Essential Journeys is now into its fifth year, and will continue, as always, to bring you the best in experiential luxury travel from across the globe.

As a travel writer and documentary photographer, my aim is, and always will be, to entertain and hopefully enrich your life by taking you on a captivating journey through words, images and video blogs; to inspire you to turn your travel dreams into reality, to experience different cultures and lifestyles. I have been extraordinarily lucky over the past few years to be asked by tourism boards and tour operators to review some spectacular holidays, tours, accommodation and food, spanning a wide variety of travel options and budgets. This, I do, to open up the world of travel to the widest audience possible, ever mindful of promoting responsible tourism and conservation wherever possible. Don’t wait for the red light to turn green. Stop dreaming, start travelling

My background and origins

I am an outdoors writer, editor, photographer, videographer, adventurer and wildlife conservationist. As a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association and the International Travel Writers Alliance, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to many of the world’s most beautiful and enchanting destinations. Life, however, was not always like that. I spent several years as a journalist in Johannesburg, South Africa, during the era of apartheid, and in Nairobi, Kenya, during the war in neighbouring Uganda. It was sometimes both hairy and scary, but life is all about engaging in new experiences, some good, some bad. I returned to the UK to work variously on the Daily Express, The Observer, Mail On Sunday and The Guardian. During this time I wrote two music books, Level 42 – The Definitive Biography, and Pet Shop Boys – Introspective. Life as a music columnist on the Express was a whirlwind of concerts, interviews and reviews. However, after ten years working in the ‘boulevard of broken dreams’, I decided to leave London behind and return to my Lincolnshire roots. I then took on the editorship of several outdoors magazines, including EcoTravel, Outdoor Pursuits, Camping, Lakeland Walker and Which Motorcaravan. With my heart clearly embedded in travel, in the New Year of 2008 I took the plunge and turned freelance. Life in the mountains, hanging off cliff faces and kayaking down rapid-riddled rivers was great fun, but as I grew older, so I took on a more mature outlook. Don’t get me wrong, I still love multi-day canoe expeditions and mountain treks, but I tend to leave the ice screws and climbing paraphernalia in the garage. The harness and boots are occasionally exchanged for a black tie, tux and shiny black shoes. The high mountains and freezing conditions make way for warm stones and luxurious spas. Well, we all like to be pampered from time to time! And here we are today, five years as a travel blogger, and never a dull moment! Michael Cowton – Editor-in-Chief