Uncharted Backpacker

Travel Knows No Borders

Stephen Gollan; Travel photographer/blogger, travelling the uncharted parts of the world, exploring the culture, cuisines and natural wonders to get you the latest travel updates.

Getting a Sak Yant Tattoo from a Monk in Thailand

Chiang Mai – Thailand 

Sweat drips down my forehead in the sweltering afternoon heat. My mind is clear. I turn my back to the monk. He begins to chant a prayer. I am asked to kneel down and fold my hands together in order to prepare for the process. To be honest, I am very nervous. This will be my first tattoo. Not only my first tattoo, but it will be done with a bamboo spike rather than the conventional tattoo gun. The prayer ends, and what happens next lives with me forever Read More

Ethiopia’s North – Addis Ababa and Lake Tana

Addis Ababa and Lake Tana – Ethiopia 

Ethiopia’s Northern Historic circuit will erase all preconceptions you have regarding this nation. You will witness rock-hewn churches carved by angels, towering obelisks built by the ancient Aksumite Empire, and impossibly green mountains inhabited by armies of gelada baboons. You will cross terraced farmlands, frigid mountains, scorching deserts and some of Ethiopia’s most raw, beautiful scenery. Whatever your thoughts about Ethiopia are now, you will be amazed to see the magic this incredible country conceals deep in the North. This is a four part series of my journey through Ethiopia’s north. I chose to only take local transport so I could travel as the locals do, and take in as much of the “off the beaten track” country side as possible. Tag along with me and follow this epic series. Read More

What’s In My Bag?

Your day bag and gear are quite possibly the most important pieces of equipment you will have for your entire trip. You will carry guide books and all of your camera gear in here, as well as your money and passport. Your day pack is essential, and can make or break the success of your trip.

I’ve been getting many emails lately asking what my typical travel gear looks like. Today I’ll go through my essential travel gear. Through many trials and error I have now successfully mastered the weight and tools that are worthwhile bringing along traveling with you. Everyone’s gear will be different, but with this guide you can get a good idea of what works for me and aid you in fine tuning your bag to your own needs. Read More

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Keeping Motivated

Loosing motivation is a huge reason why people quit early or don’t even travel to begin with. Staying positive and telling yourself “I will travel”. Travelling can be quite a scary thing, but if you stay positive about it you will most likely have a better chance of not backing out. If you’re already abroad and are beginning to lose motivation; well you need to look forward. Travelling always has its ups and downs, but that’s what makes it so great. It’s the challenge that is rewarding when you look back. Look at travel photos, read travel blogs, or simply buy yourself a guidebook and read about new destinations. Whatever you end up doing just keep motivated about your trip. Read More

The Freedom of the Bicycle: Cycling Home from China

While I was travelling the Silk Road to Afghanistan I met Mark on the road to Kashgar, China. Mark is a person I am honoured to call my friend, and an incredible person for what he is doing. By cycling the world he is able to accomplish two tasks. Mark is able to see and travel the world while helping children go to school. This is such an admirable mission that all travellers should applaud. This is Marks story, he is still currently on the road and not back in Canada yet. But his journey is coming to an end soon. There are those of us who travel because we love it, and there are those who give back at the same time and Mark has done just this. Read Below and learn more about my friend Marks incredible Journey cycling from China all the way back to Canada!          Read More

Just Travel!

This video is made from a compilation of my travels. I called it “Just Travel”. It’s named this because its purpose is to inspire others to get out the door and just travel like you have always wanted to. Traveling is an incredible experience. So many people procrastinate and end up not traveling. Watching this video can maybe help change your mind and get you on that plane to destination awesome! As the saying goes; the key to happiness is spending your money on experiences rather than possessions. 100% of this video is shot from my Gopro Hero 4

Afghanistan Travel Guide

The Shrine of Hazrat Ali in Mazar E-Sharif Afghanistan

Why Travel to Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is a travelers dream. Unfortunately because of Afghanistan’s recent events it has been off the travel radar. Times are changing however, and travellers are beginning to enter Afghanistan borders once again. Afghanistan plays host to an amazing array of sights, cultures, and landscapes that will one day be on every traveller’s checklist. The north of Afghanistan hosts some of the country’s most exotic markets, and incredible mosques. The north also offers many hidden valleys amongst Afghanistan tallest mountains the Pamirs. In these valleys you will find hidden villages, and a wide variety of different traditional cultures. Head to Afghanistan’s centre and find pristine blue lakes, pine forests and ancient Buddhist kingdoms. The south of Afghanistan remains mostly off limits due to civil unrest, but one day the deserts near Kandahar will be filled with curious travellers looking for that long lost adventure. Afghanistan may have had a difficult past. But it is looking towards the future now. Look past all the problems and you will discover one of my favourite countries that I have ever visited. Read More

Spain Travel Guide

Barcelona Sagrada Familia Spain Travel Guide

Why Travel to Spain?

If you’re new to travelling Europe, Spain is a fantastic place to start. If you’ve never travelled Europe, Spain will blow you away. Spain’s history, culture, and food is like no other amongst its European counterparts. Every region in Spain will introduce you to something new. Whether you’re in the fiery south; where flamenco dancer’s stomp, and Moorish architecture reigns or in the classical medieval north, Spain will impress. Spain also houses a smorgasbord of languages and dialects. With Spain’s proximity to Africa, and borders to Western Europe, it creates a complex blend of nationalities, and intriguing cultural treasures. Spain is also one of Europe’s most affordable destinations. Most cities have an abundance of budget accommodation, and sightseeing can be a fraction of the price compared to the rest of Europe. If you’re traveling in Europe already or planning to travel this continent, then don’t miss out on this amazing country and witness a completely unique part of Europe. Read More

Mongolia – Kharkhorin to Orkhon, Mongols, Nomads and Shamans

Chuluun

Ulaanbaatar and the Orkhon Valley – Mongolia 

My mind is clearer here. The morning dew gives a fresh earthy scent as you breathe it in. Open your eyes to the wide vistas of emerald green seas of grass blowing in the crisp wind at your face. The odd puffy white clouds covering the ground from here and there. A chill running deep inside from the brisk cold air as I step outside from the warmth of my Ger. Central Mongolia is what dreams are made of. There is something special in the air here. Something no word in any of my stories can tell. Read More

Nepal Still Shines after the Earthquake

Nepal Still Welcomes Tourists Even After The Devastation

Kathmandu, Nepal 

April 2015 brought devastation to Nepal. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the capital and much of the country, killing over 8000 people. I have visited Nepal many times in the past, but my most recent visit a few months ago left me heart broken. So many amazing places here have been either damaged or destroyed altogether. One thing however that has not changed is the heart and spirit of the Nepalese people. The people are resilient and strong; they are working hard to repair the damage that has been done and restore the desperately needed tourism industry. Unfortunately, since the earthquake tourism has been almost non-existent. My recent travels into Nepal have shown me that yes, Nepal has been damaged and yes, much of what I had loved is now gone, but this did not affect my interest at all in this wonderful nation. Nepal still is and always will be an incredible country to visit. In this post I will show some of the devastation, but more importantly I will show you why you should still visit Nepal. Read More