We’re doing things a little differently today and in lieu of a new recipe, I’m going to share something just as near and dear to my heart. I thought I’d put together 10 of my favorite travel photos from this year and share them with you! I’ve had a whirlwind summer, 5 countries, countless cities, and that’s not even including my January – April, which included 4 US cities and two Southeast Asian countries. I’ve had an amazing year so far traveling and it’s not over yet. I still have 5 more countries to visit this year and a few more cities to check off my list too.
Probably the most rewarding part of traveling the globe isn’t just the fact that I get to tell stories of the places I go or meet with people who’ve lived in a world entirely different than mine, it’s getting to photograph everything I see. When I can’t find the words to sum up an experience, I don’t, I share a photo. Photography is a rather new passion of mine, but it’s become as engrained in me as writing. Not a day goes by that I don’t use my camera or my iPhone. I’m constantly looking at the world through a photographer’s eye. This has opened me up to new experiences and adventures I never would have even though about (The Giving Lens, for example).
Even though I’ll always be a writer, I wanted to share pieces of my photography passion with you too and show you some of my favorite photos taken in Thailand, Singapore, Peru, Iceland, England, Kenya, San Francisco and Canada. I hope they inspire and excite you to visit some of these magnificently beautiful places.
The elephants in the Amboseli National Park, Kenya. It was one thing to get super close to the elephants in Thailand at the sanctury, but it was another to be this close to them in their natural habitat. When this photo was taken, there was a family of at least 50 wondering around both sides of our jeep. We got so close to them, an 8 year old male elephant actually touched the face of another travel writer with his tusk as he explored the jeep. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
The Snaefellsnes mountain range in Western Iceland. We got to hike and drive around these majestic mountains on one of our last full days in Western Iceland. Even though I only got to see a small portion of this country, every single corner held something beautiful to see, whether it was a gushing waterfall, an iconic glacial hot spring, a black sand beach or a sea of snow capped mountains.
When I was working with The Giving Lens in Thailand, we spent a few days at COSA, a non profit outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand that helps girls who have been victims of sex trafficking. After that, we visited a few hill tribes where many of the girls came from, and where many who are sold into trafficking are taken from. This little girl had such sad eyes, it was almost as if she could see what might be coming in her future. This image is hard to look at, even now.
On a much happier note, this is one of my favorite photos from my trip to San Francisco. This was taken at Silver Oak, one of the most beautiful wineries and vineyards in Napa. It was a perfect day with my family celebrating my older brothers birthday and I think that’s why this one makes me so incredibly happy. I only get to see my entire family once or twice a year, so having those few days with them was awesome. That and Napa Valley is just breathtaking.
I fell head over heels in love with the zebras in the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. I’ve always been fascinated by these stunning animals, but to see them running, nursing and grazing in their own habitat unobstructed by cages or zookeepers was incredible. These moments left all of us speechless and we sat in silence as we watched this completely natural and beautiful act happen right in front of us.
Alberta, Canada is easily one of the most gorgeous places on the planet, and this photo inside one of the many parks only further defines my point. This small waterfall is right inside Johnson’s Canyon, a set of hiking trails and waterfalls that’s right outside of Banff National Park. I took over 150 photos inside this canyon alone.
This list wouldn’t be complete without an iconic photo of Machu Picchu. I took over 1,000 photos of very short time in Peru, and this is my absolute favorite of Machu. There was this mystical fog rolling over the hills and the light was coming in perfectly on the left side, giving my photo these amazing rays of light and speckles of lens flare. It adds such a dramatic and enchanting element to this completely magical place.
So this photo was actually taken on my phone, surprisingly enough. Bath, England is one of my favorite places in the entire world. The city is so quirky and unbelievably beautiful. All of the buildings are made with this iconic Bath limestone that dates back to the Roman times. There is so much history steeped in every stone and around every corner, it’s hard not to feel transported back in time when you walk the cobblestone streets.
This was taken in an alleyway of Haji Lane, the Arabic and Middle Eastern corridor of Singapore City. Singapore, and this area especially, is constantly bustling with traffic, people walking around and noise everywhere. This little alleyway though was quiet and still, and all you could hear was the sound of traffic behind you. It was a rare moment of tranquility that I just had to capture. That and the colorful buildings made for a beautiful photograph.
Last, but certainly not least, is one of the most incredible places I’ve seen, Stonehenge. What made my time there so unique was the fact that we got to see this world wonder for sunrise. Not only that, but there was this epic fog that added to the mystery and the beauty of these prehistoric stones. We also got to walk around inside of the stones, which is an incredibly rare experience. Being next to these pieces of art that have been around for thousands of years was a truly special feeling.
Isn’t it amazing how just one photograph can transport you to a new place entirely?