Logo: TAE logo
A Summer of Travelling / Matthew Starr
Guest writer Matthew found travelling entertaining - and educational.
Image: Matthew Starr travels
After graduating in International Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University I spent four months travelling.
Image: Mathew Starr - 1a
I started with two back to back organised trips to Africa visiting Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Lesotho.
Following on from this I completed a similar four week journey through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Next came backpacking for six weeks across Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and the east coast of Australia.
This blog illustrates how much I enjoyed my travels and contains a vast range of highlights.
Image: Matthew Starr 02
Every country had its unique breathtaking scenery. One of my favourite places was Blyde River Canyon in South Africa. Standing here, I felt as if I was on top of the world.
The Great Ocean Road near Melbourne has to be one of the most scenic roads I have ever travelled, with numerous clean and unpolluted beaches, ideal for surfers.
Wonders of the World
Image: Matthew Starr 03
I have visited some of the world’s spectacular natural wonders including Victoria Falls, where I had one of the scariest experiences in my travels. I decided to tandem (ie shared) gorge swing and I still to this day cannot believe I jumped off a cliff, freefalling for several seconds then swinging back and forth over the raging Zambezi river.
Whilst in Australia I visited the Great Barrier Reef where I went Helmet Diving. It involved walking underwater with a hose attached to the back of my helmet. Whilst being submerged for twenty minutes I was up close and personal to many colourful types of tropical fish.
I also spent time at some of the planets most significant manmade wonders including Angkor Wat, in the touristy countryside town of Siem Reap, Cambodia. The stone carvings stood out as they contained detailed accounts of Cambodian, Hindu and Buddhist history.
On the other end of the scale is the Forbidden City, located in the bustling, busy Chinese capital of Beijing, where westerners are outnumbered by tourists from all over China. The architecture is eye-catching, with dragons and the colour red dominating, signifying both power and royalty.
Visiting these ancient sights made me realise the importance of responsible and sustainable travel in the protection and preservation of the world's natural and manmade wonders.
Image: Matthew Starr 04
Africa was dominated by wildlife, where I watched Zebra, Impala, Jackal, Buffalo and numerous other species, but sadly no wildcats. One surreal night, I camped only 50m away from a watering hole where wild elephants wandered freely. Imagine eating, drinking and sleeping whilst these massive animals move silently around the campsite. Everyone fell in love with Elephant Sands. With nothing around but wilderness it certainly felt a long way from home.
Asia is more about culture than wildlife. However, Australia is known for its Koala, Kangaroo, Wallaby, Snakes, Spiders and other native species. Koala are overpopulated in certain areas and are destroying the local fauna by feasting on gum and eucalyptus trees.
I have come to realise, providing there is no lasting effect on the local environment, wild animals should be left to roam freely in their natural habitat.
Countries and Cities
Image: Matthew Starr 09
Every country and its capital city had its own unique characteristics. This is no more obvious when comparing Botswana, with its easy going cities and vast areas of wilderness to historic, cultural and touristy Cambodia.
In Hanoi, I took my life into my hands trying to cross the road avoiding hundreds of motorbikes carrying water bottles, children and live pigs amongst other things.
Sydney felt too similar to home, lacking in any individuality and is one of my least favourite major cities.
Sadly, I learnt whilst travelling through various countries that there is still civil conflict and genocide taking place today. It is evident that public awareness is a necessity in resolving these issues.
Image: Matthew Starr 05
Image: Matthew Starr 05b
In order to get to the Okavango Delta in Botswana I travelled in a mokoro, which is a narrow boat similar to a gondola. It was peaceful traversing our way through waterways surrounded by reeds, but after several hours it got fairly painful having to sit in the same position! Poling is a lot harder then it looks and I was allowed to have a go, but to the delight of my companions I went straight into the reeds!
Whilst in Asia and Australia I travelled in planes, trains, buses, cars, boats, tuk tuk, minivans and even a cyclo. Sleeper trains through southeast Asia were a great way to see the countryside and to interact with locals who ate and slept wherever they could find a space. Tuk tuk were an easy way to get around some of the bustling cities in Asia and reflect the local culture.
Infrastructure and societies vary across the world and I soon learnt western and eastern ways are each unique and acceptable in their own right.
Image: Matthew Starr 05 c
I met people from all over the world including Eritreans, New Zealanders, Aussies, Dutch, Scottish, Taiwanese, Danes, Canadians and many more nationalities. They came from all religions and backgrounds and we shared and discussed each others beliefs and opinions. I learnt from my fellow travellers that every religion is entitled to its own place in society and religious education is vital to encourage cultural awareness.
Image: Matthew Starr 06
I had many unforgettable moments, indeed, far too many to mention but here is a particular highlight from each continent.
In Lesotho, where the landscape is mountainous and untouched by tourists I was taken into a village and given the opportunity to meet local children. I was concerned that the authenticity of the local culture would be influenced by tourists, but to my delight the villages were traditional. I will always remember playing with the children in the kindergarten and seeing their faces light up when I showed them their pictures on my camera.
In Cambodia, I was given the chance to stay with a local family, sleeping on a mattress on a wooden floorboard in a traditional house built on stilts. Admittedly it was one of the worst night's sleep I had but the experience was phenomenal. I enjoyed spending time within the community and learnt that people with far less material wealth can be just as happy.
Byron Bay, on the east coast of Australia is a peculiar place where contrasting types of people intermingle, from hippies to families. The vibrant atmosphere was typified by sitting in a bar watching children dance to Bob Marley without a care in the world. The ambience was positive with surfers, backpackers, seniors and people from all different backgrounds laughing and joking with each other.
When things go wrong on a trip they become part of the adventure and can often be the most memorable moments. In Shanghai, I was caught in a typhoon which led to my flight being transferred, delayed and cancelled, resulting in a ten hour stay in the airport.
Below are some more of the 1000 photos I took throughout my travels. I have also created a slideshow containing my top 100 and if you are interested in travel I highly recommend viewing.
Please click on the link below:
A Summer of Travelling: My Slideshow
Finally, if anyone would like to get in contact with me for advice or further information on where I have been please send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank You for reading my blog, I hope you have enjoyed it.
Image: Matthew Starr 07
Left to right:
A baby white rhino and its mother in Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Botswana. This was day one of my African adventure back in March 2012, the first of many wild animals I was going to see.
The Okavango Delta, where I spent two nights camping on a remote island with no facilities, not even a toilet, and surrounded by nothing but nature!
This picture illustrates locals offering food to the monks in Luang Prabang, Laos. This takes place every morning, and is centred around spirituality, whereby an individual must carry out good deeds in order to reach enlightenment.
There are two passes linking Hue and Hoi An. The low route as seen here contains quiet, soft, sandy beaches and the occasional awe-inspiring view. The alternative is the mountainous way which became famous in BBC TV's Top Gear.
Image: Matthew Starr 08
Left to right:
Tsitikama National Park is located on the wild coast in South Africa and was where I first sighted whales. I went on an exhuasting three-hour trek with my guide, but the astonishing views made it worthwhile.
On a day trip from Luang Prabang I was taken to these beautiful waterfalls. Cascading down several levels and with crystal blue water it is unsurprising that they have become popular with tourists.
The best place I visited in Sydney was Watson's Bay as few tourists journey across on the ferry. It contains arguably some of the top beaches in the city and is without doubt the best place to see the city's skyline.
Alan Machin: Tourism As Education
Home page: blogs, introductions, links to main pages
Berlin: Editing a Townscape
... and reading a city that has had many rebuilders
Making Sense of The Travel Learning Experience- 1
1 Information Streams
Making Sense of the Travel Learning Experience - 2
Some basic theories
Back to Basics: Presentation given at the Cuba EduTourism Conference
The CETA Conference in Havana, Cuba, 8/9 November 2010
About the author
Comments - CV - photos
At the heart of the tourist experience
Learning through Landscapes
Exploring Oxfordshire (and a bit of Gloucestershire!)
The Environment As Data: Building New Theories For Tourism
How tourists relate to places
Sail Gives Way to Steam
A return visit discovers just how much has been achieved in this iconic restoration
Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth Reenactment
Visits to Leicester and the battlefield event, 2013
Along The Way
Recollections and Reflections of 60+ Years' Learning about the World and its Ways
On the Edge of the New World
Shaping New England
Exploring Holderness in East Yorkshire; October 2012
Graf Zepplin, Spain 1968, OS History, Much Wenlock Olympics, Chatham Dockyard, Hawes Tourism, Colonial Williamsburg,
A Summer of Travelling / Matthew Starr
Three months' backpacking in Africa, Asia and Australia
The Broads, Pensthorpe natural history, Radar Museum, Caister Lifeboat Service and more!
A Richer Earth
Discoveries in the landscape and attractions of Shropshire
Blog Index Page
Blog pages from 2009 listed
From Strip Map to Sat Nav
'Finding the way' aids to exploration
Showcasing the World
How the Tourist Microcosm took centre stage
Doing A Dissertation
Notes to help students preparing their proposals
The Japanese Tsunami Destruction at First Hand
Sarah and Tom Wadsworth saw for themselves
The range and variety of tourism's focal points examined
Jigsaw: Frameworks of Knowledge
The tourist jigsaw puzzle of - knowledge
Books and other works useful in studying tourism as education
Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 2
The development of tourism as education, 1845 -
Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 1
Tourism's educational origins and management
Impressions of Tourism in Cuba
Thoughts on having seen some of the country myself
Captain James Cook: North Yorkshire Days
Tracing the early life of Britain's greatest maritime explorer
Hunting the Hound of the Baskervilles
Tracking down places that inspired the famous detective story and moulded Dartmoor's image
Exploring the Idea of Dark Tourism
What is it? Is it a useful idea?
Talking to Tourists
Visitor interpretation - guide books, visitor centres and other media
Shades of Light and Dark in the Garden of England
An exploration in East Sussex and Kent, June/July 2010
Hunting the Gladiator and the Gecko
A thirteen-year search for a wartime adventure
Steam Up For A Famous Film's Birthday Party
The Railway Children weekend on the Worth Valley line raises questions about heritage presentations
Anne-Marie Rhodes: Making a Difference in South East Asia
Leeds Met graduate of '07 describes her activities
Discoveries in Northumberland, April 2010
Alnwick Gardens; Winter's Gibbet; Holy Island, Cragside, Wallington Hall
Discoveries in the Midlands, March 2010
Bletchley Park National Codes and Cipher Centre; and the Rollright Stones
Alan Machin's Blog - April 2010
The development of tourism as education continued
The Adventure of the Timely Tourist
Leaders Into The Field
People who inspired everyone to explore
Alan Machin's blogs - February and March 2010
Postings on the history tourism as education - redirection
Alan Machin's Blog - January 2010
Tourist photography and souvenirs
Earlier front-page blog postings - January 2010 onwards
Archived after being on the Home Page
News from higher education and - beyond
The Development of Educational Tourism
Key dates in the development of educational tourism
Alan Machin's Blog - December 2009
Christmas Quiz and other postings
Analysing Heritage Tourism
Ideas and perspectives on a hugely important sector
Alan Machin's Blog - November 2009
Visitors' Views of Stonehenge, West Sussex - and other Postings
Are Universities Losing Their Way?
Reflections having retired
Teaching Tourism At Leeds Met
Remembering the Best
Alan Machin's Blog - October 2009
Thoughts about university life and discovery by travel
Alan Machin's Blog - September 2009
Further postings about a trip last month to the USA, and about higher education
Alan Machin's Blog - August 2009
Postings about a trip this month to the USA
Alan Machin's Blog - July 2009
The Story So Far reaches the summer
Alan Machin's Blog - June 2009
The Story So Far looks back on seventeen years at Leeds Met
Alan Machin's Blog - May 2009
Another month of The Story So Far
Alan Machin's blog - April 2009
Yet more of the Story So Far
Alan Machin's blog - March 2009
More of The Story So Far
Alan Machin's Blog - February 2009
The Story So Far - pioneers, people and places
Alan Machin's Blog: January 2009
The Story So Far .... first postings of '09
Alan Machin's Blog: December 2008
The Story So Far .... latest postings
Alan Machin's Blog - November '08
The Story So Far.... continued
Alan Machin's Blog: October 2008
The Story So Far....
No Place Like Rome
The eternal city with the eternal tourists
Charleston, South Carolina
A photo essay about a fine historic city
Idealog - December 2007
Ideas, notes and comments
Idealog - November 2007
Ideas, notes and comments
The Educational Origins of Tourism
Idealog - October 2007
Coton Military Cemetery; Education and Tourism; Chatham Maritime; Dickens World; Quiz Answers; Tourist Guides; Mediation In Tourism
Idealog - September 2007
Plane Paradox;Tour Guiding; Where in the World?; Do Tourism Students Know Where They Are?; Leeds Met's Wow!; Sea Harrier; Scarborough and Tourism As Education; Doing A Dissertation; Types of Tourist; A Media Lens; Cost of Travelling Alone; Risk of Bias?
Idealog - August 2007
A People Industry; Heritage Interpretation; Lud's Church; Tourists Go Home!; Stone Gappe YHA; Insight Guides; Eyewitness Guides; Bramhope Tunnel; Elizabethan Progress; Information Quality Matrix
Idealog - July 2007
Hidden Heroes, Health Tourism, Holme Fen Posts; Harrogate (again); Whitby Abbey; Dramatic Interpretation; Harrogate Interpretation, Attractions and Royal Hall
Idealog - June 2007
Christian Pilgrimage; Cincinnati Museums Centre; The Coming of the Guide Book; Talking to Tourists - Media, Stages of the Visit, The Service Journey; Tourism's Missing Link; The Final Call; SATuration level; Halifax's Edwardian Window on the World
Idealog - May 2007
Martin and Osa Johnson, Wensleydale Creamery, Malham Tarn, Thomas Cook, Northern Ireland's Tourism Rebuild, Jamestown Festival Park, Cite des Sciences
Idealog - April 2007
The Promenade Plantee, The Jardin des Plantes, Environmental Data, Victorian Beauty Spot Rediscovered, Jamestown, The Anglers' Country Park, Children's Museums, Fairburn Ings
Idealog - March 2007
A Sense of the Past- The 'Amsterdam', The Outdoor Classroom, Film-Induced Tourism, Making Tracks for the Coast and Country, Pictures, Context and Meaning, Classics-on-Sea, Hi Hi Everyone!, Dark Side of the Dream, Holodyne - The Action Cycle
Idealog - February 2007
Don't Go There!, Space Tourism, The Crystal Cathedral, New Books on Tourism, Dark Tourism - Undercliffe Cemetery, Showcase - The Louvre, A Class Act, First Impressions Count, Postal Pleasures, Canaletto in Venice, Serpent Mound, Capsule Culture etc
Idealog - January 2007
Capsule Culture,Seaside Style, Poble Espanyol, Mallorca, Edgar Dale, Children's Holiday Homes, Representations of Reality, Outdoor Education in Germany, Baedeker Guides, Geography Textbooks, Environmental Data Theory etc
Idealog - December 2006
Writers on Landscape, Story Books, The Deep, Flour Power and the Archers,Showcases: Grand Tour, Halifax Piece Hall, Books of Concern about Tourism, Tourist Traces, Tourist Typologies, The Growth of Educational Tourism, The Field Studies Council, etc
Idealog - November 2006
A blog of ideas, comments and notes
Travel To Understand: Belfast
Telling the stories of troubled times
World Quiz 2010
Geography with a tourism angle
The Monterey Bay Aquarium
An outstanding educational facility in California
Chicago: Tourism Re-Imaging
A closer view of an iconic city
A Virginia history showcase
A Social Club Outing By Train, 1935
How to do Scotland in 30 hours flat
Presenting the past in the Netherlands
Keukenhof: Business is Blooming
Using tourism to promote an industry
A View of Italy for the City
Trentham Gardens Revived
A Case Study in Heritage Management
A curious tale of misleading publicity
Old Rice Farm
The story of the house in the 'holler'
Perfection in Paradise: The Eden Project
New page being added: The Eden Project's design for success
Escaping From Slavery: Facing Our Past
The US National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Prague Tourist Shows
Outstanding showcase attractions in the city
Retracing the Steps: Tourism as Education
ATLAS Conference paper given in Finland, 2000
Tourism and Historic Towns: The Cultural Key
A background paper for a Council of Europe Conference
The Social Helix
Visitor Interpretation as a Tool for Social Development, 1989
Malta Residential, 14-21 Feb 2006 - Page 1
Reports and Pictures
Malta Residential, 14-21 Feb 2006 - Page 2
Photos and reports of Friday 17 Feb onwards
Malta Residential, 14-21 February 2006 - Page 3
Reports and pictures from Sunday, 19 February onwards
Tourism Alumni Reunion, 8 March 2003
Leeds tourism students reunion 2003
World Geography Quiz 1
A test of your knowledge
The Adventure of the Timely Tourist
Tall Ships Race 2010 Converged on Hartlepool
A major event-based boost for tourism in the town
Plymouth: From the Tamar to the Sea
Starting point for explorations round the globe
A reconstruction of the Mayflower settlers' village of the 1620s on the north east coast of North America
World Geography Quiz 2010 - Answers
Geography with a tourism angle
World Geography Quiz - Answers
Christmas Quiz 2009 - Answers
A day in the city including the Botanic Garden
Examples from around the world
This is the text-only version of this page. Click here to see this page with graphics.
Edit this page |
Make Your Own Website: 2-Minute-Website.com