Alumni Travel Memories

Alumni Voices shares the travel escapades from our alumni community, spanning from cycling expeditions across North America, hitchhiking to Paris in a day and immersive fieldwork experiences in Peru’s rainforests. These memories capture the essence of academic and post-academic life: a continuous quest for knowledge, adventure, and connection.

Post-degree Cycle Tour across North America

“After completing my Master’s degree at York, I returned home to Ottawa, Canada. The following summer I bought a good road bike and embarked upon a trip across western Canada. My aim was to reach the Pacific Coast. I made it to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan but had to cut it short and take a coach the rest of the way to attend my best friend’s wedding on the west coast. Eternally grateful to Tony, retired miner, for fixing my broken chain in Saskatchewan, and to Mike’s Bike Shop in Brandon, Manitoba for the hub-removal tool they gave me, which allowed me to replace broken spokes.” – Mike

Natural History Society Trip

“A weekend away for the University Natural History Society to Northumberland and a memorable trip to the Farne Islands. By the time we arrived on the islands I could have sold my sea sickness tablets for £20 each! That and the attack of the killer Arctic Terns, they drew blood from many an unsuspecting student’s head.” Angela Milner-Brown (nee West) (1995)

From cherished walks around the campus lake, to the city of Gaudí (Barcelona), and back home

“Soon after successfully finishing my degree, in early 2009, I had the happy knack of working as an economist, at the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Islamabad (Pakistan) office, which gave a deep experience of the practice of economics at the national and global level. Building on my experience at the IMF, I decided to take a critical view at its rather neoliberal policy inclinations, which remained the main focus of my doctoral studies in economics at the University of Barcelona (Spain).

Apart from studies, just like the historical city of York, Barcelona also presented me with a rich historical experience, and given my passion for painting and arts, the architectural imprint of Antoni Gaudí on the city left an indelible impression on my memory. The other streak of happiness that studying at Spain brought, was a feeling of closeness to the glorious past of the Andalusia from the times of Muslim rule, when city of Cordova was known during the mediaeval times for its architectural modernity and aesthetics, and also being one of the leading centres of learning.” – Omer Javed (2009)

UOY RAG hitch to Paris every February

“Every year we’d hitchhike in the coldest month from York to Paris in 24 hours. There’d always be a bunch of Rag Rats waiting at Notre Dame with advice, baguettes, and they’d get us to hot drinks. I’d hitch then help with the reception.

My most amazing trip was with Paul where a bloke in Calais took us out of his way all the way to Paris via the in construction channel tunnel!” – Sean Triner (1992)

Watching Fireworks in Iceland

I went to Iceland in December 31st, 2022. Iceland was the place which I always dreamed about since I was a child. The Northern lights were so attractive to me. Studying in the UK let me get a convenient chance to travel from Northern Europe.

The story from my Iceland trip was not extraordinary, but I think it was one of the most unforgettable and impressive experiences in my life. I arrived in Iceland on the last day of 2022; travelling with 5 of my friends, one of them was my lover. We enjoyed the fireworks at the end of the year. I remembered that the day was freezing, however the fireworks were incredible. I have been particularly fond of watching fireworks and snow since I was a child but my hometown is a place where it doesn’t snow all year round, and the government doesn’t allow fireworks. That day was so dreamlike and romantic, which I will never forget. – Li Yuzheng

Field work in Peru

“During the second year of my environment degree we received an email from a York alum, asking for volunteers to undertake research projects with his conservation charity in Peru.

Several months later I found myself travelling alone on a three day journey into the depths of the Peruvian rainforest, wondering just what I had let myself in for! However, I needn’t have worried as on arrival at ‘Explorer’s Inn’, a tourist and research lodge in the Tambopata National Reserve, I was welcomed by a lovely group of tourist guides, researchers and other volunteers and soon settled into rainforest life. Mornings were spent collecting data for my research project on the effects of tourism on parrot and macaw behaviour whilst in the afternoons I was free to explore the jungle.

From helping with a night time survey of the local caiman population whilst the milky way stretched across the sky, being woken up by the calls of the howler monkeys, late night parties in the mooonlight overlooking the river, to a rather magical early morning encounter with a family of rare giant otters it was a truly unforgettable summer!” – Hannah Droop (2005)

Environmental Field Trip to Iceland

“A big highlight of my Environmental Geography degree was a field trip to Iceland where we got to undertake a series of projects across the different landscapes including glaciers and mountains. We got to travel around the country, experiencing the long daylight hours as well as getting to explore the golden circle and a lovely afternoon at the blue lagoon!” – Emily Shipley (2015)

Outdoor Society

“The Outdoor Society arranged walks on Sundays going out to the Yorkshire Dales, Moors and along the coast. They usually ended in a pub, waiting to be picked up by the coach. This mostly being autumn and winter my memories are of drinking beer while being soaking wet as nothing that I had ever seemed to be waterproof.” – Andy Scott (1972)

GSA Day Trips

“This photo was taken in Oxford by a stranger from the university I met while on a day trip to Oxford that the GSA organised. I loved the idea as they were not only budget friendly but also a nice way to travel solo, explore and make new friends.” – Unknown

Marine Biology residential trip to Millport

“In July 1984, we were on a residential trip to Millport to study marine biology – great fun! Lots of cycling round the island with spades over our handlebars. We travelled back to York on a coach overnight and arrived to see York Minster in flames, having been struck by lightning.” – Unknown

Do you have any travel anecdotes or remarkable adventures you’ve embarked on post-graduation? We’re seeking alumni who have ventured off the conventional path for unique travel experiences. If you have a travel story to share and wish to inspire others, kindly complete this travel stories form to contribute your post-graduate travel tales.

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