Photo Diary – Bora Bora, French Polynesia

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Behind the Blog – Meet Trisa from The Free Passport

Hi! I’m Trisa – 28 year old serial wanderluster, self-taught photographer and creator of the travel blog, The Free Passport. I’m a global health advocate by training, currently working for a global HIV/AIDS organisation – but my true calling lies in visual storytelling. I launched my blog in 2014, originally as a personal place to showcase my pictures. I had hundreds of photos just sitting on my hard drive doing nothing, and the world is too beautiful of a place for pictures of it to be sitting and doing nothing! Two years later, it has since evolved into so much more than I had originally thought was possible. I love the space for exactly what it is – the intersection between my passion for photography, travel and global consciousness. I also love it for what it represents. It is the result of the current chapter of my life. The chapter where I had to rediscover myself in the absence of the things that once defined me. And I couldn’t be more proud of it.

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Where are you based/located?

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Los Angeles, California, I now live and work in New York City.

What first sparked your love for travel?

I actually didn’t really enjoy traveling when I was younger – I’m not really sure why. But as I started to branch into the field of global health and international development, I began to really appreciate how truly amazing the world is and how you can’t take for granted opportunities you have to see it.

What are some of your favourite countries to visit?

There so many it’s hard to choose! Italy and Greece are two of my all-time favourites but I’m constantly updating my bucket list with new places so I’m sure I have dozen of ‘favourites’ yet to be discovered!

 

Are there any places you’d tell people to avoid?

My work takes me to some interesting places – places that I wouldn’t necessary recommend, as they aren’t your typical ‘tourist’ destinations. But every place has something special to share and I think each traveller has to make their own decisions!

What destinations are on your bucket list?

Peru! Sri Lanka! Maldives! The list goes on and on..

Do you have any upcoming travel plans for 2017?

Yes! Actually a few days ago my partner-in-crime and I booked our flights for a five-week adventure in Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. If anyone as any tips, please share! It’ll be my first time in the region and I’m so excited!

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Do you do any research for your upcoming trips before visiting them?

Absolutely. I admit I’m a type-A planner, though I’m working on being more flexible and go-with-the-flow – because if you’ve ever travelled, you know that things don’t always go as planned! Google Flights, Kayak, and TripAdvisor are my go-to’s for travel planning. I also always buy a travel guide to have with me throughout. I enjoy reading the different recommendations and it comes in handy when you don’t have access to internet or for reading during long flights/bus rides.

What is your favourite memory that comes to mind when you think about your travels? / What is your most favourite photograph that you have taken during your travels?

 There are so many! But some of my favourites would have to be from the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, and this one taken at the top of Trolltunga in Norway.

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I did the hike to Trolltunga with my parents – who weren’t in the best shape (haha). It took us nearly 11 hours to do the 22km roundtrip but it was worth every minute of the view from the top. I was so proud of them!!

Which airline do you prefer to fly with?

No one airline company is perfect but I try to build loyalty those that prioritise their corporate social responsibility.

Tell me your top travel quotes to inspire yourself or other travellers / Any advice for new and aspiring travellers?

Be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. That’s my favourite quote and the mantra I live by. Never be afraid to see more of the world. That may seem easier said than done, given that are very real logistical and financial implications to traveling, right? But in the end, making your dreams a reality will always be worth the investment.

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Behind the Blog – Meet Louise from Captured to Share

My name is Louise Brady, a 25 year old Travel Blogger from Sydney. In 2014, I quit my job and moved over to London on a one-way ticket. After a year abroad, travelling Europe and working for a high profile family in London, I wanted to create a creative space to share my stories, photography and life updates with family and friends. Thus, Captured to Share was born.

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Where are you based/located?

From Sydney to London and now the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. We are currently running the blog part time from our new home on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

What first sparked your love for travel?

I have definitely always been an admirer of natural beauty. I can almost pin point the very moment my love for travel was awoken. It came with the purchase of an Italy photography book. I am sure I wore the pages thin, flicking through them several times a day and daydreaming about the many places I wanted to visit. At 16, I travelled to Italy with my grandmother, which confirmed my love for the beautiful country. At 22 I embarked on a four-month trip around Europe, which I suppose is the moment, I fully understood the impact of travel and silently vowed to peruse a life of it.

What are some of your favourite countries to visit? 

Barcelona in Spain is somewhere I find myself returning to with each European adventure. I love the culture, architecture and summer vibes. I am a HUGE fan of Italy, as you may have read above. Croatia was another place that stole my heart in Europe Bali is my go-to mini getaway.

Are there any places you’d tell people to avoid?

This is hard because I found every place I visited to be meaningful. I suppose my least favourite city would have to be Darwin in Australia. There are amazing National Parks in the NT itself but I didn’t enjoy Darwin as much as I have other locations.

What is your favourite memory that comes to mind when you think about your travels?

The past three years have been a whirl wind of adventures, new experiences and new cities but every time I think back on the journey, I think of the tour around Europe in which I met my now boyfriend. Yes, I actually fell in love on TopDeck. 40 strangers boarded the bus in London and made our way around 6 different European countries over 17 days. I spent the 12-hour buses rides seated next to an Australian guy from Adelaide. We spoke the entire 12 hours every time we moved between countries. Our last stop was in Paris. We caught the Eiffel tower light up at midnight and as I turned around wondering where he had disappeared too, I found him standing with a rose. Nawwwwww. Three years later and we are still exploring the world together, and on occasion, he still buys me flowers.

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Any advice for new and aspiring travellers?

Be present. It is so easy to miss the moment by being caught up with people, technology and thinking about tomorrow. My favourite travel memories have been experienced alone, in silence, consumed by nature. Travel has a way of demanding your full attention, especially when visiting a place for the first time. Don’t miss those magical moments.

What destinations are on your bucket list?

I think it is a shorter list to highlight where I do not want to go. Basically everywhere. To name a few – Sahara Desert – India (I really want to see the Taj Mahal) – All of South America – Alaska

Do you have any upcoming travel plans for 2017?

We have just returned from a trip to Bali, Indonesia and I am leaving for London in a weeks time (feb 5). From London I am flying to Switzerland and may make a pit stop in Paris for a day or two. Other than that, we are really focusing on exploring more of Australia. I still haven’t been to the Great Barrier Reef. Hamilton Island and Fraser Island. Those locations are top of my list for 2017.

Do you do research for your upcoming trips before visiting them?

Yes. I like to check out local tourism websites and see what they recommend doing. I also read a few articles from fellow bloggers experiences. I think its important to have a balance of planning and spontaneity. You want to make sure you research the important things like countries religion and laws, as well as a few things of interest. I always research national parks and breakfast spots.

What is your most favourite photograph that you have taken during your travels?

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Posintano by Jay Foy (aka boyfriend)

Which airline do you prefer to fly with?

When we lived in London we would fly with the cheapest possible option- this was mostly Ryan Air. In Australia, we opt for Jet Star or Tiger Air (again, because they’re cheap). These days, I generally fly with Emirates for long haul flights but if we are on a budget, we will fly with anyone. Seriously… one time there was ash trays on board and no in flight entertainment

Tell me your top travel quotes to inspire yourself or other travellers

I am a big Eckhart Tolle fan. Any quote about living in the moment is right up my alley. I’ll go with this one “Realise deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”

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Social Media:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/louise__brady/

Twitter: @capturedtoshare

Behind the Blog – Meet Irone from IroneXplores

I am Irone Kim Tolibao, a Filipino, who loves traveling and writing. I have been to many places in the Philippines and I’d love to share my adventures and experiences with other people. I established my travel blog to encourage and help people travel and guide them on how to reach the places I’ve been to. My blog is all about giving directions and information about different places. Blogging for me is like hitting two birds in one stone, my love for travel and writing.

Where are you based/located?

My travels are solely focused in the Philippines for now. Got to love my own country.

What first sparked your love for travel?

My first travel was when me and my girlfriend went to Baguio City. One of the most visited places in Philippines due to several tourist spost. I was still courting her during that time. Witnessing these marvellous man-made or natural wonders inspired me to visit more beautiful places.

What are some of your favorite countries to visit?

So long I’ve only been here to the Philippines. So I must say Philippines is my favorite country. It is also my birth place.

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Are there any places you’d tell people to avoid?

There would be none. Telling people to avoid places is like telling them to miss an opportunity. Traveling is an adventure. The only thing I can do is warn them of my negative experiences in that place, but I will not stop them. I will let them know and avoid the mistakes I’ve made during my trip, but I will not hinder them to visit it.

What is your favourite memory that comes to mind when you think about your travels?

My favorite memory in all my travels is when I had a trip to Masbate Island. I encountered several misfortunes along the way like cancelled flight, cancelled island hopping, a storm, giant waves and so forth. Those unfortunate events happened in a single trip.

I was forced to change my itinerary and rerouted to Caramoan Island instead, which was totally out of plan. I have no contacts on that place, or any guide on what to do. I just held on to fate. Fortunately, everything went well. I found a decent guide, who I just met on a Church. He pretty much took care of everything. At the end of the trip, I discovered Caramoan Group of Islands was several times better than Masbate, and fate lead me there.

Any advice for new and aspiring travellers?

My best advice for new travellers is just to take the first big step. Most people don’t start traveling just because fear already takes them before they even started. People fear of getting lost, a cancelled trip, or a lack of money. This is part of the challenged. Once you experienced these challenges, you’ll know how to overcome them. Nothing can stop you now from traveling.

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What destinations are on your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list. I just wander wherever my feet would take me. Every place is unique and special. Everywhere should be a bucket list.

Do you have any upcoming travel plans for 2017?

I do have several plans this 2017. It’s already scheduled since last year.

New Year I went to Sagada. I went trekking, spelunking and waterfall hopping.
February is island hopping to Palawan.
March is climb a mountain somewhere in the northern Philippines.
April is spelunking and waterfall hopping in Samar.
May is the festival month of the Philippines. I just haven’t decided which festival to visit yet.
June is to visit Leyte, my home province, to visit lakes and islands.
July is probably another mountain climbing.
August is tour around the province of Batanes.
September to December is yet to be finalized. I already have several places in mind.

Do you reasearch for your upcoming trips before visiting them?

Yes. I do research every time I want to visit somewhere. I good information and directions about the place is the first thing I take care of before heading out. Just to avoid getting lost, or spending too much.

What is your most favourite photograph that you have taken during your travels?

This has always been my favorite photograph. Me and my girl was in an Island Hopping in Guimaras, and a perfect rainbow appeared to us. Such an amazing sight to behold.

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Which airline do you prefer to fly with?

I prefer AirAsia and Cebu Pacific. The services for both airlines are the same.

Tell me your top travel quotes to inspire yourself or other travellers

“Travel with someone important to you. The stronger the connection, the greater the fun.”

“If you wish to travel far with a lesser cost of leaving home, then let your home travel with you.”

“You only have one life. Travel lets you live it a hundred times.”

“Every journey starts with a single step.”

“There are always good things at the end of every struggle. The higher the mountain, the better.”

“There is light at the end of the darkest cave.”

Social Media:

My Website URL:
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If you’d like the opportunity to be featured like Irone, please contact Kate at wherekateresides@outlook.com

Behind the Blog – Meet Natalie from Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown

Hi! I’m Natalie, and I blog over at Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown. Although I’ve been blogging on different platforms for many years, I didn’t get serious about my blogging and freelance writing until right before I had my daughter back in 2013. I wanted to find a career that allowed me to work from home—as my then-current job as a college literature professor wouldn’t—and I decided to give the blogging and freelancing thing a go. Three years later, and my travel blog has grown beyond my wildest imagination! I am a deeply nerdy person, so I love all things artsy, cultural, and literature-based, and that’s where I focus my travel blogging. You’ll find posts about museums and historical sights, but I do my best to make them fun (and sometimes a little funny) so learning isn’t all boring and dry. When I’m not writing, photographing, or researching something for the blog, you can find me reading (post-World War II British fiction is my jam), hanging out with my husband and two kids (a 3.5 year old daughter and a newborn son), or sewing (you’ll have to rip my embroidery machine out of my cold, dead hands).

Where are you based/located?

I live in Charleston, South Carolina. I was born here, moved around during my younger years thanks to my dad’s job, then came back here in middle school. After leaving again for college and grad school, I did my best to live anywhere but Charleston since I wanted a fresh start, but, 400 job applications later, I managed to find one teaching job here. It was 2010 and deep into the recession, and people were firing liberal arts teachers instead of hiring them, so I took what I could get. Almost 7 years later, and I am glad I was brought back to Charleston; it’s a very different place than where I grew up, but mostly, it’s changed for the better. My husband works a very location based job, so that’s always a consideration, but we’d eventually like to move somewhere else when our kids get a bit older. We’ve even tossed around the idea of doing a year-long trip when they’re in elementary or middle school, which would be SO much fun.

What first sparked your love for travel?

My mom and dad were always taking my younger sister and I somewhere as kids. We were a regular middle class family, but my mom and dad always made sure that the budget included everything from small weekend long trips to different parts of the Appalachian mountains to a massive road trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada. Their emphasis on travel made me so excited to pack up my suitcase and experience different parts of the world, which is something that still hasn’t changed.

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What are some of your favorite countries to visit?

I am a complete and utter Angophile—I’ve been to England half a dozen times in 12 years, I studied abroad in London during college, and I focused my thesis on London literature. England will always be my first love in travel, and I will never, ever get tired of it. However, variety is the spice of life, so I do adore other places including Ireland (so green! so friendly! so pretty!), the Bahamas (particularly the Out Islands), and Scotland (so many kilts, so little time).

Are there any places you’d tell people to avoid? 

I’m one of those people who can find the silver lining in just about anything, so there aren’t too many places that I’ve flat out hated. We had a terrible experience in Paris where we were mugged on the Metro; on the same trip, people were very rude to us all over the city, which really put a damper on the entire experience. I’m not sure that would stop me from going back—or telling people to never go to Paris—because I absolutely loved the Louvre, Versailles, and Sacre Couer. In my home state of South Carolina, I personally would never vacation in either Columbia or Myrtle Beach when Charleston is so much more historical and flat-out prettier, but people love both of those places; different strokes for different folks, I guess.

What is your favourite memory that comes to mind when you think about your travels?

It’s a toss up between two times: one in the Bahamas and one in Germany. My sister and I (who both went to the same university) signed up for a Bahamas-themed class my last semester at Clemson; as a part of the class, we got to visit Andros Island for 2 weeks in the middle of the semester. When we got on the island, my teacher took the class to this desolate road, parked the van, and said, “Let’s go!” He took us three miles across the boggiest terrain imaginable and we all thought he was crazy. But on the other end of the massive field of itchy grass and mud was a completely pristine beach. There wasn’t anyone between us and the eastern coast of Florida! We had the best time on that beach, and it made me realize how a little bit of trouble could introduce you to some incredible places. My other favorite memory was on my daughter’s first international trip: as a part of it, we went to Schloss Linderhof in Germany. The docent gave her a pamphlet on King Ludwig, and she fell in love. She talked about King Ludwig for the rest of the trip, and fell even more in love with him after she visited Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. Seeing her get excited about learning and travel made me so happy!

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Any advice for new and aspiring travellers?

Don’t get overwhelmed—there are so many trips out there that it can easy make your head spin! If you’ve never traveled before, try out a few longer trips in your region or country; if you manage that, then go further afield and start to deal with customs, passports, and the like.

What destinations are on your bucket list?

The short list includes the Northern Lights (so maybe Iceland, Canada, or Alaska), the Alhambra in Spain, the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Volcano National Park in Hawaii.

Do you have any upcoming travel plans for 2017?

Yes! We’re starting out with a very kid-friendly trip to Walt Disney World: it will be a birthday trip for my mom, and my sister, my two kids, and I will be going with her. My son was just born in November 2016, so I figured this would be a good way to ease back into travel now that I have two little ones. We’re also going to the Outer Banks of North Carolina so my husband can run a half-marathon there in the spring. Then, in May, the four of us are going on a Western U.S. road trip through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. We’re hoping to also do a trip to Spain later this year (maybe late October or early November).

Do you research for your upcoming trips before visiting them?

Absolutely. I’m a huge planner: not only do I enjoy the planning and researching portion, but I want to know that I’m saving and then spending all of my travel budget on the things that interest us the most.

What is your most favourite photograph that you have taken during your travels? 

My daughter and I at Schloss Linderhof

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Which airline do you prefer to fly with?

I’m all about the bottom line, so I’m not loyal to airlines at all: it’s all about who’ve getting me to my destination for the best price. In my experience, I have enjoyed my time on Are Lingus, Delta, and JetBlue the most, and would be happy to fly with them again.

Tell me your top travel quotes to inspire yourself or other travellers

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

The older I get, the more I realize just how little time we all have on this planet. I look at my daughter and think, “We’ve got less than 14 years left with her before she goes off to college.” My son is brand new, but we’ve got just 17 years with him before he flies the nest. 14 years ago, I was getting ready to go to college myself, and that seems like a blink of an eye. My husband and I could drive better cars, have a more updated house, and wear nicer clothes, but  we funnel the majority of our extra money towards travel since we want to see as much of the world as possible with our kids.

Blog: Cosmos Mariners: Destination Unknown www.cosmosmariners.com

If you’d like the opportunity to be featured like Natalie, please contact Kate at wherekateresides@outlook.com