Earth, Water, Fire, Air: Explore The Elements Photo Contest.

No it’s not related to Captain Planet, but this is just as cool. Thomas Cook are hosting a competition for travel bloggers who can showcase their own photos that best represent the four elements: earth, water, fire and air. I never enter competitions, but a shot at £5,000 is just too good to pass up on. Here are my four entries:


“Always respect Mother Nature. Especially when she weighs 400 pounds and is guarding her baby.”

– James Rollins

Perito moreno glacier patagonia

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Earth to me represents everything that surrounds us in this world. It is the indescribable beauty, manifesting into various forms; it is power, but also represents the fragility that our planet is susceptible to. It’s greatly humbling to be able to travel and see a monumental glacier such as the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina; one of the few glaciers left in the world that is not disappearing, but continuing to grow.

The single most important thing that I have learned from my years of traveling is that our planet is a living and breathing organism and it is the responsibility of everybody to be aware of the impact that our actions have on the earth.

Dave Bouskill is judging the Earth category.


“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.”

– Bruce Lee

phong nha

Phong Nha Cave, Vietnam

I’ve love this quote by Bruce Lee. It’s a powerful reminder that sometimes we just need to accept the curve balls that that are thrown our way, adapt and keep grinding away. For something that can be seen as gentle as water, in reality it is a force powerful enough to carve out and create beautiful places such as the caves in Phong Nha, Vietnam, which is home to some of the worlds largest caves.

Ken Kaminesky is judging the Water category.


“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames”

– Rumi

hanoi bbq

Chicken Street – Hanoi

With the blog name of Jimmy Eats World, you can tell that food and its power to connect people of regardless of culture, is a passion of mine. I decided to spend most of 2014 immersing myself in the street food culture of Vietnam; the land of my heritage and where food is always takes centre stage within any family or social gathering.

The above image of two men cooking dozens of chicken skewers over hot coals (because food cooked over coals always tastes better) is my favourite food memory in Hanoi. It is taken in the outer suburbs, where there is an entire street dedicated to chicken; aptly called ‘Chicken Street’, where I have now lost count of how many chicken wings that I have consumed.

Elia Locardi is judging the Fire category.


“Close your eyes and turn your face into the wind.
Feel it sweep along your skin in an invisible ocean of exultation.
Suddenly, you know you are alive.”

– Vera Nazarian

explore the elements

Machu PIcchu, Peru.

For me, air is the sense of freedom from that I get when I’m hiking up a mountain, whether it be as simple as a day trip or on a gruelling multi-day trek. When I’m up in the mountains, it’s as though all of life’s worries are left behind and and closely connected to the the surrounding environment.

Believe it or not, it took me 35 years to do any form of trekking. That was in 2013 and the first one that I chose to tackle was a four day trek in Peru to Machu Picchu that started at a 4,000 metre elevation where were literally running short on air. Since then, I’ve jumped at every chance to go on various hikes in most countries that I have been to since.

Nicole Young is judging the Air category.

My Nominations

Ok, here are my five nominations:

How you can enter:

  1. Publish an Explore the Elements post on your blog with an image for each element or as many as you want to capture
  2. Nominate 5 of your fellow bloggers to take part
  3. Notify Thomas Cook that you’ve entered by tweeting @ThomasCookUK or emailing them with a link to your post.
  4. Thomas Cook and the competition judges will share and retweet some of our favourite Explore the Elements posts throughout the contest’s 8 week duration so be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts closely!
  5. Every Explore the Elements blog entry will be judged by the 4 judges with each judge selecting an element category winner to receive either a Fujifilm camera, an Apple MacBook Air, or an Apple iPhone 6 with Bose noise cancelling headphones depending on their choice. The judges will then work together to select the overall winner of the £5,000 travel fund. For further information about the judging and the prizes see the Terms & Conditions by clicking the link below.

6. Terms and Conditions

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