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.)