About

Hi and welcome to Why What How – a long-form blog for curious, busy people that makes chewy ideas easy to digest.

My name is Arthur and I’m a traveller, reader and committer to things I’m completely unprepared for. I’m also obsessed with learning as much as I can about the world around me. This pretty much determines where I am, what I’m doing or who I’m with at any given moment.

In a past life I studied Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology at Oxford. This almost didn’t pan out since I spent most of my time moonlighting as an aspiring entrepreneur. After that came two years in finance and a few more as a consultant at McKinsey in London. I bought an apartment, I had a great group of friends, work was fascinating, London was a never ending stream of activities.

And then I resigned. I sold my belongings, I rented out my apartment and I left.

Why? Perhaps it was putting my 53 year old father into a home with terminal, early-onset dementia after a failed, 20-year struggle with alcohol. Perhaps it was the end of a four year relationship or a month of surfing with a good friend in Guatemala. Maybe it was the daily meditation and journalling I’d started the previous year. Possibly the books I’d been reading since I was 18 or my time as an entrepreneur.

In any case – I came to the conclusion that there was more to life than the path I was on and that I wasn’t prepared to defer finding out about it any longer.

The original plan was to take six months of headspace. Six months of financial, physical and mental freedom. Six months with only a 40 litre backpack and one clear goal: to see, experience and learn as much as possible. I was determined not to let my new freedom make me soft – I woke up at 5 AM each day and threw myself into 17 hours of learning and travel (not, FYI, a sustainable way to live your life). But as the six months went on, even at this relentless pace, I realised something important – I had never felt more at peace.

That is not to say I was always happy. Everyone has good days and bad days no matter who or where they are. Every lifestyle, every day comes with new challenges and opportunities. But peace. That’s something different. That’s something that goes right down to the core of you.

So here I am, ~4 years (48 annual leave years) later. Each year I have learned more, seen more, experienced more. My routine has mellowed out since those first six months. I’m still up at 5AM but these days there’s a bit more balance in the way I approach them. I met an incredible Australian girl, Erin, at a Salsa class in Medellin, Colombia. She runs the business she started at 21, Zen Green Tea, from anywhere in the world and is even launching a few more. Right now we’re on the road and sketching potential travel options out somewhere as far as early 2019.

I’m not saying it’s for everyone. I’m not saying I’ll still be doing it in five years. But I am saying that there is more to life than most of us realise. And, if we want it, it’s surprisingly easy to find.

I decided to start Why What How because when it comes down to it – I love chewy ideas. You know the kind that just don’t make any sense until they suddenly make sense (I call these Necker Cube moments). I also remember how little time and energy I had to grapple with these kinds of ideas outside of my work in London.

The aim of Why What How is to share some of the learnings and mistakes from my journey so far. It’s also to try and explain some of the more chewy ideas I come across in a simple and succinct way. The goal is not only to scratch my own itch but also to produce the kind of writing I wish I’d had access to back in London.

With any luck, some curious, busy people might even find something here that interests them!

If that sounds like you then why not sign up for the weekly “new post” update or check out the archives. I also love book and article suggestions – if you have one get in touch.

Travel Log

If you’re thinking about some extended travelling, for however long, then just do it! We’ve never lived in an age where it’s so cheap, easy (and safe) to travel and it might not always stay this way.

If you don’t know where to start, this travel planning checklist might even help. But don’t let it put you off. In February 2014 I landed in Argentina for my first night of extended solo travel. I had no guide book, no idea what I was doing or even where I was going to stay but what came next changed my life forever.

This ongoing travel log is reversely chronological (i.e., most recent places first). I haven’t double mentioned countries in the same year unless the purpose of the further trips was very different.

2017

Up next... (12)

Although no plan survives first contact with reality…

United States
Morocco
Egypt
Oman
Jordan
Israel
England
Holland
Germany
Denmark
Sweden
Norway

Russia (1)
St. Petersburg
Finland (4)
Oulu
Kerimäki
Joutseno
Helsinki
Estonia (2)
Tallinn
Pärnu
Latvia (2)
Riga
Sigulda
Lithuania (3)
Klaidepa
Nida
Vilnius
Poland (4)
Warsaw
Gdansk
Poznan
Wrocław
Germany (1)
Heidelberg
Luxembourg (1)
Luxembourg City
Australia (2)
Central Coast
Sydney
United States (6)
Los Angeles
Santa Barbara
Santa Cruz
Yosemite National Park
San Francisco
New York
England (4)
Warminster
Shoreham
Brighton
London
Colombia (8)
Jardin
San Andres
Guatapé
Playa Blanca
Isla Grande
Cartagena
Medellin
Bogota

 

2016

Antarctica (5)
Deception Island
Cierva Cove
D’Hainaut Island
Brown Bluff
Paulet Island
South Georgia (9)
Drygalski Fjord
Cooper Bay
Gold Harbour
Royal Bay
Ocean Harbour
Saint Andrew’s Bay
Grytviken
Stromness
Bay of Isles
The Falklands Islands (3)
Carcass Island
Saunders Island
Stanley
South Africa (3)
Cape Town
Stellenbosch
Western Cape
Namibia (6)
Orange River
Fish River Canyon
Sesriem
Swakopmund
Otjitotongwe
Etosha
Botswana (3)
Kasane
Maun
Okavango Delta
Zimbabwe (6)
Victoria Falls
Matopos
Bulawayo
Gweru
Chiyoni Caves
Lake Kariba
Zambia (2)
Lusaka
Luangwa
Malawi (2)
Kande
Chitimba
Tanzania (9)
Iringa
Zanzibar
Dar es Salam
Arusha
Serengeti – Simba
Serengeti – Seronera
Grumeti Reserve
Mwanza
Ruhengeri
Rwanda (1)
Kigali
Uganda (5)
Kisoro
Hippo Camp
Kalinza Forest
Kampala
Jinja
Kenya (5)
Eldoret
Nakuru
Lake Naivasha
Masai Mara
Nairobi
Italy (1)
Florence
Russia (1)
St. Petersburg
Spain (1)
Ibiza
Kazakhstan (3)
Astana
Saty
Almaty
Tajikistan (9)
Dushanbe
Kalai Kumb
Jizev
Khorog
Yamg
Hissor
Burunkul
Alichur
Murgab
Kyrgyzstan (4)
Song-Köl
Bishkek
Sary Tash
Osh
Uzbekistan (5)
Andijan
Kokand
Tashkent
Samarkand
Bukhara
Turkmenistan (5)
Mary
Nokhur
Yangykala Canyons
Darvaza Crater
Ashgabat
Iran (8)
Mashad
Abyaneh
Esfahan
Shiraz
Bavanat Valley
Yazd
Kashan
Tehran
Turkey (7)
Istanbul
Assos
Sirince
Pamukkale
Yakaköy
Kaş
Cappadocia
Morocco (1)
Sahara Desert (MDS)
England (2)
Brighton
London
Canada (2)
Vancouver
Whistler

 

2015

Canada (1)
Whistler
United States (1)
Los Angeles
Philippines (3)
Manila
Coron
Boracay
DPRK (2)
North Korean Countryside
Pyongyang
Taiwan (6)
Chiayi
Tainan
Kaohsiung
Yuli
Taroko
Taipei
China (2)
Beijing
Qingdao
Japan (13)
Tokyo
Mt. Fuji
Hakone
Tsumago
Magome
Takayama
Kanazawa
Nara
Mt. Koyasan
Matsuyama
Hiroshima
Kyoto
Osaka
Indonesia (3)
Seminyak
Gili Meno
Ubud
South Korea (2)
Busan
Seoul
China (11)
Beijing
Shanghai
Xian
Chengdu
Shangri-La
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Lijiang
Dali
Kunming
Yangshuo
Shenzhen
Singapore (1)
Singapore
Hong Kong (1)
Hong Kong
Myanmar (4)
Inle Lake
Mandalay
Bagan
Yangon
Thailand (2)
Chiangmai
Bangkok
Japan (2)
Tokyo
Hirafu
Cambodia (2)
Siem Reap
Phnom Penh
Vietnam (7)
Ha Long Bay
Sa Pa
Hanoi
Hue
Hoi An
Ho Chi Minh
Phu Quoc
Austria (2)
Vienna
St. Anton
England (3)
Brighton
London
Norfolk

 

2014

Germany (16)
Lubeck
Hamburg
Dresden
Bamberg
Nuremberg
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Ulm
Füssen
Munich
Cologne
Oberwesel
Weimar
Frankfurt
Heidelberg
Baden Baden
Berlin
Ireland (3)
The Wild Atlantic Way
Shannon via
Galway to
Armenia (4)
Lake Sevan
Dilijan
Dzoraget
Yerevan
Jordan (2)
Petra
Dead Sea
UAE (1)
Dubai
Kuwait (1)
Kuwait City
Spain (2)
Barcelona
Mallorca
Bolivia (2)
Salar de Uyuni
Uyuni
Chile (1)
San Pedro de Atacama
Argentina (11)
Iguazu
Salta
Mendoza
Cordoba
El Bolsón
San Martin de los Andes
Bariloche
El Chaltén
El Calafate
Ushuaia
Buenos Aires
England (2)
Brighton
London

 

 

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