- Thanks to everybody who has helped with this website. Particular thanks to Jason Hankin (Lightwork Systems) for sparking it all into life and hosting the site, Phil Wilson for the picture of Norman and getting me safely round the world and all those who have made life on the road that bit more fun.
Travel Marmot was created by Rob Freeman – over there on the right, bearing the mark of a young Norwegian in a Beijing bar – as a home for a blog on a round-the world adventure, assorted travel articles and random scribblings. More than 20 years as a journalist has seen me cover such remarkable stories as the canal that sprung a leak, the dangers of relieving yourself through an unstable sash window and rumbling parish council discontent over the future of a duck pond (which ended with them trying to ban me from their next meeting). But most of my time in journalism has been spent writing and designing sport pages, ranging from the World Shove Ha’Penny Championships to Rugby World Cups, interviewing many of rugby’s biggest stars and being told where to go in the most direct way possible by a couple of others. The odd, sometimes very odd, travel piece also crept in, mainly when a features editor could be convinced they needed another skiing feature, and itchy feet added to a bad back/shoulder/knees (delete according to today’s legacy from my rugby playing days) and the call of the open road became too strong to ignore. Having quit my job in 2010, it was off on an overland trip from London to New York and a second road trip around the cities, small towns, bars and open roads of America. Since returning, the lure of travel (39 States and counting) has been mixed with a return to journalism, working in travel – eventually setting up and running a small, overland company – and plotting the next big adventure. When not doing any of that, you’ll find me watching and bemoaning the fortunes of Gloucester Rugby Club and the Boston Red Sox, listening to an evolving selection of jingly jangly indie music or shackled to some form of keyboard – which is where this blog comes in. As well as sharing tales from travels, passing on advice (often learned the hard way) and guides to destinations, the aim is to entertain, inform and crack as many bad gags as possible, based loosely on travel, music or whatever subject pops into my head while tapping away at the keyboard. Why TravelMarmot? That furry little fella at the top is Norman the Marmot. Not sure why he was christened Norman, but while his friends ran for cover, Norman sat and posed for the camera on the edge of Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons, Wyoming. Hopefully, this site can recreate Norman’s spirit of adventure and willingness to embrace the world around him.