I asked a question on twitter and Facebook last week about the travel books that have most inspired you. I was amazed at the response. With that in mind I’ve decided to launch an annual list of the top 10 most inspiring travel books in the world. The idea is to create a list of books that we can read throughout the year – books that will help people get off the couch and make their trips a reality.
So to kick things off here is the 2012 nominations form. I’ll keep nominations open for 10 days (closing at midnight on the 21st January 2012). The titles nominated will then be put up for public voting over another 10 days – we’ll then be able to announce the top 10 most inspiring travel books for 2012. You can nominate any book – it doesn’t need to have been published recently.
To help things along I’m going to put two prizes up for grabs – 1st prize is a Traveldri Plus £30 voucher and 2nd prize is a Lonely Planet book of your choice up to a max value of £15. In order to enter you must provide your details on the form below (which you can also access directly here). Judges (my) decision is final and winners will be selected at random from all nominations received.
Curry – a basic in most of the world and Britain’s most popular dish – but you can enjoy a great curry on the road without resorting to take-out. Using the most basic of ingredients – tomatoes, celery, bacon (yes bacon), onions & garlic you can create a meal that will leave you full and happy.
Ingredients (4/6 people)
2 Large Onions (roughly chopped)
4 Large Tomatoes (chopped)
2 sticks of Celery (chopped)
Olive Oil (generous amount)
6 Tsp Cumin Seeds
2 Tsp Chilli Powder (depending on taste)
4 cups Rice (3x cups of water to rice)
6 pieces of Garlic
2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
2 vegetable stock cubes
Get your rice going and ‘almost’ cooked – take off the stove and leave covered to keep warm. Pour in your olive oil (a good amount) and then on a high heat soften your chopped onions and garlic. Once good and soft (but not brown) add your tomato puree, vegitable stock cubes, cumin and chili powder – this produces a very dry mix with the onions – but don’t worry it’s exactly as you want it. Give it a good mix and let the onions soften a little more. Turn the heat down a little.
Now drop in your chopped tomatoes, celery, and courgette – mix well and turn the heat right down. Cover and let simmer with occasional stirring for around 15 mins if you’re not adding the bacon.
If you are adding bacon – chop your bacon into thin strips and add to the curry – if you’re using other pieces of meat (like chicken or beef) make sure you brown this off in the pot before you start – with bacon you don’t need to do this as it will cook quite happily in the curry from raw. Cover and occasional stir for around 15 mins.
Second in the new series of cooking videos takes a look at another fast and simple recipe. Using the most basic of bases – noodles – we create a meal that’s hot, cheap and simple to make – fast. Staying with the theme of ‘throw anything in’ we’re going to look at two noodle based recipes – the first, below, uses simple fresh ingredients. The recipe was supplied by GSPeter from HorizonsUnlimited.
Pop your noodles into a pan of boiling water, add a little salt and allow to boil for around 4 mins. Don’t boil them too long as they’ll get quite starchy quite quickly. Whilst they’re boiling prepare your veg and meat.
Cut your carrot, pepper and onion up into small slivers – the thinner the better – we’re going to be heating these through on a very high heat for a short period of time, the larger the pieces the more difficult it will be for you to heat them right through without burning them. Crush your garlic and prepare your salami, have everything to hand ready to throw in.
Remove the noodles from the pan and place to one side, preferably in something with a lid to keep them warm. Place your pan back onto the heat and turn up, pour in a little of your nut oil and heat until it starts to smoke – throw in the carrot, onions and pepper. Keep the veg moving in the pan and add your garlic. Throw in your salami and heat the veg and meat until the onion starts to go soft and turn a little brown. Take the pan off the heat and add your noodles, turn down the heat a little and place the pan back on the stove. Mix the noodles,veg and meat together until everything is nice and hot.
We’ve done a lot of videos over the last couple of years that have concentrated on cooking food on the road, but we’ve never taken the time to explain the equipment we use – the mistakes we’ve made – and the best gear we’ve found. In this new series of films we explore Pots & Pans, Cookers, and Simple Kitchen Tools for traveling.
We look at gear for one, for groups and everything from getting water boiled fast, to preparing a full gourmet meal for your traveling group.
Pots & Pans are the most important aspect of travel gadgetry as far as I’m concerned – they’re a real ‘home from home’ gadget, in that when you’ve set up camp and you’re just settling down for the evening the last thing you need is naff gear that isn’t up to the task. If you want a cup of tea in the afternoon you don’t want to spend an hour getting your pots out and ready, at the same time you want to make sure they’re capable of being used in a wide variety of ways. Of course… that’s different for everyone, and whilst Stace and I will never travel anywhere without our kettles / tea pots – others will find this an abhorrent wast of space and additional weight!
Well very nearly six months – but near enough that I’ve started too look back at my short time here in Australia and take stock.
The biggest thing that’s hit me, is the things I thought would be important to me haven’t. When faced with a 25kg weight limited I tried to estimate what I HAD to have and what could be left behind – then when I had to work out what could go in my very small first shipment I tried to work out what I simply couldn’t be without. That boiled down to a bunch of electronics, my books, and my kitchen stuff. The only things that have come out of the packaging is the kitchen stuff – I’ve really enjoyed having decent pans, plates and tongs!
However, the electronics and books have, for the most part staid in the boxes since they arrived at the beginning of December, but as time has passed the things I’ve really missed I wouldn’t have expected at all. I regret not grabbing my camping gear, or my riding gear the first time around. Since I’ve bought the XT600 this month I’ve suddenly remembered what it was that enthralled me about discovering new places on two wheels. Not only the freedom that a motorcycle can give you but the complete ease at which you can throw your gear over the back wheel and stop where you please.
It’s fair to say that after the trip to Russia I felt slightly jaded about travelling. Actually that’s not fair, Russia, and the journey there are back was amazing. What didn’t sit well was the number of arguments that erupted between Patrick, Stace and I. It wasn’t my proudest moment, and seven months after the trip I’m only now starting to realise what it was that made it so amazing. It was Patrick and Stace, it was the arguments, it was the laughing, it was the tears and tantrums, it was the whole experience. I’d been concentrating on the negatives – but actually the positives far out-weight those – you only have to go back through the video updates, or look at the photos to see what I mean.
Last week I bought the entire Michael Palin travel collection on DVD. I’ve just finished re-watching Around the World in 80 days – I’ve not watched it since I was nine years old and sat, cuddled in blankets on my grandmothers leather sofa with tonsillitis. I think it was this programme more than anything else that gave me my taste for seeing the world as it really is – or rather seeing the world from the ground rather than a 747.
So back to the topic at hand, six months in Australia. I’ve got the house sorted. I’ve got the bike sorted, and I’ve got the panniers and other bits on order. When I get back from the states I’ll be bringing my camping gear with me from the UK. Autumn in Australia promises to be a season of exploration.
What is God calling you to do?
Listen to my Thought for The Week on BBC Hereford on Worcester about vocation and what God may be calling you to be or do