The First Mile

The First Mile

The First Mile is an immersive travel podcast, bringing you untold stories from the world of adventure. It is presented by Ash Bhardwaj and Pip Stewart — two travel journalists, who are adventurers in their own right — and explores everything from the ethics of cultural tourism, to documenting your journeys and making a living from travel. Ash and Pip navigate this territory with some of the world’s greatest travellers, who reveal how they got their first break in travel writing, planned remote expeditions, or made the switch from a corporate career to a life of adventure. Alongside these in-depth interviews are travel-narrative dispatches: evocative field recordings from Ash and Pip’s adventures, which take the listener along for the ride. New episodes are released weekly, in 10-episode seasons. ****** Season one’s interview guests include: author Monisha Rajesh, explorer Levison Wood, film-maker Reza Pakravan, and travel-writer Leon McCarron. Our dispatches come from Annapurna, Nepal, and Whanganui, New Zealand, where our hosts report back on rites of passage, celestial navigation, the joys of moonshine liquor, and a whole lot more. ****** Ash Bhardwaj is an award-winning broadcaster, film-maker and Telegraph Travel columnist. He regularly reports for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service, and his films have appeared on BBC, Channel 4, Discovery and National Geographic. Pip Stewart has cycled halfway around the world and completed a world-first kayak descent of Guyana’s Essequibo River (where she picked up a flesh-eating parasite). She is the former Red Bull adventure editor, and her presenting work has appeared on BBC, Al Jazeera and The Telegraph. ****** We hope you enjoy The First Mile. Please let us know what you think of it in the comments, and give us a rating, too.


April 5, 2024 32 mins

We’re back! In this episode we discuss travel writing ahead of Ash’s debut book, Why We Travel. We discuss motivations for travel - why it matters, how we can do it better and if it can it help us to live more fulfilling lives…

This episode, discover:

  • What Pip and Ash have been up to since they last recorded.
  • What are motivations for travel - and why it matters, how we c...
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We’re coming back! The podcast is all about travel, why it matters, how we can do it better and if it can help us live more fulfilling lives.

We really value your input so do let us know what you’d like to see in season two. If you’ve got any suggestions of topics or people you’d like to hear interviewed. Drop us a line on Instagram @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart or X @AshBhardwaj and @PipStewart.


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Rhiane Fatinikun on Getting Started in the Outdoors, and the Importance of Diversity.

In the final episode of Season 1, we meet Rhiane Fatinikun, the founder of Black Girls Hike.

Rhiane founded Black Girls Hike in 2019, to provide a safe space for Black women to explore the outdoors. It is now a thriving community, with groups based in the North West, the Midlands and London.

In this episode, Rhiane tells us about how she went from...

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Leon McCarron on Slow Travel and Misunderstood Places.

In this episode, Ash meets Leon McCarron: writer, broadcaster, and North Face explorer.

Leon has walked a 1000-mile loop of the Holy Land, crossed China from north to south, and travelled on foot in Kosovo, Armenia and on the Yemeni island of Socotra. He has also cycled 14,000 miles across three continents, walked through the Empty Quarter desert, and ridden across Patagonia on...

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Dispatch from New Zealand: Maori Hakas, Sacred Rivers, and Jet-boat Evacuations.

In this action-packed Dispatch episode, we join Ash in Aotearoa New Zealand's North Island. Ash tackles rapids, learns about Maori culture (including traditional navigational techniques) - and makes it back to the UK just before lockdown hit.

Ash meets the captain of an ocean-going waka, who left the New Zealand Army to navigate oceans with just the st...

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Pip Stewart on Creating a Lifestyle Career, and Making Social Media Work for You.

Ever wondered how to become a so-called “influencer”? The secret is storytelling.

In this episode, Ash interviews his friend and co-host, Pip Stewart.

Pip has cycled halfway around the world, embarked on a world-first kayak journey through the Amazon and survived a flesh-eating parasite. She talks about how she accidentally fell into a career in tra...

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Ash Bhardwaj on Adventure With Purpose and Becoming a Travel Journalist.

How can you travel the world and get paid for it? Ash Bhardwaj is a travel writer and storyteller - and also co-host of The First Mile. He’s reported from around the world for global broadcasters such as the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4, has a monthly travel column in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, and has made films for Channel 4, Discovery and the BBC.


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Reza Pakravan on Funding Your Journeys, and Switching From a Corporate Career to a Life of Adventure.

Have you ever wondered how to completely change your life? Reza Pakravan did just that, packing in his corporate life in London for a life of adventure.

Reza has cycled the length of the planet, made (and presented) TV shows highlighting important global issues for some of the world’s top broadcasters, written a few books, and bag...

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Dispatch from Nepal: The Gurkhas and the British Army

The relationship between the British Army and Nepal’s Gurkhas has been a long standing one, and in our second immersive Dispatch episode, Ash Bhardwaj travels to Nepal to join a photographic journey led by two ex-Gurkha officers.

From digging into the intensity of the Gurkha selection process, to understanding the history and bond between Britain and Nepal, this episode discuss...

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Levison Wood on Planning Expeditions and Making a Career in Travel.

Levison Wood is an explorer, author and photographer, yet his journey to success has not been straightforward. In this interview episode, he shares what he’s learnt along the way - tips you can hopefully use on your own life path.

In this conversation, find out how Lev went from sleeping on park benches to becoming a bestselling travel writer, why breaking his leg...

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Monisha Rajesh on Getting Published, Travelling with Kids, and Why Diversity Matters.

Is being a travel writer all it’s cracked up to be? In this interview episode, award-winning author Monisha Rajesh shares tales of her train journeys across the world and the details of how she made (and funds) her career. She also highlights some of the pitfalls along the way.

This episode is packed with tips on everything from "travelling with ...

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Dispatch from Nepal: Trekking, Sustainable Travel, and the Ethics of Photography.

An episode that's perfect for armchair travellers, as we join Ash Bhardwaj on a photographic trip to Nepal for our first narrative travel dispatch episode.

Join Ash as he treks high into the Annapurna mountain range, encounters tea houses, and shares some of the amazing stories and people he came across. This episode delves into the ethics of tourism...

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October 1, 2020 2 mins

This is an introductory episode to The First Mile: a travel podcast from Ash Bhardwaj and Pip Stewart.

Every episode is either a travel narrative dispatch from one of our adventures, or an interview with a great traveller.

In season 1, we interview author Monisha Rajesh about how she won her first book commission, and speak to explorer Levison Wood about how he plans expeditions. We also interview film-maker Reza Pakravan, and auth...

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