30+ Years Living Nomadic - Exploring 120+ Countries



Hi, I'm Michael Robert Powell - a global nomad with more than 3 decades of perpetual travels across 120+ countries and this website documents the highlights and lows across my life of travel.

But this story isn't the usual "I quit my 9-to-5 and sold everything to travel the world".

No, I never got near a career treadmill. 

You see back in 1988, after finishing an aimless arts degree I didn't know what to do. 

So at age 21, I simply left New Zealand for London - seeking a slice of big exciting city life.


After some fast city living and a few dull temp jobs in 1989, a dice throw directed me onto a backpacking trip around the Middle East (for 5 months, including Syria + Iraq).

That amazing journey was the spark that ignited decades of world traveling - alone, surviving on random work, living out of a backpack and going with the flow.

These years were full of vast geography and minimalist living.

Having never owned a house, a car, a motorbike or even had a permanent job. (But once, I owned a TV).

Yet in recent years, I’ve edged closer to 'normality' - since I met my wife (in China).

Luckily, Wei  - rhymes with 'Hey' - is tolerant of my madness and she also enjoys a minimalist travel life.

And so, THE CANDY TRAIL continues.

Wei & MRP - Ladakh, India 2016

 2020-21 = Van Life across SW + NW 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

P.S: More stories will emerge gradually; others will appear only within an ebook.