The World Is *Way* Bigger Than You Think. Here’s Why.

You have no idea how big the world truly is.

If you’re based in a big city (as many of Rug & Rock’s team are), it’s easy to feel like the world outside is rather small in comparison.

Take London, England.


London sprawls mightily in all directions, and getting out of it on public transport feels like the UK’s equivalent of the Oregon Trail.

There’s Inner London, Outer London, Are-we-Still-In-London-Seriously? – it feels endless.

And of course this is completely absurd.

London is huge by English standards,ย yet piddlingly small when compared to the rest of the world. It’s not even in the world’s top 10 cities by land area (it’s ranked way down at 37).

This is a perspective shift that affects all the adventurers we take on our tours. Their eyes widen. They mumble, or their lips move silently. They gasp.

The world is mindblowingly big, and there are only two ways to learn just how big.

One is to go there – and obviously we’d always recommend that course of action.

The other is to play a game of comparisons.

So, just for the fun of it, let’s play.


1. Naxos vs. The City Of London

Our new windsurfing tour (kicking off again in April) is along the coastline of the magnificently beautiful Greek island of Naxos.

Most Brits, when challenged, would probably define a Greek island as “golden beaches enclosing sunburnt mountains, a mile or so from end to end” – maybe around the size of the historic City Of London, the inner city (and British county) that contains most of London’s great financial institutions.

As the young folk would say – “LOL”.

The City of London is around 2.9 square km. Naxos, on the other hand, is 430 square km – around a quarter of the size of Greater London, ie. what most of us think of as “London”.

As Greek islands go, it’s a whopper (and the biggest in the Cyclades chain) – but it’s not the largest. That honour goes to Crete, which is 260 km long. That’s the distance from the centre of London to Belgium.


2. Andalusia vs. Los Angeles

Every year, we run rock climbing, canyoning and trekking tours in Spain’s Andalusia region – the next ones beginning in March 2018.

Andalusia is indeed just a corner of Spain – but it’s a corner on a scale few people would believe.

If you’re familiar with the city of Los Angeles, California, you probably think you know what “big” looks like. And yes, at 1,302 square km, it’s undeniably massive (especially if you’re unlucky enough to be driving anywhere during rush hour).

Andalusia, on the other hand, is 90,000 square km. Andalusia comfortably swallows all the land between Los Angeles and San Diego, with enough total land area remaining to stretch to Santa Barbara in one direction, and Tijuana in the other.

And if you’re a European reading this – Andalusia is almost the size of Iceland.

That’s what big looks like.

You can read more about our love-affair with the region here.


3. Morocco vs. Africa

Our next Sahara trekking adventure kicks off in early 2018ย – and we always look forward to seeing people’s faces when they’re faced with the immensity of that whole landscape.

In terms of getting your head round the size of it, Morocco‘s biggest problem is what it’s part of.

If you go to Google Maps and pull up Africa, Morocco is little more than a fleck of land stuck to Africa’s top left corner. It looks inconsequential, an afterthought, a pretender to the title of “African country”.

Algeria, Libya, Egypt? C’mon, those are real countries. Morocco looks like the runt of the litter.

Thing is, you probably didn’t scroll the mapยดupwards – or you would have seen how much you had to zoom in to find “big” countries like Spain, France and Germany.

The continent of Africa is on a scale that turns Northern Europe into a postage stamp. Lay Morocco upon Europe, and it’d stretch from Gibralter across the whole of Spain and deep into France.

In fact, the distance from London to the edge of Morocco is LESS than the entire length of Morocco and the Western Sahara combined.

By European terms, it’s vast. In some ways, you can say there is no comparison to be made.

Oh, and Morocco’s total area is half a million square km.

That sounds a lot until you learn the whole of the Sahara desert is almost ten times larger.

(You can read more about it here.)


Wherever you find yourself in 2018, large or small, we hope you never lose that sense of wonder about just how much of this impossibly, whoppingly big world there is to explore.

ย – The Rug & Rock Team

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