What the volunteers say

volunteer video

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a volunteer? In June, my daughter Sadie and I are heading off for two weeks of volunteer work in Cusco conservation zoo, Peru. Here’s a short volunteer expectations video from people who have been there and done exactly that.

Hear what they think about their experience, advice on how to make the most of your time and dealing with culture shocks as well as what you can expect to gain personally.



Wish I was: on Socotra Island

I wish 1

It’s like a scene from the film Alice in Wonderland, you expect the blue caterpillar smoking a hookah to pop out from behind the tree any minute.

Imagine waking up on Socotra Island – what a feast for the eyes. You’d think you had time-travelled to another era. Well, it’s not far off the truth for this island. It has been geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 million years. And like the Galapagos Islands, this island is teeming with hundreds of rare species that are found nowhere else on earth.



Dubai Eye 103.8 – The Travel Show

Travel Show

Lucy Taylor and Mark Lloyd present The road less travelled show on The Travel Show, Dubai Eye 103.8.

We were very excited to be invited into the studios for the Tuesday show – exploring the more adventurous side of vacationing, where we donned some headphones, sat close to the mic and talked about our volunteer trip to Peru.

Here’s the audio:





These shoes are made for walking

hiking boots look

I’m gonna come straight out and say it. Why are hiking boots so damn ugly? Do you really need them? Surely a semi-stylish pair of well- worn trainers can do the job. I’m not suggesting Isabel Marants but come on.

For our volunteer trip to Peru, my daughter and I have been given a list of suggested items to bring and one of them is the dreaded pair of hiking boots. While we are there, the plan is to go to Machu Picchu and possibly on a jungle tour, so its 50/50 if we are going to need them.

I began researching the damn boots and came across some interesting findings.

First of all, one problem is that is seems the hiking boot suppliers are anti-style. I found one site that confidently names itself  ‘Best hiking boots pro’ and recommends NO STYLE to be considered at all. It says:

“The point when looking for your climbing boots, it’s extremely recommended that you don’t go for the stylish one rather than a durable and waterproof hiking boot.”

Did you know that women’s hiking boots are very different to the male boot de la hike?


Dubai to Peru in under 30 hours!


The web spat out far too many flight options which caused a number of head hurts along the way. But, we finally decided to go with British Airways from Dubai via Heathrow, to Madrid then on to Lima. The reason we picked this flight was mainly because of the leaving and arriving times and figured that the time in between will be a mix of sleeping, eating and waiting i.e. a bit of a blur.

Going with the same airline all the way seems to have some benefits including; collecting air miles (although actually using them is another matter), luggage transfers (the airline will send them onto the next flight rather than having to check in again) and generally keeping things simple. 

Our last flight will be Lima to Cusco but that will be booked nearer the time as the flights are every half an hour with many different airlines. 

So the journey looks like this:

Leave Dubai at 9.30am and arrive London Heathrow at 2.05pm – 7 hrs 35 mins

Layover: 2hr 45min

Leave LHR at 4.30pm and arrive Madrid at 8pm – 2 hrs 20 mins

Layover: 4hr 20min

Leave Madrid at 00.30am and arrive in Lima at 5.35am the next day – 11 hrs 55 mins

Total time: 28hr 55min

Nearly 22 hours in the air and 7 hours waiting time, not including Cusco flight.

There are 6 or 7 flights per day to Cusco from Lima, and the flight time is about 50 minutes.

I hope the movies are good!


My name is Hero, the travelling bear

bear 5

“So, I am walking along the seafront in Eastbourne and I come across a teddy bear sitting on the bench looking out to the sea. I thought someone had lost their favourite bear until I looked closer…..” Said Lorna Cooper, mother of two, Felicity and Tylus and my sister.

Fast forward six weeks later. My parents arrive in Dubai from England and with them is a bear named ‘Hero’. My mum, Sue explains their story.

Bear 1


Word of mouth: where to go in Peru?

nazca lines

Here are a few tips and suggestions on travelling in Peru including; where to visit, what you should pay and more. All from an avid traveller and photographer who recently explored the area. Cheers Rav!

Assuming you are flying to Lima then either taking a bus to cusco or flying. I suggest you stay somewhere near Plaza de armas in the city center. You can book tours to Machu Picchu just about anywhere expect to pay around $250 USD for a 2 day tour. (You need a two day tour because you will sleep in Aguas Calientes and wake up early for Machu Picchu) DO NOT pay more than $250 for 2 days.

So, what is the Global Volunteer Network all about?

GVN what is

I thought now is a good time to give GVN a bit of web time and highlight some of the reasons why I have decided to volunteer with them.

The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) was launched in December 2000 by Colin Salisbury, its Founder and Executive Director, after spending time volunteering in Ghana, West Africa. While he was there he saw the tremendous difference volunteers could make in helping local organizations achieve their goals. Upon returning to New Zealand he spent some time researching the different volunteer organizations around the world and was amazed at how expensive and limiting many programs were in terms of volunteer opportunities.

Over the past 14 years the Global Volunteer Network have built up strong ties with grassroots organizations throughout the world, and placed 19017 volunteers. 

Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating “I’d love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network” and CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you.