10 Things I’ve Learned From Travelling

10 Things I’ve Learned From Travelling

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If like me, you love the idea of travel and you love to learn new things; then you’ll be able to take something from this post! Travel is one of the best ways you can learn, develop and share ideas or knowledge. It can be between new people or a self-reflective way of learning. In this post, I will talk about 10 things I’ve learned from travelling and how they have had an effect on my thinking now.

Hopefully you’ll get a little bit of inspiration and see that travelling is about way more than just racking up air miles and crossing off destinations on the map. I always like to do a reflective post once every now and again to arrange my headspace full of little travel post-its!

Learning a new language (1)

Going to a different country also means hearing and learning a new language. At first it is difficult to pick up the basics, especially as new tones and sounds shape different languages words. Some dialects are very hard to replicate if you’re not a native. But if you are surrounded by the language, fully immersed in it and spend enough time there; you can learn a new language much easier than if you were trying to from home. There have been many cases were I have been thrown into a new environment; where I have had to learn the local language.

When volunteering in Nepal I had to pick up a lot of Nepalese for a good few months. Whilst staying in Ghana for 8 months I also had to learn a lot of the local language, Twi. At first it is frustrating because you want to be able to communicate but can’t even say a basic sentence. But with a little time, practice and getting incredibly good at charades you can start to have conversations in a whole new language! I have loved the times where I have had to pick up a new language, it is always a great challenge and an even better way to connect with the locals.

Tasted new foods (2)

Another learning opportunity is sampling the local delicacies to the country your travelling in. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love food: even better excuse to indulge in all the dishes whilst you’re there! Learning to try new foods is part of the experience of seeing a new place. Food makes up so much of the identity of a country, so you can learn a lot just by tasting the dishes. I’ve had the pleasure of having a few home stays whilst travelling; which provided me with an authentic root straight to the heart of local cuisine!

Eating Dal Bhat home cooked and then sitting to eat with a local family is such a truly authentic experience. I’ve not only tasted the foods, but also eaten locally – by which I mean tried eating without a knife and fork! Some places I have lived in use hands or flatbreads as scoops to eat with – it has all added to learning about the whole of the countries culture. Another food related lesson has been learning to cook the local foods. I’ve loved being able to learn how to make momos (a kind of nepali dumpling filled with vegetables & meat) or my new favourite red-red, click here to learn how!

Community (3)

This word has taken on a whole new meaning and level of understanding that I didn’t have before I started to travel. The places or communities I have been have shown me that a community look out for one another, support and trust each other. At home you would never dream of saying hello to another random person walking down the street, but when you think about it, it is more strange if you ignore another human being. Travelling and living in some of the countries I have been to has taught me this. It has helped me to be more caring and to care about my own community.

Immersed In Culture (4)

Everywhere has its own identity and we call it culture. Travelling has enabled me to learn about more cultures that are completely different to my own. Since doing this it has helped me to learn new ways of doing things, wether it is cooking new dishes, interacting with different people or inspired new ideas for work. Travelling helps you to expand your thinking and learn a new way of doing things, because the world is such a diverse place. Don’t restrict yourself to your own surroundings.

Being more independent (5)

Travelling, especially travelling solo, has helped me to become so much more independent. I’ve learnt to book, organise and support myself whilst on the move in a different surrounding. At first it was daunting, the first time I was in an airport on my own I nearly freaked out, but you learn to be able to adapt and go with it. Independence is something not to be overlooked, because it is one of the sole drivers that enables me to keep doing it. If I didn’t feel confident or independent enough to be able to just go and travel; then I would never go very far or cope very well. Learning this independence whilst travelling has helped me in all aspects of life.

As someone who had always been more introverted, shy and anxious – travelling allowed me to learn to overcome and develop these attributes. Being more independent and as a result :confident; has probably been the biggest benefit of travelling for me than anything.

Organisation & Determination (6)

This leads on from my previous point, learning to be organised is something that has been enhanced whilst travelling. Making sure you are at places certain times for flights and having the skill to be able to plan whilst on the move has made me even more organised.

Determination: I’ve learnt that if you want something, prioritise it. Be determined with what you want to achieve. I am even more determined to travel than before I started travelling because I have realised I want to make this a lifestyle and not a one-off trip.

The world is a big, big place (7)

It may sound silly, but the World, Earth, life; is so much bigger than your home or country. But you only really get to understand this when you start travelling to further places and experiencing new things. The world is big, but once you start to explore, it seems a lot more possible to be able to keep exploring, than before.

‘Travelling is like a book, those who do not, only read the first chapter’

You’ll never truly be alone (8)

As cheesy as this may first sound, it’s 100% true. If you decide you can’t go travelling or explore other countries because you have no one to go with, think again. Travelling solo is daunting but there are so many people doing the exact same thing. You are bound to bump into people along the way and then it is only you deciding wether you want to connect with them, have a conversation or spend it on your own.

And Spending it on your own at times isn’t a bad thing either, it allows you to have room for self-reflection and development that is important in learning more about yourself or the country. But I can honestly say that spending a year travelling ‘solo‘ saw me have only a handful of days where I had some time to relax. So I welcomed those chances to be able to be on my own and listen.

A sense of adventure! (9)

Travelling, understandably has made my wanderlust & adventure seeking increase! I’ve learnt that there are so many more things I want to see, do, taste, experience and learn! I’ve learnt to be more curious and to try and learn at every opportunity. This has made me more assertive and inquisitive because when I’m in a country I want to leave feeling like I absorbed as much of the countries history and culture as possible.

I’ve also learnt to not always play it safe (I’m not saying be stupid) but to go off the beaten track, avoid the touristy hotspots and to ask questions you don’t know the answers to! You never know where something could lead or a connection you could make.

Always be sensible (well if you can afford to be a little loose with this then it is more fun) but there have been so many times where I have had such great experiences that I would never have had, if I didn’t have a sense of adventure. Travelling with a local friend I’d made to his local village for a wedding in India was amazing or travelling on top of a local nepali bus with livestock around narrow cliff edges – sounds dramatic – but so cool! Wouldn’t be memories I now have if I hadn’t learnt to ‘live a little‘ or ‘be in the moment‘.

Don’t always play it safe. But don’t be stupid!

Positivity & Appreciation (10)

A great way to end is to say that having been immersed in so many diverse and interesting countries’/ cultures; I have learnt the power of positivity and a whole new appreciation for my own life. From all of the aspects I have talked about you can learn to be more positive and appreciative.

When you are in a fortunate enough position to be able to experience and learn about all these amazing places how can you not be! I’ve also learnt to be more mindful and present in my own life. Not to rush, to stop and be thankful. I’ve learnt to meditate and develop more inner peace which before I started travelling I would never even of considered – now I realise how beneficial and important it is. There has been so much inspiration I have taken away from the places, people and countries I have visited which have all had a positive impact on my life.

#PositiveVibes always ✌️

Here are a few things I have discovered that have helped in creating a more positive mindset in this digital world:

Paths to Happiness: 50 Ways to Add Joy to Your Life Every Day

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

CalmCalm App

Positive News Twitter

Sunny Skyz

Action For Happiness

That’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed the 10 things I’ve learned from travelling; feel a little more inspired to go out & learn some new things for yourself!

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10 things i've learned from travelling

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Adopting an Elephant!

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Adopting an Elephant!

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I have always had a deep love for elephants. I think they are incredible creatures and have so many human like qualities that make them relatable. They are the gentle giants of the african plains and graceful grazers of the asian forests. Everything about them I have always enjoyed studying from the very first elephant toy to the countless documentaries I have seen. With all that said you can imagine my excitement when I found out that on my trip to Kenya we would be stopping at The David Sheldrick Widlife Trust.

If you don’t know what that means, here’s who they are:

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Mission statement

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.

One of the main ongoing projects at the trust is their orphan project which includes rescuing and hand-rearing orphaned elephants. I couldn’t wait to get there.

What they say about the elephant orphan project:

At the heart of the DSWT’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

 

To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in our care.

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You pre-book a place beforehand and pay a small fee to go and see the elephants, usually when they get back from a walk and go to bathe. The keepers hand feed them using bottles of specially mixed milk. It’s a great sight to see and if you love elephants then you’ll be in your element. Its great to see the elephants playing around and messing about in the mud with each other and whats also great to see is the bond the keepers share with each individual animal. The keepers become their surrogate parents and are with them 24/7 feeding, walking, bathing, playing and sleeping.

SlipTiring being an Elephant

Bros

Elephants by Jack Gunns on 500px.comIMG_0097

One Man & His Elephant by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Your given the opportunity to adopt an elephant and donate towards the upkeep of the trust. Of course I did this when I was there, it was about £30 ($50) you can obviously pay more than this if you wish. Adopting an elephant let me re-visit the trust at the end of my trip to help put young Kibo (my adopted elephant) to bed as well as help bottle feed him. It finished my trip in Kenya on a high and was great to get a real intimate personal time with the orphaned elephants who were all a lot more inquisitive once there wasn’t a crowd of people around and just as playful! You also get regular updates about your elephant even after they grow up and introduced back into the wild, I often get e-mails telling me how Kibo and the new orphans are getting on.

Adopting an elephant

I’d really recommend visiting this place and I’m sure you’ll agree seeing the amazing work they are doing to help orphaned animals all over Africa. Keep supporting this essential wildlife trust. You also see some rhino and giraffes whilst your there!

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If you’d like to see more of my travel photos from Kenya or my other photography then check my social links!

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Chitwan Safari at the Eden Jungle Resort | Travel Talk

Chitwan Safari at the Eden Jungle Resort | Travel Talk

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Whilst in Nepal I made sure I got to visit one of the regions famous national parks in Chitwan. Located in the southern part of Nepal, Chitwan is about 6-7 hours travel from central Kathmandu via tourist bus. I would recommend travelling in a tourist bus as you get your own seat, water and toilet breaks; the driving is also ‘slightly’ safer as there are less people in them compared to one of the local buses.

I went on a 2 night 3 day safari tour at the Eden Jungle Resort which cost around £59 ($90) which I thought was super cheap for what you get!

Eden Jungle Resort
Eden Jungle Resort

The bus journey from Kathmandu was incredibly long and we got stopped a few times due to small landslides (which are very common throughout Nepal before you worry) along the way. Bring some food, a book and some water; maybe pack some travel sickness tablets just in case. You do stop off a few times for toilet breaks and at local cafes so there are opportunities to get food along the way, however always keep in mind in Nepal that the food may not be what you are used and ‘nepali belly’ much like ‘delhi belly’ is quite common amongst travellers. Be smart about food choices, I pretty much stuck to rice and momos!

Once I arrived at Chitwan we were picked up and taken to our home for the next few days. We were greeted with smiling friendly faces – as you get anywhere in Nepal – and briefed on the iteniary. We were taken to our rooms and were able to have a quick freshen up before heading out on a tour of the resort. The rooms are fairly basic but sufficient for what you need, its not luxury but does the job. You are provided with beds, a ceiling fan, nets and a bathroom; consisting of a western toilet, sink and shower.

We immediately went for a tour around where they kept the elephants and shown around the grounds. We were lucky enough to see one of the famous one horned rhinos bathing in a stream in the first 20 minutes of being there! They showed us the river which at the time was overflowing due to it being the monsoon season. We were able to watch the sunset and then head back for a cold everest beer!

Elephant HairdoOne-Horned Rhino

Later that evening after a buffet style dinner we were driven to the nearby Tharu village where we were treated to some traditional tribal stick dancing. This was a great atmosphere and interesting to see the tribes cultural heritage. Afterwards we headed back to our resort to get some well earned rest after the days travelling but not before we squeezed in a few more everest beers!

The next day we had an early breakfast (breakfast and dinner are included at the resort) and went down to the river where we got into canoes down the river. There are opportunities to spot gharial crocodile, various birds and monkeys. We got out further down the river and went for a short walk through some local villages. Unfortunately when I was there we were not able to go over to the elephant breeding center to see the baby elephants as the river was so high we could not cross safely, however you are usually able to see them up close.

During the afternoon we had some free time so went into the local village to have a look for some souvenirs and to grab a quick lunch. Lunch turned into nearly 2 hours waiting, always remember your on nepali time haha

chitwan 1
You’ll get used to seeing elephants just walking around the village!

We headed back to the resort to quickly freshen up by taking a shower…with an elephant. A pretty cool experience but definitely came out smelling a lot more worse than I wen into it! I made a quick purchase of one of the resort t-shirts and went for another shower minus the elephant.

the best way to shower in nepal! #elephant #powershower #nepal #travels

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

Hatti are awesome #elephant #nepal #travelling #closeup #vscocam A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

Next we jumped into a jeep and travelled over to the forest where we were then able to go on an elephant safari. It was a really cool way to see the reserve and some of the animals including deer, rhino and monkeys; left me feeling a bit achey in my legs though! During the Chitwan Safari you have a well experienced guide who spots all the animals a mile off through trees and bushes. When you get off at the end theres usually children selling bananas for a few rupees to feed the elephants with make sure you buy a few to reward them for all the walking they just did.

Elephant EyesElephant Safari

Deer Ears

can’t get enough of these guys #elephant #nepal #travelling #safari A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

legit jungle book #chitwan #jungle #safari #nepal #travelling #vscocam

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

For the evening we went our for dinner to make the most of some of the western food that is available here before heading back to our homestay placements. Grabbed yet another couple of everest beers – my favourite if you couldn’t tell by now – before heading to bed to get some rest and digest the days elephant antics.

Early morning wake up call for some bird watching and breakfast and then back onto the tourist buses to head back to Kathmandu.

Chitwan is a great few days away activity whilst travelling around exploring Nepal. I’d head there between october-march to really get the most out of the experience the temperature isn’t too bad at around 25°C, the best months for viewing game is late january-march as the grass is cut shorter improving disability. Check out Lonely Planets essential guide for your trip.

If you’d like to see more of my travel photos from Nepal or my other photography then check my social links!

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What do you travel for? | I travel for…

What do you travel for? | I travel for…

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THE VIEWS. The awe-inspiring, jaw dropping, serene views you can witness when traversing the four corners of the globe. Wether it’s a paradise beach straight out of a getaway magazine or an incredible cliff face overlooking a forest backdrop, you can’t help but travel for those views. That sense of feeling that theres so much more out there. The kind of view you can’t take your eyes off of; right up until the sunsets, still transfixed as a blanket of stars covers the night sky and on till the morning sun stretches its sunbeam arms over the horizon.

I travel for those views. Some travel for the view out of a balcony window overlooking a bustling city full of life and some travel for the infinite blue skies. Where ever you travel to you go for a different view that you wouldn’t find at home, to discover and explore. But most of all, to just see more than any screen or photo can ever do justice.

My passion as an explorer compels me to keep viewing the world and discovering new places. I hope to inspire others to go out and see more passing on my infectious passion to travel. I hope these posts help to provide some sort of motivation for you to break free from everyday life, even if just for a little while. Creativity is contagious, pass it on!

Here are some that I have looked upon:

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Landscapes I

Snow Mountains

Aussie Coasts

The Village

Warm Crisp Mornings

Waterfalls

Shadows of Mountains

If you’d like to see more of my photography then check my social links!

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I’m now @gunns_travels on instagram!

I’m now @gunns_travels on instagram!

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If your a fan of photography and also a ‘wanderluster’ then check out my new instagram account to satisfy the whimsical dreamer inside of you. You can expect an array of snaps from colourful cultures and faraway places! I’m a passionate explorer and love to travel capturing every moment of my journeys. Documenting it along the way is a great way to connect and share those experiences with others. It also lets me keep a photographic journal that I can share. I also love to look at other instatravellers accounts as it gives me inspiration for my next trips and helpful insights into planning – as well as indulge my visual appetite with beautiful images from all over the world. If your a #travelgrammer then send me your link, i’d love to have a look at your captures!

You can expect to see images like these…

Start travelling the world with me!

What do you travel for? | I travel for…

What do you travel for? | I travel for…

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I travel for many reasons and one of them is to create long lasting bonds with people or places I come into contact with. Every place I’ve visited I have been helped, looked after and taught about the kinds of things text books could never compete with. Theres nothing quite like the feeling of interacting with someone who is from a completely different walk of life to you, its refreshing and you can learn a lot. If your finding yourself doing the same repetitive routines and getting frustrated with the constant monotonous goings on you go through each day – then change it. No one else can do it for you, work hard, save up and just go somewhere different – I don’t mean the kind of ‘relaxing 5 star tanning retreat in the Algarve’ (unless this is what does it for you) I mean the kind of place you’d never have considered before. Be sensible about it. Be free. Be happy.

‘The biggest adventure is outside of your comfort zone.’

The biggest leap out of my ‘comfort box’ I ever took was signing up to help in Nepal for over 2 months. To go live with a nepali family in a village on the side of a mountain. To embrace a culture on the polar opposite spectrum to my own. To open myself to a completely different way of living. To learn so much more than any study had ever taught by people I couldn’t verbally communicate with.

As my bro Rahul would say “pinky promise you’ll be happy uncle ; make that promise to yourself – don’t settle for anything less.

 

Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.2

Kenya | Travel Talk Pt.2

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The kenyan adventure continues…

The second part of the trip was all about safari. We woke up early and departed our home in Malindi and headed for our first game park Tsavo East. We stopped off at a small shop on the way to get snacks and some souvenirs and were able to walk down to a river – where there were hippos and crocodiles. No barriers – we were truly up close and personal with animals now.

We headed off through the reserve and got our first taste of the safari experience – amazing. (All Photographs are my own copyright 2015)

Our first camp was an eco camp that was set up with large green tents right in the heart of the reserve. The camp looked out over a watering hole where a group of elephants and buffalos were gathered. Amazing to watch these gentle giants up so close. I think that was what was the most overwhelming – not realising quite how close you would be to so many of these wild animals. At night you could hear loud noises and on the morning game drives you’d see the aftermath. Dining with lions for breakfast.

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Eco-Camp in Tsavo East | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015

Elephant Eyes by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Flying Antelope by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Buffalo Soldier by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Simba by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Hide and Seek by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

After exploring Tsavo East we headed for the next national park – Amboseli the home of Elephants. Staying at Kilima Safari Camp were we were given a quick break to refresh and then headed out on some more game drives. The hotel and staff were very friendly and the bedrooms were incredible and there was also two large pools and the facilities were great – not what you would expect to find out in the wilderness. We climbed the tower to watch a burning red sunset behind Mount Kilimanjaro and were treated to a relaxed evening around a fire pit with music. A truly spectacular hotel that sits underneath he magnificent Mt.Kilamanjaro. k2

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Kilima Safari Camp | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015

Elephant Crossing

Monk II by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Tribal Bird by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Cheetah. by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

We got the chance to visit Mzima Springs and although it was the height of a drought we still managed to see a few hippos and wildlife. I’d definitely recommend seeing this place especially when it is in full bloom there are usually hundreds of hippopotamuses! Smile

Our final stop ‘The Severin Safari Camp‘ in the Tsavo west part of the reserve was another amazing place to stay. Being upgraded to the royal suites on arrival with outside private showers and a watering hole right beside our balcony was a truly luxurious experience. The facilities here were top class and you were escorted between the lodges and the main restaurant reception areas by Masai warriors in case you bumped into any wildlife on the way…More game drives and our final chances to spot animals. Finishing off watching elephants and giraffes wander around the watering hole by our balconies at sunset – priceless. If your looking for a luxurious safari experience right in the heart ion everything then this place is for you!

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Severin Safari Camp | Copyright Jack Gunns 2015
source: http://www.severin-hotels.com/severin-safari-camp/tents-suites/
source: http://www.severin-hotels.com/severin-safari-camp/tents-suites/

it’s days like these that I #wish I was on #safari in #hot #africa #goingback #oneday

A photo posted by Jack Gunns (@jackgunns) on

Elephantidae by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Elephant & the Bird by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

On Safari by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

Zebra Crossing by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

The journey of our safari had come to an end after a week of roaming the national parks and witnessing some truly spectacular sights. I think i’ll finish off with one of our final destinations when we were back in Nairobi – The Giraffe centre and Manor. Another place you should check out as you couldn’t get much closer to giraffes if you tried, lots of hand-feeding and petting with these blue-tongued spotted giants.

Giraffe Close Up by Jack Gunns on 500px.com 

My time in Kenya was jam-packed with some incredible places, people and experiences. It is somewhere that I will for sure have to visit again and could not recommend this trip more to anyone looking for a taste of the wild thrill of safari and cultured beauty of Africa.

Landscape I by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

If you’d like to keep up with my adventures and get social;

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Travel. Create, Be Nice!

 

Capturing 365 days a year | Photography

Capturing 365 days a year | Photography

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Whilst art & design are two of my interests I also use photography as a creative outlet. In 2012 I took the ‘365 challenge‘ dedicating everyday for a whole year to taking a picture. It was a great way to improve my skills with a camera and at the same has given me a wide variety of photographs to use as my portfolio. If you enjoy photos as much as I do go over and check it out, I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of taking up photography. Drop me a link to your own 365 if you have done one as well!

119/365

175/365

139/365

 

So this year I have taken it upon myself to undergo another 365 project because I loved the last one so much, however I’m giving myself a bit more breathing space this year and not forcing myself to upload everyday. Still frequently, just not giving myself the panic of not having taken a photo before midnight everyday! I also wanted to make sure I produce concepts and pictures I’m happy with and proud to upload as there were some days in the first 365 where picking up a camera was the last thing I wanted to do. Any camera buffs interested in what I have, I use a Nikon D40 with standard 50mm f.4.5 lens as well as a zoom lens 55mm-200m f.4.5. I am currently using a Nikon D7000 which is my baby and I love teaming it with my 50mm f1.8 lens; the shallow dof and bokeh are b-e-a-utiful.

South Bank At Night

Snow Mountains

Tiger Light