Palm trees and sea water, Pahawang Island, Indonesia

A little short on cash and annual leave in real life, I made the momentous decision to take myself – and my imaginary boyfriend Leroy – on a Virtual World Trip.

30 countries in 30 days. No actual plane travel, no actual airports and no actual jet lag. Just a strange mix of fact and fiction, making it the perfect distraction from world politics.

It was the start of something much bigger.

What did I learn? That imaginary boyfriends and their imaginary families make good travelling companions. That virtual travel is virtually free and comes with almost none of the downsides of real life travel. That it leaves a small footprint. That the more you find out about the world – especially the bits we don’t get to hear about much – the more interesting it becomes. That the most culturally diverse places are usually the most fascinating. That there are still swathes of jaw-droppingly beautiful natural landscapes left.

Even if I didn’t actually get to taste the food, drink the coffee and the plum brandy, smell the wild thyme or the exhaust of two-stroke engines, I think virtual travel really has something going for it.

Begin at the beginning and come to Tuvalu with us…