Cultural Heritage Management: Your Culture and Heritage Can Travel Over Generations

The life has actually transformed a lot over years as well as the process of modernization has gotten in every component of society. People are neglecting the standard society of the society as well as the heritage of historic locations is fading over years. The preservation of the social heritage of the country, therefore, ends up being the prime issue for local governments across the world. Aboriginal archeology is another kind of cultural heritage that generally needs correct interest and maintenance over years to maintain it in its initial form. The heritage of a particular country is kept via its culture, people, sculpture, monoliths and various other heritage websites. The upkeep of each of those items of aboriginal archeology is maintained through different processes which are the reason you may need cultural heritage experts to use the suitable procedure of conservation. This detailed and also occasionally highly intensive procedure is described as social heritage administration.

Cultural Heritage plans

People and generations are the best providers of the society over years. Every doing well generation learns some values from its coming before generation and takes it further. The initial practices and also societies of the location are carried additional with the aid of its individuals. The tales and also literature that has been overlooked years from generation to generation would serve as the most effective sheet of recommendation for the people of the modern-day period This has actually been the most prominent means of protecting culture as well as custom without carrying out significant planning. The innovation has actually influenced this as well and thus the conservation of customs as well as society has actually come to be the major problem for the federal government as well as cultural heritage management.

Cultural Heritage plans

Protecting the society in the modern-day period

Cultural Heritage plans

The modern period no more assists the earlier procedure of custom preservation. The federal government is taking varied actions to attain the heritage management. Heritage consultants are coming up with numerous techniques of heritage management that looks after all type of social heritage management. The artwork and sculptures are protected over years with various conservation techniques while the social galleries are developed maintain the aged time appeal of different standard products. The ground up disruption as well as development in and around the heritage website is also regulated by the federal government and the specialists so that specific standard procedure is constantly adhered to by the designers. If people or organisations are uncertain of their legal and also social commitments they could seek out registered training organisations such as Jagera Daran that offer a range of services around cultural heritage training.

The preservation of culture could be done jointly with proper initiatives made by the individuals as well as the neighborhood authorities to ensure that the coming generations could enjoy the taste of the previous.

Notes on 6 years of blogging

6 years blogging

Wow, 6 years of blogging, that went by fast.

I don’t think I’ve ever committed to anything that long. Ever.

I honest to god cannot believe that my blog is my life now. Sometimes when I look back and see the other paths I could have gone down (and didn’t) I make a long “woah” sound out loud. Every day, no matter my mental state, I pinch myself and try to be grateful for the life that I now have. I know I’m lucky.

That’s one thing I’m trying to work on now, being grateful and happy.

6 years blogging

Things could have been very different for me. 6 years ago I was a different pesron with different goals and plans.

I could still be teaching English in Spain. I could be living back home in the US working. I could be in graduate school studying medieval Spanish history (don’t ask).

Instead I took a giant leap of faith and decided three years ago to give this whole blogging thing a shot and quit my job to travel. I still have goals and plans but they are so far removed from what I imagined my life would be when I graduated college.

The only constant thing throughout all these years has been this blog, which means more to me than anything.

My blog has been with me through 3 heart-wrenching break-ups, 5 big moves around the world, 2 big career changes, and finally led me to this life I have now.

6 years blogging

So where were we? 6 years and I’ve run out of shit to write about, I’m done.

JUST KIDDING!

I always have something to say, which has been a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I wish my brain would just shut up.

Last year I shared some lessons from 5 years of blogging – I love that I have this blog as a record of my adventures to look back on, and I totally believe that everyone has a story and blogging can be an amazing place to share those stories, moments, memories and adventures, for yourself and maybe for some others.

That’s something I learned over the years – that my stories, my opinions, my experiences could inspire others. To be honest, I still don’t really get it. WHY ME?

And I certainly never started believing that by now over 10 million people would have read my words. Mind-boggling. Again, why me? Why?!

6 years blogging

Buuuuut my story was not always a fairy tale. Let’s go way back. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared any of this before.

I was never the popular kid. I was super quiet growing up and I lived in my head. I’ve struggled with anxiety and bouts of depression since I was a teenager.

Also I was randomly a bit of rebel – fighting tooth and nail when my mom remarried when I was a young teen and lashing out whenever I could – I was even expelled from school (don’t ask). By high school all I could think about was escaping small town Virginia and all the small-minded people I felt were suffocating me. All of the bullies that shoved me into lockers and threw peanuts at me during lunch breaks.

Bastards. I will always hate people who try and put other people down.

6 years blogging

I threw myself into my studies in high school and worked on competing in tennis. I wanted to get out. I worked, studied, worked more and played tennis. When I was accepted into college in New England, I knew that was my chance.

I went to Mt. Holyoke, a women’s college and studied Spanish and Medieval Studies (again, don’t ask). I was always a nerd. I will always have  a deep love for my fellow nerds. Nerds are curious people, and curiosity is the most important thing.

Then boom – procrastinating during my senior year finals 6 years ago, my blog was born.

I’d like to take this opportunity to praise all my fellow procrastinators out there – see? Look what amazing things can come from procrastination!

6 years blogging

I’d like to think that in some ways I’ve grown wiser and more experienced. Well, can’t confirm the wiser part but I have gotten heaps of experience! The good, the bad and the ugly.

My whole life I’ve been told I wasn’t good enough, that I was crazy to do the things I do. Do you know how goddamn satisfying it is to stand here and know that I did it? Nothing motivates like a fear of total failure or proving people wrong, amiright?

At the risk of sounding like an arrogant prick, I have made it and it feels awesome.

6 years blogging

People will always try and put you down for your success (especially if you are a woman) but it’s important to ignore them. Or laugh at them. Or feel sorry for them. But never let it keep you from creating what you want to or following your dreams.

I’ve seen the worst side of people in this industry – people who not only want to ruin you or tear you down, but do it gleefully to. I’ve seen people tear my work to shreds with a smile on their face and deal with comments all the time that would have made me cry in another life.

I’ve seen the greed, the jealousy and the hate that can stem from this lifestyle and it makes me want to go away and hide and never talk to anyone again.

But I have also seen the most amazing things, been privileged enough to be part of the most incredible experiences and receive daily feedback from you guys about how I’ve helped or inspired you in one way or another, and to me, THAT IS EVERYTHING.

6 years blogging

I’ve learned so many lessons and have gained new skills I don’t think I would have gotten in any other way.

I’ve learned confidence in myself and my work, and have worked hard to keep the passion for what I do every day alive (sometimes it’s a struggle). Who knew that I would grow to love public speaking or co-launched a travel conference?

I’ve made friends around the world, met so many of you guys, and been involved in projects and communities that have opened my eyes and inspired me even further.

But I totally didn’t learn my lesson about Tinder. Fail!

6 years blogging

So where do I want this blog to go?

The moon and back!

As the years go by, what I have always loved the most is simple – storytelling and creating things. Oh, and keep having adventures. I want to experiment more and try new things. Recently I’ve been a bit bored and I want to shake things up. Take more risks, both physically and with my work.

The list really goes on and on.

I want to have a better balance between my work and travels and my life in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Oh yeah, and personal happiness. In some ways this blog has been part of my journey to happiness.

6 years blogging

I don’t really know how to wrap this up. I fucking hate conclusions.

I think blogging really is for everyone. It’s therapeutic. All of this narcissistic me-me-me nonsense I just wrote about? You can have it too. Go make something.

If you have a goal or a dream, go for it. I mean, if I can do it, anyone can.

And maybe think about starting a blog and sharing it too.

Here’s to another 6 years guys! You’re stuck with me! 

6 years blogging

The post Notes on 6 years of blogging appeared first on Young Adventuress.

Hanging out in the Maldives

visit maldives

I think I can safely say I was the only person in the Maldives NOT on their honeymoon.

Just kidding, plenty of people weren’t on their honeymoon. But I was definitely the only single girl there. Boo freaking hoo.

Oh well, more rum-filled coconuts on the beach for me!

visit maldives

Now, before you start hating me for being in the Maldives (because let’s be honest here, I even hate me a little bit) I was in that part of the world for a conference in Sri Lanka where I was speaking. The Maldives are a quick dirt cheap 1 hour flight away from Colombo. Why the hell not?

Though, when I was in Sri Lanka 2 years ago, it was in the middle of a break up, and the thought of going to the Maldives made me want to cry. Hard. So I skipped it.

Not this time!

Given the opportunity to go hang out on in the Maldives with no strings attached? Count me in.

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

It was a balmy 35 degrees celsius with 100% humidity when I stepped off the plane in Male. Holy crap I wasn’t in New Zealand anymore. Before you even walk out of the airport you can see the twing=kling turquoise waters beckoning you from across the road.

Far out is there anything better than seeing water this blue?

Nope, nope there isn’t. Except for maybe the fact that the water temp is 30 degrees with 40 meters of visibility! Holy shit!

(Also writing this it seems I’ve gone full native and forgotten how to use anything but the metric system. That’s what 6 years abroad will do for you).

visit maldives

When you travel in the Maldives, it’s mostly all-inclusive resorts where the resort covers the whole island. The Maldives are made up of over a thousand islands that are grouped together into 26 coral atolls, most of which are uninhabited.

And you should probably visit soon before the islands disappear under the sea. Thanks global warming!

As you can probably have imagined, the Maldives isn’t the cheapest place to holiday to. But I didn’t find it insanely expensive either.

My friend Janet from Journalist on the Run has a great post about traveling the Maldives on a budget.

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

My first stop was Cinnamon Dhonveli which is only about half an hour away from Male the capital by speedboat. Too easy.

First order of business – throw on a bikini and jump off my water bungalow deck and go for a swim. Drink some coconuts. Take a nap. Get a massage. Read in the sun.

Now, this is not usually how I travel, I have always preferred adventure travel over resort vacations, but I got to say, this was the life!

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

I had only three things I wanted to do while in the Maldives – work on my tan, sleep, relax, take a real vacation, and go diving. Happy to say I was able to do all three!

The Maldives has insane diving! I wasn’t expecting that. In fact, I had no expectations. But because of the amazing reef systems, the diving is just incredible.

Think whale sharks, manta rays, turtles galore, nemos, everything!

visit maldives

At Dhonveli I went diving for a day, most island resorts will organize heaps of activities like diving, and mostly hung out on the beach.

The water was so clear straight from the beach it looked like a swimming pool, and there was even coral and fish right there off the main beach to swim over, it was great.

It was so hot I actually just dragged the beach chair into the water to hang out. How to spot a tourist, right?

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

After a couple of days at Dhonveli, I had to say goodbye and head over to Cinnamon Ellaidhoo, on a completely different atoll further away, this time by seaplane which was awesome!

I loved getting to see the Maldives from the sky!

Ellaidhoo blew me away. It’s a small island surrounded by a sea wall to protect the coral, but it has a friendly, intimate vibe that I really loved. This was a place I wished I was visiting for a month.

And the best part is that there is an amazing reef coral wall surrounding it so you can dive straight from the beach. No boats. And you can dive 24 hours a day, it was awesome!

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

Again I got to stay in an overwater bungalow, which was one of my biggest bucketlist items ever!

From my room I could hear the waves crashing softly against the reef wall, watch the sunrise and set, see the stars twinkle at night and even watch fish swim by underneath the porch. It was so epic.

I didn’t wear shoes or makeup the whole time I was there, digging my toes into the soft white sand and let my salty hair dry in the hot breezes. There was more wind here making it less hot and cooler.

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

I spent my days diving off the reef and off a dive boat further away, ticking exotic fish off my bucketlist and practicing my underwater photography (so hard guys) and just enjoying the fact that the water was so warm I could dive in my rashies and not a wetsuit!

Winning!

I would take walks at sunset and sunrise (thanks jetlag) and really felt like I was able to disconnect and enjoy being there.

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

I loved chowing down on hot curries and even hotter local Maldivian food as the stars started to come out over the sea.

I couldn’t get over how friendly and welcoming everyone is over there. Blew me away.

It didn’t rain the entire time I was there even though it was the monsoon season.

visit maldives

visit maldives

visit maldives

I really think the Maldives is heaven on earth. A place where time doesn’t matter.

Just editing these photos and writing this post makes me want to go back so badly, next time for a couple of weeks.

I think I’ve got the island life bug bad, guys. Help!

How high is the Maldives on your bucketlist? Do you dream of visiting here one day? Would you go solo like me?

visit maldives

Many thanks to Cinnamon Hotels for hosting me in the Maldives. Like always I’m keeping it real, all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me.

The post Hanging out in the Maldives appeared first on Young Adventuress.

Nostalgia for summer in Europe + Giveaway

summer in europe

Guys, I’ve been suffering from some serious nostalgia for a European summer.

This time last year I was lounging on the beach in the Costa Brava in Spain drinking mojitos and working on my tan. Now I am back at home in New Zealand, waking up to frosty mornings and lighting the fire to warm the house up and wearing my down parka and beanie inside waiting for the snows to come. Not the same, guys.

Both have their merits but man, do I miss those bluebird summer days in southern Europe, especially Spain.

summer in europe

I don’t think Europe is on the cards for me this summer, at least not the summery warm Europe I have been dreaming about. For some reason I keep planning snow trips. Why Liz, why??

Plus, I already had my getaway from the chilly winter down under by escaping to Sri Lanka and the Maldives for 3 weeks, and not even I am greedy enough to try and squeeze in another vacation haha.

But I still miss Europe. And I definitely miss living in Spain sometimes. I guess we always want what we can’t have right?

summer in europe

summer in europe

You guys know how much nostalgia I have for anything travel, so this comes as no surprise.

But it also leads to my next point which is a nice giveaway opportunity for you guys. Cheapflights is giving away $2000 for you to spend on flights to getaway from winter. Details at the end of the post.

I know where I would be going – straight back to the old world! I’d fly to London which is the gateway to Europe, and where so many cheap flights route through. I always buy my flights super last minute to get the best deals. And also I’m not that organized. When I flew home from Spain last summer I booked my ticket the day before!

Santorini? Southern Spain? The Turkish coast? The Swiss Alps? The Lake District? My list is enormous.

summer in europe

summer in europe

I’ve spent so many summers in Europe since becoming an adult, it’s almost become part of me. From backpacking in Croatia to sailing around Greece to trainhopping with a rail pass around Switzerland, I’ve left no corner untouched.

If I won, I would head back to Spain and rent a house by the sea. Sigh.

So come along and join me as I muse and go for a long leisurely stroll down memory lane and smile thinking about all the things I love about Europe in summer.

summer in europe

1. Flowers, flowers everywhere

Probably my favorite thing about the warmer months in Europe are the fact that there are flowers everywhere. It’s just so colorful. Heaven!

Almost anywhere you walk you get whiffs of flowers in the hot air, something that reminds me of my time living in Southern Spain where you can smell orange blossoms everywhere. It’s also the time of year where I start to get in trouble when I sneak into people’s courtyards following the flowers. I just can’t help myself!

Serious nostalgia guys. And easy Instagrammable shots.

summer in europe

summer in europe

summer in europe

summer in europe

2. Lazy days sitting at cafes outside

I could (and do) spend hours sitting at cafes in Europe outside in the sun in the summer watching people walk by and doing absolutely nothing except drinking coffee. Or wine. Or pastries.

And I LOVE IT!

Sometimes it turns into a big night out with friends, but most of the time I bring a book; I just love just spending my time soaking up the amazing euro cafe scene in summer. It’s the best!

summer in europe

summer in europe

summer in europe

summer in europe

3. Cobblestone streets

Ok ok, not particularly summery as streets are streets 365 days of the year, but it is something I am super nostalgic about.

I miss the cobbles!

Not that I am super fond of them when I am in Europe as they are a general pain in the ass to negotiate in heels, and quite frankly hurt. But I love the idea of cobbled streets, with my feet slapping away in leather sandals as I stroll about getting lost on purpose.

I must be a romantic at heart.

summer in europe

summer in europe

summer in europe

4. Chilled wine 

Chilled white wine or rosé on patios outside in the summer, is there anything better? Street musicians plating in the distance, a general hum and buzz of people moving about enjoying life? I love it.

summer in europe

5. Beach days on the Mediterranean

Nothing beats long summer days laying on the beach somewhere on the Mediterranean. Seriously guys, nothing beats it!

It’s also something I love because I’ve been doing it for as long as I have been coming to Europe because the beaches are just so cheap and accessible. It’s not all about sailing around on private yachts. They are totally affordable holidays.

From Paxos and Corfu, Greece to Nerja, Spain to Brindisi in Italy, I have so many fave beach spots. Take me back! And that water color, unreal!

summer in europe

summer in europe

summer in europe

6. Days that never end

Maybe it’s just Spain, but I love the long summer days where the sun doesn’t seem to set until 11pm. And that’s when the day starts.

summer in europe

7. Walking through forests and olive groves

If I’m in southern Europe, I love walking around the olive groves at sunrise and sunset. They just smell so good. Hot and fresh, and with the world still sleeping, you feel completely at peace.

If I am in other places I love going for easy walks in the dense forest. It reminds me of home back in Virginia.

See guys, serious nostalgia problems over here.

summer in europe

summer in europe

8. All the festivals

Facebook, which seems to know more about my life than I do, kindly reminded me this morning that 4 years ago today I was partying my butt off at San Fermín, the famous running of the bulls in Pamplona.

My head hurts just thinking about it, but in a good way.

summer in europe

summer in europe

summer in europe

9. Long meals outside

When I think of Italy, I think of food. All I do is eat when I’m there, I turn into a machine.

I have such great memories of cooking classes in Tuscany and long lunches and dinners with friends that seem to never end. It’s like time doesn’t matter there.

So refreshing!

summer in europe

10. Don’t forge to enter to win!

Giveaway details:

To help you escape the chills this winter down under, Cheapflights has a competition for you to win $2000 to spend on flights! You guys have a serious chance of winning, so be sure to enter.

It’s too easy:

  • First post a picture on Instagram that represents your ‘summer dreaming’ and add a caption that best sums up the photo
  • Tag @cheapflights in the post and use the hashtag #CheapflightsWinterEscape.

The competition is open to residents in Australia and New Zealand aged 18 years and over only. Entries close 18 July 2016 at 11.55pm BST, so get on it! You’re welcome!

summer in europe

Many thanks to Cheapflights for giving me mad Europe nostalgia and for this competition. Like always, I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you could expect less from me!

The post Nostalgia for summer in Europe + Giveaway appeared first on Young Adventuress.

Wildlife in Sri Lanka – expect the unexpected

wildlife sri lanka

Sometimes the most unexpected of places can hold the most amazing surprises

When I think about traveling to see and experience wildlife in their natural habitats, especially big game animals, my mind jumps straight to Africa. Not just me I think, right?

But often times I’ve found that places you might not think about can also offer really special opportunities to see wild animals. Take Sri Lanka for example. Seriously guys, who has wildlife expectations for Sri Lanka? Not this girl.  

So in addition to recently sharing my thoughts about improving your wildlife photography with Adobe, I am going to keep along the same thread and share my stories of wildlife on my most recent trip to Sri Lanka with you guys.

wildlife sri lanka

I first visited Sri Lanka a few years ago for a travel conference and was lucky enough to spend a few days traveling around beforehand getting a little teaser for the country. Let’s be honest here, I had no idea what to expect from Sri Lanka. I imagined it would be like India Lite.

I was only there for a week and I left unsatisfied. I wanted more.

Until I heard about the amazing Yala National Park, famous for its leopards. It didn’t occur to me that I could go on safari in Sri Lanka, let alone on safari to see leopards.

A year later I got my first little glimpse of a leopard while on Safari in South Africa. It was after dark and we tracked it for hours, before we caught sight of it sauntering by the jeep under a red light. (Red lights are often used on night safaris as not to blind the nocturnal animals).

It was quick, and I definitely didn’t get a photo, so I was itching to try my luck again. When the invite came to return to Sri Lanka this year, I knew it was my chance, especially because Yala National Park is known for its high density of leopards.

wildlife sri lanka

It was hot and humid when I finally arrived at Cinnamon Wild Yala. The first thing I noticed was the wild animal sign on the road entrance, marking the dates the last time some of the famous animals were spotted on the road.

Elephants, leopards, jackals and the infamous sloth bear!

I love staying at unfenced safari lodges where you never know what might wander around your cabin at night.

wildlife sri lanka

As it turns out, while it was mind-blowingly awesome to watch leopards in the wild, it was the combination with all the other wildlife that truly blew me away.

So I’ve put together a list of 10 amazing animals you can spot in the wild in Sri Lanka, in Yala National Park but also around the whole country. 

Nothing is fenced, after all, except for a few local villages with elephant problems.

I’ve left off the usual suspects like monkeys, elephants and crocs to keep things more exciting for you guys.

wildlife sri lanka

In partnership with Adobe and the Creative Cloud Photography plan, I’ve included tips and tricks for shooting and editing wild animals and to show you how I was able to take these shots while on safari in Sri Lanka. These shooting tips and post-processing techniques are what I use day in and day out when exploring my passions of wildlife photography.

Note, safaris usually run around sunrise and sunset when the animals are most active, so I armed myself with cameras. My Canon 5D Mark III with the 70-300mm telephoto lens and my older Canon 70D with the 24-70 f/2.8 wide lens (just in case – you don’t usually need a wide lens on safari unless the elephants get too close for comfort) as my back up, and I was ready to go.

When on safari, you also want the biggest telephoto or zoom lens possible so you can capture animals that are really far away, which they often are. 

wildlife sri lanka

1. Leopards

Yala National Park has the highest leopard concentration in the world, and found all over the country. However, they  are also an apex predator in Sri Lanka, so they have little to fear which means that can be much easier to spot than in Africa.

I saw three when I was in Yala. One under a tree a million miles away, one on the infamous Leopard Rock at sunset my second night there, and finally a young leopard hiding behind the bushes near the jeep.

Jackpot!

wildlife sri lanka

Editing tip:

The conditions for shooting this leopard were nothing short of terrible. The sun had already disappeared for the day, so it was dark. I also had about 1 second’s notice to get the shot. We didn’t know the leopard was there and before we knew what was happening, the jeep sped off faster than a rocket, and the safari guy was poking me on the shoulder pointing. Ultimately, I wanted the leopard to pop in my photo and be the main focal point, so I played with a few radial filters in Lightroom to create blur around him while sharpening and brightening him up.

wildlife sri lanka

2. All the birds

You guys know I am a big bird nerd, so I was stoked to get in some bird watching on safari – sadly, something that’s a bit rare.

I learned that  many people who come to Yala only want to see the leopards, and miss out on some amazing adventures and other special creatures. I immediately asked our driver to avoid the beaten path, and show us all Yala had to offer. 

My favorite bird was probably the Hornbill, only because they are huge and seriously freaky looking.

However, I also loved the kingfishers. They are the cutest birds, with their fat little bodies, big flat heads and long beaks. In Yala, many of the kingfishers were bright blue, making them easy to spot.

wildlife sri lanka

Hornbill shooting tip:

My in-camera trick is a basic one – you need a fast shutter speed for shooting birds because they move fast. I usually keep it at a minimum of 1/500, but it’s important to remember than it should be inverse of your focal length. So if you are shooting at 300mm, min. shutter speed of 1/300. Makes sense?

wildlife sri lanka

Kingfisher editing tip:

This was shot at 300mm with the bird in the shade and harsh contrasting daylight. Not ideal conditions by any means but you work with what you have. Because my ISO was at 3200 I had a lot of noise in the image which I reduced down using radial filters.

3. Warthogs

I found Pumba guys!

wildlife sri lanka

Shooting and editing tip:

As you learn more and more about photography, something you need to start paying attention to is that colorful little bar graph on the image, both in-camera and in Lightroom, called the histogram. Histograms are important because they help you get your exposure right, or as good as possible.

Trust me, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds.

The left side of the graph is blacks and shadows and the right side is whites and highlights. Ideally you want the majority of your data in the middle of the histogram, with neither side being clipped. Makes sense?

wildlife sri lanka

4. Cobras 

We found this little guy up north near a hotel, rather than in Yala. The safari guide usually moves them back into a national park away from people, but let me take a few photos first.

While cobras are super-fast, when they realize they can’t get away, they stand up and posture with their hoods out, making a stand, trying to intimidate. Speaking from firsthand experience, it works.

A long telephoto is a must.

wildlife sri lanka

Post processing tip:

The most important thing was catching the sharpness of the hood and face. I emphasized that in Lightroom by brushing clarity and sharpness around the snake’s upper body, improving the shadows.

wildlife sri lanka

5. Kangaroo lizard

These lizards are so fun to watch because they hop away like kangaroos! Tiny and small, they can be hard to find.

wildlife sri lanka

Shooting tip:

For shooting small animals it’s important to keep in mind the minimal focal distance of your lens – this means how close you can get to your subject and have it in focus. For my 70-300mm, it’s 1.2 meters – that’s how far away you have to be to get the object in focus. For small animals especially, you want to be as close as possible.

6. Peacocks

We had a running joke by the end about how many points each animal was worth spotting. If a leopard was worth 100 points, then a peacock was worth 5 points. You will be sick of seeing them by the end of safari. They are everywhere. But they are beautiful.

The males are the flamboyant ones, and have the stunning colorful plumes, and while mating season was over and they were losing their famous tail feathers, we did manage to spot one or two that had most of them left.

I even managed to bring a few feathers home with me (not from Yala) AND New Zealand customs let me keep them!

wildlife sri lanka

Lightroom tip:

Use the radial filter to darken and blur outside of the subject to mimic the effect of using a high aperture.

wildlife sri lanka

7. Mongoose

With a bright red nose and long chubby bodies like ferrets, a mongoose is a curious, yet vicious creature. Watch out.

wildlife sri lanka

Editing tip:

Dynamic range is the difference between the brighter and darker areas in a photo – different cameras have different dynamic ranges, but it’s something to take into account for wildlife photography. Oftentimes you have to decide between the bright sky or an object in the foreground. You can also moderately fix this in post processing using a graduated filter, especially if you are shooting with RAW files (which you should be).

wildlife sri lanka

8. Jackal

It was so cool to see jackals in the wild. An animal I didn’t even know inhabited Sri Lanka, I was excited to see one skipping across the field one day while driving around.

wildlife sri lanka

Photography tip:

It may seem obvious, but always have your camera ready to go in your lap while on safari, you’ll always be surprised by something!

9. Jungle fowl

Jungle Fowl, or a jungle chicken as I like to think of them, is the national bird of Sri Lanka. Bright and beautiful they are easy to spot and you’ll likely see a few of them. I love colorful creatures.

wildlife sri lanka

Editing tip:

These types of animals allow you to go wild with the colors but be sure to not saturate too much, and be careful with the yellows. Oftentimes you need to  play with the yellow shades in an image to have that perfect balance.

10. Monitor lizards

Again, monitor lizards are animals I don’t really want to see in any situation except for from a safari jeep. But as it turns out, I saw one or two enormous ones just basking on the side of the road and even underneath some of the fruit stalls. Um, no thank you.

wildlife sri lanka

Capture tip:

With an animal as fast as a monitor lizard, it’s important to get the focal points right in camera. I was shooting this from a safari jeep on the side of the road in the shade and only had a few seconds. Since it was moving through the tall grass, I had to time it perfectly to capture its face between long blades of grass and to make sure I had his eyes in focus. I shoot with my back focus on and I have learned very quickly to move the focal points around with my finger to get them on his face.

Practice makes perfect.

Are you into wildlife travels and photography? What animals would you hope to spot on safari? Is Sri Lanka on your bucket list?

wildlife sri lanka

Many thanks to Adobe for helping with this post and allowing me to make my photos as perfect as possible. Like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you could expect less from me!

The post Wildlife in Sri Lanka – expect the unexpected appeared first on Young Adventuress.

How much do I love autumn in New Zealand?

Autumn new zealand

Also PSA guys – I’m speaking at the New Zealand Mountain Film Festival on July 2nd in Wanaka and July 9th in Queenstown if you’re around and want to hang – details here

Guys, I am obsessed with autumn in New Zealand. Seriously, my love for it is unhealthy.

Actually, to be fair, I’m obsessed with autumn anywhere in the world. It’s my favorite time of year. Halloween. Crunchy leaves. Pumpkins. Bonfires. Colorful forests.

Ok, well not all of that happens in New Zealand, especially since fall happens around mid-April. Talk about confusing. But I digress.

Autumn new zealand

I’ve made it my point now to stick around NZ during the autumn colors. I am lucky living in Wanaka which is in Central Otago, one of the few regions in New Zealand that actually experiences a fall and have trees that change color

Most of the native trees around New Zealand are evergreens, not deciduous, and don’t change color in autumn.

If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m a bit of a tree nerd. Tree hugger for life guys!

Autumn new zealand

But beyond the colorful leaves I really enjoy autumn because of the change in weather. The nights get crisper, we start to have a few early morning frosts, though hopefully not before the harvest at the local vineyards. Central Otago is famous for its Pinot Noirs. Yum!

The days become shorter and the light becomes more beautiful. As the seasons change the weather becomes a bit wilder, and we often have crazy sunrises and sunsets that are less frequent in the calm summers.

We had a bit of a late autumn this year, with the colors starting to perk up at the end of April before a few gnarly windstorms took care of business.

Autumn thoughts from Chaplin Focus on Vimeo.

This autumn I spent quite a bit of time outside exploring and trying to make the most of the available adventures before the winter snows kick in. I’ve also been on a big kick to challenge myself creatively and try new things, and decided to make a video about why I love autumn.

And by make I mean convince my super talented Wanaka bestie Olya from Chaplin Focus to make a video about why I love autumn. Visual storytelling makes me so happy and I am hoping to include more videos like this on my blog this year!

I haven’t blogged much this past month as I have been overseas on the road so I thought I’d do a little visual recap of what I’ve been up to this fall, and perhaps inspire a few fellow autumnal lovers to think about booking a trip to this part of the world next April.

Enjoy!

Autumn new zealand

Autumn new zealand

I have such a love/hate relationship with this tree in Wanaka

Autumn new zealand

Autumn new zealand

Autumn new zealand

Fall was just starting to get underway when I went out on a 4WD tour around Wanaka with Ridgeline Safaris. This is one of my favorite ways to see the area because they take you up on private farmland and roads that you can’t access normally.

Plus its a new way to see the lake. It was one of those perfect early autumn days with a low cloud that burned off as the day heated up and the lake was like glass.

Crisp, clean and sunny, my favorite!

Autumn new zealand

I celebrated living in Wanaka for 2 years (holy shit) by getting up at the crack of dawn and walking out to the Rob Roy Glacier. I did this walk when I first moved to Wanaka, and hadn’t been back since so it was time to change that.

Autumn new zealand

While this isn’t particularly seasonal, there was a beautiful clear autumn night this fall in Wanaka with no moon and a pretty decent aurora display.

Down in the southern hemisphere we have the southern lights which you can see anytime of year. I follow along on the aurora forecast and boom, one night we had a perfect show.

Autumn new zealand

Hanging out at the Blue Pools in the rain with my friend Eric Supertramp.

Autumn new zealand

I also went out and hiked the mighty Kepler Track with Department of Conservation right at the beginning of autumn. A 3 to 4 day 60km hike, it’s one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and it quickly became my favorite walk in New Zealand. I can’t wait to go again.

It was amazing! More soon!

Autumn new zealand

I had a crazy flu for a week this fall during the peak colors and couldn’t leave the house. But one morning while super feverish I got up to pee at night and looked up and saw the beginnings of an epic sunrise.

Without thinking I hopped into my car in my jammies and drove out to nearby Lake Hawea. Most epic sunrise ever.

Autumn new zealand

Then i headed out to my beloved Canterbury for a couple of days of exploring around Christchurch, Akaroa, and the Waipara Valley for a food and wine expedition. The drive between Wanaka and Christchurch is one of my favorites in New Zealand, it’s so epic and I’ll head out whenever I get the chance.

It was a great couple of days exploring in perfect sunny weather.

Autumn new zealand

Autumn new zealand

How beautiful is Waipara?

Autumn new zealand

The food at Roots in Lyttleton

Autumn new zealand

Road tripping around Banks Peninsula

Autumn new zealand

Christchurch

Autumn new zealand

Visiting an alpaca farm on Banks Peninsula – Shamarra Alpacas

I seriously can’t wait to write about this soon, but just had to mention I spent a few days this fall over on the West Coast with Fox Glacier Guiding on their new Extreme Fox Heli Hike and spending the night up by the ice at the historic Chancellor Hut, and it was just amazing!

It was seriously the best two days I’ve had in New Zealand this year.

Autumn new zealand

Finally, one of my favorite places to hang around and enjoy the autumn colors is in Arrowtown, a cute historic village between Wanaka and Queenstown.

But it’s not just my favorite autumn spot, it’s everyone’s favorite spot in April, and is super busy. It’s still beautiful though!

And this is where we filmed most of that video. Enjoy!

Autumn new zealand

Autumn new zealand

Autumn new zealand

With my Canon Australia kit

Autumn new zealand

Autumn new zealand

Autumn new zealand

Did you see our video? What did you think? Do you love autumn as much as me? Is it your favorite season too? 

PS thank you Olya for so many of these great still shots of me! Legend!

Autumn thoughts from Chaplin Focus on Vimeo.

Also PSA guys – I’m speaking at the New Zealand Mountain Film Festival on July 2nd in Wanaka and July 9th in Queenstown if you’re around and want to hang – details here

The post How much do I love autumn in New Zealand? appeared first on Young Adventuress.

8 ways to improve your wildlife photography

wildlife photography tips

I have been spending a lot of time reflecting my passions. As the years go by with this blog, I go through cycles of feeling lost, then finding direction and trying something new, to sticking with what I know works best. I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut for a while and am on the verge of yanking myself out of by going back to my roots and following my passions.

Oftentimes when I try to explain what I do, I don’t describe it well in normal terms. I don’t like saying I’m a blogger or a writer or a photographer. For a while I said “influencer” but then I thought that sounded really pretentious so I stopped that too. Cue existential crisis – what am I?

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I am a storyteller. Everything I share fundamentally interests me and piques my curiosity in a way that makes me want to share the story. Writing and photography are tools to help me make that happen.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

I love storytelling, and I love being creative. I thrive on taking risks and stepping into the unknown and producing work that might inspire others to do the same. At the risk of sounding full of myself, I almost consider myself an artist. I think all photographers are artists in their own way.

So Adobe asked me what I am passionate about, and right now the answer is easy. I’m passionate about nature and wildlife and being able to share that story in a fun relatable way – something which has become inherently visual to me over the past few years. In fact, I think you can pinpoint my interest and love for photography to my passion for wildlife. My Instagram page is a perfect example. Since moving to New Zealand a few years ago, my passion for the outdoors and the natural world has skyrocketed, owing to the fairly obvious fact that I am now living in one of the last true paradises on earth – in my humble opinion.

Almost every photo I share on my blog and on my social media is processed in Lightroom and Photoshop, so the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan has become as inherent to my visual storytelling as my camera. So I’ve decided to sit down and share some of my best wildlife photography tips and ideas around my passions for storytelling and photography.

Enjoy!

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

1. For the love of animals!

I think deep down in all of us, we have a love for nature and animals. How many people say they don’t love animals? None.

Given how spectacular it is to see wildlife in their natural habitat, it is no wonder that it’s so often is predominantly featured on our bucket lists and as part of our travel goals. Seeing lion cubs in Africa? Of course! Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico? How that is even a question? Seeing grizzlies in Yellowstone, gorillas in Uganda, koalas in Australia, penguins in Antarctica, polar bears in Canada. I mean come on, who could say no to that?

I think seeing wild animals is a great appeal to travel. And for me it certainly makes a good story. How can you begin to compare seeing a lion sleeping in a zoo with tracking a pride of wild lions on safari in Africa for 3 days before finally finding them as they are taking down a warthog?

Circle of liiiiiife!

I mean, the sound of a dying warthog is pretty much the worst thing ever and it’s something you can’t unhear. But, I will say that spectacular experience (with camera in hand) helps you share the story later, which is truly amazing. Being able to capture my passion for wildlife in such a stunning way is priceless.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

2. Have the right gear for you

Despite what people say, there is no “right” camera. I don’t know who said this, but I always remember it, the best camera is the one you have with you. True story (more of my thoughts on gear). While I love Canon, I’ll shoot with whatever is in front of me. I have photos of crocodiles in Australia and selfies with Mongolian eagles with just my phone. I’ve used all sorts of different cameras and lenses over the years when shooting wildlife and I have only one piece of advice – get a good zoom.

Having a telephoto lens, I’m talking more than 70mm, is something I feel strongly about because I’ve seen too much bad behavior around wildlife regarding personal space. For example, in New Zealand there are signs all over the place telling you what distance to keep between you and animals like seals or penguins, but do people listen? Nope.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

Of course there are exceptions to the rule, especially when you’re in the ocean. In general, I prefer to watch wildlife than engage with them.

If you have a good telephoto lens, then the distance doesn’t matter because you can safely take wildlife photos from far away. I use the Canon 70-300mm telephoto and it’s amazing. You’ll get the best, most natural photos if you respect their distance.

I wish I had this lens when I was attacked by monkeys in Bali and charged by an elephant in Sri Lanka (neither of which was my fault).

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

A 600mm lens is a little excessive but fun to play with

3. Practice and focus

Last year I invested in a portrait lens that I love to use on animals. Is that weird? Nevermind. It’s the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens and I wish it was the first lens I ever used. It’s perfect to learn on. Because you can drop the aperture down to 1.4 (which is really big) and you can get the most beautiful portraits with stunning depth of field. This means that the face is really sharp and focused and the background is blurry with great bokeh effect.

In fact, if you are shooting at f/1.4 it’s so sharp that you have to focus on the eyes because the nose will blur a bit and vice versa. Learning to shoot focusing on the eyes is hard, especially with animals and takes practice – the details are always in the eyes. In fact, shooting wildlife in general takes practice because you have no control over their behavior and you have to be fast and prepared for anything.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

So if you have any pets, practice taking their portraits. I’ve spent hours practicing with my new lens on my flatmate’s cat before I used it shooting the kakapo in New Zealand, as I knew I wouldn’t have much time with the birds and had to get it right. I reckon as a photographer, the hardest thing is getting the focus right so it’s a good idea to practice at home before hitting the road.

I see wildlife photography almost as an extension of portrait photography, except in this case the animals don’t listen to your tips and might eat you given half the chance. Not quite so different after all I guess.

While you can’t completely fix an out of focus image in post-processing, I still sharpen as much as I can in Lightroom while editing in the details panel. Normally I adjust the radius down in the details panel and sharpen. I also often play around with focusing and defocusing different parts of the image in order to draw attention to the subject by selective focusing. You just click the radial filter which you can create a circular or elliptical mask over a specific spot in your image. Then you can either sharpen, highlight, expose, etc. outside the filter to draw attention to the subject, or you can invert the mask and play around with the part of your image inside your photo. The same principle applies to using a graduated filter or a brush for certain areas, like the eyes.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

4. Right place, right time and lots of patience

You can’t force wildlife photography – you’re interacting with wild animals, so that means being in the right place at the right time. Whether that means planning your trip around animal migration or making sure you have enough days in one place to ensure that you have a good chance of seeing something special, it’s up to you. Also make sure you’re prepared with all the equipment you might need including enough memory cards and batteries. You can never have too many batteries.

To me it seems like everyone is in a rush around the world nowadays. Just enjoy the experience. It’s not about getting the best photo of the lion the world has ever seen, it’s about the journey to that moment.

I’m going to be honest here, I don’t have heaps of patience in anything I do but wildlife photography has slowly been teaching me this lesson over the years, and I am so grateful. As I write this I am reminded of that photographer who spent three months sitting in a watering hole hoping to get a shot of the lions drinking. Wildlife photography goals. One day guys! In the meantime I’ll work on sitting still for a few hours waiting for a bird.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

5. Be proactive and eager

Always take more photos than you mean too. Always. When you are out in the elements looking at the tiny screen on the back of your camera, it is really hard to tell what’s in focus, what isn’t, and if you have it composed how you want to, and if it’s properly exposed if you are in a harsh environment or if the animals are on the move.

I learned that on a safari in Africa and also bird watching in Australia. Even when I want to stop, I fire off a few more clicks of my camera. Sometimes I even go back another day if possible. Everything is changing, and wildlife photography is so unpredictable so it’s important to keep trying because even when you think you nailed the shot, you might not have or there’s an even better shot just around the corner.

If you are really passionate about wildlife, then it’s easy.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

6. Respect

I already touched on this, but I think it’s really important to respect the animals in their environment. I shouldn’t have to say it but I feel like I do. We live in a world where people are obsessed with the right shot and perfection. Getting the perfect selfie or snapping the most amazing photos without considering the consequences.

Wild animals are wild animals and they deserve our respect in their territory. Apart from the fact that it can be really dangerous to get too close to them. Cough, cough all the people in New Zealand trying to pet baby seals – did you know seals carry a lot of different diseases, and if one bites you you’ll be hospitalized for months? We can also harm them if we try and get too close.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

My friend Craig Parry is one of the most amazing underwater photographers I’ve ever seen. He does a lot of beautiful nature and wildlife photography in Australia and runs workshops in Tonga with the humpback whales every year. The way he interacts with wildlife is magical, and I remember him telling me about swimming with the whales and allowing them to come to him, giving them space and respect and time to adjust to his presence, until one time a mother literally brought a calf over to show him.

Moral of the story, let the animals come to you. Unless it’s a lion.

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

7. Post processing

In my opinion once you’ve taken a shot, only half the work is done. The rest happens at home in front of your computer as you perfect your masterpiece. I’ve been using the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography tools, Lightroom and Photoshop, for as long as I can remember, for me they are the only photo editing tools out there that matter. Nothing I post goes live without being worked on.

This goes back to the idea that photography is an art and all photographers are artists. My friend Trey Ratcliff told me that once. How you edit and how you frame a shot is unique and up to you. It’s your opportunity to add your voice to the story, show your interpretation of the work.

wildlife photography tips

As the years go by I have found that quality over quantity matters, and I went from being able to edit a photo in a few minutes to spending hours or even days on one shot in Photoshop and Lightroom. I went from shooting JPGs to shooting RAW files (which you should too) and have constantly worked on improving my editing process.

While my editing process varies image to image it generally can be broken down into these basic steps and questions I go through in Lightroom.

  • Adjust the horizon and crop as necessary, center the image and take into account how a subject is placed
  • Adjust the white balance, if off
  • Pull any highlights down, adjust shadows, exposure, contrast as needed, bump the clarity up a bit and any vibrance
  • Adjust any specific colors within the shot (for me this is usually just desaturating the yellows)
  • Sharpen as needed
  • Spot removal if any visible dust spots in image or if anything needs to be removed, like dirt or marks
  • Add any radial, brush or graduated filters to draw focus or correct specific areas in the image

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

8. Keep learning, be open

Just when I think I’ve learned it all, someone shows me something I never even thought about. So much of what I have learned has come from talking to other photographers, asking questions, trial and error, and watching video tutorials online, like Elia Locardi’s landscape course. Even now I still download courses and am always Googling photography tips and Lightroom tricks so I can keep getting better.

Be open-minded, be curious, follow your passions and keep learning new things and sharing your stories with the world.

What are you passionate about? Do you enjoy wildlife travels and photography? Have any other tips to share?

wildlife photography tips

wildlife photography tips

Many thanks to Adobe for helping with this post and allowing me to make my photos as perfect as possible. Like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you could expect less from me!

The post 8 ways to improve your wildlife photography appeared first on Young Adventuress.

So you want to become location independent?

become location independent

The more I travel and blog around the world, the more I have begun to realize that there’s this idea that it’s the dream job. At least that’s what everyone tells me when I open up about what I do. But you know what? After all these years, I think they are wrong.

Now, don’t get me wrong, being a full time travel blogger can be a dream job, but there’s a glitch in the system that nobody talks about. What happens when travel becomes your work?

Well let me tell you, it changes everything.

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Now I am not enough of a hypocrite to stand here and say, MAN I wish I hadn’t quit my job to travel. Um yeah right.

Because 3 years later it is still one of the best decisions I’ve made. But I will say I was fixated on the glitz and glamor of this amazing life of travel that I had only heard about, and I wanted it. After these years I’ve realized just how hard it really is, how competitive, how challenging it is to actually make a real income from it, and I want people to know that and be prepared. You have to want it with every fiber of your being and be willing to risk failure and put it all on the line if you are going to make it in this industry. (More on our Travel Boot Camp in Sydney on June 18th here).

Because becoming a professional travel blogger or influencer isn’t your only ticket to having a life filled with travel. There are plenty of others ways to live abroad and travel the world without being a travel blogger or having a nice big fat trust fund. And there are plenty of ways to hack the system and make it happen.

become location independent

The trick is finding a way to work overseas or better yet, to become location independent entirely.

A nice pretty buzz phrase that people toss around, isn’t it? Location independent. Digital nomad. Or if your my parents – being a backpacker bum around the world with no clear ambitions? Sigh, some things never change.

But after all these years I think it’s not a question of deciding between having a “real job” and having a “travel job” – when there is option C, perhaps the least obvious one – having a job that lets you have the flexibility to work anywhere in the world. As long as you have internet.

I think that’s the best way to make this life work. You want to live and travel the world? Why can’t you do it with a job. You just need to find the right job for you.

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I’ve made a lot of friends around the world who are location independent with their work. They travel and spend a few months at a time in a new place, or they lease an apartment for a year somewhere or they just stay on the move living out of a backpack. Their travel is separate from their work. They spend their days exploring new places and their nights on their laptops or vice versa.

I have heaps of friends with this lifestyle, especially in Southeast Asia where the living is great and it’s cheap as hell (imagine earning a normal wage in the US and living on $400 a month like a king?). Or I have friends that teach English overseas, or work jobs where they work month on month off and then travel on that time off. I know people that travel hack their way to free flights around the world and couch surf or housesit for free accommodation. Hell, I did this for years until I could live off my blog.

If you want to travel more than 10 paid vacation days per year, trust me, it’s not only possible, it’s not that hard if you set your mind to it.

become location independent

I think it’s a mistake these days to inundate the interwebs about lucrative ways to quit your job to travel. Why is it fair to assume that what works for one person will work for everyone, and is it just me, or is it really fucking pretentious to tell people how to live their lives? I hate it when people do it to me, so I imagine I am not the only one that feels this way.

What I want to do is to show people that there is an in between in all of this. You don’t have to quit your job just rethink how you work if you dream about having this location independent lifestyle.

There are ways to make it work. Here’s one way to help you make it happen.

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Meet the Paradise Pack

This week The Paradise Pack goes on sale for 90% off. This only happens once a year with different products, and it ends on June 6th. Time to get moving.

A collection of online courses and tools to help you become location independent and build a life of travel that will help you be able to live and work anywhere in the world, the Paradise Pack contains dozens of courses, educational products and tools to make that happen. It’s worth over $2500 and it’s on sale for one week only for $197. If you play your cards right, you can earn it back immediately.

If you have been wanting to travel more and don’t know how to make it happen without just working, saving and quitting and you’re looking for a different option – NOW IS YOUR CHANCE.

become location independent

Some of the courses offered will teach you how to learn a language in 3 months, build a travel business, become a freelance writer, learn affiliate marketing, converting your blog into a business, how to land a book deal, and fly around the world for super cheap, and heaps more.

I’ve already bought my pack so I can keep growing and expanding my business and continue to learn and try new things, and you can too.

One of the reasons I’ve become as successful as I have is because I’m always trying to learn by reading about new tactics to watching video tutorials to signing up for courses online, it’s all about being proactive. Investing in the Paradise Pack is the first step towards following your travel goals if that’s what you’re after.

become location independent

This year I am all about trying new business tactics and dreaming really big. A few of these courses I know will help me get there by teaching me new skills that I don’t already know (hello book deal!) and will continue helping me on my goal to become location independent for the next few years.

And since many of these courses and products are worth over $197 just on their own, it makes sense to buy a pack (though I wish I had known sooner, to be honest, because I already bought one of them!).

The Paradise Pack sale ends on June 6th at midnight PST then it’s gone forever, so now is the time to join me in learning new ways of learning how to become location independent.

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become location independent

PS some of the links in here are affiliate links that help foot the bills. Cheers!

The post So you want to become location independent? appeared first on Young Adventuress.

10 solo female travel tips from almost a decade of travel

solo female travel tips

I can still remember the most afraid I’ve ever felt when traveling alone. I was waiting in a stopped subway car at the end of the line at night on my way home from drinks with friends. You know when the train sits for a few minutes before it departs again in the other direction? I was the only person in the car when three guys sauntered in, looked straight at me and started with the whole “oh hey baby…” Before I knew it, they came right up to me and blocked me in my seat and tried to put their hands on me.

However, I’ve learned how to read situations, and my only response was a very loud “oh HELL no,” pushing and shoving, and I was out of my seat and running out of the car faster than you could blink, sprinting down the platform until I found another car filled with people. Squeezing myself in the middle of a group, I sat shaking for the ride out of the city, watching at every stop for those guys to get off before I felt any sense of relief.

This wasn’t in Egypt or Bangkok or Peru or Paris or anywhere else that people might tell you it’s dangerous to travel alone as a women. This was literally in my backyard in Washington D.C. where I grew up. I know all too well of the gun violence and gang related crime there, and my instincts told me to run like hell.

solo female travel tips

It’s been a long time since that moment on the subway – in fact, in some ways it feels like another life. I can’t remember if I have ever shared that on here, but I decided it was time. It’s been way way waaaay too long since I’ve delved into the topic of solo female travel tips on the blog. In fact, I just realized that I am coming up on a decade of solo travel, whaaaat?

I feel like once you start thinking back in decades, you’re old. Does this mean I am getting old? Fuck.

Tangent. Anyways, I have lived and breathed solo female travel so much and for so long it’s second nature to me to the point where it hadn’t even occurred to me to write about it recently. Oops. Sorry about that!

solo female travel tips

This is a post I’ve been meaning to put together for a long time. I’ve been traveling alone (as a woman HA!) for years and years. I think you could count my very first solo female travel trip way back when in 2007 when I got on a plane alone to Spain to study abroad for a year in Salamanca.

A few months later I booked my first trip alone, a weekend in Paris. Our study abroad group had talked about going and no one wanted to commit, so I just went ahead and booked a flight on my own. I screwed up spectacularly on so many levels on that trip but it didn’t even faze me. I got my first proper taste for travel independence and not having to compromise and I was hooked! In retrospect, Paris probably wasn’t the easiest place to venture on my own but I learned, nothing seriously bad happened and I grew up.

So after thinking long and hard about it, I’ve put together my best tips from almost a decade of traveling alone for you in the hopes that it’ll inspire you (man or woman) to travel solo! Enjoy my solo female travel tips!

solo female travel tips

1. Trust your instincts

I think the absolute best tip I could give regarding solo female travel is the most vague – trust your instincts. A phrase so common and casually tossed around, it seems almost meaningless, but for me, it has been a lifesaver. Basically I have an unwritten rule that if I feel uncomfortable in any way, shape or form, I’m gone faster than a Twinkie at a weight watchers meeting.

I’m sure it’s different for different people, but I truly like to believe the best in everyone and I’m really open and trust worthy, or gullible as hell as my friends would say. But I’ve learned to listen to the voice in the back of my head if something just doesn’t feel right, and I think that came from years of experience. My advice is always play it safe. And don’t be a dumbass.

solo female travel tips

2. But take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt

When I decided to go to Turkey on my very first blog trip solo, everyone told me I was crazy and to cancel the trip. I know how sensationalist people can get, especially in the US, about places like Turkey and I took it all with a grain of salt. I checked facts; I did my research, and it seemed perfectly safe to me, especially after all the years of solo travel I had under my belt in Europe and northern Africa. I was ready.

I found Turkey to be one of the friendliest places I’ve ever visited. In fact, it was one of those countries where people went out of their way to help me, even when I didn’t ask. I explored on my own and I never felt threatened, not once. I made plenty of friends while I was there and even now when people ask me where my favorite country is, I often reply that Turkey is at the top of the list.

solo female travel tips

3. Take baby steps

Thinking about traveling alone but not sure where to start? In my opinion, it’s a good idea to build up your experience levels because your instincts and good decision making skills will come from experience. I’d start by not jumping off the deep end with a month long solo trip in Iran and potentially going away for a weekend on your own somewhere close by. Or head to a place with an established tourism industry that can support you or choosing a destination where you can speak the language. I definitely recommend building up to bigger trips and working on gaining experience first.

Where you go is entirely up to you. You should pick a place that calls to you, where you can experience the kinds of things you’ve dreamed about. It’s your trip after all. But if you want my advice for safe first-time solo spots for women, I would add places like Iceland, New Zealand, Finland- these are all countries with great safety records.

solo female travel tips

4. Bring a doorstop

I’ve carried a doorstop in my pack since 2011. Why? While not an obvious safety tool, it keeps hotel room doors from being opened (if someone has a key) or ninja kicked in. Also it goes without saying, don’t tell strangers where you are staying. Doop.

5. Also carry a rape whistle

This one is more obvious. Thanks Legal Nomads!

solo female travel tips

6. Always tell people your travel plans

Even now my mom has all of my flight plans and itineraries. If I don’t post on Instagram for more than a day, I get an “are you alright email.” This doesn’t keep me from going off the grid, but it’s nice to know that someone always knows where I am. Generally.

My dad has also gotten me a personal locator beacon for my birthday, mostly for my missions into the wilderness in New Zealand, a place I like to visit alone. Now I know that if something bad were to happen, I can always call for help and hopefully get my ass rescued off a mountain. If you’re like me and enjoy going off the grid anywhere in the world, PBL’s are lifesavers. Literally.

solo female travel tips

7. Respect the local culture and law – even if you don’t agree with it

This lesson took a while for me to learn – and only after I was basically accosted in Egypt 5 years ago for wearing a dress that showed my lower legs. Whether or not I agree with covering up or being modest, ultimately I enjoying visiting places around the world that sometimes have a stricter dress code for women. Hell yes it’s unfair, I was raised in a liberal place and I feel like I should have the right to walk around in my underwear if I wished to. But that’s a conversation for a different day. When I am in a conservative place, I dress the part. Long loose pants, long sleeves, no boobs, and scarves even when it’s boiling outside. After numerous trips to the Middle East, I find long loose clothing more comfortable in the heat anyways.

There is safety in blending in.

In some places it’s ok to dress more western unless you are visiting a temple or a church. Familiarize yourself with traditions like this before you leave and if you aren’t sure, check with a local or someone who has more experience with the place. And don’t forget to behave in a way that won’t get you in trouble with the law. No sexy times on the beach in Dubai or criticizing the government of Indonesia on social media.

solo female travel tips

8. Be careful about how open you are

I’m also careful to tame down my chatty side with men. This is just a fact, but in some countries speaking with men openly as you would do back home is considered an invitation. While it absolutely shits me to say it, it’s true. The same with eye contact. I’ve become accustomed to making eye contact with people to show that I am engaged and focused, or when I walk down the street I am used to smiling at people and making eye contact sometimes. But I found that in some countries, like Egypt, doing that was basically a “come at me boys” call. No idea why, but it was for me. Took a couple of days for me to stop it, and things eased up.

This also means keep your mouth shut about things that could lead to trouble. Like I never tell people, especially men, where I am staying and I certainly never let anyone come back with me or follow me. When I post about hotels on social media it’s always after I have left. Be smart.

solo female travel tips

9. But don’t be afraid to meet the locals

Again, this is a lesson that just comes with experience and learning to read situations and being able to trust your gut. One of the absolute best parts of travel are those moments and conversations you have with locals that you meet, and if you are scared of everyone or don’t want to open up, you’ll miss out on them. What a shame.

Be openminded. Be cautious but open to meeting new people. I’ve had many a great dinner with someone’s family because of that and taking a chance and I’ve made lifelong friends from backpacking around the world. I know I am contradicting myself here, but ultimately it all relays back to my main message of just trust your gut.

solo female travel tips

10. Don’t let people tell you that you’re selfish for wanting to travel alone

My final tip for solo travelers is one that I haven’t heard very often. I have no idea why, but somehow we have come to live in a culture that often tries to bring people down when they want to venture off the more established life path. And for some reason, most of the criticism I personally get from it comes from other women. I don’t understand it, why can’t we be more supportive of each other?

The most frequent thing I am told is that I am selfish. Selfish to leave my family and to follow my dreams. Crazy to want to see the world alone. When am I going to get a real job? I’m sorry but I am sick of it. Encourage me, don’t bring me down.

Traveling the world solo is one of the best things you can ever do. It opens doors and empowers at the same time. You meet people in ways you never would have otherwise. It’s very rewarding, trust me.

Have you ever traveled solo? Do you have any tips of your own to share? Spill!

solo female travel tips

The post 10 solo female travel tips from almost a decade of travel appeared first on Young Adventuress.

10 things that surprised me in Helsinki

helsinki travel tips

In March I spent a week staying in an apartment in Helsinki in my best attempts to experience it like a local.

If you travel as much as I do and you are giant homebody on the inside like me, you really value unpacking your suitcase for a week and tossing your crap absolutely everywhere. I like to think of myself as almost a turtle traveler – I like to take it as slow and mellow as possible. What’s the rush? You’ll miss the best bits.

After I spent a week exploring Lapland in the Arctic Circle, I was beyond stoked to put my feet up and kick back and relax in Helsinki. And while you can’t really ignore the more well-known tourist attractions in Finland, I did my best to see what else this metropolis had to offer beyond saunas and reindeer soup – because trust me, there is SO much more to Helsinki that what you might imagine. I spent my days wandering around the different neighborhoods, following my nose wherever it led me (thank you stretch leggings!) and peeping inside every cute cafe and colorful shop I could find (thank you FinnAir extra baggage allowance).

I was curious to see what I could find out on my own about Helsinki and see what made the capital of Finland tick. Spoiler alert, Helsinki is full of surprises. Here are my best Helsinki travel tips.

Check out 10 things that surprised me about Helsinki. Enjoy!

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

1. Helsinki is a city of design

Helsinki was named the world design capital a few years ago and also awarded the City of Design by UNESCO. I nodded and smiled the first time I heard that, and thought to myself “what the hell does that even mean?” Luckily, it took less than an hour of wandering around downtown to start to get it.

It’s trendy. It’s creative. It’s beautiful. There are so many designers and shops around with the most exquisite pieces and it seems that all of the food spots and bars are designed as perfect as possible. Thank you credit cards!

From canvas printed bags to Finnish style homewares to furniture to ALL the clothes, like the famous brand Marimekko, everyone here as an eye for design. I really loved Makia a local brand that makes great winter gear, especially beanies and I totally splurged on amazing stationary and notebooks at Papershop. I love buying a few local things when I travel, and in Helsinki I had to ship a box home with goodies like hand printed pillowcase covers and even a reindeer pelt. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been feeling very domestic lately. Help.

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

2. The amazing cafes I never wanted to leave

Helsinki has no shortage of really quirky and hip cafes. Whether you are grabbing cake and a coffee at a bakery cafe that seems to not have changed in 100 years to a place so minimalist and trendy you could probably be in Brooklyn, you won’t be bored. So many of them have wifi and are cozy places you don’t mind spending hours tucked away reading or working on your laptop hiding from the frosty winter air.

helsinki travel tips

When I travel now I always work so I really love good cafe spaces with free fast internet to hide away in. Not to mention they are inspiring spaces to work in. One afternoon I spent tucked up in the window of a cafe called Andante after getting lost in the Design District for hours. It’s a flowershop slash cafe so you can sit back and literally smell the roses while you relax.

Nearby you can find Plootu a furniture shop and cafe. Seriously.

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

Johan & Nyström is another cafe that I spent a lot of time in. Right on the water, its location is fab and the space will blow you away. There are so many cozy corners to hide away in and write for hours. Plus they do a perfect flat white which makes me love them even more.

Another spot I just have to mention is a juice and smoothie bar called Why Join The Navy When You Can Be A Pirate. Best. Name. Ever.

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

3. Introverted and quiet 

This is probably my favorite thing I loved about Finland – if I had to describe the main personality trait there, it would probably be introverted and fairly quiet. People talk here when they have something to say. There is not stupid chit chat, no pointless banter, no personal space issues. Just glorious silence and mild awkwardness. End of story.

Hell yes, I’ve finally found my people!

While you might not believe I’m naturally introverted, let me assure you, I am. I don’t like people and I love to be alone and quiet. I’d be a hermit if I could. I hate when someone sits next to me on a bus and I avoid eye contact when I can. Though I do like hugs. If you’re like that then start packing you bags and move to Finland.

Check out Finnish Nightmares on Facebook to see what I mean.

helsinki travel tips

4. Kickass foodie scene

Again, I feel really embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t expecting Helsinki to have a great food scene. It wasn’t that I wasn’t expecting it to be bad, I just didn’t really think about it at all. But let me tell you, not only is it great, it’s pretty damn amazing! Like I would go back to Helsinki just to eat. If that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what will.

helsinki travel tips

I was lucky enough to be in town during their annual Streat Helsinki street food festival too and boy oh boy was I in for a treat. While I managed to keep my diet more or less under control in the weeks leading up to in in Europe, it was out the window at the first Mexican food truck burger I got my hands on. From a day of street food trucks lined up downtown to different grills style outdoor sessions on some of the islands to evening master chef meals, to say I ate well in Helsinki was an understatement.

I was also lucky that I had local blogger Kathrin from Luminoucity to show me the best spots to chow down!

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

5. So many islands

There’s something like over 300 islands around the Helsinki area which is pretty amazing. It means you are never far from the sea and nature is just a stone’s throw away, so I count that as pretty unique and amazing for a big European capital.

While everyone usually heads over to Suomenlinna, a fortress island in Helsinki, I decided to go to the lesser-known Seurasaari, a small island connected by a bridge filled with historical Finnish houses. It’s an open air museum in summer, but in winter it’s closed so you can just explore on your own.

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

Helsinki travel tips

Staying warm in my Parajumpers winter jacket

6. East meets west

Another reason I really liked Helsinki was because to me it felt like a place that straddles both East and West. You can see all kinds of Russian and European influence in the architecture there.

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

7. Great coffee culture

Finland is one of the biggest coffee consumers in the world. Speaking as one who has a serious-borderline-obsessive addiction to the bean, I felt right at home. If I’m completely honest here, I found the coffee in Lapland left a lot to be desired, but Helsinki more than made up for it. You actually have to TRY to find bad coffee.

Pretty much no matter where I walked around Helsinki, I was in sure of finding not only good, but exceptional coffee in a cute and cozy cafe. If that doesn’t bump a city up to my favorites list, I don’t know what will!

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

8. All of the colorful buildings

I don’t think I am alone when I admit that when I pictured Helsinki before, it was grey. I think there is a misconception because of the long winters, northern climate combined with its relative closeness to the former Soviet Union that people expect Finland to not be bright and colorful, but trust me, they’re wrong.

While I was in Helsinki I spent some time hanging out with local bloggers and photographers, like Omar El Mrabt. We spent an afternoon exploring some of the secret suburbs and wandering around his favorite spots as he showed me the colorful side to Helsinki that he loves. Follow his Instagram here.

However, don’t expect the locals to be dolled up in all colors. At least the winter fashion consists of a rainbow of navy, black and gray with the chance of seeing a blond American girl in a bright red Parajumpers parka.

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

9. Awesome museums

Helsinki has some pretty cool museums. Being a total nerd at heart, I really value my museum time, so I was stoked to spent my winter days getting lost among the exhibits. My favorite museum was the Sinebrychoff, a historic house museum downtown filled with old European master paintings, my favorite. Epic landscapes in an epic setting, I was in heaven!

I spent another afternoon learning about the history of Finland at the National Museum.

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

10. Helsinki is one big secret – shhhh!

I feel like Helsinki is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. It’s not overrun yet with tourists and still has a great local and creative vibe to it. If you love that in a destination, head to Finland. Enjoy!

Have you ever been to Finland or Helsinki? Does a design focused city appeal to you?

helsinki travel tips

helsinki travel tips

Many thanks to Visit Helsinki for hosting me at the #HelsinkiSecret apartment in Finland. Like always, I’m keeping it real, all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me.

The post 10 things that surprised me in Helsinki appeared first on Young Adventuress.

Introducing The Travel Bootcamp!

travel bootcamp

Exciting news guys!

I’ve decided that 2016 will be the year of branching out and trying new things. With 6 years of travel blogging under my belt, the only way I’ve managed to last this long is by constantly trying new ideas and challenging myself. I want to take big risks. I want to diversify. Travel blogging has opened so many incredible doors for me over the years, and I want to keep running with it for as long as I can.

On that note, I’m super excited to announce a new conference I’ve been helping put together for the past 6 months – The Travel Bootcamp.

Lauren Bath, a good friend of mine, and Australia’s first professional Instagrammer approached me about creating our own travel conference months ago, and I was immediately on board. All hands on deck. Ahoy. Over a few conference calls with Georgia Rickard, one of the best travel editors and travel writers in Australia (plus yours truly), and idea was born:

The Travel Bootcamp

All experts in our own travel fields – blogging, writing and Instagramming – we wanted to combine our knowledge and experience of not only getting those dream trips around the world, but also specifically how to make money from your travels.

When I quit my job to travel 3 years ago, I fought tooth and nail for freelance travel pieces that paid $100 a story, made about $10 a month in Amazon affiliates on my blog, and slept in my car for days at a time in New Zealand trying to make ends meet. This week I just signed a lucrative $25,000 contract and I fly to the Maldives in three weeks. What is my life?

If I can get here (me of all people!), you can get here. Trust me.

travel bootcamp

travel bootcamp

There is so much information out there about how to travel, but not that much on how to actually make a career from it. In 2012 I attended my first travel blogging conference in Spain. And while I’ve been to and spoken at a dozen shows and conferences over the years, I haven’t learned anything new at them since 2012.

Same with everything I read online. It’s the same vague wishy-washy “follow your dreams and then the money will come” bullshit. Let’s be honest here. We all have big dreams inside of us deep down, but seriously? Following them doesn’t lead to a pot of gold. In fact, following your dreams doesn’t entitle you to anything. You have to work for it. You have to earn it. And we’re here to help you get there.

It’s the same content over and over again, regurgitated and repackaged using the same buzzy keywords that everyone wants to hear. But no more.

travel bootcamp

travel bootcamp

Lauren, Georgia and I were tired of this unrealistic way of portraying this decadent travel lifestyle, so we decided we wanted to change that and take a no-bullshit approach of learning how to get paid to travel the world and how to make travel part of your career if you want. Plain and simple.

We will teach you things that took us years to learn by trial and error. We will share all the things we wished we had learned when we were starting out.

The Travel Bootcamp is a one day intensive workshop where we will teach you how exactly how to develop your travel interest, whatever that may be, and go pro. If you’re serious about having a career exploring the world, look no further. More faqs here.

Want to know what to charge for a sponsored Instagram post? We’ll tell you. Need an introduction to an important PR in Sydney? We’ll try and make you look cool. Want to learn how to craft the perfect pitch? We’ll give you samples. Want to learn how to create your dream press trip? We’ll show you. And so much more.

travel bootcamp

travel bootcamp

Easy. Simple. No bullshit. Ask us anything and we’ll be honest with you. I think by now you can trust me to always say what I think haha.

Our first Travel Bootcamp is Saturday June 18th in Sydney. After that? World domination obviously. Right now we have early bird tickets on sale until Friday May 20th so be sure to grab yours now. Contact us if you have any questions or leave a comment below!

travel bootcamp

The post Introducing The Travel Bootcamp! appeared first on Young Adventuress.