I'm not much of an adrenaline junkie. You won't see me bungee jumping
or snowboarding down a mountain. As a matter of fact, I won't even go
on any rollercoaster that has a looping. I'm also fairly lazy, so you
won't find me cycling around Iceland or hiking across New Zealand.
I also don't believe that experiences are any better because they
were hard to achieve. Given the choice of walking to the top of the mountain
or taking a cable railway, I'd rather take the easy way up. If I'm breathless,
I want it to be because of the view, not because of walking uphill. (I also
don't think a meal will be better because you searched the mushrooms yourself
and cooked them over a campfire. I'm perfectly happy to order stuff prepared
by a professional.) I don't really mind walking if there is no alternative,
I just don't buy into the "the harder you worked for it, the more the experience
is worth" myth.
Given all the things I don't like doing, it sometimes surprises me what kind
of things I have done over the years. But I like to try new kinds of transport
(which is also a bit odd, since I don't really love cars [don't even own one],
they're nice to get from A to B, but I can't get excited about most of them) and
lots of the experiences involve some method of travel.
Things I've driven
- Snowmobiles in Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Svalbard (Norway) in 2008,
Svalbard in 2011, Svalbard 2011 (again),
Sweden 2014, Finland 2016,
and also in powder snow in Canada.
- Reindeer sledge in Finland.
- Dog sledge in Svalbard (Norway) and
(for longer trips) in Northern Canada in 2009, in Northern Canada in 2010,
in Svalbard in 2011, Svalbard 2011 (again) and back in Northern Canada in 2012
and also in 2013 as well as in Sweden 2014 and in Finland 2015,
followed by Sweden 2016 and Sweden 2017.
- Jet boat in New Zealand.
- Quads in Finland (just a short round),
on easy tourist tours in Utah, Tasmania,
Italy, Italy again, and Brazil,
on a somewhat harder tour in New Zealand.
- Zorb in New Zealand.
- Sailplane over California (though this is only partly true - I was allowed to take
control of the plane for a while, but I didn't start or land it, or even fly it for
most of the time) and a motor glider over Oxford.
- Biplane over Los Angeles (I did fly the plane for about five nminutes.) and also a Tiger Moth over the UK (but for an even shorter time...)
- Sprint car in New Zealand.
- Hovercraft in England.
- Jet ski in the USA and New Zealand.
- Downhill luge in Rotorua and Queenstown (both New Zealand) and a similar things on wheels in Portugal. and Italy.
- Kart in Japan and Oxford.
- Caterham Seven in the Alps.
- Morgan in Sauerland.
- Ferrari 488 GTB and one in a Lamborghini Huracàn on the Monza racetrack.
- Amphicar in the Rhine.
Things I've been a passenger in
- Concorde from Greenland to London and from Finland to London.
- Helicopters in Vancouver, Niagara Falls, Greenland, Utah and
New Zealand (and again) as well as at the
- Ski plane in New Zealand (but without a ski landing, unfortunately).
- Ski plane in Antarctica with landing
- Cargo plane to Antarctica
- Water plane in Berlin.
- Balloon over California and over Germany.
- Hovercraft from Dover to Calais and back.
- Dog pulled car in Svalbard.
- Dog sledge in Iceland (short trip) and in Greenland (much longer tour).
- Submarine in Israel.
- Corvette on a race track in Kentucky.
- Catamaran in New Zealand.
- Cruise among icebergs in Greenland.
- America's Cup sailing yacht in New Zealand.
- Antonow-2 biplane in Berlin (once from Tempelhof and once from Finow).
- A small Stampe SV-4 biplane near Berlin (and, years later, at Großenhain),
and a small Tiger Moth biplane near Nordhorn (and, also years
later, another one over Duxford, UK)
and a Boeing-Stearman biplane in Los Angeles.
- Jet boats in Paihia, Rotorua (and
another one in Rotorua), Buller Gorge
and Queenstown, all New Zealand
- Zeppelin over Lake Constance.
Other odd things I've done
- Whale watching at the east coast of Canada,
the west coast of Canada,
the Atlantic ocean west of Iceland,
New Zealand and
- Spending a night in the ice hotel in Sweden, two nights at the
ice hotel in Quebec, as well as one night at the Igloo Village at Zermatt.
- Spending a night in an 'UFO' in Sweden.
- Spending a night in a 'glass igloo' in Finland.
- Spending a night in a coffin-shaped 'tree house' in Portugal.
- Spending the night in the flight deck of a Jumbo Jet converted to a hostel and a year later I stayed in one of the engines .
- Spending a night in the highest hotel in the Alps.
- Spending a night in charcoal burners's hut in Sweden.
- Standing on a mountain that was younger than I was in Iceland.
- Standing at the Equator in Macapá, Brazil
- Walking on a glacier in Svalbard and New Zealand.
- Crawling in a glacier in Svalbard (Norway) and again in Svalbard in 2011.
- Watching an eclipse in Zambia on my birthday and another one in Tennessee/
- Camping at the North Pole.
- White water sledging down rapids in New Zealand.
- Swimming in a warm crater lake in Iceland.
- Diving with dolphins in Israel.
- Swimming with dolphins in the Amazonas region.
- Snorkelling in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Mozambique.
- Floating in the Dead Sea.
- Watching penguins in Tasmania and in Chile
and, much more excessive, in Antarctica.
- Sandboarding down a dune in New Zealand and Mozambique.
- Paddling in a cave in Slovenia.
- Blackwater rafting in New Zealand.
- Holding a caiman in the Amazonas region.
- Horse riding along a beach of Bazaruto in Mozambique and on snow and ice in Sweden and Finland .
- Being set on fire during a stunt weekend in Berlin in Mozambique.
- 'Flying' in a vertical windtunnel in Los Angeles.
- Ziplining in New Zealand,
in the Parque da Cachoeira in Brazil,
in Pedra Bela, Brazil,
in the mountains at Wrightwood, California, north of Los Angeles,
across the Olympic Stadium in Munich,
in caverns (and also above ground) in Wales,
and in Toledo, Spain.
- Walking across the Millennium Dome in London.
- Canyoning in Greece, Italy,
and Portugal, rappelling in
and ice canyoning in Canada.
- Caving in France.
- Trad climbing (unsuccessful) at El Yelmo, Spain.
- Caving in France.
- Rafting in Greece and in Portugal.
- Combining climbing and caving (well, in slate mine, not a natural cave) in Wales.
- Kayaking in France, Belgium
and in Greece.
- Eating a 'Dinner in the Sky' on a table suspended from a crane in Athens.
- Holding an owl in Northern England.
Highest, lowest, deepest, farthest, fastest
Most western point I've been to: Anchorage, USA, about 150°W.
Most eastern point I've been to: Napier, New Zealand, almost 176°E.
Most southern point I've been to: Road from Te Anau to Queenstown, New Zealand, roughly 45.7°S.
Ok, none of the three above is meaningful anymore. My furthest south had
changed in December 2005 to Punta Arenas in Chile at 53°S, but that
was valid for about a week before getting to the ultimate south:
The South Pole at 90°S. So my furthest south will never change again.
Since I walked around the South Pole, I also covered every degree of
longitude from 180°W to 180°E in a couple of seconds, so I will
never reach a point more easterly or westerly than I've already been to.
Most northern point I've been to: Near Moffen Island, Svalbard, Norway, 80°N.
This is now also not meaningful anymore. I went to the North Pole in April 2008,
so the furthest north is now and will remain at 90°N.
Highest altitude: On board of Concorde, 57000 feet (about 17 km or 10 miles).
Highest speed: On board of Concorde, Mach 2 (about 2400 km/h or 1480 mph).
Highest speed in a car: Driving a Ferrari 488 GTB on the race track at Monza, 269 km/h (about 167 mph).
Biggest depth: Submarine, Eilat, Red Sea, 180 feet (about 55 meter) below the surface.
Lowest point on surface: Dead Sea, 1200 feet (about 360 meter) below sea level.
Highest altitude on surface: It used to be Inspiration Point, Utah, USA at 8800 feet (about 2700 meters). Then it was the South Pole, which is at 2850 meters, but now I've spent some time at the Alps highest hotel 'Grawand' at 3212 meters.
Visit to concerts
This has nothing to do with travel at all, but after making the list
above, I went into a sort of 'I really did all that?' kind of mood,
and I started to think about concerts I've been visiting. And since
I'm in list-making mood right now, I thought: Why not list them as
well, even though this has nothing to do with travel?
Not all of these were of my own choosing. Rest assured that I
would never attend a Kelly Osborne or Corrs concert on its own, but
they were opening acts for groups that I wanted to see, so I had to
watch their performances es well. Be charitable and assume that any
annoying group or performer listed was the opening act for a more
Without any specific order:
Pink Floyd, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Rolling Stones, U2, Frank Zappa,
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Kolbe & Illenberger, Neil Young, Manfred Mann,
Jethro Tull, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Tangerine Dream, Grateful Dead,
Jackson Browne, UK Subs, Eagles, David Bowie, Eurythmics, Supertramp,
Chumbawamba, Who, Bobby McFerrin, Eric Clapton, Gary Moore, Laurie Anderson,
Simon & Garfunkel, Robbie Williams,
Suzanne Vega, Joan Baez, Konstantin Wecker, Mercedes Soza, Bettina Wegner,
Santana, Bob Dylan, Chris De Burgh, Leningrad Cowboys, Roger Waters,
Blues Band, Mike Oldfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Foreigner, Lake,
Corrs, Kelly Osborne, Kodo, Ondekoza, Hank the Knife and the Jets,
Holograms, Meatloaf, Heather Nova, Alanis Morissette, She-Male Trouble,
Mark Gillespie, Vibrators, Cobra Killer, Wir sind Helden, Madsen,
Kling-Klang, Portishead, Randy Newman, I heart Sharks, Dakota Days,
Caspar Brötzmann Massaker, Hugh Laurie, Sonoio, Geographer, Ladytron,
Steve Reich, Los Lobos, TV Smith, Björk, Roger Hodgson, Paul McCartney,
Soap Girls, Peter Pan Speedrock, Amanda Palmer, Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy, Judith Holofernes,
Kids of Adelaide, Kiefer Sutherland