Notes of a traveller

Alan Dodds – photographer (among other things)

Notes of a traveller


  • Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand et al. (2023)
  • Firstly, I apologise for another travel tale so soon after the last, but unless I get it out now it will disappear rapidly into the big black hole of the past. These articles are, at least in part, an aid to Jacqui and I to remember what we did, and when. Oh, the joys of […]

  • Japan – A Quick Visit (2023)
  • The start of any journey is always interesting. Full of anticipation, plans all in place and a mix of excitement and some trepidation along the lines of “Will we be able to pull this off?”. We are thinking that this will be our first overseas trip since returning to Albany in WA. So the first […]

  • There and Back Again – for a Birth (2023)
  • Here we go again – what are we thinking! Having recently crossed the Nullarbor to deliver a car and caravan to Melbourne for Pippa and Tara, we find ourselves, once again, with the prospect of another crossing, this time with the north Queensland city of Townsville in view. It’s a long way! Why would we […]

  • Kalbarri WA, in spring – better late than never! (2023)
  • It has now been more than a year since we moved back to Western Australia and in that time, we have done a few trips here and there, but the energy to write about them has, for some unknown reason, not arisen. Now, with the prospect of another trip across Australia looming in 10 days […]

  • Oh, Why did we move to Albany in WA? (2022)
  • So. Why did we move to Albany? As you will know by now, after 15 years in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast of SE Queensland, we made the momentous decision to return to the south west corner of Western Australia. It feels like coming home. There are those who question why we would move from […]

  • A Rush of Blood to the Head (2022)
  • A rush of blood to the head! “A rush of blood to the head” is an interesting expression. “Seeing Red” is a different thing, usually associated with anger … wanting to lash out. In this case a “rush of blood to the head” occurred on the arrival of the new year. An idea arose so […]

  • A Happy New Year for 2022 – Addendum (2022)
  • Well … the ladies have told me that there weren’t nearly enough photos of the people involved in my little tale. Pictures of clouds are alright as they go, but where are the people? So I have got together a few extra photos taken by various of us to rectify my thoughtlessness. So here we […]

  • A Happy New Year and our Escape from Queensland (2021)
  • Pippa and Tara have long planned to visit us as part of their three month Australian trip from their current base in Antwerp, Belgium. The problem is, how to avoid them having to go into quarantine on their arrival in Queensland. As luck would have it, they avoided quarantine when they arrived in Melbourne where […]

  • Going South once more – the return (2021)
  • Here we are in far north Queensland two weeks into August, unable to return home until the beginning of October, still seven weeks in the future. We were expecting to be rushing across to Western Australia. However, that not being possible, we are reluctant to hurry south … it is lovely and warm up here […]

  • Going West – To Go or Not to Go, that is the Question? (2021)
  • Having reached far north Queensland it is now time to prepare to travel the 2,500km to Darwin and then the further 2,200km to Broome. There is a small Covid outbreak in the Northern Territory so we are keeping a close eye on the border situation. Western Australia publishes an online list of border restrictions and […]

  • Going North – following the Grey Nomads (2021)
  • Once again we find ourselves on the road. The Covid lockdowns in both Melbourne and Sydney have resulted in a steady flow of Grey Nomads deserting the southern states and flocking to the warmth of Northern Queensland and beyond. We are among that number, although we haven’t come so far, a mere 1,700 km from […]

  • A lifetime of Camper Vans (2021)
  • This is an Ode to Campervans. On the eve of another road trip around Australia, my mind has turned to the ongoing relations I have long had with campervans. While some prefer to travel on public transport, my personal preference has been to know where my bed will be each night in the snug confines […]

  • Travel in Covid Times – Keep it Local (2020)
  • Travel in Covid Times – Keep it Local – Part 1 Seasons greetings to all you lovely people out there – may 2021 bring you all that you wish for! What a year it has been for this planet of ours and for us all. Seemingly one disaster after another and Covid still rampant in […]

  • Port Douglas and Cairns : a holiday in Covid-19 times. (2020)
  • Port Douglas and Cairns in the far north of Queensland I hope this finds all you lovely people safe and well! What strange times we are living in! The USA is being steadily undermined by Trump, Brazil by Bolsonaro, Lukashenko in Belarus, Maduro in Venezuela, China by Xi Jinping let alone Assad and Putin watching […]

  • The Shoalhaven river in NSW and a bit of history from 1978 (2020)
  • The Shoalhaven River, NSW Australia In this Covid-19 era it is much more difficult to travel. In times past we didn’t really think about not being able to travel … if we wanted to, we just did it. Having recently been contacted after many years by old friends Ciaran and Cora (much to my delight!) […]

  • Score: Corvid19 2 – Grand Tour to Europe 0 : Corvid19 wins! (2020)
  • Perth Western Australia Beginnings It’s not often that I am tempted to start writing an article before starting out, but this trip is an exception to that rule. We have been steadily planning and booking for this trip for at least the last six months or so, making this cruise booking here; that hotel booking […]

  • South Pacific Islands and New Year Greetings (2019)
  • Sydney, Australia The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, so they say, and we have reason to confirm this idea. The flight from Maroochydore, our local airport, will supposedly drop us in Sydney around two in the afternoon with plenty of time to get to the boat before it sails at five. […]

  • Back to Queensland (2018)
  • North to the Devils Marbles We are nearing the end of our time in Alice and decide to spend the last weekend with Pippa at the Ross River Resort some eighty kilometres into the East MacDonnell Ranges. We enjoy a delightful weekend in a very laid back (and pet friendly) camping area with lots of […]

  • Alice and the Red Centre (2018)
  • Back across the Nullabor Now it is time to return to the eastern states, or as West Australians would say go back ‘over east’. We stop in Esperence to catch up on food shopping and fill up with water before starting another long journey. Back through Norsman, along the ninety mile straight (longest straight stretch […]

  • Perth, Fremantle and the Great Southern Coast (2018)
  • Perth and Fremantle This part of our journey is a trip down memory lane. It is not only a chance to catch up with old friends, but a chance to review at least a part of our passage into our seventies. Wow, how did we get here? Helen and Michael’s wedding takes place in the […]

  • Adelaide and crossing the Nullabor (2018)
  • For the next part of this trip, I start by doing some rough calculations, in particular for those who are less familiar with Australia. To drive from Adelaide to Perth, which we intend to do when we get our transport back, is around 2,600 Km. This is approximately like driving from London to Palermo in […]

  • A journey across the wide brown land of Australia (2018)
  • Off to Western Australia we go! “Doing a lap” stands high on the bucket list of many people who live in Australia. As the First Nations people would call it “going walkabout”, is now established as a great Australian tradition. Hearing of a good friends wedding in Perth, Western Australia, prompted us to think about […]

  • South America and Spain – A last indulgence (2017)
  • I really want to send my thanks all those wonderful people who have taken the time to either make comments on the blog, emailed me directly or spoken to me. Their encouragement has been invaluable in helping me to continue to keep this account of our travels. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the […]

  • The South of Spain, a trip through history (2017)
  • Malaga, Spain Continuing our travels from Rio to the east (well, a bit north too), we thought that a visit to the South of Spain would be a good way to finish off our little adventure. Jacqui has long spoken of such a visit, having spent several months in Barcelona when she was a young […]

  • Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Punta Del Este and Rio de Janeiro (2017)
  • Montevideo, Uruguay. The first port on our way north is Montevideo. We have been looking forward to this city … everybody tells us it is beautiful and very walkable. It is quite cold so we rug up. Mmmmm. It seems to be raining. We decide to wait for the rain to clear, but as the […]

  • Ushuaia Tierra Del Fuego and the Falkland Islands (2017)
  • Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego For me, Tierra Del Fuego has been one of those mystical names in far off places of myth and legend that are difficult to reach. To find ourselves approaching Ushuaia, the southern most city of the South American continent, with the Peaks of Tierra Del Fuego rising behind, seems like a […]

  • The Chilean Fiords and Puerto Arenus (2017)
  • To travel between Puerto Montt in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina (pronounced Ooshwaya), through the channels and fiords of Patagonia in southern Chile, takes four days and nights of steady sailing with a stop in the middle at Puerto Arenus the most southern city in Chile. Puerto Arenus It is very difficult to relate the […]

  • Northern Chile – Valparaiso and other places (2017)
  • Coquimbo and La Serena Chile stretches more than 4000 km down the pacific coast to the very tip of South America. Our first stop is in the (relatively) small port of Coquimbo with it’s sister city of La Serena. The huge concrete cross, complete with lift, dominates the skyline as we approach. Gone are the […]

  • Equador and Peru – Along the desert coast (2017)
  • Manta, Equador At around midnight, we slip quietly across the equator and back into the southern hemisphere. We are at last approaching South America proper. Our first stop is the port of Manta on the desert coast of Equador. Along this part of the coast of both Equador and Peru, there is very little rainfall […]

  • Antigua, The Colonial City in Guatemala (2017)
  • We really have no idea what to expect in Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala. We only know that there is not much happening where we dock and so have arranged to take the tour “Do it yourself Antigua”. To this end we ignore the tourist shops in the arrival area and are soon driving along a […]

  • Along the Coast of Mexico (2017)
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico At the very tip of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, is the small town of Cabo San Lucas. This is basically a holiday resort for California, being easily accessible by air, or by a recently built road. It is the beach town of choice for the schoolies when they are […]

  • Vancouver and the United States of America (2017)
  • It is a fine day in Auckland, New Zealand, and the farmer is up early. He has a hole to dig today. He jumps into his excavator and goes down to the lower paddock where he begins to dig. All goes well for a while until he hits something that proves difficult to move. Redoubling […]

  • Saint Petersburg and the rest of the Baltic (2016)
  • Onward to the main attraction we go! Arriving in the dock we park alongside the four other cruise ships and quickly realise that this will be different. The last few stops have been at or near the old city of that particular place. The old city areas have always been very walkable. Not so Saint […]

  • Cherbourg, Dover and into the Baltic (2016)
  • We now turn towards northern Europe for the next part of this journey. It does feel like a journey and the ocean has been a constant companion. We are learning a lot more about ports and the whole business of approaching the land from the sea. Cherbourg, France Our first port of call is Cherbourg […]

  • Tenerife, Madeira, Lisbon and Vigo (2016)
  • The crossing of the Atlantic Ocean takes six days. It is a big ocean! For most of the way, a gentle swell accompanies us and we get into the rhythm of ship board life. It is a journey. The appearance of land, in the shape of the first of the Canary Islands, greets us in […]

  • Jamaica, Curacao, Aruba and Barbados (2016)
  • The Caribbean. Ever since I was a child, listening to the tales of my seafaring father, or browsing through his stamp collection, the Caribbean has held a special place in my mind. Some sort of magic place in the sun with endless white beaches and coconut palms; reggae playing softly in the background. Alas, in […]

  • Havana? Yes, Havana. (2016)
  • We are up at four thirty; in the car by five, being taken to Brisbane airport by the lovely Robin. All sleepy eyed we are there by seven. The news that we cannot board the Aircraft because we have no US visa for the transit of Los Angeles is not at all welcome. Didn’t even […]

  • Fiordland NP and across the Ditch to Hobart (2016)
  • After the excitement of once again meeting with the lovely Pippa and Tara in Wellington, it’s time to continue on down the East Coast of the south island and around to the Fiordland National Park; for us it is one of the anticipated highlights of this little boat trip of ours. But first … Akaroa […]

  • Auckland and beyond (2016)
  • After our week in Wellington it was time to move on. When we originally booked our trip to Wellington to see Tara, we were to return to Oz at the end of the week. However, we had a rush of blood to the head and decided to go on to Auckland instead. Firstly though … […]

  • Now for New Zealand and dancing with Tara (2016)
  • When Tara told us that she was booked for two shows in Wellington as part to the Festival of NZ, and that Pippa would be there too, what could we say but “Can we come?”. And so here we are in Kapiti, some 50km north of Wellington staying in a lovely house just five minutes […]

  • 2015 – Where did it go? Part 2 (2015)
  • Bali has always been a great favourite of ours, and on a trip there in 2012, we were talked into buying a “holiday package” which promised a-lot for not-a-lot over three years. You would think that experienced travellers like us wouldn’t fall for such things, but we did … it just goes to show how gullible […]

  • 2015 – Where did it go? Part 1 (2015)
  • Thursday, December 24th. It’s Christmas eve on a cloudy and rather humid day in Noosa. Contemplating the year just past, we undertook two journeys, but the energy for a post on the subject didn’t quite manifest at the time. Maybe I thought that the trips weren’t quite as grand as touring through Europe or India, […]

  • The end of this tale: Naples, Amalfi and Rome (2014)
  • Sunday August 24th. We arrive in Naples on a beautiful summer day with perfect fluffy clouds scattered across the blue blue sky. After our, by now usual, morning routine on the ship, breakfast is soon done and we set off into the city of Naples. First thing on our agenda is to find the hotel […]

  • The Cruise … part two. (2014)
  • August 18th. It’s Monday … let’s see …it must be Monaco! The ship is parked right in the harbour next to all the very flash boats you would expect to find in this port for the very rich. In the midst of this deluge of places to explore, we have discovered our limitations and found […]

  • The Cruise … part one. (2014)
  • Thursday 14th August. We have never regarded ourselves as the sort of people who go on cruises, yet here we are going on a cruise. A mediterranean cruise at that! The flight to Barcelona is uneventful, having left the car at Marseille airport as instructed. As we approach for the landing, we can see a cruise […]

  • Saintes and the Deep South (2014)
  • 13th July. After our two weeks in St Denis, it is time to move on. Tim has kindly offered to drop us in Saintes, the start of our rail journey south. After a couple of hours we have arrived in Saintes, a Roman town some one hundred kilometers or so north of Bordeaux. Bags have […]

  • The Island (2014)
  • 28th June. As we leave the busyness of Paris from the southern station of Montparnasse we wonder what is ahead. We are on a TGV, the pride of the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (or french railways). At 300km per hour, the ride is smooth and quiet. So quiet that snatches of other […]

  • Two days in Paris (2014)
  • 25th June. If you want to go to Paris, the first thing you have to do is get there. After dropping off the car, which has given good service around England, and taken the hour long ride from Heathrow airport in the underground we now find ourselves sitting in the smartly adorned St Pancras station […]

  • Back in England, the land of my birth. (2014)
  • June 8th. I awake at 4:30 to a quiet house with pre-dawn light outside the window. The difference in time … seven hours from Thailand … means there is no chance of going back to sleep. I dress quietly and creep out of the house hoping not to find deadlocked doors in my way. The […]

  • The start of the Grand European Tour (2014)
  • Saturday 24th May and the start of a new adventure which will take us to Europe via Thailand returning in early September. Leaving our home in Noosa at four in the morning we didn’t think too much about the journey ahead. Eighteen hours and several movies and airline meals later we are being driven through […]

  • Kerala and the end of this tale (2013)
  • We have heard much about Kerala in the deep south of India – it has been on my list for many years. We will arrive in Kochi right in the middle of the south-west monsoon which is interesting in itself. Fort Kochi is billed as an interesting ex-Portugese settlement and we are looking forward to […]

  • Shimla, Queen of the Hill Stations (2013)
  • The Castle hotel in Naggar proves to be an oasis of calm after Manali. The castle itself, which is over 600 years old, has been converted into a heritage hotel. During the day, there are lots of visitors to the castle but after five in the evening it’s left to the guests.   Breakfast and […]

  • Journey to Manali and a fortunate meeting (2013)
  • I know that memories fade over time, especially after forty years, but even then they leave impressions. My impression of the Kulu Manali valley from forty years ago is one of a quiet and remote valley system, the couple of small towns which give it it’s name, and a valley which didn’t lead anywhere but […]

  • Time to leave Macloud Ganj (2013)
  • We have been quite settled in Macloud Ganj for a month now and we have really enjoyed our time here. I thought I might reflect on why that is and what are the things about this place that make it so attractive to most who visit here. Where to begin? I guess that the big […]

  • A surprise festival … at least to us. (2013)
  • For two long term buddhist practitioners we are surprisingly ignorant of the traditional Buddhist festivals and holi-days. In my last blog I reflected on our morning walk; the long circumambulation around the hill on which Dalai Lama’s temple and home are located. Usually there are ten or a dozen beggars around the trail … we […]

  • Indians just love cricket (2013)
  • May 16th Wednesday. We are sitting in our room dressed for the cricket and wondering what we have let ourselves in for. The day before yesterday, Goolum told us about the IPL match that was on and offered to get us tickets. A couple of hours later we had the tickets in our hand. R800 […]

  • Here we are in India. (2013)
  • It is quite difficult to believe that we have only been in India for a couple of days. Already Australia has dropped into the black hole of the past. The flight is long. Amon picks us up at 10 pm on Tuesday 7th May for the flight from Brisbane at 0230 and we arrive at […]

  • Back from Nepal (2010)
  • Having just returned from a couple of months in Nepal, I have at last got around to creating myself a blog to run alongside my photographic website which is just about completed and will be up and running in the near future. Usually after such a trip, I send an email to family and friends […]

4 responses to “Back from Nepal”

  1. Deborah Mullins says:

    Thanks Alan…such beautiful photographs and stories…makes my heart soar…takes me back to those parts of the world…Jacqui you are so adventurous…much love

  2. CathyH says:

    Hi Alan
    Sue told me of your blog. Sounds like a fantastic trip! So amazing, thanks for sharing the news and the photos.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Thanks Alan
    I was in tears reading about Kagbeni, Jharkot and the Thorong La.
    The Red House Buddha and those pictures of the deepest valleys
    It took me back and I wanted to be there again to share and extend my spritual journeys
    Pippa looks so well! Wonderful work Jacqui.
    Love and best J.

    • Alan says:

      Hi Jonathan

      That was my fourth trip to that area over 25 years, and it has lost none of it’s magic, despite the jeeps, mobile phones and the like. It is a truly spectacular place. Pippa is in really good shape just now – it will be lovely to see her when she arrives home for Christmas. You might just overlap … she will be departing on the 31st.
      be well, Alan

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