Cycling the World’s Most Dangerous Road

Back in June 2009 I cycled down what is supposedly the world’s most dangerous road, outside of La Paz, Bolivia. Presumably it was given this unofficial title long before roads in the Middle East were given the added challenge of IEDs. The road is known as Death Road colloquially or alternatively Yungas Road or Coroico…

Meanwhile, Somewhere in a Place No One’s Ever Heard Of…

If you don’t know where Bratislava is, you’re forgiven. It’s the end of semester. If you sort of somehow recognise the name from somewhere but you’re not sure where, half marks. If you know that Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia in eastern Europe and a charming little place, you can come sit on teacher’s…

Three Homeless Nights in Chicago

You know how sometimes you look at someone and you think, “That could be me in ten years?” Well, let’s hope those things never become true because in a decade’s time I’ll be a homeless black man. I should back up here because you might now be confused, thinking, “That Chirpy, he ain’t a black man…

Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake, Utah

When you think of America as an outsider, you think of certain places: New York, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco. They’re shown in movies and TV shows all the time, recognised by their skylines or by their landmarks or by, err, their psychopaths, natural disasters and terrorist atrocities. So when I planned my month-long…

Commuting in the Amazon Rainforest

I bet you take roads for granted. You use them in your car, on your bike, hell, you might even skip down the middle of them at 4 a.m. after a particularly frivolous night out. You don’t think anything of them unless there are potholes and roadworks and traffic lights that are conspiring against you….

An Unusual Travel Tradition

There are a lot of strange travel traditions that you hear about while on the road. Always wearing the same underwear for flights, cooking a meal from your country for every host you stay with, collecting every bus and train ticket to later make into a 16-page scrapbook to bore your family to death with….

Indiana Jones and the Obligatory Petra Reference

Sure, sure, the title doesn’t really make sense. It should really be something like “Petra and the Obligatory Indiana Jones Reference” but that ruins the whole “Indiana Jones and the Something Something” trope. Is trope the right word? This entry isn’t starting very well is it? Is anyone still reading my words or have you…

Couchsurfing a Bedouin Cave at Petra, Jordan

The Bedouin whose cave I couchsurfed at for two nights outside Petra, Jordan, terrified me. He was tall, muscled, had dreadlocks, and was really serious all of the time. He didn’t laugh or smile once, no matter what you said, and he always had some nugget of philosophy to impart. He was like a Rastafarian…

Watching British Sitcoms in San Antonio, Texas

I’m British. I like comedies. I especially like British comedies. But I spent one night couchsurfing with a guy in San Antonio, Texas, who knew more about British comedies than I did. From Grandma’s House to Bread via some inexplicable and awful little-known one-season abomination with a title so unimaginative I’ve completely forgotten its name, he…