#10 – December 2020

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

I hope all is well with you all.

With the news of the vaccines being implemented at a global level we have received a flurry of enquiries and bookings for next year over the past weeks, which is just great all round. We already have bookings for our 2021 adventures in Spain, Lebanon, Romania, Japan, Oman, Mongolia & Kyrgyzstan.

As many of you will have seen in the news there has been some fighting in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia, but now that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government forces have taken the region’s capital of Mekelle, we very much hope the situation will settle down quickly: Ahmed already has a Nobel Peace Prize for ending the conflict with Eritrea. In the meantime, we are still taking bookings for all our itineraries in country, including for the southern Bale Mountains near Kenya and in the Southern Nations region for our Origin of Coffee Adventure.

We had a conference call with the Ethiopian Embassy in London and Ethiopian Airlines only last week, and are keeping up to date on all developments. Please remember we will only ever run adventures when it is safe to do so; which is relevant across all of our destinations. 2021 will rely on the good faith of all parties involved to make trips happen in the correct way.

One of our YellowWood guides Katia Knight recommended the following podcast to me which is absolutely fascinating:

Click Here to listen to the podcast. Christiana Figueres is the former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and a key architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement. In this podcast she describes how this agreement was reached first-hand, and how future agreements and global actions at the very highest levels of government can achieve the goal of reducing global warming. This woman is an absolute powerhouse.

Incidentally, Figueres is Costa Rican and the daughter of the three-time President of Costa Rica José Figueres Ferrer, who, after launching a revolution to overthrow the government of his country, abolished the army, nationalized its banking sector, granted women and Afro-Costa Ricans the right to vote, and set the country on its course to be the poster child of ecotourism and sustainable development it is today – a remarkable story in itself.

As you know YellowWood plants 15 trees via our partner charity WeForest for every client and guide that takes an international flight to help to compensate for the carbon emissions. We have also declared a climate emergency as part of the Tourism Declares movement, whom coincidentally mentioned us in their recent marketing.

But for those clients in the UK who wish to avoid flying altogether (and there are an increasing number of you), we have recently launched adventures in the Picos de Europa mountains of North Spain which can be accessed via ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao or Santander, and in Romania which can be accessed by train from London in 35 hours.

Christiana Figueres’ book ‘The Future We Choose‘ (2020) came out in February which I am still reading but wanted to mention here as she is one of the highest authorities on the subject today and requires no additional commentary.

Another book recommendation is ‘The Lure of the Honeybird’ (2013) by Elizabeth Laird. As Laid describes in her own words: “… the British Council in Addis Ababa invited me to collect folk stories from every region of the country [Ethiopia]. During five long and enthralling journeys, I met ex-guerrilla fighters, camel traders, Coptic nuns and tribespeople. The Lure of the Honey Bird is my account of those journeys,  interwoven with some of the haunting and beautiful of stories I collected, featuring princes and maidens, snakes and lions, zombies and hyena-women.

The one [story] I shall never forget, one of the most remarkable I ever heard in Ethiopia, expresses in the most poignant way the terror of a girl-child, barely in her teens, facing her unknown bridegroom on her wedding night. This story…is truly a woman’s story.”

My Father! My Mother!
This is no man.
I have seen his fur.
You have given me to a wild animal!

A final stocking filler is ‘Shogun‘ by James Clavell. The level of detail and his deep understanding of Japanese culture is nothing short of extraordinary. I remember thinking after reading a few of the action sequences that Clavell knows a little more about life than your average author – and indeed he was an artillery officer in the Royal Navy before being captured by the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore, spending the rest of WW2 in the infamous Changi prison where only one man in fifteen survived.

… which is a nice segue into our completely unique itinerary Japan: Lost Islands of Japan Adventure departure on 17 – 27 October 2021 (11-days), which is already taking bookings now. I spent my second year of university studying in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on an exchange programme, and was able to travel through this remote archipelago during our spring holiday – an experience I will never forget.

Finally, myself, Cathy and all the YellowWood team would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas indeed! I think we all deserve it. For a Christmas gift why not put down a £200 deposit on any of our adventures for a loved one? With our new flexible booking policy, it can be allocated to any of our adventures next year or beyond.

Have a restful and enjoyable holiday break,

Sam McManus, MD

#9 – August 2020

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

I hope all is well with you all. YellowWood continues to bob along in the doldrums awaiting a clear headwind to begin our international adventures again…

… But rest assured we have not been idle during this time; we are soon launching a hiking adventure in the Carpathian Mountains as well as a cultural adventure in Romania, and next week I will be driving down to Spain to begin research on a Basque Country Spain cultural adventure (yes this will include pincho) and also a hiking adventure in the Picos de Europa.

[Image: Viscri Fortified Church in Romania] I would highly recommend the nature documentary ‘Untamed Romania’ available on Netflix. You can watch the trailer here.

[Image: Picos de Europa mountain range] The Picos de Europa extend for 20km through the autonomous communities of Asturias, Cantabria, Castile and León in Northern Spain.

We successfully closed our crowdfunding round at £62,000 and are keeping the majority of this stuffed in the mattress for when demand picks up again. An exception to this is a revamp project we are undertaking for our website for a smoother client experience as we continue to schedule new trips in 2021.

The terrible tragedy that befell Beirut at the beginning of this month is a blow upon a bruise for Lebanon. Our business partners and friends are all safe thankfully, although few have escaped unscathed from the blast either via material damage to homes and businesses, or the loss or injury of loved ones.

Reconstruction has already begun however; here is a photo of our friend Rana Jabre volunteering to refit some of the many thousands of windows destroyed by the blast. With the help of a friend and carpenter, she has already renovated 22 apartments using money donated to her via Facebook. You can get in touch with her here.

Many thanks to all those who have donated to support the country via the links on our social media posts. Our Lebanese charity partner FoodBlessed continues to feed the displaced and desperate in Lebanon and you can continue to support them directly here.

Ahead of my Spanish adventure I have been re-reading ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’ (1969) by Laurie Lee and ‘Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises’ (1926) by Ernest Hemingway. That Lee literally walked into a new life of adventure set the bar for me high early on; and I had spent three months tramping around Andalucía in his footsteps before I reached my 20th birthday.

Hemingway was my favourite author for a decade, and although some find aspects of his style now somewhat stereotypical of itself, when his novels first appeared his condensed style was an electric innovation. Both authors capture the soul of Spain as few others can.

Finally, if you are looking for an Alternative Christmas this year why don’t you join us in Oman? Our 9-day Oman Cultural Adventure begins on 19th December 2020, in what can only be described as the most relaxing country in the Middle East – this is a real holiday.

I have never had much imagination as a writer, and can only put down the things that to me were particularly striking at the time – which is why I like travel writing. Recording an account of wild camping through Oman for a month towards the end of 2019, what fell onto the page contains almost no information about this wonderful country or its welcoming inhabitants; rather it is a record of my personal actions and reflections upon needlessly getting into trouble, which you can read here: Misadventures in Oman

Until next time,

Sam McManus, MD

#8 – May 2020

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

As we see the positive effects upon the natural world as a result of humanity’s slowdown, it is clear that our actions, including travel, need to be more responsible and sustainable in the future.

Here are some ways that we have long been planning to achieve this:

We are planting trees

Trees are the best technology we have to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse global warming.

For every client and guide who takes an international flight to one of our adventures, we plant 15 trees via our partner charity WeForest.

To compensate for 700kg of carbon emissions (a rough average of an international return flight) will take 15 trees 10 years. But of course trees live for much longer than this.

We are not adding the cost of this onto our adventure prices. As a company it will only take about 2% of our total revenue to achieve this.

Click here to donate directly to WeForest projects

Working with charities 

We are finding that more and more of our clients want to have a positive impact upon the destinations they travel through. One way of achieving this is to partner with local charities and to visit them during our adventures.

One of the charities closest to our heart is the Hamlin Fistula Clinic in Ethiopia. Clients have the opportunity to visit this amazing place during their tour of Addis Ababa, and often make private donations as a result:

Another example is the charity Food Blessed in Lebanon, which provides free food to the needy of the country, and has been especially influential with the recent influx of Syrian refugees.

Two YellowWood groups were due to visit and volunteer with this organisation in April, but unfortunately these trips have had to be postponed until travel restrictions subside:

Responsible Travel

From water filtration bottles bottles to economic and environmental policies, to best practise for tipping, you can read about our initiatives here: www.yellowwoodadventures.com/responsible-travel

Climate Emergency Declaration

We are a part of the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency collective: We believe in working together with other institutions in order to help create meaningful solutions to improve practices. You can read about this initiative here: www.yellowwoodadventures.com/climate-emergency-declaration

And now for something completely different:

Client haikus

Trekking in Kyrgyzstan 

Deep snow on the pass
White peaks pierce blue sky above
Mountain mist descends

Pamela Carr
London, UK

Lalibela in Ethiopia

Churches carved in stone
Priests swaying from side to side
The incense rises

Rachelle Motts
Seattle, USA

Jebel Sahro Mountains, Morocco

Giant flutes of rock
Reach for skies blue, and echo
To the shepherds call

Sean Crawford
Brecon, Wales


The mountainous slopes
Lift me through wildflowers to
Qadisha Valley

Hesham Zakai
London, UK

The Maldives

Cloudless azure sky
Conch shells tinkle in the breeze
Timeless flow of days

Daphne Mullins
Reading, UK

Internationally grumpy

Good or bad haiku
Can I tell the difference
No I can’t can you

Alan Johnson
London, UK

Blue Sky Thinking

Did you notice the recurring theme? At fist I thought it comical that half the haikus referred to the same image and was going to make a bad joke about the British weather – but I think it’s significant – why would three people focus on this independently?

When you think of a blue sky you don’t think of being in a city because the buildings obstruct your view, you are outside somewhere in nature, the air is clean and unpolluted, you can move around freely, the sun is out and you can feel it on your face; isn’t this our best version of the world?

Until next time,

Sam McManus, MD

P.S. Our crowdfunding round is on pause and will resume again as soon as is fitting; Click Here for more information.

#7 – March 2020

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

To address the elephant in the room; coronavirus is affecting all of us and I hope you are all safe and well. Life goes on of course, and the drive to explore new corners of the world, learn from other cultures and refresh ourselves physically and psychologically through travel doesn’t cease:

We are running two adventures in Ethiopia this month and two in Lebanon next month, with spaces still available on the 18-26 April Lebanon departure. With that in mind, we have uploaded a talk I gave on Lebanon at the Adventure Travel Show in January, which you can watch if you Click Here.

[Image: YellowWood Adventurers taking a tractor ride around the beautiful vineyard of Chateau Kefraya in the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.]

We are continually monitoring the information from the UK Government and the World Health Organisation regarding the COVID-19 virus. Despite how the media makes it feel at the present time, like SARS, Ebola and Zika, coronavirus will inevitably abate as we adapt to contain and treat it. Our clients’ safety is of primary concern to us, and we and our local teams will keep you all up to date on any and all developments should your destination be impacted in any way.

Our adventures take you away from the crowds into remoter destinations, whereby just being there you continue to be a vital support to the local economies and their environments. These are always the first and hardest hit by a slowdown in global tourism, and we are grateful to our travellers who are keeping their eyes on the facts and continuing their support in a safe and sustainable way.

[Image: Caroline, Luwam & Cathy on the YellowWood stand at the Destinations Travel Show in Olympia, London, February 2020]

We launched our long-planned crowdfunding campaign last week via the platform Crowdcube to help us grow over the next three years, and have already received a fantastic early response.
Please contact me directly on sam@yellowwoodadventures.com if you would like further information regarding this.

We made a short video to support this campaign which turned out to be a great way of introducing our company in general, which you can watch if you Click Here.

I don’t have a very highbrow book for you this month despite my best efforts… In truth I picked up and put down voluminous biographies on both Bruce Chatwin, legendary author of Songlines and In Patagonia, and Ernest Hemingway, a favourite author for much of my misspent 20’s.

Both men had a lot of sharp angles and I guess I’m just not feeling that hardcore at the moment, so I went back to a childhood classic; Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’, which documents a British family’s life on the Greek Island of Corfu.

Many of you will have already read this I know, but it just doesn’t date: The scene where there is a fire in the house and Gerald’s brother Lawrence (author of The Alexandria Quartet – see review on Newsletter #2) is overseeing the family firefighting from the confines of his bed actually had me in tears of laughter. (Incidentally I once sailed past this very house which faces Albania, and can verify that this coastline is as magnificent as he describes.)

It is encouraging that we are still receiving bookings for our adventures throughout 2020, with a particularly strong response to a talk I gave at the Destinations show on our Mongolia Nomad Horse Riding Adventure, taking place on 18-26 July 2020 (9-days) and 22-30 August 2020 (9-days). You can watch the video of this talk if you Click Here. This is just one of our best trips!

Until next time,

Sam McManus, MD

#6 – January 2020

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

We ran two trips this January; the first to the festival of Genna [Ethiopian Christmas] in Lalibela and the Gheralta Mountains (pictured below) led by Katia, and the second down into the Kafa Biosphere Reserve in the Southern Nations for our Origin of Coffee Adventure led by myself – both were exceptional experiences for all involved.

In the past couple of months we have made some positive decisions to help sustain our natural environment: For every person who takes an international flight to one of our adventures we plant 15 trees via WeForest, and we have joined the tourism sector’s Climate Emergency Declaration.

We are also partnering with a local charity in every country in which we operate: In Ethiopia we visited the Hamlin Fistula Clinic, set amidst their beautifully tended gardens in Addis Ababa, as part of our city tour so clients can learn about the amazing work being done there, and some have already made donations to this most worthy of causes.

Cathy is working tirelessly to build similar partnerships to ensure our Responsible Travel. Our clients also perform acts of kindness in other ways like the ‘happy trekker’ who came with us to Gheralta in September, and sent out four pairs of boots for the porters with our January trip – thank you:

We had a fantastic weekend exhibiting at The Adventure Travel Show – shout out to Harry for all your help thank you – and if you missed us fear not as we are returning to London Olympia next week exhibiting for FOUR DAYS (!) at The Destinations Holiday & Travel Show on Stand AA44.

Look out for my talk: “Nomad Horse Riding In Mongolia” at 10.45 – 11:30 on the ‘Meet the Experts’ Stage 1, Sunday 2nd Feb 2020.

I spent about a month in The Sultanate of Oman towards the end of 2019 on research for our next adventure, and among other things read: ‘Where Soldiers Fear To Tread‘ by the now Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

He served there from 1968-70 as a ‘contract’ officer on loan with others from the British Army to aid the Sultan in his skirmishes with the Marxist-indoctrinated PFLOAG guerillas. It is a fascinating account from a fascinating place and time, with the descriptions of the gun battles so sharply written you feel as if you were in one yourself.

Do you have any books relating to our destinations that you would recommend for our reading lists please? Incidentally I met Sir RF at this year’s Adventure Travel Show, although the setting for this historic audience was at the urinals, and considering his experience in guerilla warfare I didn’t make any sudden movements…

My own time in Oman was thankfully much more peaceful, involving lots of camping on deserted beaches and walking in sand dunes. I’m delighted to share our new Oman Cultural Adventure, departing in November 2020:

If you are following us on social media you will have noticed that our recent posts are more organised, informative, make sense and are of a much higher quality – all thanks to Deborah (Debs) whom is turning around our digital marketing – if you have anything you’d like to share please contact her at: deborah@yellowwoodadventures.com

We still have spaces available on our next adventure departing on the 15th March for 9 days (only 5 days off work people!) to the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, where, traversing the highest plateau in Africa,  you will see both Ethiopian Wolf and the majestic Mountain Nyala pictured here. This is a much under-visited region and one of my personal favourites:

Finally, we are launching a crowdfunding round in the coming weeks to help us grow – would you like to own a little piece of YellowWood Adventures? If this may be of interest please drop me an email: sam@yellowwoodadventures.com and I’ll send you our pitch deck. More on this to follow…

Until next time,

Sam McManus, MD

#5 – November 2019

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

Greetings from Beirut! I have just finished leading our first adventure here in Lebanon, which coincided in parallel with another of our cultural adventures in Iran, led by YellowWood guide Andy. Both of these were absolutely fantastic trips but could easily not have taken place if our clients had listened exclusively to the hyperbolic mainstream media:

We have partnerships on the ground with well-established operators in every country we travel in, and in the case of Lebanon I even flew out ten days earlier to gauge if the on-going political protests could negatively affect our journey. In addition to this we are in constant contact with the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) whom give official advice (which affects our travel insurance policies I might add) on whether or not to travel to regions of any given country. So, in short, unless our partners on the ground, the FCO and our own judgement say we can’t go – then we go!

Image: YellowWood Adventurers at the Roman ruins of Tyre, Lebanon

Image: YellowWood Adventurers discovering the Jame Mosque of Isfahan, Iran

I spent my second year of university living and studying in the small rural town of Oita on the southern island of Kyushu, Japan. During the long halu yasumi [spring holidays] I took my surfboard and tent and spent a few months hopping down the Ryukyu Islands that stretch all the way to Taiwan. As per usual I have posted one of my travel stories from that time on our blog, and I am very much excited to share this remote and magical region of the world with you via our Lost Islands of Japan Adventure, taking place in April 2020:

Looking for a new hairdresser? 

Look no further than the village of Koraro, Tigray region, Northern Ethiopia:

We have run four adventures in Ethiopia in the last couple of months and those of you who have hiked in Gheralta Mountains will know Berhanu, who has long since been by far our best campfire dancer – despite having only one functionaing leg.

Berhanu can’t work in the fields because of his disability and has spent most of his life just getting by. He has been expressing a desire to be a barber however, so our most recent group here in September clubbed together and raised enough money to buy him the equipment he needs to get his new career off the ground! Go Berhanu!

I apologise for the monotonous genre of my travel books this year, but I have been re-reading Freya Stark – the doyenne of Middle East travel writers – most famous for her travels in Arabia at a time when very few men, let alone women, had fully explored its vast hinterlands. Her amazing work ‘The Valley of the Assassins’ (1934) inspired me to create our similarly named hike in Iran. The following passage is from her closing thoughts in ‘A Winter in Arabia’ (1937-8), documenting one of her expeditions in Yemen:

“I thought of this civilization and of the beduin who is so happy without it. Perhaps it is because he need never choose the second best. Poor as his best may be, he can follow it when he sees it, and that is freedom. We, too often compelled to see two roads and take the worse one, are by that fact enslaved. Our lesser road may in itself be better than the wild man’s best one; but that is neither here nor there, it is our choice of the second that makes us second-rate…

… It would be pleasant, I reflected, to look back on a life that has never given its soul for money, its time to a purpose not believed in, its body to anything but love. The Arab can still say this, unconscious of alternatives. He will take a bribe gladly but will then do what he likes notwithstanding…” – Freya Stark

It has been an amazing year for YellowWood and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has come on our trips. We are a young company operating in some challenging environments and very much value your feedback. We read it all and act on much of it to improve our itineraries, procedures and service quality:

A good example of this are the new highly detailed adventure info packs painstakingly compiled by Cathy, incorporating feedback from you and our guides directly. We can’t (and don’t want to) take the adventure out of adventure travel, but are striving to give you a better idea of what to expect.

I am flying from Lebanon to the Sultanate of Oman next week where I will be travelling solo for the best part of a month to scope out our next YellowWood Adventure there. What can I say? I just like doing it the hard way…

Until next time,

Sam McManus, MD

Come and see us:

Stand F5

I am also giving the following talk:
“Lebanon: At the crossroads”
11.15 – 11:45 in the Incredible Journeys Theatre
Saturday 18th Jan 2020

Stand AA44

I am also giving the following talk:
“Nomad Horse Riding In Mongolia”
10.45 – 11:30 on the ‘Meet the Experts’ Stage 1
Sunday 2nd Feb 2020

#4 – September 2019

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

I have just returned to the UK after leading one of our Nomad Horse Riding Adventures in Mongolia. It was a truly fantastic journey and a pleasure to travel alongside some really wonderful people.

I’m sure our 12 clients embarking on the same adventure tomorrow lead by Harry will have an equally fantastic time. It is nice to be surprised by people: About a year ago I had assumed my portable solar charger had been either lost or stolen but on this journey the Mongolian family looking after us presented it to me saying I had left it behind in one of their gers the last time I had passed through on a research trip.

It is a great bit of kit and had become an integral part of their lives – every member of the family using it to charge their phones on a daily basis as they live in gers with no fixed power source. I found it so touching that they tried to return it to me nevertheless (which I of course refused). There are still good people in the world. I have captured some of this first journey in my travel writing; ‘Autumn in Mongolia’.

Before Mongolia I was in the north of the UK in the beautiful town of York, exhibiting at the Countryfile Live show at the stunning Castle Howard, which features in the 1981 TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited. Standing in a field for four days selling holidays is a little tiring to say the least but the fine people of Yorkshire made it a delight – undeterred even by one day of torrential rain as they squelched up to me in their wellies to sit down for some Ethiopian coffee.

I have been reading ‘The Road to Oxiana’ by Robert Byron, a distant relative of Lord Byron of “mad, bad and dangerous to know” fame. First published in 1937 it is undoubtedly one of the great classics of travel writing – a travel writer for travel writers if you will. It documents his travels to Persia and Afghanistan, then known as Oxiana from the ancient name of the river Oxus [Amu Darya]. It is just perfect, interesting writing, and oh so funny at times. Byron was killed in 1941 when, serving as a war correspondent, his ship to West Africa was torpedoed.

Caroline has been very busy leading two hiking adventures – first in Ladakh in northern India and then in Kyrgyzstan in the Tian Shan Mountains. I was a little concerned about the latter group after receiving some text messages from her via our satellite phone asking for the weather forecast for the rest of the week as they were experiencing some heavy snow in the remote mountains. But the sun eventually came out and the photos are breathtaking! You can see some select photos from all of these adventures on our Instagram page.

I am back in Ethiopia in a couple of weeks leading one of our firm favourites the Lalibela & Gheralta Mountains adventure with 12 clients again. I have bought some new tents for the occasion and look forward to more campfire dancing, ouzo drinking and church visiting (not necessarily in that order). This adventure is sold out but we have another departure in November:

Finally, thank you to everyone who attended our Ethiopia party in Brixton, which just happened to coincide with the hottest day in recorded human history; it was a great turnout nevertheless and the heat just added to what was dubbed ‘a genuine Ethiopian Experience’…

Until next time,

Sam McManus, MD

#3 – July 2019

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

We had a fantastic adventure in Kyrgyzstan last month led by YellowWood Guide Caroline McCann. Our clients had a wonderful time and Caroline has put together an excellent collection of her pictures here. Our Kyrgyzstan Great Lakes Nomad Adventure will run again in 2020.

We are having a party! We are so used to taking clients to Ethiopia we thought it would be nice if we brought Ethiopia to them for a change… So next Thursday we are hosting a night of Ethiopian music headlining with the incredible Krar Collective (pictured), food & dance in London’s Brixton Market. We still have a few tickets available and would love for you to join us.

My roll of Middle Eastern reading continues and on a flight back from Istanbul I finished ‘Arabia’ by Levison Wood. Wood documents his recent travels around the entire Arabian Peninsula including riding a tank into battle against an ISIS-held town in Iraq, getting thrown out of Yemen, crossing the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden into Somalia for five days on a wooden dhow and witnessing first-hand both the devastation and rebuilding of Syria.

Wood and his crew were simultaneously filming the trip for a documentary that has just aired on the Discovery Channel. It is easy to discredit the showmanship of television with the smoke & mirrors often employed in it’s production, but I have to say that I think Wood is the real deal, and this book is an important snapshot of our time in this ever-turbulent region.

We are always listening to our clients to create the best itineraries we can; and so from your feedback have created a 3-day add-on for our Ethiopia Origin of Coffee Adventure, to include a trip to explore the stunning 13th Century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela – I guess they just can’t be missed!

I’m very pleased to report that for the first time we have a small group departing on our Iran Assassins’ Castles Mountain Adventure in October, which I am very much looking forward to leading after first exploring these mountains in 2017. If you want to join us for this exceptional experience please do let me know asap as we are still within the timeframe to apply for your visa.

Finally, I’d like to wish a very Happy 3rd Birthday to my Godson Oliver – at whom’s birthday party in Holland I was honoured to attend last month – undoubtedly a fine young adventurer in the making! How glorious is it to enjoy the beauty and fun of a single leaf of a tree.

Until next time,

Sam McManus, MD

#2 – May 2019

Dear Fellow Adventurers,

I did something I have often read about but never actually done before: I was supposed to be in Lebanon for nine days on a research trip, but I purposely missed my flight and stayed for a month, just because I liked it so much.

I took a small apartment in Beirut and explored the country at my leisure – and what a country it is. I have written a short piece of Lebanon travel writing about this time, which you can read on our blog. I’m therefore very pleased to announce that we have now launched our Lebanon Adventure, departing on the 2nd November 2019 for nine days:

While I was there, apart from wrestling with my Arabic notes, I re-read (for the third time) my favourite novel; Lawrence Durrell’s ‘The Alexandria Quartet’, comprised of the four volumes ‘Justine’, ‘Balthazar’, ‘Mountolive’ & ‘Clea’.

Although not a travel book as such, Durrell’s masterful descriptions of the Egyptian city before and during the 2nd World War capture a sense of place unlike any other; travelling through time and perspectives with superhuman grace. Highly recommended.

Back in the UK I was up in the Lake District exhibiting at the Keswick Mountain Festival with professional guide Caroline McCann, here serving our delicious Ethiopian coffee, whom is also leading our Great Lakes Nomad Kyrgyzstan Adventure next month. I even managed a cheeky hike up Catbells on Derwent Water just in time for sunset.