Tuesday, 26 March 2019


Back in November I went on one of the most exciting voyages I have ever been on - an expedition cruise to Antarctica. My children were so jealous I was going. Not only would I be able to see penguins in their natural habitat, I would also be visiting a continent very few people ever get to see.
Stepping foot on land in Antarctica was a surreal moment and I've documented it in many videos I've recently posted to my YouTube channel Go with Jo: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1Q28t30k-o99Ijzoiox11Q

Some of the videos are about the penguins I saw:

Other videos are about my mad attempt to try the polar plunge - yikes, that was COLD AND HURT!: 
And some videos are general about the whole expedition cruise and Antarctic experience - I travelled with a Norwegian cruise liner called Hurtigruten which was awesome and the expedition team was awesome too: 

When I came back I wrote a few articles for various worldwide publications about my trip. But I'd also written a diary whilst I was away and when I looked at the diary I realised that I had some great material which I didn't want to put to waste. And I saw a gap in the market. There are generic travel guides to Antarctica (like a Lonely Planet etc) but there isn't a guide which tells readers exactly what it's like, with top tips for what to do/what to pack/what to wear/how long to go for etc.
And so I set about writing a unique travel guide, chronicling my expedition from beginning to end, including the highs (penguins/icebergs/extreme hiking/extreme kayaking) and the lows (sea sickness!) And at the end of each chapter are top tips for people about to go to Antarctica themselves or interested in either going or in the polar regions.
I'm so proud of the book which is available from Amazon sites worldwide in kindle as well as in paperback  - here's the cover:
So, if you're interested in adventure travel or polar regions or penguins, this book is a must-read - inspired by early explorer Ernest Shackleton's diary - Shackleton attempted to cross Antarctica from one side to the other in the early 1900s.
It's available worldwide from Amazon, but here are the US and UK links:
US: amzn.to/2TfTox3
UK: amzn.to/2Y4X1K1

Happy exploring the world - at least you won't get as cold as I did in Antarctica just by looking at this book! And if you don't think you'll ever be able to make it to Antarctica yourself, you'll feel as if you have been there after you've read this...

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Wednesday, 13 March 2019



I don't like politicising my blog, but I'm so deeply incensed and embarrassed by this whole Brexit debacle that I've been thinking what I'd like to say to Theresa May if I had her in my living room over a cup of tea...and this is it...

Theresa: I don't dislike you - even though I've never voted Tory in my life - in fact, when you were elected leader of the Conservative party I was pleased for you. You felt safe; like a nice kind woman who would look after her country.
However, you have no idea how to negotiate. Like you, I never wanted to leave the EU in the first place. I still don't. And I suspect you don't either. But a word of advice. If you're going to try to get a good deal for our country, your 'softly, softly' approach was never going to work. I don't like Boris Johnson particularly, but the one thing he got right in terms of Brexit was his bulldozing attitude. "They can whistle for it," he said, regarding the billions of pounds the EU expected us to give them for nothing in return.
But look at your deal. I know you're in an impossible situation, but this deal can't possibly be good for us. It involves us as a country giving billions and billions to the EU for very little in return. How is that a good deal? How is that good negotiating? The EU must be laughing in our faces.
It's complicated, I know. As I said before, you're in an impossible situation.
The world might be laughing at you at this very moment, thinking what a poor job you're doing. I'm not laughing. I feel sorry for you. You've worked very hard and done you're very best...but whatever you do, you hit a brick wall. And I fear that's not going to change.
The world might be laughing at you now, thinking that you're a weak leader and can't control your party or country. But you can change that. You could go down in history as doing something really wonderful - and something great for your country. And this is how:
Have a press conference. Be strong. Admit something that you know, deep down, is the truth. Brexit cannot be done and it can't be done because of Ireland. And as long as we want peace in Ireland this will not change. Say this to the country and you can go down in history as somebody special, rather than a weak, but tenacious woman.
Your speech can be short and sweet and say this:
"Brexit is a bad idea, so for the sake of our country and our people I think we should stay in the EU. And if you don't want me to be the person to do this then I'll step down and hand over to somebody else who can..."

Do this, Theresa, and history might remember you as a strong woman who did what was best for her country and did what she truly believed in.

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Sunday, 28 January 2018


Hello everyone and hope you're having a nice weekend wherever you are in the world.

Over the last year or so I've had great fun building my YouTube channel: Go with Jo. I've been travelling round the world for work, making and editing short videos of places I've stayed in and things I've done, and it's been a great, fun journey. Judging from the thousands of views some of my videos have had, these films have given pleasure to lots of people around the globe. Perhaps my films have helped transport them to a different, more exotic place. Or perhaps my films have furnished them with useful advice. Or perhaps I gave somebody a tip to help make their own travels safer and more enjoyable.

Adverts are currently run on these films which make me a tiny bit of money and YouTube a much bigger amount of money.

However, YouTube is soon changing it's terms of agreement. Because my channel is not one of the 'big hitters', from the end of February I will no longer be entitled to make money from advertising on my videos;  nor will YouTube be compelled to pay me the money I have earned them so far.

This is very bad news for the 'little person' with a platform on YouTube. Whilst we can continue to have our channels, we will not be able to make money from them until we have 4,000 hours worth of views in a year (which is a lot)  and at least 1k subscribers.

I am nearly there with my views, but I am short of subscribers and wondered if you could help me with both.

Please, if you can and if you have time, could you take a look at my channel, watch some of my films and subscribe? If you do, not only will you be helping the 'little person', but you may well learn some useful travel ideas/tips on the way...and I will be eternally grateful.

Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1Q28t30k-o99Ijzoiox11Q

Many thanks, see you all soon and please feel free to share. There are others in a similar position to me and perhaps, if we all stick together, we can make a difference and convince YouTube to change their mind.

Bye for now


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Wednesday, 20 December 2017


Hello everyone,

Only five more sleeps to Christmas - are you ready for it?!

Great news this end. Christmas is a time for believing in miracles and if you'd like to read about one (with a dash of romance thrown in too) then the kindle version can be yours for only 99cents/99p over the festive season. It's cheaper than a glass of mulled wine and will bring you much more and longer-lasting pleasure too. Please help share and spread the word.

US PURCHASE LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Call-Heaven-Jo-Kessel/dp/1540490041/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1513767228&sr=8-3&keywords=a+call+to+heaven

UK PURCHASE LINK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Call-Heaven-Jo-Kessel-ebook/dp/B01MQU65MT/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513787102&sr=8-1&keywords=jo+kessel+a+call+to+heaven

This book is the most special to me out of all my novels and will fill you with hope - hope for the future; hope for the impossible to become possible; hope for love and hope for happy endings.
Read it and you'll see what I mean.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year full of hope, miracles and possibilities.

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017


Sometimes a child asks a question which is an astonishingly good one and which I'd love to know the answer to, but haven't a clue!

Recently my twelve year old daughter asked one such question. It must have been driven by the fact that it was raining in London (where we live) yet again, and the question was this:

"Mummy, do you think that there's ever a time when it's not raining ANYWHERE in the world?"

I stopped, hesitating. Is it possible that at some point in time there isn't a droplet of water dripping from the sky anywhere across the entire globe? It seems unlikely, but perhaps this is even a frequent phenomenon - a dry world everywhere for sufficient chunks of time.

If you're a meteorologist or geologist or an expert in global weather, then please help me provide an answer. Or if you know anyone who you think might be able to answer my daughter's question then please share this question with others.

I hate not to be able to provide my daughter with an accurate answer, especially when I'm sure that somebody, somewhere out there must know it!

Happy thinking about it and here's hoping it's dry wherever you are.

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Tuesday, 14 November 2017


It's not every day that you win an award, so I thought it was news worth sharing! It might not be an Oscar or a Grammy or a Brit, but for me it was just as exciting. A travel article I wrote for the Telegraph newspaper in the UK was nominated in the 'Best Cruise Lifestyle Feature' category at the CLIA UK & IRELAND CRUISE MEDIA AWARDS 2017. The competition around me was very stiff - I was up against some awesome journalists and really didn't expect to hear my name called out. And when it was I was SO excited.
Here's a pic:

Thank you so much for everyone who voted for me - it means such a lot. It's my first ever award and I will cherish it as if it was a BRIT, an Oscar or a Grammy!

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Monday, 27 February 2017


A few years ago a friend of mine who’s an author said: “What a novelist really needs to write is a ‘what if’ story.”

He went on to explain that a novel which makes a reader sit up and take note and think ‘what if’ would be the type of book which would appeal to the masses. 

I’ve never tried appealing to the masses, preferring to write what I wanted to write, as opposed to worrying about what might sell to a reader.

A Call to Heaven was different though. Because I didn’t come up with the idea at all; my mother did. And seeing as my mother (who sadly died six years ago) wasn’t able to tell me the idea in person, she came to me in a dream. In that dream she gave me the title for the book as well as its premise and then she kept repeating over and over: “You must remember this when you wake up.”

I did remember it when I woke up because it was an amazing idea and remembering that dream still gives me the shivers just thinking about it. 

Amy is A Call to Heaven’s heroine and she too has recently lost her mother. What Amy finds herself in possession of (unlike me) is a phone with supernatural powers – a phone which allows her to call her mother in Heaven. Of course it’s about a lot more than that too. It’s about her abusive husband; it’s about a hot (skeptical) doctor she comes to know; it’s about a challenge she’s set from Heaven; it’s about love – love for a man (the hot doctor) and love for lost loved ones.   

As I was writing the book I wished that my mother could teleport me a phone like Amy’s so that I could call her too. As I was working on the book, I realised that I’d finally written a ‘what if’ novel. I mean really…WHAT IF such a phone existed? WHAT IF we really could communicate with the deceased on the phone? WHAT IF we could prove there was a Heaven and we could connect with those in it? How amazing would that be? Or, if you were skeptical hot doctor Daniel, you might not think that would be so amazing after all…

Is there anyone you’ve loved and lost and wish more than anything that you could speak to them again? 

What if…? 

Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Call-Heaven-Jo-Kessel-ebook/dp/B01MQU65MT/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1481382801&sr=1-1&keywords=A+call+to+heaven+by+Jo+Kessel

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Call-Heaven-Jo-Kessel-ebook/dp/B01MQU65MT/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1481382922&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Call+to+Heaven+by+Jo+Kesselhttp://amzn.to/2glZs3E

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