Couchsurfing in the USA (or how to cut costs at SXSWi)

couchsurfingusaTypical. I wait six months to write my Austin, Texas, feature after visiting South By South West Interactive and then go on holiday just when it's published. It went in the Sunday Mercury travel section on 4th October 2009 to tie in with Austin City Limits (Austin's 'other' music festival).

I don't normally like my own travel writing but I do like this one so I'm posting it up! Thanks to Midge_UK for getting hold of a print copy and to Davey Kay for hosting me.

The feature is mostly about what it's like to Couchsurf, which involves finding a willing local host to put you up while you're in town.

In this case it was Davey, a former truck crane operator and trainee helicopter pilot with a liking for pirates and death metal. Brilliant.

You can read the full text here: Couchsurfing USA.

'Yalla Yalla get a wriggle on!' – Jordan press trip

wadi_rum_tentsTranslation: get a move on. This was the running theme of a last week's busy busy press trip to review Jordan's natural wonders – well, that and lots of Spirit & Destiny magazine plugs (tick) – which involved:

1. No less that three nature reserves.
2. Two seas in one day (Red to Dead).
3. The lowest nature reserve on earth, 400m+ below sea level.
4. The Jordanian branch of the Great African Rift Valley.
5. A night sleeping out in the desert at Wadi Rum.
6. Elijah's birthplace, Moses' resting place.
7. Canyoning, rock bridge walking, hill trekking, mudbathing.
8. More rock than Blackpool at Wadi Dana, Petra and Wadi Mujib.

Due to write up next weekend, but for a pictorial taster, here's the Flickr set.