Round the World in 85 Days
One of the worlds best violin players once stood at a subway station in New York and played for an hour. In spite of having sold out the Carnegie hall the night before at $300 a ticket almost everyone completely ignored him and kept on walking.
This video I shot while wandering the streets of Venice at sunset. The whole thing is good, but they really start going off around 48 seconds into it. If you do not see the video in your browser please click here.
The only thing cooler than staying in one of these for the night, would be living in one.
There are not to many places where you will see a church next to a brothel, but Amsterdam does things differently.
They also have some of the best food of any city in Europe. Pretty much any kind of cuisine you can imagine all within a few blocks.
I got a chance to hang out and take photos with Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs this month. I learned Trey can drive like a madman when he is about to miss a sunset! I took this shot right after he pretended to be a rally driver in his rental car.
Virgin Gorda is the kind of place so full of magic that, that you can see it everywhere you look. My brother and I spent the night sleeping on this wooden platform overlooking the ocean. Around midnight I snapped a 30 second exposure. The stars are my proof that this isn’t a sunset.
Some of the most amazing scenes are right before and after a storm. I took this shot in Prague about 30 seconds before a massive downpour started.
It is always interesting when you show up somplace random and start asking people to take their photographs. Some people are shy while others present themselves and demand you take a picture. Some people ask for money, others refuse to accept it when you try to give it to them.
This photo I took in the market in Agra. The woman gave me permission to take her photo and then refused to look at me. So I just waited patiently until she glanced over to see if I was still there and snapped this shot.
After spending the last week in China, I just landed in Tibet. Using the internet has been very difficult, so I will keep this short. I remember watching Peter Pan movies when I was kid and wondering if there was really someplace that looked like the that in real life. Phi Phi Island looks exactly like I would imagine Neverland.
I took my wife to see the Taj Mahal and they told us how the King built this for his 3rd wife, now she expects me to build her something similar. The Taj is one of the many places I have been recently that does not allow tripods. I instead had to get down on my knees and stick my head next to dog poo to get this shot.
What’s the craziest thing you have done to get a photo?
Walking through the market in Agra was like colorful Chaos. Everywhere you look there was color texture and interesting people. I almost got run over snapping photos and not paying attention to the cars and motorcycles. Here are a few of the most interesting people I ran into.
I got a chance to see Istanbul for the first day of Ramadan, it reminded me a lot of the Fourth of July. Thousands of people set up picnics to break there fast for the day with their family.
To get this photo I managed to talk my way onto a rooftop. Click to see full screen.
I sometimes have unrealistic expectations of how much can be accomplished in a small amount of time. I honestly thought before I started this trip I would have plenty of time to take photos, and time to work on my writing. So far it has been difficult to do both. The second half of the trip should be a bit slower, so hopefully this is going to get easier. This photo I took at night along the Danube river, which separates Buda from Pest. Budapest is one of the marvellous discoveries you make when you decide to try to see everything. Even though I had low expectations after seeing Bulgaria and Serbia, Budapest instantly became one of my favorite cities. The people are awesome, and the city is incredible. They must have an army of lighting experts, because at night everything is perfectly lit. To see full screen click on the photo.
I spent much of the last month in awe at how much history there is in Europe. That went right out the window after spending a week in Egypt. I am also not sure that the French should take credit for inventing art. I saw stunning paintings in Egypt between 5,000 to 7,000 years old. The Egyptians even invented crown molding, I took the photo (below) of Luxor temple as proof. To see the image full screen, click on the photo.
Every year (the 3rd thursday in November) the world shows up in Beaujolais to taste the New Wine. Here is a link the the festival if you are looking for an adventure. Click on the Photo-to see full screen.
My wife and I showed up for lunch here early, and they informed us that we could wait at the bar. The entire staff then sat down and had a nice family lunch together. I think it was extremely cool that they took the time to eat together and talk before getting the day started. Later on that night I spent some time walking the streets and got this shot. French villages at night can have quite a magical feel to them.
I only got to see Pont du Gaurd for a brief stopover in the middle of the day. I almost didn’t take this photo because the light was so harsh that the color seemed almost gone. Luckily taking it in HDR saved me, and I still liked the way it turned out. I was immensely impressed with the way the Romans built their whole series of Aqueducts. This one is 31 miles long but only dropped a total of 56 feet. The Romans built things to last forever, 2,000 years later it still looks as solid as a rock.
If you are like the photos, please do me favor and either share or tweet them. Hopefully they will inspire a few people to get out there and Travel.
It may be a bit overdone, but I figured you have to take a Gondola photo in Venice. I loved how you can just pull your boat right up to your house or anywhere else and walk right in. If I ever move to Venice, I am defiantly going to buy myself one.
I had always wanted to see how they blow glass, it is a lot more of an art form than you might think. No machines, just a man, an oven and some hand tools. I snapped this shot of a master glass blower at his craft.
Venice. Every corner is full of texture and color. My poor wife had to deal with me trying to point a camera at every building and canal in sight. Venice originally was started as a way to hide from marauding tribes. The fact it was an island made it a much harder target. Venice has 3 main exports. Blown Glass, Masks and Lace. I was amazed at how artistic the entire city was.
I drove my wife crazy for hours by taking photos of Sagrada Familia, but most of them didn’t turn out very well. This shot I took in the basement of a house Gaudi designed. There are no Tripods allowed so I had to shoot it quickly. I carried my camera already on the tripod and when no one was looking I grabbed this shot.
I was walking through the vineyards in Beaujolais France, and met a dog I think was a Portuguese Lab. He was runing through the vineyards early in the morning and had just jumped into a huge mud puddle. When I tried taking his photo, he played hard to get. He ran off every time I pulled the camera out. I finally noticed when I started walking away he would chase me, and managed to trick him into this photo!
The Catacombs are one of the least advertised attractions in Paris. When the French ran out of room in above ground cemeteries they started moving bodies into miles of caves under the city. They ended up with roughly 6 million skeletons. I was told that using a Tripod or flash is forbidden, which in a dark cavern means horrible photos. Fortunately no one had thought to add my LED light to the list of banned items yet. The light made shooting much easier, and I have a feeling that these hallways may have never seen a light like this before. The weirdest moment was when I got so engrossed in shooting I forgot and leaned against the wall. I quickly remembered that it was not really a wall when looked to my right and noticed I was leaning against a stack of skulls.
A wish list for long term travelers.
After spending 4 months of research, I put together 10 of the neatest things I discovered for long term travel. If you want to save yourself a ton of research and money check out these companies first. If you find something better, please let me know in the comments.
On July 3rd, I am starting my goal of photographing every country in the World. To get things started my wife and I will be visiting 30 countries this year. The first 6 weeks we are traveling with the King of backpacking companies Contiki. I did my first Contiki tour many years ago and have wanted to go on another one ever since. Contiki tours are fast paced, however I had a blast and think they are an insane value.
Contiki was started in 1961 by a guy from New Zealand who bought a bus and toured Europe for a summer with several random people he had just met. Fifty years later, they offer worldwide guided tours for 18 to 35 year olds. They not only provide transportation between countries, but also accommodations and most of your food. We will be traveling with a group of around 25 people to over 17 countries on The Ultimate European tour. The total price for 48 days of travel is about $6,000 per person. I know that traveling with a group is different from going solo, but if you like variety it doesn’t get any better than Contiki. The shorter tours start at about $1,000 for 2 weeks. They offer payment plans and will even let you book a tour on layaway with $200 and make payments. This company completely removes the excuse that travel is just too expensive. The accommodations are basic, but they are clean and comfortable. You also spend very little time in your room on one of these tours.
Ok so here we go:
1) Eagle Creek suitcase: They come in many different sizes, but I decided on the Tarmac 25 inch. These things are indestructible, lightweight and have highly reinforced corners. The wheels are huge, indestructible and will roll over anything from dirt to cobblestone. You can watch a video review (below) or by clicking here.
2) Pack it: They also have a unique packing system called PACK IT that keeps your stuff
organized. It allows you to keep your clean and dirty cloths separated and fit a lot more in the same amount of space.You can watch the video (below) or by clicking here
3) Pacsafe: This is backpacking equivalent of a mobile safe for your backpack or suitcase. If you ever need to leave a camera or computer in your hotel room, (or hostel without lockers) this gives you piece of mind. It expands and creates a wire mesh that allows you to lock your backpack to an object in the room and keeps someone from taking it or even going through it. You can watch the video (below) or by clicking here.
4) Belkin Adaptor: This is the smallest/lightest travel charger I could find. It will charge 3 normal devices plus 2 apple devices at one time.
5) Nokia mobile phone with an international Sim card: There are several good companies that offer international Sim cards. I chose a company called Abroad because it gave me a US and Europe based phone number and super low rates. In most European countries, outgoing calls are around 50 cents a minute. Incoming calls are 20 cents a minute if they call my US phone number and free if they call my European number.
6) Virtual Post Mail: These guys are amazing. For 10 dollars a month, (the first 3 months, then $20 a month after that) they receive and scan your mail for you so you can read it online. They also store packages for you until you get home and then mail them to you. For $5 they deposit any checks you receive in the mail with your bank, so you get access to your money right away.
7) International Credit Card: Almost every credit card company I checked charges 3% every time you use your card outside the USA except, for the Chase British Airways and the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. You also can earn 50,000 to 100,000 miles for signing up which will get you a round trip ticket to Europe for free (you just pay the taxes).
8) Packtowel Ultralight: A super absorbent towel that takes up virtually no space. It isn’t exactly a beach towel, but it will work fine if you stay in a hostel that doesn’t offer them.
9) Melatonin: Melatonin is a natural hormone in your body that helps you achieve a very deep and natural sleep. Simply put this is one of the best ways to sleep in an airplane, campground or anywhere else. You can get it at any grocery store in the vitamin section.
10) World Med Travel Insurance: If you are going to be traveling for several months. It may be worth buying worldwide health insurance. For $342, my wife and I, bought a 4 month policy which covers up to $500,000 for medical expenses. It also includes insurance for trip interruption, emergency evacuation, passport replacement and concierge service.
Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed the article please take a minute to share it or leave us a comment.
HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO QUIT YOUR JOB AND RUN OFF INTO THE SUNSET?
I know it can sound like a dream, but it may be lot more realistic than you think. My brother Jon recently did a Round the World trip for 7 weeks (Vietnam, Thailand, Bali, New Zealand, and Fiji)and his airfare only cost him about $2800. If you took 5 individual flights to Asia, you could easily spend 2-3 times that amount. Once you actually get there though most of the countries he went to are affordable for almost anyone. I recently tried out a boutique travel agency in San Francisco called Airtreks that specializes in exactly this kind of travel. I discovered Airtreks a few years ago and since then have spent quite a few hours day-dreaming over their custom RTW routes. I decided to test, if booking through Airtreks truly was cheaper than going through Expedia. Below is a list of the countries on my route, it came to a total of 10 countries and 15 flights. My goal with this route was to visit 17 countries during the first stop in Europe then continue on.
- New Zealand
After getting a quote with Airtreks, my price tag (with taxes) came to about $5100. I tried to do a comparison on Expedia and was only able to enter the first six flights (thats all they would accept). For just the first 6 flights though, the price was $9400. At that rate, Expedia could easily have been above $20,000 for all of the flights. RTW tickets cost less money because they are sold in bulk. You may end up doing some overnight flights, however they are flexible on dates and will let you take up to a year to finish the trip. Here, are a few of the other routes on my personal to do list. The routes (below) are great, and you can customize the list of cities. You simply enter dates and add or delete cities. It is pretty easy after that, you have a phone call with a counselor that walks you through different flight options for each of the legs. They also give you insurance and travel support while you are on the road. Enjoy, and make it a goal to do at least one of these in your life. Justin
Round the World Special