EXCLUSIVE: ‘I quit my high-flying city job to travel the world… and HATED it’


MAGS MacKean gave up her job as a journalist in London to find adventure travelling. But all she found were the same problems following her

THE STRESS of city living can often make you want to pack it all in, jump on a plane and find your true self in a sunnier climate.

But after Mags MacKean quit her jump as a journalist and decided to pursue her love of hiking and climbing around the world, she found herself just as stressed out and unhappy.

In 2005, Mags took voluntary redundancy from her job as a broadcast journalist for the BBC. Unfulfilled telling other people’s stories, she yearned to travel to find adventure for herself.

Having already taken short breaks from her job to navigate her way across the Pyrenees, scale mountains in Nepal and climb Aconcagua in Argentina, Mags believed she was ready to pack it all in for good and set off.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Mags revealed: “I was ready to start a new adventure. I wanted to scale mountains and pursue my love of

Teen who climbed Great Pyramid of Giza is ‘BANNED’ from Egypt for LIFE


Teen who climbed Great Pyramid of Giza is ‘BANNED’ from Egypt for LIFE

The Egyptian authorities reportedly issued the 18-year old with a stern warning, saying to stay aw

ay from the country or risked being banned for life.

Egypt’s Ministry of State for Antiquities allegedly confirmed the teenager has been banned from re-entering the country

But whilst a ban from the country may seem like a tough punishment, it’s actually quite mild compared to what he could have faced.

Climbing the 4,500 year old pyramid is a crime punishable by jail and the teenager could have faced up to three years behind bars.

The rules against climbing are in place to protect against excessive wear and tear

Despite the danger, Andrej decided to head to the top of the Pyramid and scaled the 146-metre structure in just eight-minutes.

Andrej managed to capture the stunning views after his climb before he was eventually caught by police and called in for questioning once back on the ground. The teenage traveller explained: “It took me about

The best hotel in the WORLD: Take a tour of the Indian palace


What does it take to be voted the world’s best hotel?

India’s historic Umaid Bhawan Palace has been voted the best hotel in the world by Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016.

Out of 743 reviews, the hotel scores 768 ‘excellent.’

Set high above the desert city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, the sandstone palace is a favourite with celebrities.

It even hosted Liz Hurley’s wedding to Arun Nayar

Guests are treated to dancers performing to live music, flower garlands and champagne upon their arrival.

The majority of guests even get their own personal butler who can cater to their every need.

Whether that be what they want for breakfast, to organising a soothing milk bath and even setting up an idyllic picnic for them.

Food is a huge part of the hotel’s hospitality, with staff ensuring they’ll cook anything and everything you desire to eat.

You’ll also be treated to an overflow of champagne.

Guests get a glass of bubbly at breakfast and in the evening during a tour of the

Trolley Tours Key West

DESCRIPTION OF THE CARRIAGE the island of Key West is full of fun and interesting things to do and see. Point Sur in the picturesque streets of the old town, the tour takes you to all major tourist areas. Explore the first tourist attraction in Key West, Key West Aquarium, which was also the first outdoor aquarium in the world. Cross the street and ends in the 1800s in Key West Shipwreck Museum treasures to learn how Key West has become one of the richest cities in the United States. Oldest House Museum is also nearby; is one of the many homes that are public in Key West were open restored.

Stop at the Museum Ernest Hemingway House, where it is rumored to have written Farewell to Arms, not to mention for the 6 or 7 fingers of cats to see! Admire the beautiful butterfly species at Butterfly and Nature Conservatory Key West and walk southernmost and Museum, known for its 19th century architecture and tropical gardens next to the mansion. Cool off with a drink at the bar of the famous Sloppy Joe or Jimmy Buffet Margaretville in the old town. But do not leave Key

Hiring a Campervan for a Trip along an Outback Track

The route you choose to take affects your choice of a campervan when you visit the Outback of Australia. If you are a true adventurer, then you need to make sure your campervan offers such features as four-wheel drive, especially if you plan to navigate an off-road course. One of the iconic tracks in this respect is the Birdsville Track, a travel route that spans 517 km from Marree to Birdsville. A drive over this route takes you across a harsh and remote landscape.

A Desert Oasis

Despite the extremely dry atmosphere, the land adjacent to the track is good for raising cattle. A rare rain and flooding from the north can transform the sunburnt land into a spring – a basin that enables cattle to survive during spells of drought. If you take this remote course, you will be surrounded by a desert landscape, including the Tiari and Sturt’s Stony deserts in the central and southern part and the Strzelecki and Simpson deserts to the north.

Hiring a Campervan

Whilst you may think your efforts to hire a campervan may lead to boredom or fatigue, you will find that such a trip

Lessons Learned from Years with Vehicles

Limo Services and Why You Need Them One thing limo services can provide you with is luxury traveling so make sure to take advantage of all of that and more. You need to take a look at all the best options that you have because it will ensure a good outcome from the venture. The smart way for you to go about this venture is written in this article so make sure to take advantage of that and more. There are several things you need to know about concerning these services and that is how to hire the best ones and how much they would cost you at the same time. The reason why limo services are so in demand these days is the fact that they are needed by so many people especially businessmen who are looking to impress their clients. You will look like your business is doing well and at the same time it’ll help present your company in a better light. Before you are able to do this though, you need to keep in mind the many resources you have for research. Doing the right thing will increase the chances of

Why Options Aren’t As Bad As You Think

Make this Trip Enjoyable for the Kids with This Itinerary

There are actually a lot of activities that you can do with your kids which is the main reason as to why worrying about it is not necessary. And you have made the right choice of choosing this country because there are a lot of activities that you can choose from so you are assured of having a great time with your family.

One of the many things that you can do here is that you can take a look at the wildlife and be able to see the most beautiful scenery in the world. One of the many things that is guaranteed when you will be able to pay a visit to this country is that you will want to come back again and again.

There is this mountain range as a matter of fact that has been able to attract various visitors such as artists, walkers and climbers which you can go and see for yourself with your kids. The mountain range is actually divided into two peaks which is the black and the red one. Having two peaks means also that you will have two activities to

Fancy renting your own PRIVATE ISLAND for just £113?

DID you know Airbnb don’t just offer apartments and houses..

If you can’t face fighting with fellow tourists over the sun loungers or battling for a spot of sand of the beach, why not try a holiday spot that’s a little more secluded?

Aside from spacious apartments and lavish houses, rental property site Airbnb also offer private islands for you to rent.

And whilst you may think that sort of holiday is only affordable for the A listers, some of the luxury spots are available for as little as £113 a night.For a more bargain getaway, why not hire a cottage on a private island in Ottawa, Canada?

It sleeps six guests and is just £113 per night.

Guests can try canoeing, kayaking, sailing, boating in the surrounding waters.

Or if you fancy something a little more lavish, why not push the boat out with this private island in Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean?

Lap up the sunshine on the sand or try your hand at scuba diving and deep sea fishing.

The managers and staff on the island are on hand to help with your every need, including massages.

ndia Art Fair: Art, etc

Venturing beyond the realm of the conventional, the eighth edition of the India Art Fair attempts to encompass art in its myriad forms

AS YOU enter the ongoing India Art Fair (IAF) complex in south Delhi, the first thing that catches your attention is a car, a BMW to be precise, housed in a glass enclosure. Painted in a happy mix of colours, shapes and patterns, it looks more like a butterfly and less a car. The German luxury auto major calls it an ‘art car’ or a ‘rolling sculpture’. Only 17 such art cars have been created thus far, and the one on display (for the first time ever in India) is a BMW 730i designed by Spanish artist Cesar Manrique in 1990.

“The BMW ‘art car’ project was introduced by French race car driver and auctioneer Herve Poulain in 1975, when he invited an artist to create a canvas on an automobile. Since then, a total of 17 BMW art cars, based on both racing and regular production vehicles, have been created,” explains Philipp von Sahr, head of BMW India. Poulain’s art car was the tenth one to be created.

Inside the twin

Top spiritual destinations in India

A spiritual journey can inspire travellers to make themselves more aware about self and gain knowledge and wisdom

India is knitted with spiritual ethos. A spiritual journey can inspire travellers to make themselves more aware about self and gain knowledge and wisdom. Some of the destinations for travellers to experience the feeling of freedom and emancipation are:

Hemis Monastry, Ladakh

Hemis Monastery is the largest and richest Buddhist monastery in the Ladakh region. It features a collection of ancient statues, sacred thangkas, and other artefacts. During the tourist season, it is often recommended to participate in the Hemis Spiritual Retreat run by the monks.

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa

Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one among the most famous churches in India. Located in the beach city of Panjim, the church is around 300 years old. The church is said to hold the remains of St Francis Xavier and the body is opened for public display at a particular time of the year. During this period, thousands of believers come to this church, which includes even foreign tourists.

Moinuddin Chisti, Ajmer

The place occupies a prominent place

Chinatown Heritage Centre reopens

The rejuvenated Chinatown Heritage Centre has been officially opened to unveil a refreshed visitor experience that tells a richer story of Chinatown’s evolution from its early days as a Chinese migrant settlement to today’s vibrant heritage precinct

The rejuvenated Chinatown Heritage Centre has been officially opened to unveil a refreshed visitor experience that tells a richer story of Chinatown’s evolution from its early days as a Chinese migrant settlement to today’s vibrant heritage precinct.

Visitors to the Centre can expect a more comprehensive Chinatown story narrative that goes beyond the 1960s, more in-depth collection of personal stories from the Chinatown community, deeper exploration of Chinatown’s multi-ethnicity, clan associations, nightlife, heritage businesses, and enhanced multi-sensory features in the form of soundscapes, multimedia content, interactive story panels, olfactory experience and mood lighting. These will be complemented by a line-up of tours and events.

The Centre, which underwent rejuvenation in October 2014, was officially reopened by S Iswaran, minister for trade and industry. The rejuvenation aims to strengthen the centre’s content and presentation style. It will be operated by Chinatown Heritage Centre, a consortium between Singapore River Cruise, Journeys, and Splash Entertainment.

Mr Kenneth Lim, director of

Spirit of India Run’ by Pat Farmer

Pat Farmer will run over 4600 kms in 60 days starting from Kanyakumari and finishing in Kashmir

The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India along with state tourism departments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and union territory of Chandigarh are supporting ‘Spirit of India Run’ by Pat Farmer, a marathon runner from Australia. Pat Farmer will run over 4600 kms in 60 days starting from Kanyakumari and finishing in Kashmir. He has initiated his run on January 26, 2016 celebrating India’s Republic Day and Australia Day.

Farmer is a multiple world record holder for endurance running and has run from the North Pole to the South Pole, and across Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, the Middle East and North America. He has served eight years as a member of Australia’s parliament, with three years as parliamentary secretary for education, science and training. He has raised millions of dollars for worthy causes during his 20 year running career.

Farmer will run on an average 70-80 kms daily through the atates of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan,

Heritage Cultural Walk

       Heritage Cultural Walk

Heritage Cultural Walk, organised by the travel, tourism and hospitality committee of the Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC), will be held on February 7, 2016. The event is supported by VFS Global Services and conducted by the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. As part of the IMC’s tourism initiative, the event will take participants on a cultural trail in South Mumbai. The accompanying professional guides will provide narratives along the route.

This year, the highlight will be the cultural surroundings of Bhuleshwar/Kalbadevi area. Participants will have the oppoprtunity of visiting some of the important Jain, Hindu temples, and Mosques located in this area.

The walk will commence at 8.30 am on at the IMC building in Churchgate, which will run till 12.00 pm. At the end of the walk, participants will assemble at the the IMC building for brunch

MTDC to host its first Turtle Festival at Anjarle Beach

MTDC will be organisnig this festival to create awareness for the rare species – The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

Maharashtra Tourism Developmnt Corporation (MTDC) will be organising the first Anjarle Turtle Festival in Dapoli district on February 6-7, 2016, with a number of activities that the visitors can participate in.

MTDC will be organisnig this festival to create awareness for the rare species – The Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. With this, MTDC intends to alert the growing importance to save and safeguard the lives of these turtles.

Anjarle a small port, located in the Dapoli village of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra, will also host a variety of engaging activities in association with MTDC. Tourists will be able to participate in activities like boating, back water tour, bullock safari, etc. Visitors can experience baby turtles struggling out of the nest and making its way to the water. Tourists can also make use of ferries to reach the Suvarnadurg Fort that is located on a small island in the Arabian Sea. A documentary featuring the Olive Ridley will also be showcased.

Commenting on the festival, Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia, managing director, MTDC said, “We are proud to

Carnival time in Trinidad and Tobago

The two islands of Trinidad and Tobago will erupt into a parade of merriment as thousands of people from around the world are expected to participate in the biggest street party on Earth – the Trinidad Carnival

The two islands of Trinidad and Tobago will erupt into a parade of merriment as thousands of people from around the world are expected to participate in the biggest street party on Earth – the Trinidad Carnival.

Officially celebrated on February 8 and 9, the carnival festivities started just after Christmas and will continue until Ash Wednesday, February 10, loaded with parties and cultural competitions.

Opening with J’Ouvert on Carnival Monday, revellers parade through the streets immersed in paint, grease and mud until sunrise. Later in the day and all day on Tuesday, thousands of masqueraders flood the streets throughout the islands in bold, colourful costumes, dancing through the parade routes to the sound of soca, steelpan and calypso music.

From its diverse people and culture to its biodiversity, Trinidad and Tobago breaks the mould of the typical Caribbean destination. These islands boast a year-long calendar of cultural events and festivals, multi-ethnic people and opportunities for eco-adventure

Rihanna and Drake fuel romance rumors with Amsterdam date

The rapper/singer is currently touring Europe and his former girlfriend Rihanna sparked rumors they might be back together when she joined him on stage at a gig in Paris, France last month (Feb14).

They have now sent gossips into a spin after they were pictured dining out together at a sushi restaurant in Amsterdam on Thursday.

The stars dated briefly in 2010.

Beyonce tours Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

The power couple toured the historic home hours after she performed at the Ziggo Dome.

A message on the Anne Frank House Facebook.com page reads: “American singer Beyonce and rapper & producer Jay Z visited the Anne Frank House today. They were more than an hour inside and very impressed by their visit to the hiding place of Anne Frank.”

Before leaving the home, Beyonce wrote a message in the guestbook and posed for photographs.

Her tour of the house, where the Jewish teenager hid from the Nazis during World War Two, was a lot less newsworthy than Justin Bieber’s visit last year (13) – he sparked controversy when he wrote that he hoped the writer “would have been a belieber” in the guest book.

His comment sparked outrage among other tourists, with many pouring scorn on his message in subsequent notes in the visitors book, and it prompted a frenzy of criticism on social networking websites.

Museum bosses had to step in to back Bieber and thank him for visiting the house.

Spokeswoman Annemarie Bekker said, “He’s

Top 10 facts about the Netherlands

THE date of April 30 has great significance in the history of the Dutch monarchy

. Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, who reigned from 1948-80, was born on April 30, 1909. She abdicated on her 71st birthday, April 30, 1980…

  1. Her daughter Beatrix then became Queen and she too abdicated on April 30, when her son Willem-Alexander became King in 2013.

  1. Strictly speaking ‘Holland’ consists of only two of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands: North and South Holland.

  1. The weight of fish landed in the Netherlands in a year is equal to that of 54 billion pound coins.

  1. Everyone in the Netherlands was sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition in 1568.

  1. The hole in the centre of a CD was the size of the smallest coin in Europe, a Dutch 10 cent, abolished when the Netherlands joined the euro.

  1. The height of the average Dutchman increased by more than 3cm from the start of the 1980s, to above 180cm in 2000.

  1. The height of the

Cruise through picturesque scenery on rivers of dreams

TRY a cruise with a range of activities from cycling to beer tasting, through peaceful rivers offering the ultimate relaxation.




Pedal power rules on this trip with AMAWaterways (0808 223 5009/amawaterways.co.uk) through picture-postcard Provence, where you can ride towpaths bordering the River Rhône and pass through pretty vineyards lining the route.


Hillside villages, impressive Roman ruins and beautiful scenery are the hallmarks of this voyage through southern France on board AmaDagio.


This sleek 150-capacity vessel is chic and stylish with modern furnishings and cabins boasting French balconies.


There are easy-on-the-eye sights ashore too, especially in the evocative medieval city of Avignon dominated by its Gothic Palais des Papes, seat of the Papacy in the 14th century, and in Vienne, take a “mini-train” to visit the ruined Roman amphitheatre and medieval churches


A musician in her own right, Elisabeth will perform some of the most famous songs from the film and other pieces including Gregorian chants and even her own compositions.


One of the cruise stops is Linz from where passengers can visit the Sound Of Music city of Salzburg and see areas associated with the film.


One of the highlights is the chance for guests to take part in a singalong of the catchy tune

Kos: Having it all on a Greek island paradise

The island resort of Lakitira conjures up magic for children and adult alike, says Charlotte Civil.

Daydreaming of my week on Kos I’d imagined relaxing on a sun-drenched beach and getting stuck into a novel.

So, sitting on a bike in the searing heat pedalling along the yellow brick road –this one, a narrow tiled path, leading not to Oz but to a 14th century castle – wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

I was on a 13-mile tour around the rugged, wilderness-like terrain just outside the harbour town of Kardamena that eventually leads to the ruins of the medieval fortress of Antimachia.

The tour was one of many offered at Mark Warner’s Lakitira resort on the southern coast of Kos where my husband David and I and our two children Katy, eight, and William, five, were spending the week.

We had skied with child-friendly Mark Warner before and been encouraged by other Mark Warner aficionados to try one of their summer resorts (there are four in Greece), so we swapped whooshing down the snow-covered mountains for tennis, watersports and other sunshine activities.