Imaginative Traveller’s blog

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How to be (or not to be) a vegetarian traveller

Food, glorious food… it can be the best part of your travels or it can be the worst, particularly if you have specific dietary needs or simply just want to eat healthily. 
Veggie Food Blog salad


Winter Getaways

Can’t wait a whole year for your next adventure? There’s no need! Travelling at Christmas is becoming increasingly popular and in some parts of the world, it’s the best time to visit. So why not get Imaginative, escape the turkey and tinsel this year and jet off on a journey of a lifetime to make this an unforgettable festive season. We’ve picked out some of the best destinations.
shutterstock_357950543 Sunset from the shore in Cuba


Family Christmas Countdown

Why not make this year's countdown to Christmas extra special for the whole family by jetting off for the Festive Season on one of our incredible Family Adventures?

Sloth resized


A photographic journey through the Amalfi Coast



The Most Beautiful Buildings in Iran

1. Golestan Palace, Tehran



A homecooked curry

It’s a bit of a common misconception that a good Indian curry has to be made by using fancy pestle and mortars and fresh spices. The thing I love about this recipe is that it’s so simple to make and you can keep most of dried spices in your cupboard. The trick to this curry is to make sure the gravy or ‘johl’ is as smooth as possible so it’s a good idea to blend the tomatoes, onions, ginger and garlic first (don’t be afraid to cheat and buy puréed garlic and ginger, I have jars of the stuff in my fridge).


Remember, there is no perfect science to this, which is why my curries taste different every time – I always think a slapdash approach is the best, and definitely more fun!  


We are recruiting!

Combine the excitement of adventure travel with the calm of the Suffolk countryside. We are looking for a new sales consultant to join us at Camp Green – our busy UK head office.

You could be helping customers to book anything from a Dragoman overland trip to any of the trips sold through Imaginative Traveller, which could be a cycling trip in Cuba or a group of friends visiting Iran. The work is fast paced and exciting and we are a close knit and collaborative team. Ideally we are looking for someone with travel and sales experience but we value energy, passion and a high level of customer care above anything else.

There are opportunities for travel through our partners and many other benefits to working in one of the most established companies in the travel business. We are ideally located between Norwich and Ipswich (trains to Liverpool Street 1hour 10 mins), and just half an hour to the coast. We have a great social life here or you can enjoy the discounted facilities at the local leisure centre or indulge in a pie and pint at the local pub.


Food for foodies: Indonesian Chicken Taliwang Recipe

Chicken or ‘ayam’ Taliwang

I learnt to make this dish on a recent cookery course in Gili Trawangan off the coast of Lombok, Bali’s quieter cousin. Chicken Taliwang is said to have originated from the Sasak people of Lombok and is named after Karang Taliwang in Mataram, the capital of Lombok.




Curious Caves of the World

1. Cueva de las Manos - Santa Cruz, Agentina

Known as 'Cave of Hands' in English, this amazing cave is filled with 13, 000 year old cave paintings.



Come and meet us at Destinations Travel Show!

If you're in London on the weekend of the February 4th to 7th then then why not come and say hello and meet some of our friendly team?



You either love it or you hate it! The world's most contested foods..

We take a look at the worl'd most contested and controversial foods..

1. Injera

Often described as a spongy sour pancake this Ethiopian speciality Even the most hardened injera fans may get sick of the sight of it by the end of a trip to Ethiopia!



Active Galapagos

Active Galapagos with Imaginative Traveller…what can you say; all the usual superlatives describe this trip; holiday of a lifetime, fun, adventurous, amazing, and so much more.



Around Iran in 20 Photos

Iran is possibly one of the most misunderstood places on earth; a fascinating mix of culture, history, architecture and people. Mike Marlowe takes us on a visual adventure through this unique and beautiful country.


10 Dishes to Try in Georgia

From tasty salads to gooey, calorific but oh so delicious cheesy breads and tasty aubergine starters, Georgian is a interesting mix of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Central Asian flavours and one of the most unique cuisines out there. Helen Youngman, our resident foodie travelled there this month and went on a mission to hunt out the country's best home cooked delicacies and street food.



A night with some nomads in Iran

The 3 hour drive from Shiraz to visit the Nomad home stay is a winding drive up through the Zagros mountains. The Qashqai tribe (the same name as the Nissan car, of which they are very proud of!) tribe have been nomadic within Iran for thousands of years.




A home cooked feast in Karakol

Here is the latest blog post from Jezza and Lesh, the guys behind NOMADasaurus who are on our Dragoman Bishkek to Tashkent overland trip at the moment!

' Meet Fatima and Aibek!



Salmon Taco Food Recipe

With Helen away this month I’ve stepped up to the hot-plate and tried my hand at one of my personal favourite cuisines, Mexican. I’ve stayed away from the classic chilli-com-carne and nachos and tried my hand at some Mexican street food.

The taco is a classic example of this as it is quick and easy to make, satisfies those hunger pangs and you can just use your hands to eat it…no sitting down and no knife and fork required.

Salmon Taco


Photography Tips - Landscape

An insider’s guide by professional travel photographer Mike Marlowe


To become competent at travel photography it’s necessary to embrace a number of genres and landscape is an important part of that.

Most people often think of landscape as just picturesque views of natural surroundings but it can also include urban landscapes and any scene that gives a strong impression of the surroundings.

Rock formation landscape


Overlanding - What's it all about?

Overland definition


Best of East Meets West

Best of East Meets West

To celebrate the launch of exciting new Europe trips we thought we would take a look at some of our favourite cuisines that really reflect a diversity of cultures, where flavours and culinary customs move beyond borders. Did you know that years of Austrian rule infused Bosnian cuisine with a host of Viennese ingredients, or that Georgian cuisine is heavily influenced by both Ottoman and Persian empires? Here are our top 5 ‘East Meets West’ cuisines.



Photography Tips - Travel Portraits

An insider’s guide by professional travel photographer Mike Marlowe

Travel Portraits

Nothing gives a feel or impression of a place more than the people. Capturing the essence of people’s looks and character when travelling is a skill that any budding travel photographer should acquire.

There are two primary types of portraits; the first is the formal type portrait that requires a ‘sitting’. This concentrates on the person and their connection with the viewer.

formal portrait


Top 10 Wildlife Experiences

1. The Migration in East Africa

Serengeti migration

You simply cannot beat the spectacle of over a million wildebeest, zebra and antelope trekking from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara – an absolute ‘must-see’ in the wildlife calendar


International Falafel Day

Friday June 12th marked a special day for the world... and the Imtrav office; it was the 4th International Falafel Day, a day designed to “bring together countries around the world" through their shared love of the falafel. To me this was the perfect excuse to put on a Middle Eastern Charity lunch! The actual falafel making process turned out to be a bit of a nightmare in all honesty, an art form harder to master than it seems. It was my first attempt at making falafel and I'm not one for following rigid recipes, I'm much more of a slap dash haphazard one pot wonder whiz (no surprises baking is not my forte!) So after sabotaging someone else's kitchen and turning the falafel mix into an oily tempura soup in ten seconds flat…I caved and bought some frozen Lebanese falafels.

Lebanese Falafel

Lebanese Falafel


10 Reasons to Explore Madagascar

1. Wildlife? Well of course! Madagascar is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. Approximately 95 percent of Madagascar’s reptiles, 89 percent of its plant life and 92 per cent of its mammals exist nowhere else on earth!



Get Off the Beaten Track, On Your Bike

Explore the world on two wheels – ‘Four Wheels Good, Two Wheels Better!’


My best ever birthday present was a weekend mountain-biking course in the Lake District. I learnt how correct use of gears helps you up impossibly steep hills, sped down narrow mountain paths with precipitous drops, enjoyed a ‘slow race’ (where the last person to reach the finishing line wins!) and generally pushed myself far beyond the norm. I absolutely loved it (falls and all), particularly the well earned pints at scenic Cumbrian pubs at the end of a hard day in the hills.


Photography Tips - Camera Kit

An insiders guide by professional travel photographer Mike Marlowe

Like many things, choosing the best camera equipment for travel is an exercise in compromise and you have to weigh up the pros and cons around your decision.

Panasonic Lumix
The Panasonic Lumix, one of the most popular compacts for travel.


Turkish Guvec Recipe

Bowl of Turkish Guvec

Turkish cuisine is a rich fusion of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Caucasian and Central Asian flavours, from barbequed octopus and calamari on the Aegean coast to delicately prepared ‘Sigara Boregi’ cigar pastries, to homemade Anatolian herbed cheese, Turkish is one of the most varied cuisines in the world. It’s so good we have a two week foodie tour where you can see the main highlights of Turkey whilst eating and cooking your way around the country!


World Music in Focus - Ethiopia


This month brings us to Ethiopia in our series of articles exploring traditional and contemporary music across many different areas of the world.


Festival Fever

Pushkar Camel Fair

Festivals are a thrilling way to experience the culture of a region - from the internationally renowned Pushkar camel fair in India to the wild spectacle of the Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival, here’s a list of our favourite festivals around the world!


All Eyes on Cuba

Cuba beach

“If Cuba were a book, it would be James Joyce's Ulysses; layered, hard to grasp, serially misunderstood, but – above all – a classic.” Is how Lonely Planet describes Cuba…and how true they are!


Ceviche Food Recipe



Ceviche is a refreshing popular seafood dish from the coastal regions of South America. It is made from fresh raw fish cured in lemon or lime juice, and then seasoned with chilli peppers to taste. We’ve chosen a Cuban inspired recipe to share with you which is made with allspice and red chillies - adding a bit of a kick - this dish is refreshing and great for summer!


World Music in Focus - Colombia

Bogota Carnival percussion


This month marks the start of a series of articles exploring traditional and contemporary music across many different areas of the world. We start off with the music of one of our most exciting and beautiful destinations in South America – Colombia.


Cuba - The Perennial Favourite



Cuba keeps hitting the news lately, and as relations between the US and the island continue to improve, we all wonder how long its timeless charm will last.


Tamarind Lamb Stew



This week’s recipe, Denning-vleis, or Tamarind Lamb Stew is one of the oldest dishes in South Africa and is a Cape Malay favourite.


Wild West USA



The vast North American continent has so much for the traveller to discover, from the majestic mountains, glaciers and lakes of Alaska and the Canadian Rockies, to the sun-drenched deserts of California and Arizona, to the rolling prairies of the American Mid-West, to the cosmopolitan cities and picturesque landscapes of New England.


Taste of Kashmir


Stepped in ancient traditions and flavours from Afghanistan, Persia and Central Asia, I think heavenly Kashmiri cuisine is one of the most underrated in the world!

The use of cardamom, cloves, mustard oil, saffron, mawal flowers, mint, yogurt and give the dishes a rich, aromatic and unique edge. Here’s a delicious Kashmiri paneer recipe to try at home!


Surprising Burma



Despite being one of the few countries left that still see a limited number of outside visitors, it's popularity continues to grow. It has now hit the top of the list on the most popular trips among Imaginative Traveller customers. It's not surprising considering the depth and variety of new experiences to be found.


New trips, new destinations, new brochure!

Here at Imaginative Traveller HQ we are busy working on our new brochure for 2015-2016. The 2014 brochure will be a hard act to follow but we are aiming for a bumper edition this year to really whet your adventure travel appetites...


Working in adventure travel



The excitement of returning travellers, the anticipation of those heading out on the road, the joy of talking about such exotic places as Buenos Aires, Havana, Kathmandu and Marrakech....Content Manager Helene Cooper realised that working at Imaginative Traveller could be a little like living in Istanbul....


Fancy solo travel?



Solo travel can be the most exciting, life-affirming, eye-opening experience for any traveller. However, it can also fill people with trepidation and worry and even put some off travelling altogether. After becoming a widower and an empty-nester in the sameyear, Janice Waugh decided to launch herself on the world - and created her very own blogsite in the process.


Travel news and buzz from Aol Travel blogsite

Aol Travel is written by a variety of travel writers and bloggers from around the world. Covering a plethora of fun, interesting and informative guides, advice and features, it’s the perfect website for helping you put together your own travel bucket list. So how has this community created such a powerful and successful website?


Where to go on an adventure holiday in September



Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar? Check out our suggestions for exciting September destinations and tour ideas.


Where to go on an adventure holiday in August



Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar? Check out our suggestions for exciting August destinations and tour ideas...


Belize - stunning natural beauty with no-one around



On the northeastern coast of Central America, Belize stands out as a top destination for bird and nature lovers, a compact country with an abundance of stunning wildness, where English is the language and the people are laid-back. Max Hartshorne of travel website Gonomad, recently spent some time there....


Exploring the Ecuadorian rainforest with 'Nelson of the Amazon'



"The rivers are infested with piranhas but they're generally very pleasant places to swim" - this was our introduction to a four day expedition into the Ecuadorian Amazon.....


Where to go on an adventure holiday in July



Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar? Check out our suggestions for exciting July destinations and tour ideas...


Where to go on an adventure holiday in June



Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar? Check out our suggestions for exciting June destinations and tour ideas...


Get active with us - try a walking or cycling holiday!



A walking or cycling holiday is the most rewarding type of activity holiday out there - after all, some of the world's best scenery, wildlife and culture can only be accessed on two feet - or two wheels! An active holiday with Imaginative Traveller offers a totally new perspective on a destination and allows you to truly experience the heart of a country. It's a fantastic way to remind you that this is a beautiful world we live in.


Rio Carnival 2014!

So what did you do last weekend?  Our 'gang' in Brazil had an absolute blast at the Rio Carnival. Find out just what you can get up to during a long weekend at the biggest fiesta in the world!


Diving underground in Mexico

Fancy jumping into a hole in the ground in the middle of the Mexican jungle?  One of our travellers decided to delve new depths whilst in Central America and really push the limits of imaginative travel...


My Bollywood Experience

Ever had some spare time on an evening in India? Helene Cooper from our Marketing Department enjoyed a 'night at the flicks' Bollywood-style....


Where to go on an Adventure Holiday in May

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar?  Check out our suggestions for exciting May destinations and tour ideas....


Where to go on an Adventure Holiday in April

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar?  Check out our suggestions for exciting April destinations and tour ideas....


Where to go on an Adventure Holiday in March

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar?  Check out our suggestions for exciting March destinations and tour ideas....


Where to go on an Adventure Holiday in February

Want to discover the best places to travel to with our informative Imaginative Traveller travel calendar?  Check out our suggestions for exciting February destinations and tour ideas....


Travels with my penknife - or pride before a fall

Flying the short hop in Ethiopia recently between Lalibela and the capital Addis Ababa, Helene Cooper found herself in a rather embarrassing situation for an experienced travel industry professional.....


The Great (and mad) Ethiopian Run

Fancy joining 38,000 other runners in the biggest road race in Africa? Helene Cooper from the Imaginative Traveller office decided to make her trip to Ethiopia just that little bit different by tackling the race through the streets of Addis Ababa. 10km run or mass street party?  Read on…..


Family Adventure Tours

Imaginative Traveller has added over 20 new trips to their 2013 family portfolio making the company one of the UK's leading family adventure travel specialists.

Now offering over 30 adventurous trips of between 8 and 19 days across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, the 22 year old company say it's seen a marked rise in demand for more off-the-beaten-track family adventures, hence significantly bolstering its trip range this year.


Travel disasters and triumphs

Mo Farah was recently quoted as explaining his strategy to quit at the halfway stage of the London Marathon was because he ‘hates losing’.  Well sometimes it is the ‘taking part’ which is actually the most fun element rather than the end goal.


Cambodia - Past, Present and Future

Director Charlie Hopkinson finishes his tour to Vietnam and Cambodia with a visit to the Killing Fields.


Cambodia culinary delights

Director Charlie Hopkinson enjoys a somewhat unusual culinary experience in Cambodia.


Cambodian Cocktails & Culinary Delights

Imaginative Traveller Director Charlie Hopkinson suggests the perfect gastronomic feast based on his recent trip to Cambodia.


Cambodia here I come! A Director's travels (or travails)

Charlie Hopkinson recently took our Best of Cambodia & Vietnam tour.  Here, he describes his journey between the two countries.


The Director's Cut - Charlie Hopkinson on tour in Vietnam

Chuc Mung Nam Moi, Happy New Year!


Communism or capitalism - ponderings from Vietnam

Communism or capitalism or does it really matter? Step out into the street in front of the Rex Hotel in Saigon and you cannot believe that you are in a communist country.


Take the family overland!

Looking for a really unique family holiday this summer?  Several of our African overland tours are GUARANTEED so why not take the children on a trip that will really live in their memories?


It's Murder on the Reunification Express - further adventures in Vietnam

Continuing our Director, Charlie Hopkinson's, journey through Vietnam.


Love en route

So is it possible to actually meet the love of your life whilst travelling?

Of course it is! We are talking holiday romance with a difference rather than your sun and sand type holiday.  A real adventure holiday where you are trekking through jungles, touring ancient sites or taking overnight train journeys with the locals.


50/50 - anniversary destinations

Two destinations are celebrating 50 years of independence from the United Kingdom in 2013 - Singapore and Zanzibar.


Sherpa documentary during Everest's 60th anniversary

Looking forward to watching BBC4's documentary of the Sherpas who have climbed Mt Everest this Thursday at 9pm.  Often the unsung heroes of any ascent, it is fitting that this study of four of these incredible humans is being shown in the year of the 60th anniversary of Mount Everest. "Climbing Everest with a Mountain on my Back: The Sherpas' story".


Where to go in 2013, month by month

Imaginative Traveller, the small group adventure operator with over 20 years experience, has launched its trip-a-month calendar cherry-picking the best global destinations to travel to throughout the year.


Young Upstarts

It seems everyone is out there writing at the moment.  A member of the Dragoman crew, our sister company, has set up a blog site detailing his overland training and current journey through Africa.  Dragoman is also linking up with writer Becky Wicks who is joining them for the inaugural Rio to Cusco Trans Amazon trip next month and will be blogging throughout her trip.


Variety is the spice of life!

It occurred to me whilst watching Jools Holland bring in New Year at his annual Hootenanny, that I never in a million years expected to see on the same stage Petula Clark, Bobby Womack and Adam Ant.  Eclectic it might have been - entertaining it certainly was.


Adventures by train

From the Orient Express to the Trans-Siberian, famous train journeys have appealed throughout the ages to any intrepid traveller.  Joining the locals to get from A to B on a train is often the best part of any adventure holiday.



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