Back Story

30+ years exploring 120+ countries

Hi, I'm Michael Robert Powell (MRP) - a global nomad offering you travel insight and inspiration, advice & crazy adventures direct from my experience.

But THE CANDY TRAIL isn't travel blogging career shit; no, it's travel for the pure love of travel by an 'old school' backpacker who fell into the nomadic life by accident.

You see, back in 1988 at age 21 - this young punk-hippy had just completed an aimless arts degree with no further life ambitions - except, to earn a flight out of New Zealand and enjoy big-city life and live music in London.


 Travel Junkie

But in 1989 after some edgy living and dull temp jobs, a random dice decision and some sage advice from an older women instigated a wild, hap-hazard backpacking trip across the Middle East (for 5 months including Syria + Iraq).

This first epic journey - across Islamic lands - aroused a drug-like desire for the world - wanting to go everywhere, sparking decades of travel, alone, surviving on temp work, living out of a backpack and going with the flow of being so alive to the endless options of the road.

I'd found my life purpose. (Maybe it was just an addiction. But it felt right.)

Those cultural encounters. That vast geography. The Minimalist living. Now, this is life!

And it helped that I'd no desire for a house, a car, a motorbike or wanting a career or even a normal life. (Yet once, I owned a TV. And also a laptop - my first in 1994; so maybe I was one of the first "Digital Nomads".)

But then in 2014, I edged closer to 'normality' when I met my future wife in China. Luckily, Wei  - rhymes with 'Hey' - also enjoys a simple travel life.

And so, THE CANDY TRAIL - the art of travel continues.

Wei & MRP - Ladakh, India 2016
van life traveling china


  • Arrested in Saddam's Iraq by the military; accused of being "a spy" (1989)

  • Drugged, abducted, robbed + ditched in Siberia, Russia (2005)

  • Hitch-hiking the Sahara Desert, from Algeria to Nigeria (1991)

  • Enjoying Carnaval; later mugged at knifepoint in Rio, Brazil (2003)

  • Traveling overland from England to India, via Iran, where I was caught in a deadly bus accident (1990)

  • Amid a cyclone that killed 138,000 people - Bangladesh (1991)

  • Trans-Siberian route, Beijing to London - overland (2005)

  • Caught in a war-zone around Angkor in civil-war Cambodia (1994)

  • Antarctica by ship - 14 land excursions; whisky + iceberg on New Year's Eve (2003)

  • Visiting Bolivia's notorious San Pedro Prison (2002)

  • Robbed by hotel staff, while suffering dysentery in Pakistan (1990)

  • Swimming with seals in Galapagos Islands (2003)

  • Amid riots in Israel (1990), India (1990) + Indonesia (1999)

  • Horse trekking in mountains of Colombia - thru FARC guerrilla territory (2003)

  • Flash-flood close call in Morocco (1991)

  • Skydiving in Argentina (2002) and solo parachuting in New Zealand (1992)

  • Slow boat down the Niger River to Timbuktu, Mali (2007)

  • Hitching the Himalayas, across Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal (1994)

  • Escaping from Indonesia by fishing boat, hitching in an Australian Army Blackhawk to be the "first tourist" in new East Timor, on 14 Jan. 2000

  • Actively participating in a Voodoo ceremony in Togo (2007)

  • Stuck in quarantine while van-camping in coronavirus-hit - China (2020)

    .. AND MORE

Stories will emerge online gradually; others will appear only within an ebook. Subscribe below for more!

Further Reading

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