Beyond the Map. Children at play.

Ice play

Photo credit Светлана Квашина (

Here’s a beautiful collection of children playing around the world. The photography is pretty amazing and shows the ingenuity of kids all over the world!

To see all the photos check out




Beyond the Map. Walk In Her Shoes Challenge 2014

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge

This year I’m taking part in the Care, Walk In Her Shoes Challenge raising money by walking 100km in a week!  The back of my little boy’s head sitting up in the pram has been my walking view for 3 hours each day! We have explored many parks, streets, riversides and bridges with my faithful pedometer ticking along. We are 70km in and on track to meet our 100km by Sunday!

Here are a few snaps from my walks and some info on Care the reasons behind the challenge.

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge -Sydney Harbour

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge views…

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge – Sydney Olympic Park

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge – The Bay Run at Haberfield

CARE is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls. CARE Australia is a non-religious and non-political charity, working together with communities to provide emergency relief and address the underlying causes of poverty. From decades of experience, we believe supporting women and girls is the most effective way to create sustainable outcomes in poor communities.” (From

Meet some of the women and girls who face the daily burden of walking to collect water, food and firewood.

For more information on why we need to walk, raise money and assist these girls and women visit



Beyond the Map. The Big Picture.

The Big Picture finalist photographer R.William captured this image in the Thar desert between Jaislmer and Bikaner. (

Check out the 25 finalists in the Sydney Morning Herald’s reader travel photo competition – The Big Picture. I’m glad I don’t have to judge! I love them all. Which one is your favourite?

Beyond the Map – Before they pass away – Jimmy Nelson.

See the breathtaking work of photographer, writer and adventurer Jimmy Nelson in his new book and website – Before They Pass Away.

Jimmy Nelson photography – Masai (

“Photographer Jimmy Nelson set out to search for the world’s last indigenous cultures, with the goal to document these rapidly disappearing communities for future generations. “I didn’t start this project anticipating that I could stop the world from changing,” he said. “I purely wanted to create a visual document that reminds us and generations to come of how beautiful the human world once was.” (

No doubt he has achieved this with this stunning collection of images. I’m really hoping there will be one of these books under the Christmas tree for my family this year.

Beyond The Map. 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

Some pretty amazing maps here (and some funny ones too!) A perfect addition to our Beyond the Map section!



If you’re a visual learner like myself, then you know maps, charts and infographics can really help bring data and information to life. Maps can make a point resonate with readers and this collection aims to do just that.

Hopefully some of these maps will surprise you and you’ll learn something new. A few are important to know, some interpret and display data in a beautiful or creative way, and a few may even make you chuckle or shake your head.

If you enjoy this collection of maps, the Sifter highly recommends the r/MapPorn sub reddit. You should also check out There were also fantastic posts on Business Insider and Bored Panda earlier this year that are worth checking out. Enjoy!


1. Where Google Street View is Available


Map by Google



2. Countries That Do Not Use the Metric System


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Beyond the Map. Postage stamps.

The Beyond the Map feature of this blog is here to explore people, places and customs that cross borders, mix cultures and tell stories. What could be more fitting than international postage stamps? I’ve always loved the ever changing designs, shapes and colours of stamps and the way they give the receiver a small glimpse of the sender’s national identity, iconic people, customs or celebrations.

The Black Penny stamp – the first postage stamp. (

Here are a few interesting details about postage stamps and some of the incredible artworks that carry our correspondence around the world.

  • The first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was introduced in the UK in 1840. Being the only country with a postage stamp at the time, there was no need to include the United Kingdom wording anywhere on the stamp. To this day, the UK is the only nation not to identify itself by name on its stamps.

Unusual stamps Sierra Leone (

  • The first person other than a head of state to appear on a stamp was Benjamin Franklin, whose portrait featured on the 10 cent stamp in the United States in 1847.
  • Switzerland once produced a stamp made with lace and another of wood. The United States fashioned a plastic stamp and East Germany issued a stamp of synthetic chemicals. In the Netherlands a stamp was made of silver foil and Bhutan issued one with its national anthem on a playable record.

Postage stamp that plays the national anthem of Bhutan (

  • A 1993 stamp featuring Elvis Presley from the US postal service was the most popular stamp ever sold – over 120 million!
  • The Australian government produced stamps to look like gems using 3D technology. The impressive designs feature diamonds, opals and pearls. Australia was also the first country to issue regular Christmas stamps each year, from 1957.
  • The world’s longest pictorial set of stamps (134 stamps) came from Turkey between 1958-1960.

Postage stamps (


Stamps from Pakistan (


Amazing Tongan stamps (

Amazing stamp from Djibouti (

Do you have a stamp collection? Feel free to share any amazing stamps you have found!

Beyond the Map – Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite van Geldermalsen

This is one of my favourite books and inspired my own travel to Petra, Jordan in 2008. It remains one of the best trips I’ve ever taken (with the fantastic Intrepid Travel). It tells the incredible true story of Marguerite, a nurse from New Zealand who has a chance encounter with a Bedouin man in Petra that changes her life forever.

Here is the intro to Marguerite’s story and a link to her website if you want to read more.

“Marguerite’s light-hearted and guileless observations of the people she comes to love are as heart-warming as they are valuable, charting Bedouin traditions now lost to the modern world.

Married to a Bedouin is the story of how Marguerite van Geldermalsen fell in love with Mohammad Manaja and married him; how she settled into his cave, and slept with him on the ledge in front under a sheet of stars; how she fetched water by donkey, baked bread daily and ran the local clinic.

 The book describes the most recent history of Petra. Through her stories and the stories of the people she shared the valley with, comes a picture of the site when it was alive, and when Marguerite was married to a   Bedouin.”

Also, here a few photos of our amazing adventure in Jordan.

The Treasury, Petra

The Treasury, Petra



Our Bedouin camp, Wadi Rum

Our Bedouin Camp, Wadi Rum

Tea time in Petra

Tea time in Petra

Tea tent, Wadi Rum

Tea tent, Wadi Rum

Amman, Jordan

Amman, Jordan

Beyond The Map

I’ve just updated my brand new Caravanserai 230 – Beyond The Map page!

Beyond The Map will explore a myriad of people, places and customs that cross borders, mix cultures and tell stories. I’ll be looking at everything from books, music and art to agriculture, climate, people and countless other amazing things that come my way through the Caravanserai 230 project!

I’d love to hear from you so feel free to get in touch and tell me about something in your life that’s Beyond The Map! To contact me, head on over to…

Today’s post is about the incredible Sami people from Northern Europe and Russia and their reindeer. The herders from Arnoy Island migrate annually to ensure a steady food supply for their animals. They encounter some very arduous conditions along the way including a 5km swim for the herd. The scenery is spectacular and the way of life is astounding. Enjoy!