Why do you wear shorts in bed when you’re in the van…

D: Why do you wear shorts in bed when you’re in the van?

A: Guess you never know what’ll  happen and it’s an advantage to not be naked when you have the step outside.

D: Oh.

A: Goodnight.

A: Goodnight.

Silence, wind, silence.

Spit of gravel and engine rumble. Another truck pulling in for the night. Quite close. Very close.

Thump, smash, grind. We shunt forward a few feet off the parking into the bushes. For fucks sake! Fumble for tent zip in the darkness.

Legs out and jump down to ground. Not naked.

Maybe because we’re a dark green van in the dimly lit corner of the truck stop, maybe because the driver had been driving 49 hours with nothing but  mate to keep him awake. Either way, once again our van is smashed, this time more seriously.

Police are called, statements given, ID and paperwork. Gaffertape a temp cover over broken window. Look at each other, shrug and climb back into tent.

Silence, wind. The spit of gravel and rumble of engine, close, very close.

D: You know, maybe we should move to some where brighter. 

A: Yeh.

Climb back out, drive to other end of park. Reset ladder, back to bed.

The wind blows harder in this less sheltered spot, the dogs bark. I spend 6 hours ‘waiting’.

And now it’s now and we are grabbing coffee in the service station before going to see the police (again), find a mechanic/body shop, convince the Chilean insurers we are good people, and fix our shit.

Travel yeh,  character building.

The lead up to New Years Eve 2016

The story of our New Year’s Eve party actually starts on December 30th.


  • Andy: Tall english man,
  • Daphne:Mediterranean woman who everyone assumes will be fluent in Spanish,
  • Gellan: dark green, fearless 4×4
  • Middle aged lady
  • Short chubby bald man


Early evening, Friday 30th December. Daphne, Andy and Gellan are on their way to Peninsula Valdes, a UNESCO World Heritage site about 2,000km north of Ushuaia. Having travelled 950km the previous day the gang are looking forward to a day not driving.

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Christmas at the end of the world


The city at the end of the world, the restaurant at the end of the world, the post office at the end, the sign post that says “The End of the World” at the end of the world. Ushuaia figured out the importance of marketing in the mid 1980’s. In the hundred and fifty years of ‘settlement history’ prior to that it squeezed a great deal in.

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Notes of a novice van-wife

Almost two months into this trip and there’s a lot I have learned. Thought I’d write down tips and advice learned the hard way when I chose to leave my pristine Notting Hill flat and sizeable shoe collection behind and travel around South America in a van with an anosmic.

Keeping everything clean 

Turns out the dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was right. Windex does cure everything. So stock up on gel soap and make up remover wipes. Not because you will be wearing make up but because you can use said wipes to clean everything. I have recently used them to clean

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Trekking around Mt. Fitzroy – chasing the shot(?)

In which we climb to a ridge for a view of ‘The Fitzroy traverse’ at dawn, and meet the mountain’s legends.

'Summit' ridge at dawn. WINDY
‘Summit’ ridge at dawn. WINDY

Another weather check, another pensive look exchanged. 24 hours. We pack bags, check food, water and waterproofs and set off in light rain from the far end of Chalten in late afternoon. The plan is simple: a 10k hike to the foot of a ridge ascent that promises panoramic views of the Fitzroy skyline.

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