Stone me!

Sitting atop a 180-year-old stallion, just off Britain’s ancient Ridgeway, I watched a man meditating inside an extraterrestrial doodle. From my vantage, by the rump of a huge chalk figure – Hackpen Hill’s White Horse – I saw the man stroll amid a crop circle of alien (or prankster?) flattened wheat before pausing in the centre to commune, I presumed, with Martians or Mother Nature. This is the sort of thing that happens when you go walking in Wiltshire, a county whose maps are scrawled with more gothic font than you can wave a dowsing rod at.

IMG_4593It’s funny. Sometimes you can spend an age coming up with exotic feature ideas about far-flung lands in an attempt to secure that editor’s commission. Then sometimes you just happen to go on a lovely little local walk, for fun, and subsequently manage to sell multiple pieces without even thinking about it.

When the boyfriend and I set off on the Great Stones Way (which runs from ‘exotic’ Swindon to Salisbury), it was for his belated birthday present. But I thought I’d take my notebook, just in case…

As so often happens when you’re not supposed to be travelling for work, the trip turned out to be a great story. When we got home, I pinged out a few emails and managed to place pieces with the Telegraph (extracted above), Wanderlust, Wild-Bounds.com and English Heritage. The perfect scenario.

So the moral of this tale? Obviously I need to pitch more stories on Swindon!

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On track in Tasmania

I have just read your amazing feature in Wanderlust. It’s brilliant! I am thrilled and can’t wait to send it to everyone in Tassie. Thank you so much again. You have been magnificent.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.25.17Forgive me. Own trumpet blown. But this was the delightful message I received from Susie de Carteret at Tasmanian Odyssey, who supported my press trip to Oz earlier this year. One of the resultant features has now been published in Wanderlust, in which I was able to combine Tasmania’s new Three Capes Track with lashings of convict history. So satisfying that I was able to turn a terrific trip into a not-too-shabby feature!

Big country, mini guide

From wine-tasting to wildlife, hiking to history, sightseeing to surfing, this is the Australian destination that truly has it all…

P1 COVERIt’s not easy to pack the whole of New South Wales into an A5 mini-guide. But that was the latest challenge set by Wanderlust, Singapore Airlines and the NSW tourist board: to project manage the production of a useful trip-planner for the state in the dinky, pocket-size format. Small maybe, but there’s loads packed in, with the added complication of image ‘watermarking’, so readers can use their mobiles to scan through to extra content. That’s a whole lot of Oz in a few tiny pages!

Down Under, flip over

Welcome to South Australia  –  The best of Australia in one place? Well, yes…
Welcome to Northern Territory – It’ll get your heart thumping a little faster…

SA-NT mapRecto verso? Don’t mind if I do… This project for Wanderlust was to edit The Explorers Guide to South Australia and Northern Territory, half of the supplement focused on one region, the other half focused on the other. Only, they were BOTH on the front cover, given the recto verso format of the guide – the pages flipped after the mid-point, so there was no back. Confused? It worked perfectly, and meant we could do justice to both brilliant bits of Australia.

Boston in a weekend

You could easily stay for weeks, exploring the various neighbourhoods: Downtown, home to the Freedom Trail historic route and tasty Chinatown; affluent Beacon Hill; the shopping mecca of Back Bay, which until 150 years ago was untamed swamp; Italian-flavoured North End; trendy, gay-friendly South End; Cambridge, across the Charles River. But chances are you’ll fall for it after only a day.

With the launch of Wow Air’s £99 flight, it was time to focus on Boston. So I wrote a Short Break guide for Wanderlust, trying to squeeze everything that’s cool about the place into just three days. My biggest big of advice? Stay longer.