80 year old man travels the world…on a motorbike!

No, it’s no typo…there really is an 80 year old man who is doing just that!

At that age, my dad is just about mobile…walking around bumping into things, dropping food all over the place when he eats…just like a baby. But hey, that’s life…

Not for this guy, though….he may be slightly overweight, have pure white hair and matching beard, but that isn’t going to stop him enjoying himself.







He openly admits that he spent his life “messing around”, moving from one country to another, finally settling down where he lives now, rural Herefordshire in England.

But why does he do it, you may ask?

Simon says the answers are quite simple….he is 28 years older than his wife, their sons are 22 and 27, and he owes them something better than just being a scruffy, inefficient and forgetful old man who mows his lawn every other week.

Another thing is, he has always loved travel, the thrill of meeting new people, new places. And yes, he is scared sometimes, having survived not one but two heart attacks, one of them up a remote mountain in Guatemala.

In his view, his riding a bike is no different form the millions of people all over the world who ride their bikes to work everyday…it’s just that he rides further…and enjoys a better lunch.

This is not the only trip he is making on his bike overseas. His first journey was from Mexico all the way down to Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia.

Then, not satisfied with that, he rode the same small bike all the way from Tierra del Fuego to New York.

There were many more journeys after that, and at age 77, he toured India over a period of six months, in total covering 10 000 miles. And yet, India being what it is, he still has not seen everything there….something he plans to correct very soon, before he heads out through Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Romania, around the Adriatic coast and back home to the UK.

He has no idea how long all this will take. His first priority before he taken on this huge journey, is to source a lighter bike…something that is really good on fuel consumption and that he can easily lift back up should it fall over.

At the moment, he is looking up some contacts he has in India….the temperature is 46C (yes, 46C!)…and shade is just an illusion….just an area where it is just as hot, but without the sun.

I wish him well….he has more guts than I ever had, for sure!




Please don’t take my soul away!

I was once on a trip with a small group in India, and as always happens, the best places to visit are small villages along the route.

At times like these, I try and part company with the main group and veer off on my own, catching up with the rest later on. So I walked off and about half an hour later, I came to a little village…well, more of a collection of huts than anything else, with a well at the centre.

Soon as the people living there saw a westerner, they all clamoured around inviting me to their huts for a drink or to eat, which I humbly declined.

I got talking with a young guy….not real talk, as the guy couldn’t talk a word of english, but we sort of understood what the other was saying by sign language and a few words of hindi I’d picked up. At that moment, another westerner, came onto the scene, bristling with cameras.

Rather than say hello or try and greet the locals, he immediately started snapping shots of them with his camera. Now, I know in some cultures, taking photos is a definite no-no, and in some places in India, especially so. I could see the look of anger on the villager’s faces, but credit to them, they didn’t say anything. The young guy I was talking to explained to me that taking their photos is akin to taking their souls away.

I pushed him to get a more detailed idea of what he meant. At long last, he made me understand that they regard every human being as having a sacred soul, and that soul is to be respected. Who knows, he said, how those photos would be used in the West; they maybe thrown around and end up underfoot, the very worst of disrespect for a person. Or the photos may be on display in a place where unhealthy or immoral acts are taking place, etc etc.

The villagers asked me to explain to the other westerner that what he was doing was not good. I tried…and ended up with a bucketful of abuse!

Whatever, the moral here is that we should be careful when visiting peoples abroad. They may, and in my experience, they very definitely do not, share the same views as we have as regards morality or acceptable behaviour.


Is there truth in some stories you hear?

During my many visits to the Far East, I heard this story from an old lady in a remote village, which she relayed through her son who spoke English.


Respect all living things as you would respect your own humankind, she said. If you ever see a bird who has made a nest in your house or garden, or who is making a nest, do not stop it, or do not destroy it’s nest. For if you do, your own house will suffer.


Back home, one day I was just clearing up the used dishes in my kitchen, while looking through the window at my neighbour’s opposite house some distance away.

I noticed the guy who lives there, climbing a ladder outside his house, reaching up just underneath the rain gutter, and pulling out what looked like grass. I looked again and then noticed he had a round bird nest in his hand, and as he tilted it, out fell some eggs.

I didn’t think twice about it until 2 months later, when we met briefly as I was washing my car. He came over and said hello, etc but looked kind of sad. I asked him if anything was wrong, and he said yes, his wife walked out on him recently and left him on his own with 3 kids to take care of.

Then I remembered that old lady’s story above….

Is there truth in that story? You tell me….




Talking about journals….

Some readers may recall I recently wrote about my trip to India and that little remote village where they were trying to eke out a living by making hand made leather journals?

Well, I’m really happy to tell you that those guys in that village will be sleeping a little bit more peacefully than of late, all thanks due to WordPress bloggers around the world who read my article and responded by buying those journals!  I have had so many orders for the journals, that I actually had to take time off work to process them….and I was happy to do that, knowing that it was all for a very good cause indeed.

As I mentioned, I was taken aback by the poverty in which those people live, even in this day and age, when India is said to be second only to China and possibly the USA in terms of economic might.

Children regularly die of silly, preventable problems like malnutrition, malaria, etc. Water has always been a rarity there, until recently when the villagers pooled their incomes from those journals and had an electric water pump fitted.

Ok, their work is quite slow and laborious compared to western eyes, but at least it brings in much-needed cash which can be ploughed straight back into the community and allow them to afford things like medicines etc which they could only dream of before.

If you would like to help them out, read about the journals here.


For your next trip to India, try these guys…


Planning any trip can be daunting. Planning a trip to the East, doubly so!

Even though english is widely spoken and understood, there are certain nuances and subtle ways of communicating that we in the west are not familiar with. So by all means, if you want the headache of arranging everything yourself, or prefer it that way, it can be done.

Myself, during all the trips I have made to India and the Far East, I have used only one firm, which I’m going to tell you about now.

Not only can they offer ready-made treks and trips, but if you want a specifically tailored one, they are more than happy to do that for you. I normally prefer to have a package set up, but with the option of walking away on my own and getting back to the organizers for the flight back home.

The company is Royal Rajasthan Tours, and despite the name, they cover more than just Rajasthan. I have asked them to arrange tours for myself and my hiking party in Ladakh, Nepal, Tibet and also as far as China and Japan.

Apart from me recommending them they must be doing something right, as www.traveladvisor.com have also recommended them.

Theirs is the only company I know where the Director sometimes travels with a tour! Apart from the rather novel idea, having the Director travelling with you instills a certain amount of peace of mind, showing customers that if the owner is also travelling with them, then he must be confident of their ability to deliver.

I’ve used them so many times, and recommended countless friends and colleagues of mine, that I know both the Directors by name. My initial contact has always been Jag Suman…he takes care of tours for customers from the USA/Canada and Europe, whilst Bhupendar Singh has the responsibility of running the tours themselves. Both guys are very friendly and can speak a number of languages aside of english.

If money is no problem, you can opt for the 5 star tours, which include a personal pick up from Delhi International airport by their very own classically dressed drivers and chaperones, by limousine, direct to your chosen 5 star hotel!

If you’re on a budget like me, that’s no problem either. They arrange everything.

Next time, give them a try.