The Itchy Feet Travel Podcast
John Simpson, Journalist, Broadcaster and Author
Season 1, Ep. 8
"Travel's in the blood." That's what it says in the Twitter bio of my guest for this, the final episode of series one. Having reported from 140 countries and being a specialist in many foreign regions, you could call that an understatement.As well as holding the post of BBC World Affairs Editor, John Simpson is a journalist, broadcaster and accomplished author. He is one of the most respected foreign correspondents in the world who has a certain knack for being in the right place at the right time.When we caught up, John filled me about first going to see Casablanca (both movie and place!), his strong affinity with Ireland, why he won't be returning to Dubai any time soon, and a long-standing bid to reach an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.I hope you enjoy. And thanks for listening!This episode was produced and presented by Joe O'Connor. Original music and editing by Paul Loughran. Podcast branding and design byI said I would.
Kealan Ryan, Writer and Filmmaker
Season 1, Ep. 7
When your job requires you to write for both print and screen, where do you draw your inspiration from? Is it the mundane everyday tasks that we take for granted or is it from visiting far-flung destinations where we meet different people and see different ways of living?My guest for this episode draws on his experiences from both.Kealan Ryan is an author and filmmaker. His debut novel, The Middle Place, was released last year, receiving plaudits from some major names in Irish literature. It followed his debut feature film, Lift, which he wrote, produced and starred in and which has just been released on Amazon Prime. Kealan is currently working on a number of projects, one of which was inspired by a trip he made over ten years ago.When we caught up, at a time when Ireland was getting ready to come out of lockdown, Kealan filled me in on childhood memories of San Francisco, discovering a paradise off the coast of Panama, getting familiar with Genghis Khan in Mongolia, and the minor matter of having a gun pulled on him in Siberia.I hope you enjoy. And thanks for listening!This episode was produced and presented by Joe O'Connor. Original music and editing by Paul Loughran. Podcast branding and design by I said I would.
Margaret Ward, Journalist
Season 1, Ep. 6
If there's one profession that enables a person to really get the lay of the land in another country it has to be the foreign correspondent. Tasked with uncovering unique stories about a given part of the world, they have to get right into the heart of that place and its people.My guest for this episode is Margaret Ward, a former award-winning foreign reporter and editor with Irish public broadcaster RTÉ. Through her work and outside it, Margaret has travelled to more than 60 countries, from Afghanistan to Rwanda, and was the first person to blog on the RTE website – from inside North Korea.As foreign editor, Margaret led RTE’s international coverage from 1999 until 2007, when she went to China to open its bureau in Beijing. She has also reported for the BBC, CBC Canada, Deutsche Welle and France 24.Margaret spoke with me about a love affair with France that started in her student days, revisiting Belgrade after the Yugoslav war, immersing herself in Costa Rican nature, and the curious case of a Clerys bag in Chechnya.I hope you enjoy. And thanks for listening!This episode was produced and presented by Joe O'Connor. Original music and editing by Paul Loughran. Podcast branding and design byI said I would.
Manchán Magan, Writer and Documentary-maker
Season 1, Ep. 5
You can't talk about travel in 2020 and not address how the industry is impacting our planet. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, questions were being asked about what we can do to reduce the levels of carbon emissions produced by air travel.As a result of some self-reflection, my guest for this episode took the difficult decision to give up part of what is his passion and his livelihood: travelling by air.Manchán Magan is a writer and documentary-maker. He has written books on his travels in Africa, India and South America and has presented dozens of documentaries on issues of world culture for TG4, RTÉ and the Travel Channel. His 2008 book, Truck Fever, charts his epic journey as a 19-year old travelling overland from London to Nairobi in a truck.When we caught up,Manchán spoke about his decision to take measures to reduce his carbon footprint. He also reflected on his childhood holidays on the Blasket Islands, getting rescued from a cowshed in the Himalayas, the beauty that can be found around the Equatorial Belt, as well as his newfound interest in virtual travel.I hope you enjoy. And thanks for listening!This episode was produced and presented by Joe O'Connor. Original music and editing by Paul Loughran. Podcast branding and design byI said I would.
Helen Steele, Designer and Artist
Season 1, Ep. 4
My guest for this episode is highly acclaimed designer and artist Helen Steele who, from her paint-splattered studio in County Monaghan, creates a unique style of wearable art. Her work has brought her around the world, selling her slow fashionin places like France, Germany, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain.At a time when lockdown restrictions were lifting in Ireland, when we could dare to dream about travel again, I spoke with Helen about the destinations she longs to visit and the ones that will forever hold a place in her heart.Helen talks about the influence that the colours and natural lights of North Africa and the Middle East have had on her work; falling in love with Damascus; findingescape in Sicily; and discovering the vastness of the world in Australia.I hope you enjoy. And thanks for listening!This episode was produced and presented by Joe O'Connor. Original music and editing by Paul Loughran. Podcast branding and design byI said I would.
Pól Ó Conghaile, Travel Editor and Writer
Season 1, Ep. 3
You'd be forgiven for thinking that work dries up for all travel writers and editors during a global pandemic. However, for my guest on this episode, he's probably never been busier.Pól Ó Conghaile is Travel Editor for the Irish Independent and he's been one of my go-to sources on travel for a long time, given that he always has his finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest destinations and how best to get there. He's also had an influence on my own travel writing, having once provided feedback on my first ever travel article, advice that has stood to me to this day.On May 18th 2020, at a time when travel abroad was still restricted, I caught up with Pól who was busy predicting the future of travel for many media outlets. He was also working on his own novel initiative aimed at encouraging people to share their post-pandemic travel dreams.Pól spoke with me about discovering his passion for travel in Moscow, experiencing the perfect travel moment in Norway, and rediscovering the beauty of his own backyard.I hope you enjoy. And thanks for listening!This episode was produced and presented by Joe O'Connor. Original music and editing by Paul Loughran. Podcast branding and design by I said I would.
Karl Spain, Comedian
Season 1, Ep. 2
Some say that humour knows no borders. And while there is some truthin it, my guest for this episode is witness to how comedy is both perceived and receivedby different people in different countries.Karl Spain has been a staple of Irish stand-up comedy for two decades now and in that time, he has toured across the world bringing his brand of humour to all walks of life. Among the places he has done stand-up are China, the US, the Middle East, Australia and, as he says in his bio, "even as far away as England".When we chatted, Karl was in lockdown mode at his home in Limerick. He talked about discovering his comedic side in Amsterdam, gigging in Azerbaijan, getting recognised in Beijing, suffering from altitude sickness in Tanzania and telling dirty jokes in India.I hope you enjoy. And thanks for listening!This episodewas produced and presented by Joe O'Connor. Original music and editing by Paul Loughran. Podcast branding and design by I said I would.
Tony Giles, Blind Traveller and Author
Season 1, Ep. 1
For this, the first episode of The Itchy Feet Travel Podcast, I'm joined by Tony Giles, an Englishman who has visited 125 different countries. What's unique about Tony is that he travels solo without the use of sight and with a severe hearing impairment. In short, he makes most of us travellers look extremely lightweight!When I caught up with Tony, he was self-isolating at his home in Devon. There he reflected on some of his most memorable trips and expressed optimism that he'd be back on the road in the next few months despite the current pandemic.Tony's story is a truly remarkable one. As he tells me:"The travelling is not just for me. I hope it inspires disabled people to live their dreams, but also show the non-disabled world to just treat us normally."For more on Tony Giles' adventures visit tonythetraveller.comI hope you enjoy. And thanks for listening!This episodewas produced and presented by Joe O'Connor.Original music and editing by Paul Loughran.Podcast branding and design by I said I would