The big wait has ended! I am now “free” for one whole year and will soon be departing on an epic 10-month self-guided photography adventure around the world. This will be a time to explore, experience, learn, grow, and transform. I welcome you to join me on this life-changing journey and I hope my stories and photography will inspire you to travel and go beyond your comfort zone. (For a background story on how I managed to have a year off from work, visit my very first blog post here and get the low down).
This past Friday morning (March 6, 2015) was my last day of work for a whole entire year, and I was giddy! It was a surreal feeling (still is)…I don’t even know how to describe it. I’ve had a countdown app on my phone for the past year, and I was down to the last hours! I finally began to feel some excitement about this adventure…this is really happening!
For the past couple of months, I have been drowning in to-do lists, appointments, and research; I lost sight of the big picture (having a year off), and I didn’t stop to smell the roses (or poppies) along the way.
During that drive to work on Friday morning, my perspective shifted. I told myself to put aside the kazillion things I have to attend to, and just enjoy the moment. I waited 4 years for this day to come, and I didn’t want to lose sight of its significance. Once I had this realization, an unfamiliar sense of calmness came over me (and it’s still with me!) With this frame of mind, I can now appreciate my circumstances and while I still have a kazillion things to do, I trust that things will fall into place.
I have an insatiable appetite for travel. This is how I learn about the world and different cultures; it stimulates all of my senses. I also learn about myself – what I like, what I don’t like, what my capabilities and limits are. I’m a different person when I travel (maybe we all are), and I really like that person. She is lively and adventurous; she knows how to enjoy herself, particularly when traveling solo; she breaks down barriers and connects with people – allowing for enriching experiences to unfold.
So, the Big Question is….Where Will My Travels Take Me???
While it’s not all planned out, (I don’t even know yet where I’m sleeping when I arrive in New Zealand, my 1st international destination!), I have a particular routing that will serve as my main guide. (Note: On the side bar at the top of my blog page, I have a section that says “Where Am I Now, and Where Am I Heading“….I will be keeping this section updated as my travels unfold.) Below is a map, in which I attempted to outline my rough routing. While cartography is certainly not my area of expertise, this map should at least give you a visual of my travel routing! You can zoom in and out of the map. (Note- I didn’t pick the exact cities I will be visiting, this is just to give you an idea).
First I hope to be making a couple of visits to communities here in the Spectacular Northwest Territories for some special events: Deline (Sahtu region), Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk (Beaufort-Delta region, north of the Arctic circle); these trips will take place in March/April. I hope to have time to write something about those visits…because only days after I return home, I will be leaving for the long haul.
Then comes the international portion (leaving early April): New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia (Bali), India, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, South Africa, Namibia, Brazil or Chile/Argentina, and ending in Mexico (before I head back to our frigid winter in late February 2016). I have all of the continents covered, except for ANTARCTICA….(although I will certainly be open to adding it in my plans – if all stars are aligned!)
As a travel photographer, this is going to be a photographic journey like no other! I can’t imagine the things I will see, and the experiences I will have; and remember, if you’re a subscriber, you’ll be coming along with me! This is a fairly ambitious itinerary and I have no idea how it’s all going to come together…but I’ll try to take it one day at a time.
Some of the highlights to watch for…
- a photography workshop in New Zealand with one of the world’s leading travel photographers (Trey Ratcliff!);
- visiting old friends in Australia (East and West);
- 10 days in Bali – hoping to find a place to unwind and learn the art of relaxation (this will be a challenge!);
- visiting an old family friend in India that I haven’t seen since I was about 6 years old;
- two months in Italy, including a few weeks in a small Tuscan village with very little public transportation (which will give me a chance to really get to know the locals and to relax and catch up with my writing/photography);
- (hopefully) sailing in Greece; and
- one of the major highlights of the entire journey…visiting southern Africa for 2 months, visiting with old friends (that used to live here!), camping, safari, wine tours, visiting local villages.
Just these highlights alone, will no doubt leave me with enough memories to last a lifetime!
Here is a small collection of some of my favourite (international) travel images.
- what do I want to do and accomplish (during my year off?)
- what will be the ideal suitcase?
- what will I bring in my suitcase? What are 5-10 (non-photography related) essential items that I will bring?
I will leave the answers to these questions (and more) for my next post in the coming weeks. If you’re not already subscribed, I hope you will consider joining me on this once-in-a-lifetime journey! No passport required, just your first name and email address! (Subscribe in the sidebar.)
I’m SO excited for you Tawna! Looking fwd to all the post that will be coming from this epic journey!
Thanks Paula! I sure hope I will find the time to keep writing (and processing photos) in between all the travels, as my itinerary has me regularly hopping around countries and continents! I will also be posting shorter bits on my photography Facebook page.
Glad to see you are starting on your adventure! I will be following you along as you go. I have been to S. Africa and the wine country there a couple of times, beautiful country and great wines. I’ve also traveled extensively in Uruguay and Argentina. If you have the time I would suggest a short stay in Uruguay. Beautiful beaches and country in general and quite different then Argentina. They also have some really good wines. I have contacts in S. Africa and S. America if you need info or help during your trip. Have a great time!
Thank you Chris! I currently have limited contacts in South Africa and zero in South America. Please feel free to send me a pm (my email is on the website) and we could discuss further. PS- I am a WINE-O…. and I intend on having wine-related experiences in all of the wine-producing countries I visit! (And in the non-wine producing countries too!)
How exciting Tawna that the time has finally come for your great adventures. I know you will enjoy every moment and I will be looking forward to your postings. Take me with you! 🙂
Can you believe the time has come?? Diana, I may want to get in touch re. your Italy contacts… I’ll be there for 2 months and I am very interested in exploring other parts.. particularly the south. (Tuscany will be my base).
Once in a life time trip around the World make it a memorial one, I pray you have a safe journey all the way I will also be looking forward to your postings…..favor to ask: Take shots of famous people’s gravesites like, Custer last stand, John Lennon, the Rabbit fence, if you happen to be there….God bless
Mahsi Morris! I will keep my eyes out for gravesites for you…can’t think of any that I’ll be visiting, but if I do… I’ll get a shot for you. Keep in touch! I hope to see you next week on my 1st segment of my adventure! What a special occasion to look forward to, I will be sure to bring my dancing moccasins!
Wow, 4 years have passed so quickly! Our youngest daughter is about to trek around the world! What a great write-up and your photos are amazing, as always! We are so excited for you! What an experience this will be, one that will probably change your life! We are so proud of your drive, determination, endless planning, and the will to experience what you can, while you can! As your parents, who love you so very much, we wish you a fun/great journey, hope you get to experience different (but safe) things, take advantage of “in the moments”, fulfill your wishlist of “dreams” and new ones you make along the way, be selective in your choices (not just the wine), and most importantly, be cautious, aware and alert at all times as its a great big world out there. We will be checking your blog constantly and if plans turn out, we just might see you in Greece! We pray you have a safe journey and even though we will be at home in body, we will be right by your side spirtually. Love you ……Mom & Dad
Ahhh, thanks M&D! This will be the time of my life and I want it to be everything that it can be. I will do my very best to learn how to relax and unwind…. This will be one of my biggest challenges! And maybe I won’t even end up doing all of those travels and I’ll stay put somewhere that I have fallen in love with, who knows?! Hope to see you in Greece or along the way elsewhere! It’s going to be hard not seeing my family and friends for so long… so I’m very appreciative to those who will keep in touch along the way! Love you!
YOU go girl! So happy for you! I’m following every step! Love ya!!!
I sure hope to see you and Chris when Ii’m in your stomping grounds Jan/Feb next year… my final “resting place” before returning home (sounds morbid, doesn’t it??!)…. I’d love to reconnect with your other friends and see how their house construction has progressed! See you next winter!!! Looking forward to reconnecting!
I am so honored to be able to travel along with you through this wonderful blog, Tawna. Be safe, be happy, be free.
And thank you for coming along on the journey Joy! I appreciate it very much! I hope to keep you entertained and inspired!
I’m soooo excited for you & I can’t wait to follow your journey. Your mom&dad’s comment brought me to tears. I can sense their happiness for you but also the expected bit of worry as parents. Soooo proud of you:)
Thanks Jody! I sure would love to meet up with the family during some fun hot vacation like you always have! I have a very small window of opportunity for that in January/February…but i hope one day for this to happen!
Tawna your dream to travel the world is finally here. This adventure you’re about to embark on is truely a trip of a lifetime. It will be neat to experience the different cultures as you trek around the globe and I’ll be following your journey through your blogs. Have a safe trip.
Thank you very much! I’m very happy to know you’ll be with me along the way! You have traveled a lot in your lifetime as well, and I look to that experience for my motivation and push forward at times! Thank you for taking the interest in following my journey!
Tawna I am so excited for you, David and I will be in YK from the 21st til the 20th or 30th. I will give you a call and hopefully we can get together for a visit and buy some picture greeting cards from you.
Tawna I am soooo happy for you. Will you let me hide away in your suitcase? I also love to travel and am going to really enjoy the world through your photographing your experiences.
Our home is continually changing and hoping that it will be finished when you do get back to Mexico. We will have you join us for dinner again. Myndi
Sorry Myndi…. it’s a pretty small suitcase, but if I get a 2nd one, I’ll let you know:) I look forward to visiting you again in your beautiful home! Can’t wait to see the progress!
Congratulations Tawna on making your dream a reality and having the courage to live it!! It was so exciting to meet you last September in San Diego at the ITWPA conference. That was a life changing event for me to meet so many like-minded people who have that wanderlust to see the world.
I’m looking forward to following your journey on your blog.
Have a fabulous time. You will meet some amazing people, see amazing places and yes have experiences that will last a lifetime!
PS Is your local news station covering you at home?!
Thank you Charlene! I’m nervous about the uncertainty, but I have to just trust in the universe! I barely have any plans made, but I feel that this is overly ambitious. I may rethink some of this as I go along! No, local media isn’t aware of my upcoming departure… I’ll get in touch with them soon and see if they would like to share my story, and maybe I could offer travel tips to people! (Yellowknifers are some of the most well-traveled people you would ever meet!) Thanks for keeping me company along the way… I’ll need it!
Too bad I couldn’t carry your suite cases for you on your journey, but I’ll be sure to follow it. So, this is how your journey started. Amazing pictures as usual, but how did you do the selfies with you in motion? I’ll have to learn that. See you along the way…at least in the posts.
Thanks Abbas! It sure would be helpful to have someone carrying my luggage! I’ve been lucky enough to be helped by random strangers on several occasions, so that makes the in-transit part not so gruelling! (Thank you to all of those random strangers! Your help was always appreciated by me:) Re. the selfies in motion, not sure which image you’re referring to, but if it was one of me in a red dress, twirling around in a tropical backyard, I use a program called Analog Efex Pro (Nik Collection), using the “motion” tool.
Thanks Tawna for responding! The 2 pictures I’m referring to are: 1. You’re in focus, but the surrounding is spinning around you (1st picture), 2. When you jump off the cliff into the water below (3rd picture). They’re amazing! (not to take away anything from your other amazing pictures).
Ok, I know which you’re referring to now! Those pics are actually not selfies:) I did edit the pic of me twirling around (Spain) using the analog Efex pro software (motion filter/option), and the other one a friend took of me in Jamaica. This was before my RTW trip:)