All posts by Tim Way

I am passionate about being there, experiencing the culture and beliefs, meeting the people and eating the food. Hopefully you are too!


After the actions we took last year to reduce or eliminate 20 tonnes of our family’s carbon footprint, the next major contributor to attack is the food we eat, either at home or out in restaurants. Last year, I had estimated this at 12.5 tonnes of our remaining 30 tonne footprint.

Since the first in this series, our eating and cooking habits have materially changed: I am working from home, so eating at home every lunchtime, and we eat out about half as much as a family. I’ve also realised I hugely underestimated the percentage of our food that is air freighted to us from Australia or Europe. Overall, I still estimate our food footprint to be about 12.1 tonnes a year. This isn’t unrepresentative, food production represented about a quarter of our pre-cut emissions and is likely responsible for about a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions overall.

A reminder: the ultimate goal is for my family to become carbon negative, by reducing our footprint wherever I can, and offsetting the remainder. With hope, these posts influence others to do the same, turning our footprint negative. I am going about this in a completely data driven manner, by analysing where we are responsible for carbon emissions, then making changes to our choices that have the minimum impact on our lifestyle, but the maximum impact on sustainability. As I am doing this, I’ll give the sources of data and the approaches for you in this blog so you can make your own informed decisions.

Food carbon emissions have four major components:

  1. Land use change: above ground changes caused by deforestation or below ground impact on carbon in the soil.
  2. Manufacturing: crop production, fertilisers, animal feed, livestock gas emissions and food processing.
  3. Retail and Packaging: Warehousing, refrigeration, lighting and both manufacturer and disposal of packaging.
  4. Transport: Getting to product from manufacture to retail in a boat, on plane, in a truck, on a donkey or the like.

Land use change is significantly more impactful than I had expected. For nuts, land use change actually flips the impact to be negative. For Brazilian beef, the land use change can be higher than the other three combined. 

Transport is also very important for you to assess. In many calculations, it is assumed you food is transported largely by surface. Only .16% of global food-miles are air miles, so this is largely fair. However, in Singapore, 90% of food is imported, with many options available to import fresh meat, fish and short shelf-life fruit and vegetables from Australia and New Zealand. Whilst apples, bananas or pumpkins may well be surface transported, it is highly unlikely that fresh beef or salmon don’t go through an airport.

Breaking down our footprint

The estimate of 12.1 tonnes broke down as follows:

a) 6.0 tonnes from food used to eat at home (categories 1, 2, 3)

b) 2.8 tonnes in transport (category 4)

c) 3.3 tonnes from eating out. 

I’ll go into detail on how I calculated the a) and b) below. For c) I assumed a flat rate of 8.5kg per meal eating out, see reference below. By way of comparison, the equivalent figure I calculated for a home-cooked meal is 6.2kg (4.2kg of food and 2kg of transport). Chris Ying has estimated a home cooked meal uses 8kg of carbon, including electric energy and other costs I have attributed elsewhere – giving me confidence my figures are not way off.

To calculate a) – the impact of food bought to cook at home, I looked at the 34 foodstuffs we bought in any quantity and reliably over the period of an average month, with a specific focus on those I know to be carbon intensive: meats, dairy, and luxury air freighted items like chocolate. The items ranged from nuts with a negative impact, to Australian beef, which has an impact of about 9kg per 150g steak (excluding transport).

To calculate b) transport, for each foodstuff, I estimated its packed weight and whether it was air, sea or land transported, and used an average CO2 emission per tonne kilometre to give the overall impact. I couldn’t find any use of donkeys.

Summarising the 6.0 tonnes of direct food impact into seven main groups gave me the following breakdown:

In short, we could halve our emissions if we just cut out beef, eggs, milk, butter and cheese. Giving up cheese would remove one of my great pleasures in life (which was not the purpose of this activity – yet), but three small changes allow us to reduce the 6 tonnes by over 20% to 4.7 tonnes with no pain at all:

  1. Eating beef once a week rather than twice a week will save almost a tonne a year of carbon emissions
  2. Replacing cow’s milk with oat or soy milk will save 290kg a year
  3. Drinking more wine and less beer will save me 75kg a year.

Once I had factored in that our milk and beef were both air freighted in from Australia, the overall savings were 2.1 tonnes per year. To cut this materially further, we’d need to cut dairy out almost completely. Interestingly, a pint of beer uses about three times as much carbon to get to my mouth as a 150ml glass of wine. So as the wine seems better for the environment and also gives me a much brighter morning after, this was a real no brainer.

Consumption will be the topic of the next post, but ahead of a more thorough analysis, I have looked at the impact of nappies. A 35 page DEFRA article (linked below for your reading pleasure!) fascinatingly points out that purely from a carbon footprint angle, disposable nappies are actually lower in impact than reusable ones, once washing and drying have been factored in. Disposable nappies have an impact of around 200kg/yr.

My wife has immediately started potty training our daughter!

Where we stand as a family

So overall, we’ve managed to reduce our footprint by 2.3 tonnes a year through the actions in this post and are now down to 27 tonnes a year. Of course, as we are not flying at all, the 14.5 tonnes we had previously been offsetting are now cut, at least until borders re-open.

We have cut out 44% of our carbon emissions as a family in a year. A proud beginning.


I’ve used three main sources to estimate the carbon footprint of food:

These articles helped me understand the carbon impact of food and travel:

This is the 35 page DEFRA analysis of nappies

And finally, the calculations of the carbon footprint of a restaurant meal:

Reducing my family’s carbon footprint

Here’s a first blog on my efforts to reduce my family’s carbon footprint to a sustainable level. To reduce it I need to measure it, and this is a lot harder than I had ever expected. The first instalment of my efforts to calculate my family’s footprint and become (more) climate positive will hopefully provide you with some of the tools you need to do the same.

The Singapore government is fantastic with online publishing of data. And the Climate Change Secretariat tells me that Singapore emits a little under 9 tonnes of CO2 per year per capita. On first inspection, this seems very positive, less than half the US per capita figure.

But digging into this number, I discovered it isn’t the average footprint of a Singaporean. It is the total emissions of Singapore (excluding international transport) divided by the number of people. The carbon emitted in the process of growing food in other countries and then shipping the edibles to Singapore isn’t included. As the food chain contributes about 25% of global emissions and Singapore imports 90% of its food, and as the average Singaporean takes more than three flights out of Changi a year, there were going to be a few sizeable differences between the 9 tonne figure and the average footprint of a resident.

On top of this, I don’t own a car, but I probably fly more than most, so my individual footprint likely would be very different to the average. The journey on which I commenced was not pretty.

I set about trying to calculate our family’s carbon footprint. Despite their being innumerable footprint calculators online, after a lot of googling, all seem to make assumptions that were just not be valid for me.

For example, the carbon calculator touts itself as the world’s most popular. However, it suggested that my electricity usage produced only 2.21 tonnes of carbon a year. A quick calculation using Energy Market Authority data showed that in fact my family is responsible for over five tonnes of emissions.

The Polish government do a good calculator, but it calculated that we emitted 11 tonnes of CO2 from air conditioning. As this is a subset of electricity, this was way off too.

It seemed the only solution was going to be understand the key contributions to a carbon footprint and then calculate each part separately based on data specific to Singapore and specific to our family.

The main constituent parts for a family seem to be five segments:

  1. Transport
  2. Food
  3. Consumption (iphones, clothes..)
  4. Energy (electricity, gas..)
  5. Society as a whole (government, police, hospitals, water supply, road building..)

I’ve split food down into that eaten at home and in restaurants, and transport into flights, public transport and taxis.

My current best guess is that my family emit a whopping 50 tonnes of carbon a year. Sustainability advice is to emit 2 tonnes per person per year. So we need to find ways to cut about 85% of this if we want to be sustainable.

I’ve made a million assumptions in formulating this, which I expect will be refined as my understanding grows. If you’re interested in the calculations and assumptions behind these figures, I’ve written a separate blog on it here.

We cannot impact the ‘Society as a whole’ footprint, which represents the government, police, hospitals, water supply, road building etc. So I’ll assume we need to cut everything else to be sustainable. It would be impossible to do this without employing offsetting or carbon capture to some degree – we would not be able to eat.

My goal is to change the world, not my day. I want to cut as much as I can as cheaply as I can and then offset the rest.

So where to begin

The easiest place to start is electricity. Singapore has recently deregulated the electricity market, so am switching to a 100% solar tariff. This cut 5 tonnes out and actually saves me 290SGD/year.

Flights are another huge chunk. And because the emissions are higher in the atmosphere, the non-CO2 components are even more impactful, around twice as much so. I still want to see places and as much as I would love to, I don’t want to change my lift to give me time to take the train everywhere, so there are two tangible ways to make a difference here.

  1. Travel only on efficient aircraft. The calculations are based on an ‘average’ aircraft, Using only the most efficient Boeing 787, 777 and Airbus A350/320/330 reduces carbon emissions by about a quarter.
  2. Take only direct flights. 25% of the emissions on a flight occur during take off and landing. Flying direct (assuming the plane is mostly full) is more efficient per passenger.

I’ve decided to take both these options and offset the remaining 11-12 tonnes using where I support a project providing clean water filters to families in Laos enabling them to avoid burning wood to boil the water to make it potable. This costs me 144SGD/year.

With just these two actions we have eliminated or offset 20 tonnes of annual emissions, 40% of our total. We’ve also saved net 134SGD/year.

In the next blog, I’ll look at how to more accurately measure and then reduce the consumption and food segments – the next largest contributors.

Key takeaways

The easiest ways to cut your carbon footprint and change your day and not your life if you live in SIngapore are:

  • Switch electricity providers to a 100% renewable supplier
  • Fly on airlines that use Boeing 787/777 or Airbus A350/330/320s. Avoid Boeing 747s or Airbus 380s. Offset the remainder of your emissions, including the radioactive forcing, when you fly.

The Rinjani Masters

A common response to the invite had gone along the lines of: “Who climbs a volcano for their stag do? Tell me you are flying to Bali and then straight onto Bangkok?”

A good number had politely declined a three-day hike with in excess of 7km of vertical ascent and descent; however, seven good friends signed up for the adventure.

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Frank was one of them. An ultra-marathon runner with a wild head of hair, he had recently attended his brother’s wedding where the groom had headed down the aisle on crutches as a result of a stag do injury. With good reason therefore, my fiancé was comprehensive in her questioning of our plans.

Before setting off to summit Mount Rinjani, on the Indonesian island of Lombok, I had supplied a spreadsheet of timings, locations and telephone numbers. In a moment of excitement, I had also described the major eruption in the thirteenth century that had resulted in an awe inspiring crater lake seven kilometres in diameter and a mini global Ice Age. That had invited many more questions.

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To join Frank and I, our comrades also numbered two friends who spent most lunchtimes in the gym, two avid cyclists and, another who ran 100km for fun each week.

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The last earned the nickname Concave Cuong for his physique: that of a man who needs a new pair of running shoes every couple of months.

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As merely an infrequent half-marathon runner, I felt like I might be the weak link in this well exercised group – so I organised a pre-event, under the auspices of ensuring we had all worn in our gear, to walk the wilds of Singapore. Those of you who know Singapore will know the city-state tries its best, but our 15km jaunt through the jungle surrounding MacRitchie reservoir felt like taking the Piccadilly Line to prepare for the Trans Siberian. You could fit twenty-two of Singapore’s tallest mount, Bukit Timah, stacked on top of each into our target – Gunung Rinjani.

Nevertheless, the ‘boot wearing in’ session around the reservoir and up the mound went to plan and the following weekend, we were carrying hand luggage full of dark rum, scotch and enjoying a 9am lager at Changi airport.

– – –

Having left a successful career in the City behind to travel with me ten years ago, my best man James never returned to the UK or the rat race and now runs his own television production company. He’s a gutsy, passionate man who counts presenting and boosting client investment amongst his many talents. He doesn’t list travel logistics. And so it was that our outward (and return) journey would take an entire day via four airport terminals; fortunately, it diverted via a seafood lunch and a stack of Bintangs.

We arrived at base camp in the early evening where John, the owner of the adventure company we were to use, regaled us with stories of inconsiderate European trekkers who left their litter and loo roll all over the mountain.

John’s long white robes, songkok and glowing smile immediately command your attention and put you at ease. I had spent some time liaising with him in advance of this trip as I had some rather unusual requests; he was a no-man as well as a yes-man, which inspired confidence.

He had begun with “no, we don’t do that”, moved on to 500 dollars a head and we negotiated from there. See, I wanted to have a silver service dinner, tables, chairs and a wine cooler to be transported up to the crater rim at 2600m (what were you thinking?!). I assured him I would bring the champagne, we’d sit on the floor, and the last of my friends to sign up for the trip would have the honour of carting it all up the volcano. We had a deal.

After the volley of abuse at other tour operators for leaving rubbish all over the mountain, John then got onto the meat of the conversation and described the precipitous drops that awaited the photographer who inadvertently stepped backward to get a wide-angle view on the summit. This ensured our full attention at the following safety briefing. A sense of adventure, quickly formed camaraderie and genuine boyish excitement filled the air as we headed to sleep.

– – –

5am wake up calls are welcome in very few circumstances, but the following morning was most certainly one of them. The sun rose over the volcanic valley of rice paddies that flowed down towards the sea just as lava from Rinjani once had. The beach-clad Gili islands were just visible over the sea to Bali. The mist burnt off and the air was moist and clean. The inhabitants who farmed fields or carried tourist’s water up the volcano did this every morning, but for me, a city dweller all my adult life, this 5am call was the very definition of magic.

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The first day was a tough, but exceedingly pleasant hike up to 2600m and the crater rim – through fields of elephant grass, incised with river valleys that during this dry season were often just black sand and volcanic dust. It was hot, but the peace of the wind in the ears of the grass was calming. At the same time, the expanse of space that rose unforgivingly to the volcano peak was electrifying for a city dweller.

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Pine trees replaced elephant grass, the incline grew steeper and the clouds we entered after lunch gave a feeling of intimacy, of enclosed endeavour to the group of maybe a hundred hikers treading the path that day.

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The group very soon hit a modus operandi: Alistair and George, the two gym boys, would forge on ahead with our porters, with the remainder of us puffing along behind. At each stop where we reunited, Alistair would (justifiably) carry a swagger of the alpha male, and we’d all have to bring him down a notch.

By 5p.m. we’d all reached our campsite. Fifty or so two-man yellow tents were pitched in threes and fours all along the ridge.

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Occasional breaks in the cloud revealed the far side of a sheer walled valley full of rock falls, tropical trees and a trickling stream. It had been a tough, adventurous day, and the location was simply spectacular.

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To reset the alpha balance that evening, we insisted Alistair move his tent to make room for the dinner table, as it clearly was the best site; grumbling subsided and we ate.

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As darkness fell, the temperature plummeted and we all huddled around a fire, sharing viewpoints and our tales from the day, lubricated by good measures of our stashed spirits and our Cohibas. The stars you cannot see in Singapore appeared and the moon rose over the mountain ridges. The sheer scale and awe of nature grips me on hiking trips. In cities, man gives the impression of temporarily being in control – out here, where the scenery is awesome, there’s no data, help is hours away, I really feel I am lucky to have been invited in by Mother Nature to what is firmly her patch.

– – –

Breakfast in the early hours (we’re talking 2.30am) seemed on first inspection to be pancakes and coffee. By the second bite the taste buds had awoken and it was clear that the pancakes were laced with raw onions and served in an even stronger onion jus. The coffee tasted like mud. Aware we had a thousand metres to climb to the top, I munched my way through two plates of what is certainly the foulest breakfast I have ever had to eat.

What followed was difficult, dangerous and utterly rewarding.

We navigated by the light of our head torches – the moon having set. A trail of these little white stars flickered off into the distance all along the ridgeline and headed up to the volcano summit.

Step by step was the mantra. A steep dusty incline, punctured only by a few thorny trees onto which we could grab for support was followed by a couple of hours hiking along the ridge-line and I was acutely aware that one wrong move off the path could mean a thousand-metre fall.

Just as when the cloud had descended the previous day and brought a sense of intimacy to the struggle, the sun’s rise this morning removed this cloak and revealed the immense landscape into which we had been invited. The 6km wide crater lake was on one side and the serenely flat Bali Sea on the other.

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The last hour was a trudge up a completely exposed pile of volcanic sand and scree. At 3,500 metres on precious little sleep, my brain didn’t function at all well, but at least the risk of a calamitous fall had rescinded and it was just a physical battle that remained: me versus this huge pile of sand.

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At the summit, I found Alistair and a dangerously chilled George who had been in the bitterly cold wind for an hour. Over the next half hour the other exhausted members of our party joined us: James and Frank with their spectacular beards, and concave Cuong.

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The highest point of Rinjani is a three metre square patch of rock reached via an even narrower isthmus. Two metres in any direction from the middle of it and you would fall off the mountain and die. Given the physical exhaustion of everyone who summits and the jubilation running through their veins, I find it amazing that more people do just that.

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Nonetheless at the time, we weren’t thinking about dying (too much) and passed around a little metal sign reading ‘Mt Rinjani 3726m’ that lives atop the peak. We knew we only had a short period of time up there before we all became like George, so it was body warming hugs all round and a quick series of photos.

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We lolloped down the scree slope. Each leaping stride we took ten times the length of those climbing in the opposite direction.

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On the ascent, at 3,400m, Phil had reached his physical limit, found a boulder and hunkered down on the leeward side to watch the sunrise. Usually found in a neatly pressed short sleeve shirt, Phil is only a handful of years younger than my father. That he had reached within 500m of the summit was a fabulous achievement. I was relieved to see no sign of him there when we returned. I had struggled on the ascent with leaving him, my mind awash with the tales of exposure suffered by previous adventurers.

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Our second breakfast was unmemorable, as it had not an onion in sight. I was keen to press on down the valley side as quite incredibly, in spite of our achievement of climbing and descending almost two vertical kilometres before 9.30a.m. – we still had a full day ahead and we were behind schedule!

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But the route down to the valley floor was sheer. The porters danced the loose rocks; but for me there was no sensible way down at times without a rope. One missed step and you could have cracked your head and that would have been it. A day later, I would understand better how to descend at pace: to allow myself to not always be in control, but to only seek temporary ledges to support my weight, en route to a place where I could stop and stand. However at this moment, I had no faith in my path finding, I was exhausted, scared and a complete novice.

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We arrived down at the crater lake in the late afternoon, and soon abandoned hope of hiking out that night. Instead, we headed to a hot spring, found a superb campsite on the lakeshore and had time to celebrate our achievement.
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That evening, it was finally time to try out the pit toilet. Each night our guides would dig a small round hole, erect four poles and wrap around a canvas sheet for privacy. A toilet roll lived atop one of the poles. I unzipped the door to provide a quite literally smoking view, before dropping my sunglasses into the hole.

Throughout the weekend, our group left nothing but these re-covered in pits on the mountain. However, we walked through hundreds of metres of undergrowth strewn with shit-covered wet wipes and had to choose campgrounds with care to avoid piles of rubbish.

It didn’t ruin the weekend at all, but inconsiderate tourists are slowly killing this great Indonesian mountain, and by not stopping it, the guides and porters are limiting their own livelihoods. That a citizen of a country where it is taboo to throw litter willingly does so on the other side of the planet really upsets me.

Having spent quite some time in the toilet tent fishing out my glasses, I had missed out on lots of tough talk regarding going for a swim in the freezing crater lake. On many family holidays to Newfoundland in my youth, I swam in a variety of stunning and freezing freshwater lakes. Once you’re in, the cool water is a fantastic tonic to any troubles you may have, physical or mental. James and Alistair joined me in the nippy dip. It was still a good deal warmer than a Tajik river that will forever stick in the memory!

In my latest attempt to counter Alistair’s alpha-ness, I had earlier informed the guide he was vegetarian. On the first morning, the size of the breakfast banana pancakes had been a concern to this self-proclaimed super-eater and he had requested extra eggs be packed to feed his protein yearning. Giving him a plate of vegetarian rice for dinner seemed apt. This plan backfired. Unawares, Alistair took taken one of the plates full of chicken and I was left eating the fried rice.

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The lake fell perfectly still after our swim, and after dark it was evident just how alone we were. Around the crater there wasn’t a light stronger than a torch. The night sky was a lighter shade of black than the crater sides, and as the stars sailed overhead, we each appreciated just how fortunate we were to be there sharing that moment. How physically tired, how cheerful and how appreciative of the friendship on our adventure. I was donated lumps of meat from my fellow diners, we chilled a bottle of champagne in the lake, and fashioned a drying rack out of branches, on which we dried our swimming trunks and towels.

We shared opinions that night over the fire whose sparks took turns to singe our freezing swimwear.

– – –

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The walk the following day was incredibly tough on the aching muscles and joints, but packed full of views to numb the pain. We hiked largely alone, each comfortable spending time with the mountain at our own pace. The lush forests of the early morning gave way to panoramic views of the crater later. Condors soared on updrafts and I stopped to watch a troop of macaques leap overhead in the jungle canopy and stop to munch.

By the time we re-joined Alistair and George back at base camp in the valley where we had begun in three days earlier they were on their second round of Bintangs. Ramadan meant it was rather difficult to restock the beer fridge; however George came to some arrangement with a man on a motorcycle and 20 minutes later, we were again sipping (warmish) Bintang and enjoying his cutting humour.

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Alistair was using the feeble Wi-Fi to search out some more appropriate Stag Do entertainment in Senggigi (the island’s capital), but it being a Muslim island in Ramadan where horse and carts are still a normal mode of transport, he wasn’t having much luck. Here I would have hoped to end the tale, but there was one final twist.

– – –

There were hugs and thanks all round; we jumped into a couple of 4x4s and headed for our resort and its pool to rest weary legs.

After an hour of discussing immigration and politics in the speeding Nissan, we got to the small village of Pamenang at dusk. Dusk during Ramadan has an extra special meaning, as the majority of the population will be indoors breaking the fast. As we sped through the quiet village, a cat ran in front of us. Our driver swerved one way, lost control, swerved the other way and then the car ploughed into the ditch, skidding along for a few seconds before colliding with a concrete block, pirouetting through 180 degrees and landing facing the wrong way on the side of the road. Both axles snapped.

When we landed, I couldn’t breathe at all well. We scrambled out of the car and I spent some time calming down on the day bed outside what I suppose was a community centre. I’d also ploughed one of my teeth deep into my lip so was gushing blood. No one was seriously injured. Had it not been Ramadan, and had we not been wearing seatbelts, I expect someone inside or outside the car would have died.

The car was a write off. Alistair abandoned all hope of finding a strip club in Senggigi and we waited for a replacement vehicle to take us onward. Our driver from the airport on the outward journey had taken in excess of three hours and clipped the wing mirror of an oncoming vehicle during one seat-clenching overtaking manoeuvre on a bend. I vowed at that point to never remain in a car driving inanely. I had read that car accidents are the most common cause of death for tourists and now first-hand, I had almost become a statistic.

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Three weeks later, commuting to work on the metro, I was still struggling with the transient pain of two cracked ribs. But the sight of a blue lake on an advertising poster made me smile and recall my addiction to the friendship, the adventure, and the combination of exhaustion, achievement and beauty that a mountaintop sunrise brings.

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Who climb’s a volcano for their stag do? You should try it, but please make sure you wear your seatbelt.

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Photo credits to Alistair, James, George & myself!

Inspiring adventure

My wife and I (I hear you cheering!) have returned from our adventure honeymoon overlanding from Chiang Mai back to our home in Singapore.

Happy Wedding CoupleWith the months of wedmin behind us, and memories of a most incredible day of support from family and friends (not least from my bow tie and braces adorned Ushers!) we’ve now got time to reconnect with how we love to spend our time!

Watch this space for plenty more videos, blogs and podcast in the coming few months!

chinese new year – segamat style!

Much like Christmas for me, Chinese New Year is the annual opportunity to spend time with the family, play games, repay your sleep debt and eat often and well. Unlike Christmas, conversation occurs mostly in one of three Chinese dialects, most of your meals are taken outdoors and New Year’s Day cuisine is completely vegetarian!

Click through on the video below for my take on the Yap family celebration.

Chinese New Year  from Tim Way on Vimeo.

the malaysian jungle railway

From where the Thai border meets the South China Sea down south to Singapore, a single track line cuts through the middle of the Malaysian peninsula, linking the deeply Muslim north with the mixed and more developed south of the country via isolated communities through the thick jungle. Local schoolchildren and market-goers use the train as their only available means of transport, and stack the aisles and vestibules high with organic matter.

You can join them, as Tim and May did, and experience the sights and smells (there are so many smells!) of jungle transportation, so long as you’re at the station for the off by 4am!

The Malaysian Jungle Railway from Tim Way on Vimeo.

Pimp my rickshaw – Today in Dhaka

Old Dhaka hums with mundane daily life so alien to outsiders. Bangladeshis cannot comprehend how the outside world operates, but equally, outsiders have little idea of the daily going-ons of the flower merchants on Hindu Street who watch a flow of rickshaws, pedestrians and mopeds travel in one line in either direction past their stalls. Who understands the bus conductors, hanging from their tin boxes, whose once painted exteriors display more scratch than paint now. The loud speaker salesmen (!) or boatmen who’ve developed a technique much like a fish’s tail to propel their tiny craft through the motorway of overladen crosstraffic from one side of the old Ganges to the other demand your attention. The cardboard merchants, the snake charmers, tea stirrers, bottle collectors and rickshaw wallahs. Dhaka is rickshaw wallahs…it costs $100 to buy a rickshaw, but you wouldn’t dare not spend the additional $60 decorating it before it’s street-ready:

Today in Dhaka

Stalin’s last stand – Travels in Uzbekistan

Things have never quite returned to pushing the condemned from the top of minarets, but where Mohamed meets Marx, the Soviet regime of terror favoured by Stalin lives on.

The world is largely ignorant of this mumblistan, the seventh most corrupt country in the world, whose government holds so many thousands of innocents in jail under the auspices of the war on terror and whose cotton is boycotted by many western clothes retailers due to slave and child labour concerns.

But the country has extraordinary history. In 1405, within just 30 years, Timur, the country’s national hero, built an empire that stretched from India to Syria, centred on Samarkand, his sumptuous capital. The resplendent buildings of his reign have been restored and rebuilt.

Uzbekistan sounds like an interesting place to visit, no?

This video is split into two parts, due to upload size restrictions.

stalin’s last stand from Tim Way on Vimeo.

stalin’s last stand – part two from Tim Way on Vimeo.

the hiker’s ode to kyrgyzstan

Wedged between China and Stans three,
Lies the carved Kyrgyz land of turning tree
From Russki Bishkek we travelled t’orient,
A land of potatoes and local inhabitants…

I’ve much more respect for song lyricists after penning this video verse of a Kyrgyz hike:

The Hiker’s Ode to Kyrgyzstan from Tim Way on Vimeo.