Life Is Good

Good things have happened lately! To make up for the negativity of the two last posts, here’s a happy one.

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A while ago, the boyfriend and I began our research into our Big Fat Oceanic Adventure 2013. We quickly figured out how expensive everything would be even in the off-est of off-seasons, so the endeavour was downsized to the Slightly Smaller Slightly Thinner Middle Earth Adventure 2013. Which means… We’re going to New Zealand! But that’s not the Good Thing I want to talk about, at least not directly. In the process of our fairly extensive research, we stumbled upon several bus companies offering travel passes through different parts of the country—or even all of it. We already had a preference for Magic Bus when I found their travel blogger / photographer discounts. I honestly didn’t think I’d have a shot at much, if anything at all, but I also knew I’d always be mad at myself if I didn’t at least try. After a brief email exchange between myself and Mike of Magic Bus, which featured my ad-hoc photography portfolio, among other things, I was offered a free transport pass. As in, completely free of charge. There are a few ‘add-ons’, so to speak, that the boyfriend and I are interested in, and I’ll obviously have to pay for those, but the actual basic transport is free. And I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. It means I won’t have to worry about money as much when we come back, and it means I can get the fixed f/1.8 lens I’ve had my eye on for a while now. I am completely blown away by this gracious offer, and can’t wait to talk more about this trip and this country. Only five months to go! ;)

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Oh, and I was a finalist in the Wikimedia Commons Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 competition! Four of my Ghana photos made it into the ten finalists for Ghana! #3, #6, #8, and #9 respectively. I didn’t win, obviously, because nobody would ever pick a photo from Ghana to win a Monuments photo competition. (Among the fifteen winners, three photos were from Asia, one from the Falklands, and one from the US—the rest were from Europe…) And my photos weren’t really that great to start with. But still, pretty happy! I didn’t get to submit for anything else; I only submitted for Ghana and two photos for Germany, but those were pretty bad, quality-wise. For some bizarre reason, Venice didn’t participate when the rest of Italy did, so I couldn’t submit any of my Venice photos. And the UK didn’t participate either. (Weirdos.) I didn’t expect to even make it to the finals, though, so this was such a nice thing to happen.

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A wonderful start to 2013. Let’s hope the year continues in a similar vein. Hell, even if it doesn’t, I’m going to New Zealand! Nothing’s gonna beat that.

How Not to Travel by Train

You’d think going from London to Berlin by train would be a fairly straight-forward deal. There’s the Eurostar to get over (or through, as it were) the Channel, and once you’re on the continent, you have train tracks all over. And it’s not that expensive, either. I paid 50€ for my one-way ticket; Eurostar from London to Brussels, and ICE trains from Brussels to Cologne and Cologne to Berlin, respectively. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Except… It never worked out that way.

Let’s chronicle what shall officially be known as my Train Fiasco of 2012.

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Travel Memories the Second: People

My favourite things about travel are landscapes, food, and people. Landscapes are better shown in pictures rather than in words, but food and people, now those I can talk about forever. I decided to go with my Top 6 Food-Related Travel Memories first, so here you have my Top 3 People-Related Travel Memories. Only a ‘top three’ because I’m not a people person and usually just get anxious when people talk to me. On occasion, I am known to be charming enough for at least a few minutes, and people actually enjoy my company. Or so I hear.

(Tech note: Some links lead to my travel journal; don’t be confused if you’re suddenly on a completely different-looking site.)
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Travel Memories the First: Food

I’ve been meaning to make posts about travel memories for several months now, and for a theme, it came down to either people or food. I knew I’d eventually talk about both, but for a long while, I couldn’t make up my mind what to post first. However, since I greatly prefer food to people, let’s go with that. So here you have my Top 6 Food-Related Travel Memories!

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Photography 101

Since I need a selection of photos for something, and I didn’t want to just have an impersonal link list, I decided to talk a bit about my favourite photos, where and when I took them, and why I like them so much. Most will be travel photos because, well, that’s the kind of photo I take the most, but I’m going to try to have at least some variety for those of you who, for some bizarre reason I can’t fathom, don’t enjoy travel photography. ;) By no means do I consider myself a pro at photography; on the contrary, I still feel very much a beginner. But it’s what I enjoy, and I hope you will, too. A technical note, before we get started: All photos should be clickable and should direct you to flickr, where you can either click on them again to see them on black, or right-click for all possible sizes. Or you can just look at them here, slightly smaller though they are.

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Very Nearly 2013

When I dubbed 2012 the ‘Year of Travel’, I knew what I was talking about. In fact, I’ve come to like this tradition of trying to predict what the coming year’s theme will be. 2010 was, beyond the shadow of a doubt, my ‘Year of Independence’. It was my first full year living away from home, with all the responsibilities and problems that brings; my first full year at university (properly, this time). So many changes, and yeah, I didn’t always cope well, but in the end, I made it. 2011 then was the ‘Year of Fun’. I finally took some time ‘off’, so to speak, and with the exception of some major family problems, I did make 2011 a lot of fun. Mostly with little things, at uni and at home, but fun nonetheless. And 2012 was most certainly the ‘Year of Travel’. Now I’m at a bit of a loss for 2013, though. I know what I want it to be, and that’s always played an important part in my choice, but I’m not entirely sure it’ll come true this time around.

I still have a week left, though. Let’s see what I can come up with it. Bring it on, 2013!