Tag Archives: Writing

Missing in Action

Dear readers, it has been some time since we have posted a blog.

Although we have been missing in action online we have still been having some adventures. For example, Tracey was in Norway for three months doing some creative research into her ancestry. Her project Waters of the Past has resulted in some wonderful collaborations and connections. The project was also presented in a number of exhibitions and symposium, such as Balance UnBalance 2017 and RIXC Open Fields 2017.

Tracey’s project was also featured in the Drammen newspaper. Please don’t ask for a translation 馃檪

We had an amazing time in Norway, the highlight of this was our fjord journey up the west coast to Troms酶 – more on that later 馃槈 Here is some teasers:

This year we don’t plan to go too far from home ground. We have lots of short trips planned and we look forward to sharing with you some of the great places we enjoy here in the Australian Alpine region – better known by Aussies as ‘the high country’.

We will publish a new article from us each month as well as feature some guest writers. Contact us if you would like to submit something for publication.

Ps – we are now also in Instagram – follow us at geokult_travel

An article about Tracey
An article about Tracey

Mykines, Faroe Islands

Yesterday we caught the ferry from S酶rv谩gur on V谩gar to Mykines – the most westerly island in the Faroes.

Mykines is a beautiful place, famous for its Puffin population and beautiful cottages with grass roofs.

The other thing Mykines is well-known for is the unpredictability of its weather, which affects reliable transport to the island. The ferry only runs during the Summer months and if there are southerly or westerly winds then the ferry cannot dock. The other transport option is helicoptor, but it is also reliant on the weather.

We are all hoping for good winds tomorrow as we head back to V谩gar, though if we are stranded there are plenty of potatoes to cook 馃檪

T贸rshavn, Faroe Islands

The past couple of days we have been slowly orienting ourselves to the Faroe Islands and our next month as part of the Clipperton Project (TCP). At the moment we are based in T贸rshavn, the capital of the Faroes.

T贸rshavn is a really gorgeous place – lots of interesting things to photograph!

To give a little bit of a cultural context – the Faroe Islands have been a self governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. It has its own parliament and its own flag. The Visit Faroe Islands website has some great information about the history of the Faroes:

According to stories passed down for generations the Irish abbot St. Brendan in AD 565 went in search of The Promised Land of the Saints. One of the stories told of a visit to “The Islands of the Sheep and the Paradise of Birds” situated several days’ sailing distance from Scotland. Based on this story and archaeology excavations there is good reason to believe that Irish monks were the first settlers in the Faroe Islands.
In the 9th century Norse settlers came to the Faroe Islands. These were mainy farmers who fleed from Norway and ended up in the Faroe Islands in search of new land. The special constitutional status of the islands was originally founded on the ancient viking tradition from the 9th century AD (all free men convened at the Althing, later called L酶gting, in the capital T贸rshavn). From the latter half of the 12th century on – when attached to the medieval Norwegian Kingdom – they further developed their own culture, language and other social institutions, while at the same time adapting constitutionally to the surrounding political contexts of coming and going empires reaching out from the Scandinavian heartlands.
Little is known about Faroese history up until the 14th century. The main historical source for this period is the 13th century work F忙reyinga Saga (Saga of the Faroese).

Anyway, we have only just started our journey with TCP – will share more soon!

365 Places: Fort Cochin

Day 182, Fort Cochin, Kerala, India

Fort Cochin is such a fabulous place, I don’t know where to begin to describe how wonderful this place really is.

There are many layers of history and culture in Fort Cochin, making it a fascinating visual feast in an architectural sense. Elegant 15th Century Portuguese Mansions sit side by side with English Colonial Style buildings and colourful shacks painted many different colours. There are some beautiful churches, mosques and Hindu temples, again, sitting peacefully side by side.

The thing that is most wonderful is the people. Their warmth and good nature melts religious differences, making this community one of diversity and harmony. Many other countries could learn from Kochi people.

Here are a couple of maps that track some journeys around Fort Cochin, with links to my EveryTrail maps.

Cruising Fort Cochin
Cruising Fort Cochin

This is a combination of an autorickshaw ride and walking around Fort Cochin.
Cruising Fort Cochin at EveryTrail
http://www.everytrail.com/iframe2.php?trip_id=3047286&width=400&height=300EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond.


This was an autorickshaw ride to the shopping centre of Jewtown.
Journey to Jew Town at EveryTrail
http://www.everytrail.com/iframe2.php?trip_id=3048045&width=400&height=300EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond.

Over the next 9 days we will be exploring this fascinating place in some detail, so hope to share lots with you!

Thoughts on The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel: Linda Carroli


We are very pleased to welcome a new contributor to Geokult Travel – Linda Carroli. Since the mid 1990s, Linda and I have been good friends and have collaborated on many聽art and media projects. Linda is an Australian based writer and urban practitioner, who also has consulting experience across a broad range of fields – art, community development and heritage. She is internationally recognised for her writing and contribution to the arts, winning many awards. We hope you enjoy Linda’s thought-provoking writing and commentary on travel.
Tracey Benson

Book Cover: The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel
Book Cover: The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel

The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel by Linda Carroli

This is the first blog post of many I hope to share on Tracey and Marty’s Geokult Travel blog. In my posts, I will explore more unusual and unexpected aspects of travel, tourism and travel writing. This first post is a musing on The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel by Rachael Antony and Jo毛l Henry (The Laboratory of Experimental Tourism). While the book is now nearly a decade old, having been first published in 2005, it continues to enthral and enhance a travel itinerary. In a sense the book offers ‘gamified’ travel in a way that makes for a sense of difference and play – experiencing differently or playfully. 鈥楪amification鈥 means the application of game dynamics and processes to non-game contexts.

鈥楨xperimental Travel鈥, also known as experimental tourism, is acknowledged by the authors as difficult to define. They describe it as a 鈥減layful way of travelling, where the journey鈥檚 methodology is clear but the destination may be unknown鈥. They suggest that the only requisite for such an approach to travel is an adventurous spirit. Discovery and exploration are multiplied by playing some of the games or following some of the simple instructions. The instructional nature of experimental is particularly interesting: the acceptance of constraints, such as directions, help redefine experiences.

The Lonely Planet Guide to Experimental Travel provides a catalogue of 40 experiments for you to try as well as details the results of experiments undertaken through the Laboratory of Experimental of Tourism.

The book includes methods drawn from the Situationists such as d茅riv茅, as well as Dada and Surrealist style games. Psychogeography, mythogeography and fl芒nerie are also in the mix. Imagine throwing a dice or coin to make decisions about your tourist experience and to define your travel itinerary. Have you ever considered spending 24 hours in an airport or journeying from airport to airport? Airports have been described by anthropologist Marc Aug茅 as a 鈥榥on-place鈥, an institutional environment designed to expedite transit and passenger conveyance, though strangely reminiscent of a shopping mall.

The Lonely Planet Guide is but one resource for experimental tourists, and will not placate everyone鈥檚 sense of adventure. Road Junky, for example, describes it as 鈥榮anitised鈥 and has compiled a list of 101 experimental travel ideas available online, with many of them prompting intercultural and interfaith excursions (not to mention national security concerns!), such as visiting every Muslim country in the world. Initiatives in Countertourism are attentive to the heritage tourism experience and encourage:

innovative consuming, intervention and even 鈥榠nfiltration鈥 to transform the way that the heritage industry and its sites are visited, looked at, experienced, conserved, managed and changed.

Technologies, such as GPS and GIS, and social media can also enhance the experience. Perhaps there鈥檚 another guide to be written about experimental travel using social media e.g. You arrive in a place and tweet asking for advice on a good place to eat, go to the first recommendation. You can continue to co-design your travel. Many of the experiments are open-ended urban incursions, they are ambulatory and constrained. If you have doubts, try it locally first. Try backpacking in your home city, or taking a line for a walk in your neighbourhood. Part of the challenge lies in figuring out how willing you are to relinquish some of the decision-making by following simple instructions and venturing into the unknown or unplanned. While some aspects of the journey are pre-figured, the route and the destination are not.

[NOTE: You are always responsible for your own safety when using experimental travel guides or practicing experimental travel. The author and publisher of this blog disclaims any responsibility for and liability for loss or injury in the event of experimental travel.]


Linda Carroli is a Brisbane-based writer and urban practitioner. Her consulting work has included studies on visitor experience, tourism infrastructure, cultural and heritage tourism, and destination management.

365 Places: Tallinn

Day 175: Tallinn, Estonia

It is now more than 10 years since I visited the lovely city of Tallinn and it remains in my mind as one of the most beautiful examples of a medieval walled city. In 2004, I was very fortunate to go聽there to present a paper at the ISEA2004 Symposium, which was an amazing event in itself – see this summary by Brisbane media artist Keith Armstrong. I also wrote a review of an artwork presented by Trish Adams Wave Writer: Vital Forces (PDF), which was published in Eyeline magazine.

Toompea loss 2014CC BY-SA 3.0 Abrget47j - Own work
Toompea loss 2014CC BY-SA 3.0 Abrget47j – Own work

For a long time聽it was under Danish rule also being the birthplace of the Danish flag:

On the slopes of Toompea hill between the city wall and Lower Town is an open, garden-like area that happens to be the legendary birthplace of the Danish flag.

This relaxing spot is called the Danish King’s Garden because it was supposedly here that King Valdemar II of Denmark and his troops camped before conquering Toompea in 1219.

13th-14th-century Tallinn was part of the Danish Kingdom, marking the beginning of seven centuries of foreign rule in Estonia. The majority of the town鈥檚 population was formed of ethnic Germans who called the town Reval 鈥 a name which Tallinn was known for many centuries to come.

Mr Wikipedia says:

In 1285 the city, then known as Reval, became the northernmost member of the Hanseatic League聽鈥 a mercantile and military alliance of聽German-dominated cities in Northern Europe. The Danes sold Reval along with their other land possessions in northern Estonia to the聽Teutonic Knights in 1346.

Danish King's Garden, Image Credit: http://www.tourism.tallinn.ee/eng/fpage/explore/attractions/old_town#!p_174827
Danish King’s Garden, Image Credit: http://www.tourism.tallinn.ee/eng/fpage/explore/attractions/old_town#!p_174827

It is a definitely place with some very rich history. I love that the town has undergone many name changes over the years:

In 1154 a town called Qlwn聽or Qalaven (possible derivations of Kalevan or Kolyvan)was put on the world map of the Almoravid by the Muslim cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, who described it as a small town like a large castle among the towns of Astlanda. It has been suggested that the Quwri in Astlanda may have denoted the predecessor town of today’s Tallinn

The origin of the name “Tallinn(a)” is certain to be Estonian, although the original meaning of the name is debated. It is usually thought to be derived from “Taani-linn(a)” (meaning “Danish-castle/town”; Latin: Castrum Danorum). However, it could also have come from “tali-linna” (“winter-castle/town”), or “talu-linna” (“house/farmstead-castle/town”). The element -linna, like German -burg and Slavic -grad originally meant “castle” but is used as a suffix in the formation of town names…The German and Swedish name Reval (Latin: Revalia, earlier Swedish language: Raffle) originated from the 13th century Estonian name of the adjacent Estonian county of Ravala. Other known ancient historical names of Tallinn include variations of Estonian Lindanise (see Battle of Lyndanisse), such as Lyndanisse in Danish, Lindanas in Swedish, and Ledenets in Old East Slavic. Kesoniemi in Finnish and Kolyvan (袣芯谢褘胁邪薪褜) in Old East Slavic are also other historical names.

One of the things I also remember was the great antique and secondhand shops and I found a lot of Soviet memorabilia, which tells a story about another layer of Tallinn’s past. There was also a great market, where I some beautiful souvenirs. Here is a photograph of the Christmas market, which looks just magical. I was there in September, so didn’t see any snow.

Tallinn Christmas Market, Uploaded by Nathan lund
Tallinn Christmas Market, Uploaded by Nathan lund

You can also access an online 3d app that shows you Tallinn Old Town:

Tallinn Old Town is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The aim of the 3d.tallinn.ee is to allow anyone interested in this Medieval pearl to access the Old Town by using 3D computing technology.

Read more about the app and download the app from here.


World and Its Peoples, Volume 8 of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Marshall Cavendish. 2010. p.聽1069. ISBN9780761478966.

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallinn

Tallinn History http://tallinn24.info/tallinn_history.html

Fasman, Jon (2006). The Geographer’s Library. Penguin. p.聽17. ISBN978-0-14-303662-3.

365 Places: Insomnia

Day 76: Insomnia, All the time, Everywhere

This post is about a place where I seem to spend more and more time – insomnia. When I was younger, sleep always came easily, I could drink coffee all day and then get a good 8-9 hours. However, in the last 5 years, something has changed.

Now if I go to bed before 11pm, I will wake around 3am. If I drink coffee in the afternoon, it is likely I will be wide awake at midnight, thinking of what I can do to try to sleep.

Image Credit: http://delgadomd.com/insomnia/
Image Credit: http://delgadomd.com/insomnia/

At the moment, I am listening to my meditation music which usually helps send me off to the land of nod, but not tonight.

Once upon a time I used to worry about not sleeping but now I embrace insomnia. It gives me a chance to work on writing, to read and sometimes to make art. I just try to keep busy until my brain finally says “that is enough”. By distracting myself with other things, I can usually escape the worrisome thoughts that jolt me into early morning wakefulness or resist my efforts for an early night.

I did find some tips for managing insomnia聽which I might try. Some are also familiar remedies – I used to use Lavender oil on my sons pillow when he was little and couldn’t sleep and it seemed to help him – maybe I could try that…

What do other people do to manage insomnia – I would love to know!

365 Places: Sites of Connection

Day 71: Everywhere and Nowhere

So far I have posted about 70 different places, about places I have visited and places where I long to go. I have not done so great with my commitment to post every day, and now I feel the need to catch up. But perhaps my posts don’t always need to be about a geographical site, maybe taking a moment to write about the journeys of heart and mind is also worth documenting – after all this is the stuff that makes our lives rich and rewarding.

Image Credit 漏 Martin Drury 2014
Image Credit 漏 Martin Drury 2014

That said, I have thought a lot about the places of experience and the sites of desire. On one level both are the same. Both tell a story about a connection to a person and therefore a connection to many people and ultimately many places. We don’t live our lives in isolation, in fragmented ways, which is one of the challenges of this project.The more I try to separate one place from another, the more these places want to connect in my mind, perhaps as waymarks or perhaps as strange and beautiful designs composed of Venn diagrams, overlapping nodes or line drawings layered over and over, as one traverses geophysical space through the lenses of memory and imagination.

So what are some of these connection points? There are so many – a love of art, culture and history, food, adventure, nature, sustainability and not least the people connections – friendships and sharing special times.

In some future posts, I hope to share some ideas around the interconnected nature of our experience to our environment and sense of place.

What is the Evliya 脟elebi Way?

Yesterday, we announced the new project being featured – the The Evliya 脟elebi Way聽and promised to share more information about this wonderful project.

What is The Evliya 脟elebi Way?
Contributed by Gerald Maclean

The Evliya 脟elebi Way is a UNESCO Cultural Route for walkers and bikers, and also Turkey鈥檚 first long-distance horse-riding trail. It meanders southwards for 600km from the Sea of Marmara, south of Istanbul, via the ancient cities of Iznik and Bursa to the town of Simav, northeast of Izmir.

Book Cover: The Evliya 脟elebi Way
Book Cover: The Evliya 脟elebi Way

The Evliya 脟elebi Way follows the early, northwest Anatolian, stages of the pilgrimage to Mecca made by the eponymous Ottoman courtier and adventurer in 1671. Evliya 脟elebi travelled throughout the Ottoman Empire and beyond for some 40 years, and compiled a ten-volume account of his expeditions, the Seyahathame or 鈥楤ook of Travels,鈥 that is a classic of travel literature.

Evliya鈥檚 itinerary serves as the basis for the Way. His vivid descriptions of the townscapes and lives of the people of the region take the visitor back in time and enliven the experience of following where he went. The route passes through agricultural villages and bucolic countryside, traversing forest and plain, woodland and upland. It rises from sea level to 1,500m, and is graded easy for walkers. Much of the going is on tracks that were in daily use in the past, some of them the Roman roads that Evliya would have ridden along. Most sections can be travelled in all seasons. The Evliya 脟elebi Way can also be enjoyed in sections: along it lie the richly historical centres of Iznik, Bursa, K眉tahya, Afyon and U艧ak, where visitors can linger to see the world-class monuments of Ottoman times.

The Way is described in detail in a dedicated guidebook. This provides a summary account of the history of the region through which the route runs, and information on rural and small-town life today. It also juxtaposes Evliya鈥檚 observations on the places he visited with how they appear to the modern visitor. GPS waypoints are supplied for the entire route.

In line with i

Evliya 脟elebi Way UNESCO Map
Evliya 脟elebi Way UNESCO Map

ts status as a UNESCO European Cultural Route, signposting and waymarking of the route are ongoing. Some of the villages have rooms where independent travellers may stay overnight; camping or transfer to nearby towns are also options.

Some Highlights of the Evliya 脟elebi Way

  • Ancient provinces of Bithynia and Phrygia, with Roman and Byzantine remains
  • Iznik (ancient Nicaea) 鈥攚ith its well-preserved Byzantine-period city walls
  • Bursa鈥攐nce the Ottoman capital, and site of grand, medieval mosque-complexes and caravansarays
  • K眉tahya鈥擡vliya鈥檚 ancestral home, a provincial town that has preserved its old-world atmosphere
  • Shrines of local saints

Later in 2014 there will be an organised ride, stay tuned for more information!