The Philosopher’s Mail, a recent enterprise by Alain de Botton, recently asked an interesting question which got me thinking about my trips:

An outer answer to an inner puzzle: what is there in the outer world that satisfies something in my inner world?

The article asks us to consider how travelling can fulfil some of our inner needs – the idea is that people should think about what is lacking in their lives and help fill that need through their travels.

I think that makes sense.

My favourite destinations used to be the big European cities, especially Paris.

Nowadays, maybe because I live in London, I tend to look for something else. I like going to places which offer something new, different from what I have at home. I am more interested in the souks of Marrakech than in the shopping centres of Western Europe.

I haven’t shifted to off-the-beaten-track destinations by design, it just happened over time. It seems that I’ve started to feel comfortable in more different settings, actively looking for them when I’m planning my next adventure.

harbour 6

The view from the harbour in Reykjavik


I go to Edinburgh on occasion to visit friends. It’s easy to get there and it’s always fun.



  • Go: there are lots of flights from London, but you can also take the train, which takes a bit less than 5 hours. Book in advance as prices can get quite high.
  • Stay: I always stay with friends, but Hostelworld has many options available. Accommodation is not particularly cheap in Edinburgh, but it’s worth paying more to stay in the city centre.
  • Do: On a nice day, hike up Arthur’s seat for a great view of the city. Recover with a nice beer in one of the many great pubs around the city centre.
  • Shop: Ness has lots of nice bags and jackets, with a modern Scottish feel. I always find it a bit on the expensive side, but they often have sales on.

The 5-minute trip planner: Planning a short trip in no time.