It’s hasn’t been easy sifting through 20,000 images to pick a handful that sum up my year in photos. For me, it’s been a year of growth both personally as well as honing my skills as a photographer. I made it a personal mission at the start of the year to focus more on the photography skills as well as maintaining the discipline and persistence to create something that I could be proud of. Overall, I think the patience and time invested into continually learning and striving to be better seems to have paid off with recognition coming in the form of sales of my photos and also some freelance writing work.
I’ve also made some lifestyle changes, such as pulling back on the social life. At the rate that I was ‘socialising’ at the start of the year wasn’t really sustainable in the long term. I’ve actually enjoyed the quiet time to look inwards, embrace my inner introvert and reflect on the time spent travelling as well as what will be required propel me into next year.
Thanks for following me on this journey and instead of writing a monster post, I’ll let the photos to bulk of the rest of the talking.
Edit: If you want to know what gear I use to take these images, you can check it out at my gear page HERE.
January: Sydney, Australia
After eight months of travelling through Central and South America, I came home for a vacation to see all of my loved ones, enjoy the Sydney summer and to devour my favourite Asian foods that I was deprived of during the previous year. There’s no better place to be than Sydney in January – everybody is still on a holiday high, the weather is at its best and there are a huge amount of free events to attend during the Sydney Festival.
It was my first time to Cambodia and it was quite an emotional experience learning about the brutal history but also experiencing the friendly hospitality everywhere I went. From the beautiful beaches of the south, to the mighty Angkor Wat, there’s so much to see and do in Cambodia.
It was also my first time to Laos, and similar to Cambodia, visiting Phonsavan to learn about the horrific bombings that took place in the country was something that I felt that I needed to do. Much of the country is still littered with unexploded ordinates and it’s a chilling legacy of the war that took place place nearby.
March: Hanoi, Vietnam
I was struck down with the flu in the last few days in Laos, so I decided to cut short my trip and fly to Vietnam a couple of weeks earlier, where I knew the language and would feel a little more “at home”. I’d end up spending three month there indulging on the bun cha and coffee.
Myanmar was a country that surprised me. It has only recently opened up to foreign tourism and investment, but many parts of the country still remain off limits. Despite it being under developed with limited infrastructure, I still found it easy to travel around. With a heavy Buddhist influenced lifestyle, I found the Burmese people to be one of the friendliest that I’ve met anywhere throughout my travels. A must go place before the influx of foreign investment changes everything which is my number one concern.
Things were becoming hot and rainy in Vietnam as the wet season approached. As it wasn’t the best conditions for photography, I decided to book a last minute trip to Europe, starting with Scotland and ending with Iran in the Middle East. I was blessed with dry and sunny weather most of my time in Scotland which is unheard of. What better way to take advantage of it than to go on a four day road trip up to the Isle of Skye.
I always look forward to going to London. Usually it’s in between places and I use it to enjoy a pint with my mates, but this time I did get out a little bit to do some touristy things.
It was my first trip to Paris and it was as magnificent as everybody says it is. It’s so easy to become swept up in the food, history and culture and you are not short of things to photograph from the architecture in Paris to the sweeping views of lavender and sunflower fields in Provence.
I fell in love with Italy the first time I went in 2009. Their respect of tradition and the seasonality of food ensures that there is incredible diversity of flavours and cuisine throughout the country. What I wasn’t a fan of was the lack of any form of customer service in most places that I went to. Still, I would return in a heartbeat.
The sunsets during July in Italy were the best that I’ve seen it anywhere, especially in Florence. During the end of my stay there, I went on a self guided three day scooter adventure through the Tuscan countryside. It was at that moment where I realised that I needed to be find adventure in the outdoors more often.
My first trip to Turkey was nothing short of spectacular. Earlier in the year, I wanted to visit countries that were rich in culture and with a history that goes back thousands of years and Turkey was my first introduction. From the daily call to prayer and the towering mosques of Istanbul, to the lunar like landscape of Cappadocia, I was in complete awe of the Turkey and its history.
Iran has rocketed to the top of the list of places with the friendliest people. Despite what they say on the news, you can’t judge a country based on what’s reported about a regime. With a population mostly comprised of under thirties, it’s a modern, educated and progressive country with history that spans back beyond 4 thousand years. With its stunning mosques, striking bridges, and barren deserts, there is always something to see in Iran. However, it was the people I met and who showed me around that made my time there memorable, and I can’t wait to go back.
After an intensive three months of travelling, it was great to be back in Vietnam and enjoying Vietnamese food again. It was now time to head down to Saigon where I’d spent most of the remainder of the year there, but I’d get to see a few places along the way.
This was a spontaneous trip to visit friends in Bangkok and Chiang Mai during Loi Krathong. Despite it being rainy in Chiang Mai, it was still fun hanging out with friends.
Singapore was a relentless exercise in eating and feasting during Christmas. I spent it with my sister and her family and it was a nice break to be in a place where you could drink water from a tap, the transport ran on time and efficiently and where you could travel from miles underground between multiple train stations and shopping malls without leaving air conditioned comfort the entire time. After a while though, I was missing the chaos of Vietnam.
If you love any of the photos from this post, you can purchase them from my portfolio site here.
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