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I started to pen a dark and moody piece about crossing Russia on the Trans Mongolian Railway during the depths of a Siberian winter. Of how harsh the Russian climate can be at that time of year. Of how there's an austere beauty in the bleak solitude of her snow-blasted villages. A sense of resignation in the puffy faces of those station vendors, whose lives in which you play the most minor of roles. In the end I thought stuff it, what's with all the poetic crap!

Although the days of working for your passage hopping freighters are a thing of the past - a heavily specialised and unionised work force put paid to that - with a little planning and flexible travel dates, there aren't too many regions you can't now get to as a paid-up-passenger on board a cargo ship.