About The Marmot

Travel Marmot started as a site to house blog posts from travelling and assorted writing in one place – an idea floated over a couple of pints which became a reality by morning because one of the people in the conversation knew how to create that stuff and took the idea literally.

It contains the collected writings of journalist Rob Freeman on travel, overlanding and, to fill the gap when both of those were in short supply, music and the frustrations and passions of modern life.

Why Travel Marmot?

Unless there has been another redesign, that furry little fella in the top right is Norman the Marmot. While his friends ran for cover, Norman sat and posed for the camera on the edge of Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons, Wyoming, and became something of a hero. One throwaway line in the pub later and he had a website named after him.

Who is the Travel Marmot?

Born and bred in Gloucester – hence an obsession, fairly standard in these parts, with the city’s rugby club – have spent much of the last 30 years working as journalist.

Having covered such earth-shattering stories as the canal that sprung a leak, the perils of relieving yourself through a dodgy sash window and my attempted banning from a parish council meeting over a duck pond row, most of my career has been spent writing and producing sport pages.

Covered various global competitions from Rugby World Cups to the World Shove Ha’Penny Championships before getting tied to a desk and finally making the permanent move to the more grown-up world of news and fighting to keep print flourishing in a digital world.

Travel

Think the travel bug – and the desire to write about it – first took hold when a few features editors were convinced to send me on overseas press trip, usually skiing to some odd parts of Europe. Six weeks in the US added to the itchy feet and that was followed by my introduction to overlanding with three months travelling from London to New York and another US road trip.

Having worked for a small overlanding company for a year, returned to journalism – while attempting to get a two-man overlanding sideline off the ground – before heading out on my longest travels to date, 10 months on the Oasis Trans Africa adventure.

Random Facts
  • Have been to 58 countries (airport stopovers don’t count). Only know this due to comparing our lists while sat at an African border.
  • You can add 40 states to that, determined to complete the set one day – Hawaii, Michigan, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho and Arizona are the missing ones.
  • Marked visit to the Great Wall of China by being sick over the edge. Chinese side which was something of a faux pas.
  • Was once told to go away in less polite terms by the biggest name in world rugby at the time (not my fault, he had agreed to impromptu chat before a photographer interrupted).
  • Got entire paper banned by rugby club while covering for the reporter who normally covered them.
  • Once carried out a post-match interview through a half open door while the subject was undergoing a drugs test.
  • Had my golf swing remodelled by a double major winner. Didn’t really help.
Thanks to everybody who has helped with this website, particularly travel companions, anyone met along the way and Jason Hankin for taking a pub conversation seriously and sparking it all into life.
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