Brazil was the first country I ever visited outside of Europe.  From the first day I thought it was an incredible place, everything felt so different from everything I'd ever seen.  The sultry heat, the chaotic cities, the wonderful food and the friendly people.  Since then I've visited South America a couple of times, but my first trip to Brazil will always stay with me as an eye opener to how much of the world I hadn't seen and how different it was to my home in Europe.  

When my wife were planning our first trip away together she asked me if I'd like to go to the Amazon and of course I said yes.  Growing up in the UK, the Amazon seemed like a place that only existed in films and books, the name itself was one of those place names like the Sahara, Patagonia, Mandalay, and so many others, that were almost magical in their power to conjure up exotic images in my imagination. As I got older I realised that these were all real places and it was possible to visit them, but even so these places are still awe inspiring and having the opportunity to visit them is one I feel blessed to have had.  It was going to the Amazon that awoke in me the possibilty to go to so many of the places I've visited since, and the week we spent in amongst the steamy rainforest is still one of the most memorable trips of my life.