Category Archives: Travel

‘An Exact Observer of all things in Earth, Sea and Air’

He wrote the first bestselling travel books which inspired Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver’s Travels, and gave us many new words from barbeque, chopsticks, cashew and avocado to sub-species.  He has more than 1,000 words in the OED. He circumnavigated the world three times and visited all 5 continents. He visited the Galapagos 150 years before Darwin and Australia 80 years before Cook. He described plants and animals never seen by a European. Nelson’s sailors studied his Discourse of Winds, Tides and Currents. He was quoted by Darwin, Nelson, Humboldt and Cook.  He documented the effects of marijuana, described how soy sauce was made and drank the Spanish version of a cappuccino. He rescued Alexander Selkirk.

His burial site is unknown and he is largely forgotten. Continue reading ‘An Exact Observer of all things in Earth, Sea and Air’

Gert in Kerala


Kerala State in Southern India is known as God’s Own Country. It has all the delightful features of other parts of India; temples, music, colour, great food, agreeable and helpful people, luxuriant vegetation, wonderful flowers… I could go on, but the thing it does have, unlike many other parts of India, is a sufficiency of Toilets. You may wish to call them bathrooms, lavatories, washrooms, but they all amount to the same thing. It has an adequate supply of reasonably clean sanitation. Kerala’s toilet coverage is almost universal – 97 percent. This is to my mind a key indicator of the way people are respected there.
Continue reading Gert in Kerala