Last Updated on March 20, 2024

Hi, Paul here, the owner of Symonds Sports Travel!

Sports Travel Paul

Who Am I?

I am Paul Symonds and I am from the UK and I have a passion for sport and travel. I did a Ph.D. in Wayfinding but am now dedicating my time to building this site about my passion. Contact me.

Paul’s Sports Experiences

My aim is to visit 100 different sports events around the world and to experience sport in each country I visit. Where possible, I like to try and see and experience each country’s national sport, whether it be as a spectator or participant.

You can follow my progress by checking the list below and you can also follow each sports travel experience to read and view the experience report.

I would love to hear your suggestions on the countries I should visit and the sport I need to try in that country!

1. Attend a F1 Formula One Grand Prix

Task complete: Attended the Barcelona Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The dream still though is to attend the Singapore F1.

Barcelona F1
Paul at the F1 in Barcelona

2. Attend an American Football Game

Task Complete: It was a great experience seeing the Miami Dolphins vs the New England Patriots many years back when the Dolphins played in the Joe Robbie Stadium.

Win a Miami Dolphins superfan
Win a Miami Dolphins superfan

More recently, I got taken to a Baltimore Ravens at the M&T Bank Stadium.

If you love sports and are visiting the United States, I strongly recommend going to at least one American Football game.

It is much more than just the game, with what is known as Tailgate parties a fantastic part of the overall experience of the day. It’s a huge party that happens before the game and people use the boots of their cars to get out the BBQs, beer, and so on.

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3. Rugby: Go to a Rugby World Cup Match

Task Complete: Was there at a New Zealand vs France Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in Cardiff, Wales in 2015.

France knocked the favorites New Zealand out to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

The NZ vs France rugby world cup quarter finals in Cardiff, Wales
Kick off in the New Zealand vs France WC game
Hotdog Paul with wife at the Rugby WC match
Paul with his wife at the Rugby WC match

4. International Cricket Match

Task Complete: Attended and watched an Austalia v India cricket match in Sydney, Australia.

Also watched England vs India at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

If you are new to cricket, then I suggest getting tickets for a one-day match, as some matches go on for 5-days!

5. El Clasico: Barcelona vs Real Madrid Football

Task Complete: Attend an El Clasico match between the big rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid. This is one of the greatest football (soccer) rivalries in the world.

Paul at an El Clasico in the Nou Camp Stadium
Paul at an El Clasico in the Nou Camp, Barcelona
In the stadium for Barcelona vs Real-Madrid
In the stadium for Barcelona vs Real-Madrid

6. Watch a Professional Ice-Hockey Game

Task Complete: Whilst living in Finland for six months, I got to go to an IFK Helsinki pro ice hockey match at Helsinki ice hall.

Much like in Canada and Sweden (countries with cold winters), ice hockey is a very popular sport in Finland and if you want to see the passion of the Finnish people, visit an ice hockey game!

IFK Helsinki game
IFK Helsinki game I went to in Finland

7. Watch Live Horse Racing

Task Complete: Whilst seeing the Kentucky Derby (USA), Grand National (England), and the Melbourne Cup (Australia) would all be great to experience, it was still nonetheless a great experience visiting Seoul racetrack in South Korea for a race meet.

Hotdog Paul at Seoul National Racetrack
Paul at Seoul National Racetrack

The racecourse is set in a scenic location and it’s a fairly simple track to access from the center of Seoul. It’s a good day out if you are in the city.

Seoul Racecourse in Korea
From our visit to Seoul Racecourse

8. Watch a Summer Olympics Event Live in Person

Task Complete: During the London 2012 Olympics we managed to get tickets and to attend Great Britain versus Japan football match.

Some events took place outside of London and this game took place in the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

GB vs Japan football
A photo I took at the start of the GB vs Japan Olympics match

9. Go Skiing in Colorado

I’m really not very good at all when it comes to skiing but I gave it a go on Copper Mountain in Colorado, in the U.S.

I stayed in Winter Park, a quaint and small village that is worth visiting if you have the chance if you are interested in meeting the locals.

The ski pass I received in Copper Mountain
The ski pass I received in Copper Mountain

10. Attend a Major Tennis Tournament

Key Biscayne was a wonderful setting to watch the Miami Open in Florida, in the States.

It was great to have a chance to watch the Argentine Gabriela Sabatini in person. If you are wondering what happened to Sabatini you can find out here.

Paul at the Miami Open several years ago.
Paul at the Miami Open several years ago

11. Go to a Baseball Game in the USA

My first experience of seeing a live baseball game was in 1994 with a visit to the Shea Stadium to see the NY Mets vs the Houston Astros.

It was a few years ago but the start of a love affair with sports and hot dogs!

Shea Stadium baseball game ticket

12. Baseball – This Time in South Korea

My next foray into the world of baseball was to see the LG Twins in Seoul, South Korea, whilst working there for two years as a business English teacher.

At an LG Twins baseball game in Seoul, South Korea
At an LG Twins baseball game in Seoul, South Korea
LG Twins players warming up
LG Twins players warming up

Read the full report on the LG Twins baseball experience.

13. Snowboarding in Yongpyong Resort, South Korea

The coldest I have ever felt in my life was experiencing minus 22 Celsius whilst attempting to learn to snowboard, in the ski resort of Yongpyong Resort, South Korea.

It’s a fantastic country and a great ski resort and you have to try the kimchi if you visit Korea.

Snowboarding in Yongpyong Resort

It’s one thing looking the part as I perhaps do above, but snowboarding is not the easiest thing I’ve ever tried as a beginner!

Freezing at a ski resort
Experiencing minus 21 Celsius in the ski resort

14. Attending a Game at the European Football Championships

In 2004, we managed to get tickets for a couple of games in Lisbon, Portugal and these were:

  • England v Croatia (group stage)
  • England v Portugal (quarter-final)
England vs Croatia
At the Euro 2004 England v Croatia group game

There was a fantastic pre-match atmosphere and it was a fantastic tournament, won by Greece in the end.

Relaxing in Lisbon before the England vs Croatia game
Relaxing in Lisbon before the England vs Croatia game

15. Attend a Moto GP Race

With a friend who worked as a marketing manager for the ‘Team Roberts’ MotoGP team at the time, it meant the chance to be in the pit garage during the qualifying for the Spanish MotoGP.

Watching from the team pits is quite an extraordinary experience and the thing that was especially interesting was how small the pits actually feel.

Place a formula one car in the pits garage and there’s not much room for anything else. It’s a little more spacious of course for a MotoGP bike but it’s not like what you see on TV.

The garages from another viewpoint that I took.

16. International Football Euros Qualifier

Attending a Euros qualifier was another experience in Barcelona, where we watched Andorra vs England in 2007.

Taking place on a wet and windy night at the Olympic Stadium (home of RCD Espanyol), this was also one of Steve McClaren’s last games as England manager.

17. Tour the Johan Cruijff Arena Stadium

One thing I love to do (and I have somehow got Valeria the wife interested also in them now) is to visit the best sports stadiums around the world.

One stadium I particularly enjoyed seeing was Amsterdam Arena, home of Ajax football club.

The stadium is compact and I can imagine a quite incredible for a game when the stadium is packed out. It’s also a fascinating stadium in terms of modern design and how they use technology.

Paul in the Amsterdam Arena
Here I am in Amsteram Arena touring the stadium

And here below is Valeria (wife) sitting in the press conference area in the stadium.

Amsterdam Arena press area

18. Visiting the Home of the Mighty Plymouth Argyle, England

I may be slightly biased having been born in Plymouth, England, but there is nothing like supporting your home club.

The mighty Plymouth Argyle will always be my number one football team and it was a pleasure to take my Sicilian wife Valeria to experience a pre-match lunch and match tickets for a game at Home Park, the mighty Greens home stadium.

19. Tour of the Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

The home of Bayern Munich football club, the Allianz Arena is a popular tourist attraction in its own right.

In 2019, we had found ourselves in Munich and we finally got to do the tour.

You might notice that it’s Valeria in many of the pictures now and that’s because I’m the one who seems to end up taking all of the photos. I must ask Valeria to start taking some of them!

Allianz Arena in Munich as we do the tour
Allianz Arena in Munich as we do the tour

20. Cross-Country Skiing in Norway

At the start of 2023, we finally made it to Norway and had the chance to try cross-country skiing (our cross-country skiing report is here).

Cross-country skiing is very different from downhill skiing such that if you are fearful of skiing fast down slopes, do not dismiss skiing altogether as skiing cross-country on the flat, can be great fun. as we found out!

Cross-country skiing in Norway
Myself and Valeria in Norway trying cross-country skiing

21. Benfica Stadium Tour

Completed in April 2023, we finally made it back to Lisbon and managed to do the guided tour of Benfica’s stadium.

Apart from being one of the biggest football sides in Portugal, they are also the side who one of the most famous players in Portuguese football history played, Eusébio.

It’s a stadium I have been planning to visit for several years!

Read more about our tour of the Benfica Stadium here.

Our Upcoming Sports Travel Plans

The next 5 sporting events and experiences we are planning for 2023 through to 2025 are as follows:

  • Visit the Singapore F1 Grand Prix
  • Watch the Ironman event in Kona, Hawaii
  • Try scuba-diving in Koh Samui, Thailand
  • Tour the Singapore Sports Museum (planned for 2023)

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