A one-way trip lasted seven years


As many of her friends settled down, Sabrina Iovino opted out of the rat race and began a life of full-time travel.

Surrounded by young, good-looking backpackers in Bangkok, Thailand, I made up my mind: once I got back home to Germany, I was going to quit my job and travel the world.

It was 2007, and I had taken a short trip to the humid nation to take a break from the rat race in Berlin. Almost everyone I met told me the same story: “I’m travelling around the world for a year, and you?” I was embarrassed to say I would go back home in a couple of weeks to my boring nine-to-five life as a graphic designer for a start-up company. My friends were getting married, buying cars and houses and looking down at me, wondering why I didn’t want to pursue the same goals...

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An island paradise you haven’t seen


A trip to this long-lost Eden – known for its tropical forests, azure seas, creative cuisine and quirky city – will show you a whole new side of Cuba.

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Scotland’s wee but wild road


A 516-mile route that passes through spooky ruins, fairytale glens, toothy castles, rugged fairways and shingle-sand beaches. Not to mention distilleries.

Locals call it the “wee mad road”: a looping ribbon of asphalt that hugs the coastline between the fishing hamlets of Inverkirkaig, Coigach and Achiltibuie in the northwestern Scottish Highlands. “These single-track roads can take you to some wild places,” said Lesley Crosfield, the proprietor of nearby boutique hotel and restaurant The Albannach. “That’s why it’s always worth taking the slower road: there’s so much to learn around here.”

Crosfield runs Britain’s northernmost Michelin-starred restaurant, 85 miles northwest of Inverness. It’s exactly where she wanted to be...

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The trip that transformed me: The student at sea


Rebecca Isaak attended the same study-abroad program as her mother – but her experiences were uniquely her own.

In January 2014, 21-year-old Canadian Rebecca Isaak boarded a ship in San Diego, California, eager to start what would be a five-month journey around the world. She was embarking on a Semester at Sea – a program where university students live and learn while stopping in ports across the globe – just like her mom did in 1981. And in many ways, she set sail expecting to have a very similar experience.

The author's mother on a Semester at Sea trip (Credit: Credit: Rebecca Isaak)

The author’s mother on a Semester at Sea trip (Credit: Rebecca Isaak)

“I wanted to hug the same statue she did in China, get a little too tipsy in Japan, make the same lasting friendships,” Isaak said.

But as she voyaged across the sea, she realized that her journey w...

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How to travel when you’re not rich


“I wanted to prove to others and to myself that our life circumstances should never hinder us from going after our dreams.”

My “how I quit my job to travel” story is different. I’m from a developing country with a “powerless passport” — as a Philippine citizen I can only visit 60 countries visa-free — and I was brought up to believe that world travel is a luxury meant only for the privileged, the rich or the retired. Yet, in my early 20s, I’ve visited more than 15 countries in two years, all while building a profitable and stable online business that funds my lifestyle and enables me to work less than three hours a day.

It all started two years ago in a dingy cafe in Makati, Philippines...

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Some of the world’s oldest cave art


Only a fraction of the country’s estimated 100,000 rock art sites have been documented, and as one traveller discovered, protection is patchy.

Away from the sun’s glare, my eyes needed a moment to adjust. I heard my daughter and husband making their way up the rocky trail behind me through the oppressive heat. “This better be worth it,” my daughter Maia called out.

I peered through the dim light of a shallow cave and spotted an array of centuries-old paintings. There was a red ray with white dots overlapping a crocodile. Nearby, I puzzled over sea creatures with feathery fronds. Then I saw the sailing ships: painted one on top of the other in shades of yellow, red and orange, they evoked old European galleons and Indonesian sailboats. Oh, it was worth it, alright.

Spotted ray and crocodile (Credit: Evan Gatehouse/Diane Selkirk)

Spotted ray a...

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Five days in Russia’s Ring of Fire


After being all but off limits, Russia’s strictly protected Kronotsky Zapovednik opens to travellers, revealing 650kg bears and the world’s second-largest gathering of geysers.

We had left the brown bears below us in the Valley of the Geysers, where they ambled among purple orchids, emerald grasses and the second-largest gathering of geysers on Earth.

Now, our small group of trekkers ascended through meadows gilded with golden rhododendron. We drank from snowfield streams. Spectacular volcanoes loomed ahead, part of the great arc of volcanic and seismic activity known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. We were trekking the highlands of Russia’sKronotsky Zapovednik, diadem of the world’s largest system of strictly protected nature reserves.

And I was one of the first foreigners permitte...

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‘I was hoping he wasn’t a lunatic’


Deep in the wilds of Jordan’s desert, the generosity of a stranger offered a curious group of backpackers the adventure of a lifetime.

A bright pink 4×4 came barrelling across the desert, dust spiralling into the sky. As it skidded to a halt in front of me, I could feel the eyes of my friends boring into the back of my skull. We were about to head into the wilds of Jordan with a stranger I’d met on Couchsurfing.

“Come and stay with me, bring your friends,” Ghassab had written, offering to put us up in a rock-cut cave his family had owned for centuries. “It will be one of the best adventures of your life.” As our Bedouin host stepped out of the car and strolled towards us with a hand-rolled cigarette dangling from his lips, I was merely hoping that he wasn’t a lunatic.

Barreling across the desert in style (Credit: Credit: Will Jehring)


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Military secrets in north Scotland


In the Scottish islands of Orkney, the waters of Scapa Flow hide more than 150 wrecks – from German World War I battleships to a Spitfire. The eerie world is one divers can explore.

As we sat on board a retrofitted fishing boat drifting where the North Sea meets the Atlantic, each member of our group ran through a pre-dive checklist. Yes, my dry suit and vest inflated. The 12kg of weights on my hips to keep me submerged were unmistakably present. I sucked on my regulators. My air worked fine.

Readying for the dive (Credit: Credit: Amanda Ruggeri)

We readied for our dive aboard a retrofitted fishing boat, floating where the North Sea meets the Atlantic (Credit: Amanda Ruggeri)

But even as we went through the kind of safety procedure that can stave off – or at least mitigate – underwater disaster, my mind was already deep below the surf...

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Where modern China began


Centuries of glory and prestige can be found among Nanjing’s modern skyscrapers – if you know where to look.

Beijing may be the capital of China today, but for many centuries the country was ruled from Nanjing, a historic city located on the shores of the Yangtze River. Now recognised as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, centuries of glory and prestige can still be found scattered among Nanjing’s modern skyscrapers – if you know where to look.

In China, the tortoise symbolises long life
My first stop was the southern foothills of Zhongshan, or Purple Mountain,16km east of the city centre. Here lay the mausoleum where the first Ming dynasty emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, was buried along with his wife.

After defeating the Mongolians in 1368, Zhu named Nanjing the capit...

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