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I'm drawn to cafes. I love my coffee but it's much more than that. Cafes are fascinating places to people watch, to photograph. I tend to think of cafes as little microcosms of culture. Not necessarily of a country's culture; although there are obviously some stereotypes that can be wheeled out. To the French, cafes are inextricably intertwined with everyday life. They are where life happens, where you meet, where you eat, where you watch and are seen. Italian cafes can often be much more practical - get in (if you can), drink up and get out. And no messing about with milk in your coffee, especially after lunch - it's espresso or niente. Often they're standing room only affairs.

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.