2013 started with a bang. Surrounded by our loved ones in Nottingham at our friend’s cocktail bar, we enjoyed free-flowing spirits and a help-yourself beer fridge (which is where Matty’s head spent most the night). With a few hours kip I found myself at work covering the New Year’s Day news (also know as murders). My head was banging.
And now we intend to see the year out with a bang… quite literally, as we watch the fireworks over the river from a Ministry of Sound party in our new ‘home’ of Saigon, in Vietnam.
It’s certainly been one of the more exciting years in my young 30 years of life so far. In our mammoth overland journey from the UK to Vietnam we visited 17 countries, took dozens of trains, taxis and buses, and probably ate hundreds of pieces of unidentifiable meat.
So as a fitting tribute to one of the memorable years yet, I’ve selected a few of my favourite pictures from 2013.
Lots of goodbye hugs with my loved ones in April.
And so our journey began… Like these fellas, our beds were often on trains or at train stations.
Our journey involved lots of fabulous (if often toothless) people including this lovely shepherd in Armenia.
Somebody once told me you can tell a lot about a person by their hands.
One of my fondest memories was the walk we took through the Armenian countryside where we stumbled across this adorable little piglet.
…. And many fabulous wild meadows of flowers.
The churches of the Caucuses are like nowhere else in this world. A Monk enters a church in Armenia.
And of course these two jokers made it all a little bit more special (and liquid).
From the Caucuses it was over to Turkmenistan (by a three day boat that got ‘stuck at sea’). Never have I ever been anywhere with quite so much gold, marble and weirdness in such close proximity.
Any country that has burning holes of fire in its desert wins the weird award. Darvaza Craters, Turkmenistan.
Meanwhile Uzbekistan put me under a blue-tile spell, so impressive was its mosaics, mosques and mausoleums. (Oh, and its bread – I will never forget the amazing bread of Uzbekistan).
Inside one of the magnificent mosques of Uzbekistan.
High altitude kisses in Tajikistan, home to one of the highest highways in the world.
Kyrgyzstan took us to a land of wild horses, yaks milk and yurts. Oh, and the trekking. But this view made even being lost up a mountain in a hailstorm worthwhile…
And in Kazakhstan we made pledges to our curiosity and stars.
In China we sang from the top of the Singing Sand Dunes.
Before finally reaching the end of the Silk Road: The Bell Tower in Xi’an, China.
But then Vietnam came along and a whole new adventure was underway. Ninh Binh was a personal highlight for me.
The diverse landscape of Vietnam is nothing short of spectacular… taking a boat through the Ninh Binh karts was one of many special moments.
More lovely people…. And more lovely people.
October saw me discover my new all-time favourite beach destination on the island of Phu Quoc off south-east Vietnam.
And we even fitted in a bonus trip to the mighty Angkor kingdom of Cambodia.
But none of it would have been quite so magical if it wasn’t for the friends I have shared it with. No matter where you are in the world that’s what makes stuff special. Happy New Year xxx