The green traveller – by Richard Hammond

The green traveller is a new book about sustainable travel by Richard Hammond, an author who resembles his former Top Gear namesake in only one way – he is always firing on all cylinders when it comes to promoting, informing and inspiring people to travel sustainably. I use the word ‘inspiring’ carefully in travel, because it’s one of those big editorial no-nos. However, I met Richard when I was doing my Masters in Responsible Tourism and was hoping to pursue a career writing about it and I felt that, after that, he became my mentor and has, most definitely, always inspired me.  Richard’s latest book has just polished that pedestal to an even shinier level.

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Magnetic North Travel’s philosophy cries freedom

Seeing the Northern Lights in Norway

Friluftsliv and Free Air Living on wilderness holidays in Scandinavia

I like companies that are based on a sound philosophy, and Magnetic North Travel was set up by Laura Greenman, a green travel writer and eco entrepreneur, after she travelled extensively in Scandinavia, and discovered the Norwegian philosophy of Friluftsliv. Although this sounds more like something you might buy in Ikea, it actually translates as Free Air Living. And, unlike the Swedish indoor retail therapy, this philosophy is based on the idea that spending time outdoors, in nature, can really help us recuperate as individuals.

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Wild swimming in a bog pool in Estonia – beat that

It’s not every day you get to swim in a bog pool in real wilderness. But this adventure holiday in Estonia, takes you to Soomaa National Park, just two hours drive from the stag-filled bars of its capital. Soomaa translates as ‘Land of Bogs’ where you can meander through meadows and mires by canoe,  hike across squelchy sphagnum moss with the aid of ingenious bogshoes, and cool off in the most divine natural pools you will ever come across.

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Holiday on ice. Ice skating in Sweden – one of the best winter holidays

Ice skating in Sweden is one of the best winter holidays

I take my first steps out onto the frozen waters of The Baltic and my legs lock with fear. All that practice on the Christmas rink feels like a futile flirtation as my Swedish guide gently urges me to put my trust in the long metal ‘tour skating’ blades and just slide. Only weeks previously I had been proudly circling the rink, feeling all crisp and carefree, and now here I am, on the precipice of Swedish serenity, and I can’t seem to put one bleedin’ blade in front of the other.

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