As a teenager I drooled over the purple bits of my school atlas; the Tibetan Plateau, the Andes, the Karakorum mountains. Aided by a regular poring over images in the National Geographical Magazine I fantasised about travelling to these exotic lands.  For years it was pure fantasy.  A fear of heights and a teenager, angst over any foreign matter in or touching my food soon brought me down to earth.  It was not until my post teens that I conjured up the courage to step beyond the confines of clean and tidy Europe.

Despite gross discomfort I found that put to the test, I could cope.  Building on a somewhat bizarre journey through Pakistan and India I pressed on over various school holidays into the recently (or not quite) opened parts of China and more.

My next phase of travelling has been since retirement.  Yes, backpacking is still possible if you have your health. 

CONTACT John Mawer