Hello, and welcome. My name is Ivan Hurst and this travelogue is a collection of stories, photos, videos, and facts about my overland travels. It also includes holidays and short breaks. The stories start in the early 1970's, with occasional reminisces even further back in time. The initial year of writing this page is 2012, with updates in 2016, so there is a considerable gap between the event and writing it up.
How it all started
This whole travelling thing started in March 1975. Pete and I were travelling to work one morning and we started talking about how far you could travel by road once across the channel. We had heard about the Grand Trunk Road and thought it would an adventure to drive along it in our own truck. That was it, the decision was made. However, it was not quite as simple to translate the decision into actuality. The internet was not invented and information was a lot more difficult to find. Mass long distance travelling had not really taken off and unless you knew how and where to find it there was little help to be found. Mobile phones were not available so general communications were limited to letters, telegrams, or very rarely telex, unless you met face to face and had a conversation.
Pete and I had met at college and were at the time working for the same company, Percy Bilton, at the same road construction site in north London. We had one company mini van between us as we both lived in different parts of Hatfield, having not moved away since attending college there. The van was a treat, not an entitlement. On the way home that day we talked about next steps. Pete asked his fiancée what she thought about the idea. I asked my girlfriend. When Pete picked me up from my home the next morning we compared notes. Pete and his fiancée were up for the trip whilst my girlfriend would stay at home. So the crew was set at three.
This would be my first trip abroad, apart from Ireland with my parents, ever. How that compares to today where foreign travel is a lot more accessible, affordable, and anticipated! Three of us, in our own truck, travelling the Grand Asia Trunk Road.
This trip, together with other expeditions over the next three years I have, in my mind grouped together, and called my Grand Tour. Read more about my Grand Tour.
At this point I should explain that even the beggars in New Delhi view and treat travellers differently to hippies or tourists. Goa was part of the hippy trail at the time. They were generally treated with a degree of disdain, even from people who spent their days begging on the street corners. Tourists on the other hand were considered transient and relatively wealthy. A source of a considerable amount of their daily income. One hit on a wealthy American can be enough to feed the family for a week. Travellers were different. They were very rare, stayed around longer, knew more about, and integrated into the community more. This is just my experience of course. I am a bit of a self confessed people watcher, as will be evident from some of my comments and observations further in.
After the years of travelling, I settled down to a more normal life of work, girlfriends, holidays, and homes. Eventually getting married and having a family. You can read a bit more about me by following the link. We were fortunate enough to be able to go on some amazing holidays, which are also included in this travelogue. We have never been on holiday to Spain or any of the other Costa de Brit, sorry Costa del Sol. Some of our holidays have been quite affairs in Britain and some a little more lively. But big crowds and loud music is not our normal idea of a holiday. That is more restricted to gigs at Wembley or Knebworth, but that's another story. Our holidays have not all been sun, sand and sea in far away places, although there have been a few. As evidenced by the side image, which is of the beach outside our villa in the Maldives. That is the villa we stayed in on a package holiday to Holiday Island, Maldives not our own little bolt hole that we escape to on a regular basis.
That brings me to an interesting aside. We had decided to have our holiday in the Lake District for that year. Just the three of use staying in a cottage and wandering around the beautiful countryside. A good deal of walking (including the odd mountain top), followed by the obligatory recovery. David, our son, enjoys the outside life and is a pleasure to be with on long walks through the country. He does not consider it a form of torture. We researched it online and by talking to friends. I had been on holiday there with my parents, and a field trip with sixth form. We had decided on the location and then started checking out the nearby cottages. All sorted, availability checked, every thing apart from actual booking. Then we left it for a week, I can't remember why, but something diverted our attention away from the holiday for about a week. Well, disaster, our favorite was now booked. So was the reserve. In fact, all of our 'possibles' were no longer available. We even started to check the availability of cottages we had rejected and locations that were not on the favorites list. Then we came to our senses. Flexibility is one thing, ah that one is gone, lets try the next, but eventually you get to the point where you are no longer arranging the holiday you want to go on and enjoy. Time to give up and go to bed, disappointed. Next evening, it was back on the computer and straight tolastminute.com and after a few searches the Lake District in Great Britain, became the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Read more about our Maldives holiday.
Anyway, back to were I was. Apart from sun, sand and sea in far away places we also went to snow and ice with little sun. Places such as Iceland, twice, USSR, and Norway.
More recently we have found the joys of Cruise Holidays, including the Inside Passage and Coastal Express.