I have two great regrets in my life. One is eating a chicken sandwich in Varanasi, shortly before flying to Kathmandu. This gave me the worst food poisoning I have ever experienced, nearly killed me, and meant that I missed a unique opportunity to visit Lhasa before it was turned into a Chinese Disneyland. The other regret involves three Inter-rail trips that I made in 1979, 1980 and 1981. They were extraordinarily rich in sights and experiences. Stupidly, though, I did not keep a travel diary at that time, so all I have are vague, if important, memories of what I saw, thought and felt.
At least I was able to learn from these two huge blunders. Afterwards, I no longer ate chicken sandwiches in exotic lands, and I kept travel diaries for all my major trips. The latter took the form of black notebooks, bought from Ryman's, in two formats: one small enough to fit in a pocket, and another, slightly larger, that I kept in the travel bag I used for longer journeys.
I now have dozens of these notebooks sitting behind me, filled with my illegible scrawl. I have been meaning to turn them into digital texts for some years, and to bring them into the 21st century, but have never got around to it until now. I am not transcribing them in any set order, but will place links to them below, as they go online, ordered chronologically. There is no overall plan, no overall significance. They are just what they are: quick thoughts jotted down in black notebooks, captured moments of a specific time and place.
1986 India I: Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri
1986 India II: Kashmir
1986 India III: Jaipur, Udaipur
1988 Hong Kong, Bali
1988 India: Delhi, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Varanasi
1988 Nepal: Kathmandu, Pokhara
1989 US, New Zealand, Fiji
1990 Egypt I: Cairo, Saqqarah, Giza
1990 Egypt II: Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel
1990 Egypt III: Asyut, Kharga, El Amarna
1990 Egypt IV: Alexandria, Wadi El Natrun, Suez
1992 Indonesia I: Lombok, Bali
1992 Indonesia II: Yogyakarta, Solo, Jakarta
1994 Sri Lanka
1994 the Danube: Neuburg, Vienna, Budapest
1994 Trieste, Ljubljana
1995 Siena, Bagno Vignoni, Pienza
1996 Vienna, Venice
1996 Helsinki, Tallinn
1999 Weimar, Venice
2017 Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong