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.

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Iquitos and the Peruvian Amazon

Iquitos, Peru 

The road ends and gives way to thousands of miles of Amazon forest. In this realm of nature, your only option to continue traveling is by navigating the complex river system. You can go days without seeing any signs of human life, it’s just you and the dark, dense, rain forest. In the center of it all is one of the final frontiers in travel, Iquitos, Peru. This city is only reachable via boat or plane and is one of the most remote communities on our planet. Ever since travel was made possible here, hippies and adventurers alike have been making the long journey here to indulge in the hallucinogenic trip of Ayahuasca. For me, Iquitos is, Bustling markets filled with Amazonian delicacies, the smell of motorbike exhaust mixed in with fried fish, countless tribal minorities and a frontier feeling that fills that young boy adventure void for me.

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Lost Cities of Peru – Chachapoyas and Leymebamba

Chachapoyas and Leymebamba Peru

The dense cloud forests blanketing the valleys around Chachapoyas, Peru hold many secrets. Swinging my machete to clear the brush we push on deeper into the unknown in search of archaeological sights shrouded in mysterious mythological tales.  Above, the tombs of ancients cling to the cliffs, now and then a human skull protrudes from the brush fallen from its final resting place. Clearing off the vines from a stone wall, patterns begin to emerge, these are not natural piles of stones, they are the remnants of a civilization long gone and swallowed by the jungle. It’s remote, hot, and took a lot of effort to get here, but damn do I ever feel like Indiana Jones! This is the wilds of Peru, welcome to Chachapoyas and Leymebamba.

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Kayaking Gwaii Haanas National Park, Canada

Gwaii Haanas National Park, British Columbia, Canada 

What does it do to one to leave modern civilization and the modern comforts of home behind? To delve deep into the natural world? To get lost both physically and within one’s own consciousness? Here I am, someone who has always avoided this kind of “hippy crap” yet writing about this, knowing that I have found a place to surround myself with pure, natural beauty. A place to reset myself and make me feel human again. Paddling through Gwaii Haanas was a transformative experience, a cleansing of the soul, whatever that means. Floating amongst a sea of life, passing by mystical, dark forests and towering mountains covered in mist makes for a legendary setting. This is my story of a journey into one of planet Earth’s hidden paradises. This is the ancient land of the Haida: Gwaii Haanas National Park, Canada. 

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Cool Travel Items

Scratch Off World Map Poster

The perfect gift for any traveller

Scratch off the countries you've been to to track your travels!

$29.97 from Amazon

Hovercraft to Kizhi Island and Lake Onega, Russia

Kizhi Island, Russia

Hidden deep in Russia’s off the beaten track Republic of Karelia are the UNESCO churches on the Island of Kizhi. This is the real Russia, small remote wooden villages whose locals still primarily make a living from farming and hunting. Kizhi couldn’t feel further from Russia’s glitzy high life in the capital. Hopping aboard a Soviet-era hovercraft we blast across the frozen lake ice passing by these intriguing villages before the giant UNESCO wooden church towers emerge from the black forested island deep into Karelia’s wilds. This is the Russia I was looking for, the Russia many believe to be long gone! Welcome to Kizhi Island deep in the heart of remote Russia!

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