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GoNOMAD Writer Profiles

Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto, Japan
Entering Zimbabwe
Wandering in and out of Zimbabwe

Northern Cape, South Africa
Northern Cape, South Africa

Lucy Corne: A Stubborn Case of Itchy Feet

Lucy Corne first appeared on GoNOMAD with an article on the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. Then she reported from Limpopo, South Africa on "How to Feed a Teenage Hippo." Then it was back to Korea for an article about helping to clean up an oil spill, and finally to Japan for her "Beginner's Guide to Sumo Wrestling," complete with videos.

Here is her travel biography, which we feel exemplifies the intrepid spirit of a true NOMAD:

"After graduating with a degree in journalism in 2000, Lucy has been nursing a stubborn case of itchy feet. Using freelance writing and EFL teaching as a means to get around, she has suffered with diarrhea and fallen off horses on every continent bar Antarctica.

After living in the Canary Islands for four years she wrote two guidebooks unveiling the forgotten side of the archipelago before heading to Africa to cross the continent in a truck.

Five months later, having cowered from gorillas in the DRC, jumped out of a plane over the Namib Desert and survived her first organized travel experience, she scored a contract to single-handedly write a guidebook on South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

The next year took her to some of the most remote spots in the country, including Welkom, one of the most boring places on earth, and Kenhardt, one of the most welcoming.

On finishing the book she moved to rural South Korea for a year, where she taught English to teenage boys and lived a life of semi-celebrity as one of four non-Koreans in town.

Lucy is now embarking on an epic Asian journey, starting with a volunteering stint in Northern India and ending in the most enigmatic nation on earth – North Korea.

En route she plans to overcome her fear of riding animals by climbing on an elephant, overcome her fear of mountain roads by braving Nepali buses, overcome her fear of claws by volunteering with pandas and finish up rooting for her native Britain in the Beijing Olympics."

Panda cubs in Bifengxia, China
Panda cubs in Bifengxia, China

Chengdu, China: Open for Business

Settling into our front row seats at the opera we couldn’t help feeling lonely. Behind us were 20 empty rows, to our right a trio of Japanese businessmen and to our left a bunch of bewildered looking tourists, no doubt wondering where the rest of the audience was.

Normally at this time of year, the Sichuan opera theatres sell out every night, but since the earthquake hit in May, tourists have been staying away and the show that was to round off our weekend in west China echoed in the empty venue.

As the artists took the stage, slightly outnumbering the spectators, I mused at why the visitors weren’t coming back to the region.

Chengdu, the provincial capital, was largely untouched by the earthquake and we were amazed to find its buildings still standing and its streets free of rubble or chasms. Sadly, most would-be visitors, both domestic and international, fear the worst, and although the city was spared by the quake, it is now being hit economically by the dearth of tourists...



The Bastakiya district in Dubai
The Bastakiya district in Dubai

In Search of the Real Dubai

The first thing that struck me when I arrived in Dubai was how utterly friendly the people were.

Rather than the unsmiling and slightly intimidating officer who usually presides over passport control, we were greeted with a grin and a welcoming chat while being stamped into the UAE’s tourist hub.

I was further amazed that evening when, hailing a taxi to take us to dinner, the driver announced that the traffic was too heavy, a cab would be too pricey and recommended that we head to a restaurant within walking distance.

We were astounded at his honesty but a little disappointed since in the absence of any Emirati food we’d hoped to eat in the only Arabian restaurant listed in our guidebook.

This was the second thing I noticed about Dubai – the strange lack of anything Emirati. Every restaurant offers either Indian or Lebanese cuisine, the streets are lined with British or American stores, and when you look around you start to notice that even the people don’t hail from this part of the world... Read More


Feeding Lucy, the teenage hippo
Feeding Lucy, the teenage hippo

Feeding a Teenage Hippo

I’ve never been terribly fond of animals. It’s not that I don’t like looking at them; I just have an innate fear of anything with more legs than I have. So imagine my surprise when one sticky afternoon on the border of the Kruger National Park I found myself with my hand in a hippo’s mouth.

Of course, South Africa is well known as a safari destination, and opportunities to get up close with fierce creatures present themselves often. I’d already stood on the sidelines while friends petted lion cubs, stroked cheetahs and rode elephants.

Then a modest sign at the side of the road jumped out and grabbed my attention. Having explored the less-than-engaging town of Hoedspruit we were searching for some way to kill time, so a notice inviting us to meet, pet and feed an actual hippo was a welcome diversion to say the least.

By the time our bottom-of-the-range hire car had navigated the dirt road leading to the hippo’s home, I was starting to have second thoughts. How could it be safe? I’d heard the stories, as I’m sure you have – it’s an oft-quoted fact that hippos kill more people than any other mammal in Africa... Read More



A sumo wrestling match
A sumo wrestling match

A Beginner's Guide to Sumo Wrestling

Witnessing something like sumo is always going to be a thrill. It’s weird and unique, you’ve seen it on TV and it seems to epitomize the culture of a nation.

But in truth if you don’t really understand what’s going on, sumo wrestling can soon become pretty dull. The pomp and ceremony takes up around 90 per cent of the day, with some of the bouts being so short you can easily miss them if your mind wanders for a moment.

Once the novelty of actually being at a real sumo tournament wore off, I felt the need to get a little clued up so that I could really enjoy the last few bouts of the day – the crucial ones featuring the yokozuna.

Having read up a little, I felt a new respect for a sport that I had previously considered somewhat ridiculous. For those that hold a similar opinion, or are simply bewildered by the whole flesh baring, thigh slapping event, here’s a total beginner’s guide to the art-cum-sport that is so revered in the Land of the Rising Sun...Read More



The author and her friends suit up for a day of cleaning.
The author and her friends suit up for a day of

Korea: Pitching In to Clean Up An Oil Spill

South Korea has been my home for almost a year and although the Taean Haean National Park is a mere two hours from my house, I’d never got around to visiting.

I can’t tell you how sad I was that the first time I saw these quiet, secluded beaches (a rarity in small, overpopulated Korea) the entire region had been destroyed by South Korea’s largest ever oil spill.

Disaster struck in early December when a South Korean barge hit a Hong Kong ‘supertanker,’ causing it to send almost three million gallons of crude oil gushing into the ocean seven miles off shore.

The spill affected an eleven-mile stretch of the coast, much of which falls into one of Korea’s few marine National Parks... Read More




Lucy Corne

Before the hard work began - photos by Lucy Corne and Kareena Mutch Korea: Pitching
Light filtering through the windows of a mosque in Cairo. photos by Lucy Mercer-Mapstone
A Be a Responsible Traveler Excerpts from Lucy PopescuAs latest book, The Good
Sony Stark Tim Leffel Cindy-Lou Dale Kelly Westhoff Mridula Dwivedi Lucy Corne Rick Millikan
Stark Tim Leffel Cindy-Lou Dale Kelly Westhoff Mridula Dwivedi Lucy Corne Rick Millikan
. Photos by Lucy Corne We decided to mooch around some of TokyoAs temples until we got hungry
Lucy Corne Around The World Airline Tickets A
Kelly Westhoff Mirdula Dwivedi Lucy Corne A A A TOP A A
A Fans turn up in hordes to watch the top sumo wrestlers clashing. Photos by Lucy Corne
A Feeding a teenage hippo named Jessica - photos by Lucy Corne. How to feed a hippoA
Dubai Creek - photos by Lucy Corne Dubai: In With The NewA By Lucy Corne
The Sichuan Opera - photos by Lucy Corne Chengdu, China: Open for Business By Lucy
Mirdula Dwivedi Lucy Corne A A A
Hartshorne Paul Shoul Sony Stark Tim Leffel Cindy-Lou Dale Kelly Westhoff Mridula Dwivedi Lucy Corne
Mridula Dwivedi Lucy Corne Travel Blogs, Updated Every Day! View Posts by GoNOMAD


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