Notes from the Road

Thoughts about the world as I travel through it


Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

A Foundation for Peace

I was in Brittany last week at a wedding (a wonderful experience in itself!), and I met a person who leads a foundation focussing on teaching and promoting peace with children. The website is, and it’s a multi-lingual site. (more…)

Safely home again

We came in from San Francisco without event. The security here was a little tougher than we’d seen at Heathrow – our carry on bags were briefly searched at the gate right before we climbed on the plane.

Travel restrictions not as severe as the media portrays

We travelled to the US a few days after the height of the crisis – they had just allowed one small carry-on bag.In fact to my surprise the security process was no more onerous than usual – we were never searched, and the only change was the additional question (and restriction) related to liquids.We made it to the airport with 3 hours to spare and ended up with a lot of time to waste in the departure lounge.

It’s hard to judge if there were additional checks that we didn’t see, but my experience of the trip was no material difference from normal international travel.

We’ll see how it is on the way back…

How to travel safely by air

During the late 1980s, I was working for Schlumberger in Cambridge, and they gave us training in how to behave in a world where terrorism was a risk. I thought I’d pass on the elements that I remember. This was the era of hi-jacking, when we had to worry both about bombs and about being taken hostage when travelling by air.So here are some of the points I remember: (more…)

We decided to delay our travel

United says our flight will leave only a few minutes late, but we decided to stay home until we know more. We may travel next week, or perhaps just I will go – it depends on what we can get and our assessment of the risks.In reality it’s unlikely that anything untoward will happen. The controls are very strict, and in any case the chances of being on an affected flight are very small. How should one look at these risks?


UK – US travel threatened

Today we see headlines about the foiling of a terrorist plot to blow up planes flying from the UK to the US. This resonates with me as I’m supposed to make that trip tomorrow. I will probably delay my flight – both to minimize risk and to avoid the hassle of extra security.One of the key elements of the heightened security is the banning of carry on luggage – down to elements like spectacle cases. It’s obvious that there are many ways for a suicide-bent terrorist to create something poisonous or damaging from apparently innocuous carry-on items, so these restrictions are not surprising. But they do make travel very unpleasant for all of us. (more…)

Travelling in Africa

We just came back from a trip to Kenya and Tanzania (Zanzibar). Lots to say about that – and I’ll publish a lot of it on my web site – in fact the pictures are there already and accessible from the front page…But the point of this blog is that we made a mistake. We tried to save money by going through Dubai. Nothing wrong with Dubai – in fact the airport is large, modern, efficient, and full of shops that never close. The problem was the connections. We had long layovers – six to eight hours – between two fairly long flights. Painful with two kids – although they did really well and we all got a bit of sleep.So next time, we’ll pay a bit more and go as direct as possible. Less wear and tear on all of us, and a better start and finish to an otherwise great holiday.

A blog about our place in the world

I can’t help being a bit philosophical. Life has given me so many experiences and so much diversity. I wish more than anything else for people to better understand each other, so that we can have peace.
I know it’s a dream, but why not? As one of my ex-colleagues pointed out, in order for dreams to come true, you have to wake up! So dreams are good, but action is better. This is a small kind of action – using words to influence.

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