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Introduction

Welcome to my travelogue. I have decided to put this guide together after suggestions from a friend to keep a log of the places I have been, the things I have done and the experiences I have had.

When I first started this site in June 2002, I was decidedly un-travelled. The last family holiday I went on was in 1988 and after that, apart from one school trip to Calais, I barely left South East England, let alone the country for another 13 years. The furthest North I had been during this time was Bradford, ask any Geordie or Scott and they will tell you that is still south!

Since then things have changed a little bit. From the occasional trip away, it has become a little bit of an obsession.

As of December 2016 I have travelled over 240,000 miles through 32 countries and to most corners of the UK

Over the last fourteen years, the site has mutated and grown. From a small collection of web pages, it now has several tens of thousands of pages and an increasingly massive access database that powers it.

One thing I never wanted to do was to emulate "hardcore travel writers". Whilst I admire people who can travel by nothing more than mules across continents, or who can spend weeks living like the natives in a small rain forest camp, I can't do it. Five nights sleeping in the desert and bush of Namibia, killed any idea of wanting to trek across the Gobi desert, or scale Everest in a pair of flip-flops.

I admit quite happily that I can't abide roughing it and I am perfectly happy to do the touristy things. I'll trek across the barren wastes, so long as those wastes are in Northern Europe, the trekking is done by either plane or coach and each day starts and ends in civilisation (preferably a three star type of civilisation with hot and cold running TV)

Consequently, unlike great travel literature, this site contains no hints on finding the cheapest workers café's or how to ingratiate yourself with the locals to swing free board for a fortnight.

What it does include its lots of suggestions for very touristy things to do.

Travel broadens the mind (if slightly narrowing the wallet and gently par boiling the credit cards). My travels have broadened my mind and helped me to appreciate the world more. I am barely monolingual let alone anything else, but hope that I have taken enough in to start to understand how other parts of at least Europe think and feel.

I have had, and hope to continue to have, some fantastic experiences - driving across a Lava beach in Iceland; Whiskey tasting in Cork; Quad biking in the Namibian desert; crossing the Arctic Circle and spending 4 days without any nights, reaching Hammerfest, the most northly town in Europe and subsequently heading even further north to Svalbard and the last full service hotel before the North Pole; and watching both the Northern lights and the midnight sunfrom the decks of the Hurtigruten in the Norwegian Fjords...

...and I can ask for the bill in 10 languages.

Tom Butler
Croydon
December 2016
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