Category Archives: Global

Book Review: How to Be Human: The Manual, by Ruby Wax

How to Be Human: The Manual, book cover by Penguin, seen with collage art by Maurizio Anzeri and Nkiru Oparah.

Do you want to explore the human condition, without heavy academic textbooks and bland philosophising? Then you need How to Be Human: The Manual, Ruby Wax’s new book for deep thinkers who like a side-order of laughter with their psychological revelations. This is the kind of book you could take on holiday and binge-read on a plane, or dip into as you try and fail to settle into ‘holiday mode’, because How to Be Human will explain why you can’t fully switch off, and why you’re struggling to feel compassion for the champion seat kicker who ruined your flight. read more

Pantone Ultra Violet Locations: Places That Nail the Colour of 2018

Lavender fields in Provence iconic view with purple lavender: example of Ultra Violet Pantone colour in nature

Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet is the official colour of the year, set to appear on many of the things we buy, like and consume in 2018 – in a travel sense, everything from new suitcases and toiletries to hotel artwork.

The colour has already influenced some fashion designers’ Spring/Summer 2018 collections (shown in September and October 2017), and it will inspire many more designers in the collections yet to come. You’ll also spot Ultra Violet in homeware, stationery, food, jewellery and marketing materials, as brands look to jump on the bandwagon. read more

Sustainable Travel Explored: Meet Huw from TravelLocal

Raja Ampat Indonesia as seen in Blue Planet II with green scenery and trees edged by sand and bright blue sea - a destination covered by TravelLocal

Huw Owen is the co-founder of TravelLocal, with nearly 15 years’ experience in the travel industry under his belt, including stints mentoring travel entrepreneurs for the UN. He was the perfect person to kick-start my new blog series on sustainable travel.

Do you know a sustainable travel pioneer I should talk to for this blog series? Shout about them in the comments, or by tagging me on Instagram (Instagram.com/pollyallen), and let’s help spread the word about travelling more sustainably and ethically. read more

Travel as a Feminist: International Women’s Day 2017

Powerful women standing back to back and wearing embroidered headbands and tribal face paint against blurred background

Happy International Women’s Day! Being a feminist and being a travel addict can sometimes cause problems, from the politics of travel safety advice to the never-ending stream of sexist travel campaigns (ahem, Air New Zealand flight safety video featuring bikini-clad girls…). However, when you dig deeper, you’ll find enlightened feminist views across the world.

Today, the International Labour Organisation published the ILO-Gallup report, revealing that 70% of women and 66% of men (from nearly 149,000 people surveyed) would like women to be paid for their work. These positive findings included support from many women in countries where paid employment is rare, such as the UAE. read more

Quinoa: A Well-Travelled Andean Superfood

Quinoa Peruvian superfood slogan written on grey t-shirt and sweater

They say travel broadens your horizons, but it also broadens your palate. Though I’m a fairly fussy eater at home, as soon as I’m away I find there’s something irresistible about tasting local delicacies – stoemp in Belgium, a shot of throat-burning Brennivin in Iceland, Butlers chocolate in Ireland, you name it.

But trying quinoa in Peru was a revelation because it was already making waves around the world. So what was the fuss about, and why are superfoods like this making such an impact? read more

Spring/Summer 2016 Travel Trends, According to the Catwalk

Stylish popular destinations for travel in 2016 including Italy and Cuba

A chapel in Naples, a Japanese boutique and an American road trip – just some of the catalysts for the clothing seen on the catwalk for Spring/Summer 2016 in New York, London, Milan and Paris, and currently filtering into the shops (as the industry works a season ahead, the current New York Fashion Week is showing Autumn/Winter 2016-2017, in case you’re wondering).

I’ve combed through the Ready To Wear collections and teased out the main places designers are championing this season. They’ll inform what we all wear – whether you buy your clothes from high-end boutiques or the high street – and where we travel. read more

Armchair Voyages with Joseph Cornell at the Royal Academy

Artwork by Joseph Cornell: Planet Set, Tete Etoile, Giuditta Pasta (dedicace) 1950. Credit: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T01846

The Royal Academy’s latest exhibition, Wanderlust, is like being given an intravenous drip feed of retro travel photos, postcards and scrapbook materials. It’s like swallowing hundreds of ‘vacation’ Pinterest boards in one go. For anyone with an incurable sense of escapism, this is a drug, and it’s delivered by a little-known bachelor from Queens, New York, who never went abroad.

A self-taught American artist, Joseph Cornell created mixed media collages using anything from Baedeker’s travel guides to old maps, tickets, compasses, adverts and newspaper clippings, calling his collections ‘explorations’. read more

Emotional Baggage: Finding Travel Insurance for Depression

Rain on window against grey sky

Lawrence Durrell once said that “Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” I’m a big advocate of travelling for wellbeing, but I’ve also blogged about what it’s like to be away when you’re depressed, and how you can get through it. One big issue remains: finding travel insurance to cover depression can be a bit of a nightmare because, as the FCO says, it needs to be declared as a pre-existing medical condition. That policy will protect you from any health-related issues that may crop up during your trip, but you’ll pay a lot for the privilege. read more

In Defence of Organised Group Tours

Dancing figures from Thailand found at ceremonial site

Some people have a thing against organised tour holidays. They think there’s no adventure involved, that it’s all about strict plans and blithely following the leader, with no room for fun or independence; I’m going to prove it’s far from the truth. My three group tour experiences were very different, but they all helped me to get more from the country I was visiting, and they were anything but dull.

First I headed to Berlin, Dresden and Colditz with Riviera Travel, a British company that mainly has middle-aged and mature customers – I went with my mum and I was the only one of the entire group not to have either a husband, a pension plan or the symptoms of the menopause. However, I learned loads and had plenty of free time to explore, even making it to Sachsenhausen for the afternoon. read more

Global Wardrobe: Ethical African Fashion Brands

Sidai Designs made ethically in Tanzania employing Maasai women

The globalisation of fashion means you don’t need to visit a country to buy into its brands, which is great news for those of us who haven’t yet managed to make it to Ghana or Tanzania. With online shopping now easier than ever before, you can inject fresh African prints or jewellery into your wardrobe in no time at all. I’ve selected some of the best ethical labels to inspire you…

Sidai Designs

This non-profit jewellery label is based in Arusha, Tanzania, and is inspired by warriors. A recent collaboration with the Collective Boutique has seen the label reach a wider audience, with a percentage of profits through the website going straight back to the Sidai Centre, which is a vital part of the community. read more