I visited Pakistan in 1984-5, at a time when the military ruled the country via the harsh and unpopular General Zia-ul-Haq. Just across the northwest border the Russians were embroiled in a war in Afghanistan that would be fatal to the failing USSR. I travelled with a girlfriend from Karachi up to the tribal areas around Quetta, Peshawar and Swat in winter time. Read more . .
I drove 3 week camping tours through Sweden, Finland and Norway over the course of 5 summers, becoming so accustomed to the ground that I could barely sleep in a bed for weeks after each series of 4 tours. It is of course a part of the world renowned for spectacular scenery, but a great deal of that is large scale, and I found a new delight in the micro landscapes. Because of the rapidly changing climatic conditions there I was lucky to revisit places in varying light and seasons, finding plants flowering or berries in profusion on my next trip. Read more . .
The collection of photographs from India, a tiny selection of those I have, is eclectic in nature, as is the country. I spent a total of 7 years in this fascinating, maddening place, adding up all the 3 and 6 month stints working there. The main areas I visited were in the North and West, and in the South; I do not have much to show for the middle bits. The diversity – desert to jungle to city and village is a reflection of Indian geography and society. Read more . .
A landlocked country in middle Europe, Hungary is stranded by language which is almost impenetrable. It has high hills in the north, much of it covered by beech forest, some on top of very extensive limestone cave systems, with tiny hamlets, some barely touched by the 21st century. The Puszta is the name for the great Hungarian plain, located in the south, is the start of the vast expanse which becomes steppe as you travel eastward. Read more . .
Another country with an unenviable reputation which I found scarcely credible, as I found only welcomes; the local people we met took a real pleasure in encountering westerners who had come to visit their land. It is a very poor landscape and state, but incredibly strategic to world powers at the gateway to the Red Sea and Suez Canal.
One of Africa’s largest countries, Ethiopia retains the regrettable image of poverty and famine planted in our minds in the 80’s and beyond. Climate, terrain and structural problems still affect Ethiopia more than many other countries. Read more . .
My time in Syria was brief, as part of a single combined trip with Jordan. The UK had no diplomatic relations with the country at the time and it was regarded as a pariah state. Quite the opposite of what we found, a country full of antiquity and tradition, of hospitality and decency toward strangers.