I wrote this as I flew over the Atlantic on my way to Chicago (end of December 2013) to see in 2014
Looking back at 2013, I cannot think but to smile at where I've been and what I've done. This year is only rivalled by two others and that was 2005 and 2011. Not to pick a favourite as each of these years were special and provided me with such life and energy that it's hard to contemplate choosing.
2005 was the year that I travelled round the globe with a friend. A journey that would become a defining chapter in both of our lives, a journey of adventure, laughter but above all exploration, not just in the literal sense but also the metaphorical.
2011 was the year in which I embarked on a trip that would change my life in ways I had not imagined, a trip like no other. This trip was to the enchanted isles, the most magnificent place, the Galapagos. I could wax lyrical about it here but I've written about it separately here http://bit.ly/1jR7MbU
Back to 2013, it started off to my travels to Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia all in one trip. The basis for this trip was primarily to visit Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. In my research for this, another more extraordinary temple came up and it was Borobudur in Indonesia, I had vaguely heard about it and further research cemented the notion that this was also to be added onto this trip as I had to experience and witness this temple complex with my own eyes. The photos that I had seen already online we're truly breath-taking and the photos took me to another plane of thought. For Cambodia the trip was booked in two parts. The first part being part of an adventures tour and the latter was a private tour around the Angkor complex to allow me time to photograph it without the hordes of tourists getting in my way of the shot. My reasons for doing a tour stemmed from the amazing time me and my friend had back in 2005 when we did tours in Australia and New Zealand , meeting new people, making new friends, experiencing new cultures with like-minded people, this is what makes travelling great. On this trip though I would be going on my own. The people I met on my Cambodia trip were amazing and they really made my time a memorable one. Travelling, I do it because I truly love it and it's been the most rewarding experience I've felt. I have always told people the virtues of travelling and I can only speak for myself but more so speak from my experience of travelling for over 8 years around the wonderful planet we call Earth. It is full of stunning beauty, amazing cultures, and the most extraordinary inhabitants.
What made my experience in Cambodia most memorable was not the destination itself, though it did play a part, but it was the people I met along the way. People who on day 1 were merely strangers to me and over the course of a few days they became amazing friends. Usually it’s the fear of the unknown that stops you doing something. But here, we all had one thing in common which was we loved to travel and explore new lands and places, that was the commonalty that held us together as a group. They made my trip so much more, it was full of love, laughter, sadness but above all an amazing adventure that we all went on and shared together. These are the memories I will hold closely and fondly recite from time to time as I embrace the future.
My sole reason for visiting Indonesia was to visit Borobudur and nothing else, I wasn't interesting in Bali or the beaches, and I had never been so guided in my quest to visit a place and one place at that. I'm glad I did as it was truly magnificent and more so than Angkor, it's difficult to use words to describe the feeling when standing there watching the sunrise and sunset, if there was one word it would be humbling.
The next trip I would take would be to America but more specifically New York, San Francisco and Toronto (in that order). On this trip I went with another friend, one whom I will be eternally grateful for as she drove me great lengths in which to achieve my lifelong ambition to see and witness natures gentle giants, the Californian Redwoods. Those who know me well understand my love for these trees, a desire to walk amongst them, stand with them and just to be their presence was a long held desire since a young child. No such place other than the Galapagos has had a hold on me, it's mesmerising. I had seen giant sequoias in the past but it was always the giant Redwoods that entranced me. My first true glimpse of these was back in 2005 at Muir Woods and it was fleeting but enough to satiate my mind and a vow that I would be back; it just took me 8 years!
I also visited Yosemite, a place so jaw dropping, beautiful and majestic. I spent a few days here filming and photographing the landscape and taking it all in.
My next travel destination which was a mere 2 months after my America visit, this took me to a country which I wanted to visited under different circumstances but this one was even more amazing . It was for my friend’s wedding in India. A direct flight to Mumbai and from there I and my friend would travel by car 6 hours north to Navsari where the wedding took place. I had an amazing time, even managed to photograph parts of the wedding. My friend’s family out there were even more amazing, putting us up and cooking us food, taking us around the town it was amazing hospitality! Those 7 days in Navsari were on par with the fun I had with the friends I made out in Cambodia.
And now brings me onto my final trip, as I write these words somewhere over the Atlantic on my way to Chicago, a city which I've heard great things about, a city in which I'm looking forward to photograph and a city in which I will see in 2014!
I haven't set any firm travel plans for 2014 but I am already researching possible destinations. Truth be said, I've done my fair share of travelling, and granted I've seen wondrous things, but in that time I haven't had time to sit down and relax, take it all in, soak up the photos that I've taken. It sometime takes me years to appreciate where I've been and it doesn't happen straight away. It's a rush to my senses, and only time will help that. The reason why I've been going at it, is because I don't know when I will ever get the chance to, plus when opportunities rises, I've taken them, and its these 'risks' that has enabled me to travel the world, film and photograph it.
Moreover I will publishing more photos from my travels over the past years and writing more about them, I want to inspire people to live their dreams, be driven by ambition and although it may look and sound easy from where I stand, it's been hard work but the rewards are worth it! The world we live in changes and moves fast, it's up to you as to how far willing you’re going to go along for the ride. Ultimately, do what makes YOU HAPPY! Only you know what works, ignore the crowd, be your own, create your own, do your own. I can only speak from my experience and that's to follow your passion, it's ok to break the rules, it's ok to be wrong, it's ok to make mistakes, it's ok to laugh, it's ok to cry and if you don't try then you won't know...you are amazing and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise!
Life only happens once, so go out there and live it!