture the beauty of this Caribbean jewel.

Curaçao is an island I will revisit to understand why I want to return.  Does this make sense?  During my entire time on the island, I couldn’t help but think, “Curaçao is entirely boring.  It has no character.”  This Caribbean island is one I want to love, but I can’t quite tell anyone why.

I took my time, drove from one end of the island to the other, explored, walked around Willemstad, and even consulted the guidebook. Nothing stands out in my mind as extra special.  Just recently, I ran across an article stating Curaçao is one of the best islands in the world to visit.  I read carefully and noticed everything the writer suggested were the very same things that don’t stand out in my mind.

Then I thought more about this island and concluded what I was sought in Curaçao, I found – quiet, sun, a little bit of beach and a lot of time to and for myself.  I hadn’t aimed for the treasures Curaçao has to offer so none of it appealed to me at the time.

What I do know is I look forward to returning later this year for more of what I initially wanted.

Interesting Facts About Curaçao ::

:: Once the centre of the Caribbean slave trade, Curacao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity — and that of neighbouring Aruba — was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of refineries to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. 

:: Curacao, known for its multi-cultural population, has Dutch, Papiamentu and English as official languages. 

:: On the east end of the island is the colonial-style capital and major port of Willemstad. Most of Curacao’s 130,000 residents live in the vicinity of Willemstad.

:: Curacao, just off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, is the largest and most industrialized island in the Netherlands Antilles, covering 182 square miles. 

:: A self-governing part of the Netherlands, Curacao is a major tourist destination boasting white-sand beaches, crystalline waters and popular casinos.

Map Showing the Caribbean and the Location of Curaçao
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Destination:  Curaçao

“No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzi

“While armchair travellers dream of going places, travelling armchairs dream of staying put.” – Anne Tyler

“We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character” – Henry David Thoreau

“People don’t take trips . . . trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

“The more I travelled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle

“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.” – St. Augustine

“There is one voyage, the first, the last, the only one.” – Thomas Wolfe

“NOT I – NOT ANYONE else, can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself.” – Walt Whitman

“You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t choose the day you leave.  It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.” – Anita Septimus

“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends… The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere but to go.  I travel for travel’s sake.  The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

“A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” – John A. Shedd

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

“Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience.” – Francis Bacon

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is, at last, to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

“I like animals.  I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit.  The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.” – David Attenborough

“Travel teaches toleration.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“All travel has its advantages.  If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own.  And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharal Nehru

“I’d rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.” – Steve McQueen

“A wise traveller never despises his own country.” – Pamela Goldoni

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” – Tom Stoppard

“Travel is very subjective. What one person loves, another loathes.” – Robin Leach

“Adventure without risk is Disneyland.” – Doug Coupland

“An adventure may be worn as a muddy spot or it may be worn as a proud insignia.  It is the woman wearing it who makes it the one thing or the other.” – Norma Shearer

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

“If God had really intended men to fly, he’d make it easier to get to the airport”. – George Winters

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” – Charles Kuralt

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.  You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkien

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

“A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

“The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – G.K. Chesterton

“Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves” – Euripides

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” – John Hope Franklin

“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there”. – Yogi Berra

“A tourist is a fellow who drives thousands of miles so he can be photographed standing in front of his car.” – Emile Ganest

“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

“Just to travel is rather boring, but to travel with a purpose is educational and exciting.” – Sargent Shriver

“For many people, holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.” – Philip Andrew Adams

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

“Of all possible subjects, travel is the most difficult for an artist, as it is the easiest for a journalist.” – W. H. Auden

“Voyage, travel, and change of place impart vigour” – Seneca

“You lose sight of things… and when you travel, everything balances out.” – Daranna Gidel

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro

“I think that travel comes from some deep urge to see the world, like the urge that brings up a worm in an Irish bog to see the moon when it is full.” – Lord Dunsany

“The traveller was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfilment.” – Hilaire Belloc

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” – Susan Heller

“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe. ” – Anatole France

Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan

“I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” – Hilaire Belloc

“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” – John Muir

“Without travel “I would have wound up a little ignorant white Southern female, which was not my idea of a good life.” – Lauren Hutton

“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” – Andre Gide

“Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aristotle

“In both business and personal life, I’ve always found that travel inspires me more than anything else I do. Evidence of the languages, cultures, scenery, food, and design sensibilities that I discover all over the world can be found in every piece of my jewelry.” – Ivanka Trump

“Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.” – Ralph Crawshaw

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

“Too often…I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” – Louis L’Amour

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” – Cesare Pavese

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

“I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.” – James Baldwin

“The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” — Pat Conroy

“Hitler didn’t travel. Stalin didn’t travel. Saddam Hussein never travelled. They didn’t want to have their orthodoxy challenged.” — Howard Gardner

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” —Freya Stark

“Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg

“The cool thing about being famous is travelling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff.” – Britney Spears

“A wise traveller never despises his own country.” – Pamela Goldoni

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” – Tom Stoppard

“Travel is very subjective. What one person loves, another loathes.” – Robin Leach

“Adventure without risk is Disneyland.” – Doug Coupland

“An adventure may be worn as a muddy spot or it may be worn as a proud insignia. It is the woman wearing it who makes it the one thing or the other.” – Norma Shearer

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

“If God had really intended men to fly, he’d make it easier to get to the airport”. – George Winters

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” – Charles Kuralt

“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends… The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

“The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people, you meet on them.” – Amelia E. Barr

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck

“Travel is the frivolous part of serious lives, and the serious part of frivolous ones.” – Anne Sophie Swetchine

“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.” – Seneca

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron

“He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little, and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.” – Sinclair Lewis

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

“You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you within yourself.” – Ella Maillart

“I travel the world, and I’m happy to say that America is still the great melting pot – maybe a chunky stew rather than a melting pot at this point, but you know what I mean.” – Philip Glass

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide

“When overseas you learn more about your own country than you do the place you’re visiting.” – Clint Borgen

“Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.” – Ray Bradbury

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain

“After a lifetime of world travel I’ve been fascinated that those in the third world don’t have the same perception of reality that we do.” – Jim Harrison

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” – James Michener

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye

“Make voyages!  Attempt them… there’s nothing else.” – Tennessee Williams

The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” – Anna Quindlen

“Travel makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.” – Thomas Fuller

“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled.” – Mohammed

“Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

“I am a passionate traveler, and from the time I was a child, travel formed me as much as my formal education.” – David Rockefeller

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat-Moon

“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” – Charles Horton Cooley

“Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversations.” – Elizabeth Drew

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

“There is no happiness for the person who does not travel. For Indra is the friend of the traveler, therefore wander!” – Brähmann

“One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy.” – Richard Burton

“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” — Moslih Eddin Saadi

“Better far off to leave half the ruins and nine-tenths of the churches unseen and to see well the rest; to see them not once, but again and often again; to watch them, to learn them, to live with them, to love them, till they have become a part of life and life’s recollections.” – Augustus Hare

“People who don’t travel cannot have a global view, all they see is what’s in front of them. Those people cannot accept new things because all they know is where they live.” – Martin Yan

“A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place….” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“I’d rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.” – Steve McQueen

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Meet John Payne (pictured above), an incredible musician and dear friend. While our friendship is relatively recent, going back now seven years or so, it feels like we’ve known each other for far longer. It was one of those associations where there was an instant connection.

I met John through producer David Kershenbaum while working on my first record, Cardo & Friends. I was extremely impressed with the way John just dove right in, totally embracing the project. Being a new, unknown artist, this was a huge compliment to me, and artistic validation for my work, as he went way beyond the call of duty, so to speak. I remember one night working at his studio on harmony vocals with some singers that were doing a great job, but John felt something was still missing. He was patient, David was also there, and we just kinda wrapped it up. After the singers left, John said hold on, asked David to take control of the board, and proceeded to go into the sound booth to record additional vocal parts himself. As he walked past me into the booth, he turned and looked at us and said: “I’ll make this perfect”. Which he did. Beautifully. The result was the chilling ending vocals on the song “Bridges ( Have Faith)”.  John voluntarily did so much for that record including mix, engineer, record, sing and play. His contribution was invaluable.

About a year later, I had the opportunity to purchase an unreleased record by his band, ASIA Featuring John Payne, to be the second release for my record label, CardoTunes.

After having long discussions with John on this, particularly regarding distribution and promotion, he gave me his blessing and full support. That record was “Recollections; A Tribute To British Prog”. The record was very well received, so well in fact that Alan Parsons contributed his talents to the video of the single from that record, Alan’s classic song, “Eye In The Sky”. The foundation of our friendship became firmly rooted. And has continued to grow.

It has also endured rougher times as well. For me, it was being taken advantage of by some unscrupulous PR music people, to the point that I even had to file criminal complaints against some in order to resolve the issues. Of course, this was emotionally draining in addition to being quite expensive. During this same time, John was conspired against by even more unscrupulous music business types who used lies and coercion to force him out of a successful stage production that he created, directed, co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in, all in the name of the holy altar of ego and greed.  And I know that because we were both working in David’s studio at the genesis of that stage production.  I followed it, had some input into it, and kept close tabs on it all the way. We also have each been screwed over by other musicians, ones to whom we provided opportunities and helped. While suffering these difficult and trying events during the exact same time period, we supported and encouraged each other throughout, strengthening our bond. We both emerged with some battle scars, but have continued to push forward and put that painful past behind us. And we continue to learn more lessons that life’s experiences teach us.

Let me backtrack for a minute. John is one incredible veteran professional musician with quite a resumé, which includes a long stint as the vocalist, bass player, and frontman of ASIA, a band that has sold millions of records, with huge hits such as “Only Time Will Tell”, Heat of The Moment”, “Soul Survivor”, “Military Man”, and  “Awake”, these last two written by John. He has one amazing voice, with both power and grace, capable of singing anything and singing it well.  He is an accomplished guitarist, keyboard player, and bassist. He also plays the tuba, xylophone, and kazoo. Well, not really, but I’m sure if he wanted to, he could do so, perfectly. You get the point. Amazing musician. And I have learned a lot from him, growing as musician myself.

It’s also important to state that John is a rather rare breed. A musician with integrity and principles in a business that often has none. Although said too often, and certainly cliché, it’s true with John, he’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. More than once I’ve witnessed his kindness to others, providing shelter and food to someone down and out in a time of need. He’s an honest man in a very dishonest business.

Recently, John took control of, and lent his considerable talents to my latest release, “Take Back America”, by mixing, engineering, and performing on the record. His vision of the song was extraordinary, elevating it to something quite special and dear to both of us. As with our friendship, we also connect on a musical level and genuinely enjoy working with each other. In fact, I have written a song for John that he is planning on recording for the next ASIA Featuring John Payne studio release. Likewise, he is writing material for my next EP, which he will produce. We are in the process of planning and writing for that release which will be a very mood oriented acoustic record, very visual. I can’t tell you how excited I am to begin working with him on this recording project sometime after the first of the year.

In honour of our good friend and brother, I have put up a video of a great performance he gave on a song I wrote for my partner of almost 28 years, which made this song, “You’re All I See”, special to all of us.   Now, that’s a gentleman for you.

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It’s a wonder my right hand is not tightly gripped to the Toyota 4×4 south of Doha.  I always think of myself as the adventurer sort though off-road was never on my list of things to do.  No doubt it’s a control issue for me especially if I’m not driving.  Don’t misunderstand.  My aim is never to control people, but when my safety is involved, I want to be in the driver’s seat.

That said, exploring Qatar is delightful especially if you’re partial to desert landscapes.  Being a desert dweller myself, and having grown up in Tripoli, stark arid landscapes feel like home to me.  

This day the Inland Sea topped my list of things to do in Qatar.  If you’re unfamiliar, the Inland Sea (Khor Al Adaid) is where the Arabian Peninsula encroaches deep into the heart of Qatar’s desert and sand dunes.  The inland sea can’t be reached by a direct road.  Instead, the expanse of water can only be reached by crossing the rolling sand dunes.  It is one of only a few areas like this in the world.

One popular activity in Qatar is dune bashing.  To be honest, I didn’t really understand what dune bashing meant until the driver lowered the air pressure in the tires, got back into the driver’s seat, then revved the engine and raced toward the dunes.  This is the point where my right hand grabbed the car door’s armrest.   When I let go, I don’t remember.

Given the dune bashing video, which you can view above, you’d think I’d expected a driving thrill as my GoPro was attached to the engine hood.  The opposite is true.  I had placed the GoPro to capture the entire journey and stunning Qatar landscape.  

To be honest, I still tense up while watching the video.  I go right back into the passenger seat of the 4×4. 

To provide a full-on show for the action cam, the driver revved the engine a bit harder and drove a lot faster than normal.  He wanted me to have the best possible video.  That’s all well and good except the rambunctious driving caused a hard bounce onto the ground which cracked the car’s radiator.  No one could have predicted a stalled 4×4 in the middle of the sand dunes of Qatar but this is what happened.  I look at the incident as good intentions gone awry and part of the adventure.

Good fortune was on our side and a fellow driver passed through about forty-five minutes later.  With a rescue at hand, I did indeed see the Inland Sea, an incredible sunset and I made it to the airport in time for my flight to Bali.

What is dune bashing?

Dune bashing means driving at increasing and decreasing speeds over sand dunes.  As the surface of the sand keeps shifting, it takes a special skill and a special type of car to navigate the terrain – usually a sports utility vehicle (SUV).  Expect a stop to let the air out of your tires as reducing the pressure gives the vehicle more traction against the moving sand.

What to expect

The experience starts with pick-up at your hotel, followed by a 45 minute to an hour-long drive out to sparse desert landscape where there are no city noises to obscure your hearing and no towering buildings to block your view.

The dune bashing part of the trip is a bumpy and thrilling ride that lasts about an hour.  You will experience the slipping,  sliding, the skidding and the spinning – all punctuated by sporadic seat-gripping.  And sand, lots and lots of sand!

Map Showing Where Dune Bashing in Qatar Takes Place ::