This section of my blog revisits some of my favourite photographs and memories of our years spent discovering the unique places of the world and the hidden recesses of our innermost selves. Each post takes one photo, some go as far back as 2002 when we first ventured into digital photography, and tries to capture that memory so that you can experience what it was like at the moment in which it was taken, and what it has come to mean for me in the years that followed.
We’ve been actively travelling for a few decades now, experiencing off the beaten path places, and exploring the world a little at a time. I thought I’d share a few of the more memorable experiences with you here, in the hopes that they inspire, enlighten or simply brighten your day. This world is an amazing place and it never ceases to amaze me:
First, that there is generosity and kindness the world over, no matter how third-world a destination may be, no matter how rustic a person’s living conditions may be there are always a lot of people who want to give out there, that there is always something to give;
Second, that people the world over seek connection and it really is easy, with a smile and a little eye contact, to strike up a conversation, even if its content is only delivered through body language and gesture, with a stranger; and
Third, that experiencing discomfort (be it physical discomfort or social awkwardness, emotional discomfort) is an important part of growing and living in this world, making it important that some of our travel be uneasy, for it is those uncomfortable moments, those times of difficult travel, that we strangely, weirdly, remember the most fondly.
Follow along and experience a few insights gathered, and a few stories remembered from our adventures, near & far…
Excerpt: “Over the years, we have made a conscious decision to spend as much time as we could, traveling. Beginning with a with a year-long backpacking adventure in 1989 that gave us such a taste for adventure, discovery, independence, self-reliance and personal growth; it continued through the early years of raising our children, where we wanted our kids to experience the way other people in this world live (and materially, often live with less than we do in our North American lives); and it continues to this day, now that we have come out the other side of our parenting journey with independent adult “children” (let’s face it, they’ll always be kids to me!) and more time on our hands to explore and adventure.”
Excerpt: “For us, this trip was a very big deal. And I’d be kidding myself if I said we weren’t a little nervous! Friends and family thought we were brave & a bit nuts (at best) and carless & reckless (at worst). But as we came to realize during this trip and others that followed over the past two decades, we really had nothing to fear. Things work out. Lessons are learned. The world becomes more fascinating. And the fabric of who we are weaves itself more richly in the process.”
Excerpt: “Inlaid marble hallways. Bright light radiating down from rows of ornate chandeliers. Massive paintings and murals. Intricate frescoes. Glittering gold paint on elaborately carved frames. Polished wooded handrails and impressive bronze statues. These are not things you typically pass on your way to work each day. And yet, this, with a heavy nod to communist Russia of old, is the reality for millions of Muscovites as they traipse through the stations of Moscow’s underground.”
Excerpt: “One of my hands-down favourite ways to explore the fantastic rocky landscapes of our world is by canyoning. An incredible form of adventuring, it blends scrambling with climbing, rapelling (abseiling), swimming, cliff jumping and hiking. It is physical, it is fun… and most importantly, it gets you into places that you could never otherwise access on your own. This photo is one of my favourites, taken in Chile in 2012 at the northern tip of Patagonia, just off the shores of Lagos de los Santos near Petrohué, in a landscape surrounded by volcanoes.”
Excerpt: “What is hand sanitizer good for? Slime. Oozing, can’t-wash-it-off slime. Trust me on this one: it is the perfect antidote to an afternoon spent sliming yourself. Soap and water just can’t touch the gross stuff that leaks out of a banana slug. It clings to your fingers like crazy glue. And the more gigantic, gooey, monstrous slugs you touch, the more the layers of slime build up on your fingers. Why do we know this, you just might ask? Because our kids made it their mission to touch 100 banana slugs back on a walk we did when we first visited Point No Point… a little piece of rugged, atmospheric paradise on the west coast of Vancouver Island over a decade ago.”
Excerpt: “Layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of incredible plant life. That’s what I remember most from our time spent in the wonderfully atmospheric cloud forest of Santa Elena in Costa Rica. We had been to rainforests in Asia prior to this trip, and loved our experiences there, but were disappointed by the lack of animal life. The Thai and Malaysian rainforests just weren’t exactly what we were expecting. In all fairness, our expectations were sky-high: we were after a BBC Planet Earth show, after all! We’d heard that Costa Rica had been doing an exceptionally good job, preserving their swathes of rainforest, that their rainforest ecosystem was a wonder to behold and that the results of their preservation efforts were unbelievable. We just had to see for ourselves. And they were SO right!”
Excerpt: “Have you seen this headlining photo on the Snapshots section of my blog website? Wondered where it was from and when I’d get to its story? Well, today’s your lucky day!
We island hopped our way up the Pacific coastline of Southern Thailand, meeting up with another family, friends of ours who had moved to Hong Kong from Canada. Island hopping in a longtail boat back in 2002, the conditions were a bit rustic, rocking with the waves and motoring our way along in those iconic boats…”
Excerpt: Ice. Deep, penetrating cold. Fragile, transient beauty. The crunching sound of your crampon picks gripping the ice underfoot, echoing off the canyon walls as you gouge your way through the serpentine maze of the emptied creek bed, and work your way up and over the rounded mounds of mini waterfalls, frozen in motion. The dark recesses of caverns behind curtains of icicles, beckoning. Gaping holes in the bedrock like the mouths of ancient monsters sighing moist air, their mouths hanging with feathery ice crystal teeth. Step by step, you trace the passage of geologic time through the wonder of the frozen world of Maligne Canyon.
Snapshots is an irregular feature, running whenever I feel the urge to reminisce when we are not away on our hiking or travel adventures. Each snapshot revisits some of my favourite photographs and memories of our years spent discovering the unique places of the world and the hidden recesses of our innermost selves.