Priest in the Church of England. Trustee SPCK. Father, husband, son. "Small acts of Good change the world."

Author: Matthew Cashmore (Page 6 of 44)

Leaving Hachette and joining Blackwell’s

Blackwell's Store on Charing Cross Road, London

If feels a little soon to be writing this note but opportunities like this don’t turn up very often. I’m properly excited to share that on November 12th I’ll be joining the board of Blackwell’s as the new Digital Director. It means I’ll be leaving Hachette shortly before – a company that I’ve had a great time with, and learnt a great deal from.

I’m genuinely sad to be leaving a company that gets digital from the very top down. The people I’ve worked with have been fantastic and I feel as if I’m leaving a family behind. But that’s balanced by moving to a company that is starting to do pretty cool stuff digitally – a company with a history that is threaded into the very heart of books, publishing and academia in the UK.

All of this means, of course, that I’ll be leaving London and heading for Oxford – a mere 16 miles from our cottage – it’ll be a hard commute but I’ll do everything I can to put up with it. Stiff upper lip and all that.

Here’s the press release from Blackwell’s that went out on Monday 8th October.


Blackwell’s Bookshops, the academic, professional and specialist bookselling chain founded in 1879, today announces the appointment of a digital director which supports its strategy to capitalise on the growth of digital books.

Blackwell’s is delighted to announce the appointment of Matthew Cashmore as its new Digital Director. Matthew will have a key strategic focus in managing new opportunities, transitioning and integrating physical sales to digital through bursary and Blackwell’s Online.

Matthew joins us from Hachette UK where as Digital Development Director he has taken a leading role in digital research & development and digital operations across the group’s publishers.

Prior to that Matthew worked for the Lonely Planet where he was Innovation Ecosystem Manager – overseeing the travel publisher’s engagement and development of new and exciting digital propositions, including augmented reality travel guides.

Matthew has also held a senior role with BBC Research and Development.

This new role provides a framework to support Blackwell’s in delivering their business plans.

Matthew says; “Joining Blackwell’s is truly exciting. Its historic place at the heart of so many universities gives it a tremendous opportunity to explore a world in which the physical and digital worlds collide. I’m looking forward to being at the heart of that transformation and helping more generations of students, and academics, discover Blackwell’s”.

Commenting on this appointment, Managing Director, David Prescott said:

“This new appointment represents a key and necessary driver in us delivering our business plan and returning the business to profitability. It is an exciting time for our bookshops – particularly in the digital arena – as our recent partnerships with nook, Course Smart and others have shown. Matthew’s appointment will help us to harness these digital initiatives to help us define and deliver a compelling offer to customers across all channels. We’re thrilled that someone of Matthew’s calibre and experience has chosen to join us at this critical time.”

Lots of news

It’s been very quiet here of late – that’s because there’s lots of news – lots of things going on that I can’t wait to tell you about… but for the moment need to remain on the QT.

The biggest news of course is that Catherine and I are expecting our first baby – Edmund, for that is his name – will be joining the world on or around December 31st later this year. That means that Kazakhstan is off the cards and that I’m going to start posting a lot of irritating stuff about Children, the role of fathers and doing video reviews of baby monitors rather than tents.

First off though… is now live – it’s my new blog – dedicated to re-posting the most inspirational stories of fathers from around the world. Enjoy.

Adventure Travel Film Festival

I first came across Robert Fulton back in 2007 when I was seeking inspiration for the upcoming Russia trip. I wanted to understand what drove people to want to explore the world on two wheels – I was trying to understand what this strange obsession was; what was it that had so thoroughly taken over every waking moment of my life? I wrote about it briefly on my blog – the title was ‘Searching for a Hero‘  – in Mr Fulton I’d found one.

If you want to find out why this one man inspired so many great overland travellers (Sam Manicom, Lois Pryce, Austin Vince and others) then come along to the Adventure Travel Film Festival where Mr Fulton’s film is a pick of the show.

Find out more at

2013 – Kazakhstan

–Update here–

I’ve started planning for a six week run next year out to Kazakhstan and Russia. What that means in practice is that I’ve sort-of asked my boss for permission to take six weeks leave, I’ve sort-of thought about dates, I’ve sort-of thought about money, and I’ve sort-of cleared it with Mrs Cashmore.

That’s a lot of sort-ofs – but the most important thing is that I’ve definitely started drawing lines on maps and making spreadsheets. This is how my trips start. Just 15 months to plan!

The Map

View Kazakhstan 2013 in a larger map

The Dates

The Money

Travellers Prayer – the end to the Budapest story

When I went to Budapest I spent an extra day ‘bunged up’ in the hotel. When I was feeling better I took a walk across the road to the famous cave church. I love visiting places like this – and when I was still feeling under the weather the quiet time and reflection really helped.

On the way out the gentleman who was looking after the place noticed I wasn’t a local and asked where I’d come from. I told him my story – a short run out from the UK on my motorbike – I’d hardly finished the sentence before he was digging around in a pile of pendants… he gave me a St Christopher and told me to take it home to my local church and ask my priest to bless it.

Click to read the full prayer

This is the prayer that the vicar at Bledlow wrote for me – we said it together with Catherine last night. I think it’s beautiful and it will come with me on all my travels. I hope you have something that you can carry next to your heart on your travels, something that gives you faith that the road ahead will not be too dangerous, that the people you meet will be kind and friendly and that your motorbike hangs together just long enough to get you around the world.

My Travellers Prayer
Written for me by our vicar, Jennifer Locke. 

Heavenly Father, we ask for your blessing upon this emblem of your saint, Christopher, holy patron of travellers.

May Matthew travel consciously with Christ as his companion.

Give him wisdom that he may travel prudently and with due regard to the safety and customs of others he may meet on his way.

Give him the awareness to perceive in the beauty of nature a reflection of your glory.

Still his heart that he may be at peace with your world and your people and reflect your light to those who have not yet come to know you.

As Matthew wears this emblem, may it be a reminder to him that you are there to protect and guide him in his going out and his coming in.

In Jesus name, Amen.


The Pyrenees, coast to coast.

I just found this video over on the Adventure Bike Rider forum and simply had to share it.

Coast to coast through the Pyrenees from Today Adventure on Vimeo.

From the gentleman’s blog:

Bragança, Portugal
One tiny scooter that dares to leave town and just can’t stop anymore. An ordinary sedentary driver in shorts and t-shirt, whom they call Pizza Boy. Stories and sensations of a world seen at 25 mph, on top of a motorised flea.

More of his videos can be found over on Vimeo.

Has the internet ruined adventure travel?


Have a read of this piece on the BBC Magazine written by a poor poor journalist who has been forced to experience the internet and phone signal in an area previously untouched by such modern inconveniences.

Sorry, I know I’m sounding snarky. The thing that gets my goat here is that it’s wonderful to be a tourist experiencing the un-touched parts of the planet – but the reality is those places have people living in them, and why on earth should they be denied access to the internet or mobile signal to make us feel better and really ‘get away from it all’.

I feel the same way towards this journalist as I do to 40 year olds who complain about Radio 1. There’s a simple answer here… turn it off.

Best line in the piece:

Take Ernest Shackleton’s heroic Antarctic feat – one of the greatest adventure stories of all time.

One wonders whether it would even have happened had the internet been around in his day.

Of course, you’re quite right. The internet has killed the spirit that led to explorers wanting to push the limits. These guys are quite clearly  just sat in front of their computers experiencing the small world via the net and not getting out there.

…and breath.

Adventure day at The Ace – Win a motorcycle care hamper

Ace Special BreakfastWhat could be more fun? A breakfast at The Ace along with a bunch of my  mates and every adventure biker of note this side of Mongolia – well those that are in the country in any case.

That’s what awaits me on Sunday at The Ace Cafe in North London as I attend the Overland & Adventure Travel Bike Day. The day kicks off at 9am and I’ll be there from around 6am helping Les set up the Traveldri Plus stand. I can’t wait to show off the XT on the stand and explain to everyone why I have a rubber mat on my seat.

I’ll also be announcing the winner of the 2012 most inspirational travel book awards (voting closes on Friday so go vote now). In true thelondonbiker style I also have some stuff to give away.

Motorcycle Direct – the bike insurers – have given me two hampers to give away. The first is a valentine’s week special – this is your get out of jail free card – if you’ve left the Mrs behind to get to the Ace and play with your mates – head home with this to calm the waters. The hamper has:

  • Charlemagne Rose Sparkling (5.5%) 75cl
  • Marshmellows for Fondue 175g
  • Guylian Belgian Chocalate Dip 150g
  • Maximacs Indulge Yourself Butterscotch CVlusters 90g
  • Traou Mad de Pont-Aven Savoury Mini Crepes with Mozzarella & Bacon 60g
  • Pink Champagne Candle in Tin

Adventure Travel Film Festival 2011There’s also a second hamper – I got the guys over at Motorcycle Direct to throw this one in as I thought it very unfair that only the ladies were being catered for. In the blokes hamper you’ll get:

It’s easy to win these hampers – I’ll have them with me on the day – all you need to do is find me and say at the top of your voice ‘These BMW jobs are crap!‘ See, easy. First person to find me and say these magic words after 9am gets both hampers there and then – can’t say fairer than that.

See you on Sunday!

And the winner was: Alex Richards from London! Congratulations Alex and I hope you other half enjoyed the bubbles and chocolate.

Starting the new year with the MCN Motorcycle Show

Well I’ve put the shotgun away for the summer and the motorbike has once again been dragged from the warm embrace of the back of the barn – well – it will in time for the MCN Motorcycle Show.

I stopped commuting into London when I moved out of town and had to ride down Euston Road and out to the Old Street roundabout every day. I had four near-death experiences on that stretch of road in as many days and decided it was time to hide the bike away for commuting and concentrate on the adventure bit. But reading through the stats it seems I’m in a minority.

London has more bikers than Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle combined. In fact 12 per cent of the total UK bikers are based in London. Which is hardly surprising when you consider the daily grid lock into and out of town. It also turns out that over the last year we’ve been registering more low-powered bikes (50-125cc) than ever before. There were 17 per cent more new, low engine bikes registered in the UK between December 2010 and December 2011. I just hope they’re not all scooters. (not that I have anything against idiot scooter riders you understand).

Ross Noble with his motorbikeWe all know that biking into London is quicker, cheaper and greener than pretty much all other options – so I think it may be time to reconsider that season ticket with Chiltern Railways and get back on the bike. I may even get the gear out in time for the ride from The Ace Cafe on Saturday with Ross Noble and friends in aid of Riders for Health – something you should consider if you’re heading to the show on Saturday.

For me though, the highlight of the show has to be going to see Dougie Lampkin wreck the place – I love the press blurb:

By day he’s the mild-mannered 12-times World Trials Champion, but by night Dougie Lampkin roams the streets in pursuit of an ASBO. This should do it – breaking and entering the ExCeL London where in just a few days he’ll be racing David Knight, John McGuinness, Neil Hodgson, Ian Hutchinson and Chris Walker in our Revolution extreme obstacles enduro challenge, sponsored by Michelin. But will he get past the SAS-trained guard to do the pre-race research he craves?

Nothing else to say really… mild-mannered 12-times World Trails Champion? Surely that’s not possible. Take a look at the video to see what I mean.

Vote for your 2012 most inspirational Travel Book

Well that’s it folks. A couple of weeks ago I asked you to nominate your most inspirational Travel Books for 2012. They didn’t need to be published in 2012, but they did need to inspire you enough to get off your bottom and to actually go out and travel.

I’ve been stunned by the response – so many books have been nominated that I’ve had to narrow them down to the top 20 so that voting will be a little more sensible. The winners of the nomination competition to win a £30 Traveldri-Plus voucher and a Lonely Planet book up to the value of £15 are:

  • 1st Place – Greg Hughes (voucher)
  • 2nd Place – Steve Freeman  (book)

Congratulations to you both. Now, without further ado – get clicking the votes below and help make your favourite travel book the 2012 Inspirational Travel book of the year!

Which title is the most inspirational Travel Book?

View Results

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