Today, April 28th, 2015, marks exactly 10 years since I set off on the first travel experience of my life. My travel experiences to that point consisted of places I had been to play or watch hockey, or go camping with family. Up until this point, I had no real interest in travel either, I felt like the money was better spent on material things, why spend $1000 on a flight when I could buy a big screen TV? That flight money would be gone and I would have nothing to show for it, but the TV could last for years. I didn’t understand yet, but that was all about to change.
I took my first flight ever, from Toronto to Ljubljana, Slovenia. There were 3 legs of the journey, a quick flight to Montreal, followed by a long flight to Paris, and then a plane change to a small twin prop plane for the final leg to Ljubljana. Quite a first flight I must say, all with Czech Airlines. I arrived to meet my ex-girlfriend who was doing a semester at the university there. We would basically spend a month there before heading out for the bulk of our journeys, though that first weekend saw us take a train to Venice, and then to Innsbruck, Austria for the World Championships of Hockey to see Canada play a game vs Slovenia.
I brought my roller blades along with me to Ljubljana and bought a hockey stick to keep myself occupied while my ex was at school. It was in this way that I actually made some friends and played quite a bit of ball hockey. I wasn’t really into photography at that time, I had just bought my first digital camera, a Canon Powershot A95 which was a whopping 5 megapixels. I had a massive 512 mb memory card to go along with it. I did however bring a video camera and I have hours of footage including a bunch of us playing hockey in a parking lot.
I spent 2 months in Europe on that first trip, visiting many countries, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, & Austria. That Eurail pass was well used. I may not have left with the most photos as that memory card was not nearly as big as I thought it was, but I made so many memories, and had so many great experiences that I knew I was hooked on travel.
Before leaving for Europe, I had signed up with a hockey team called the Canadian Moose World Travelling team. We were going to be heading to New Zealand and Australia shortly after my return from Europe. I was home from Europe less than 2 days before heading out again, this time on an even longer flight. A very different journey, this time was with over 40 other people, a men’s and a women’s team. We stayed with billets and travelled from Auckland, to Christchurch, to Queenstown, and then over to Brisbane in Australia, playing about a dozen games over 18 days. Again, I made lots of great memories and have kept in contact with many of my teammates to varying degrees.
Since those first two trips, I’ve made a few more, mostly with Robyn, visiting some countries again, and adding a few more, I went to Switzerland, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, France, Jamaica, and Ireland twice. I also went to California, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and a few places across Canada for a job I used to have. I have many great memories and thousands of photos to help trigger those memories.
10 years have gone by since I changed my outlook on travel, and my only regret is that I haven’t travelled more. Money comes and goes, but the memories I’ve made are absolutely priceless.
I started in 2005 and went through all my old photos in the search of my top 10 travel photos from the past 10 years. This was not an easy task. I tried to look for photos that I liked the look of, not photos with the best memories. After a number of hours, I had narrowed down the finalists to 246 photos. I think I spent just as long narrowing down those photos as I had selecting them to start with. I had to put them into categories, Black and White, Sunset, North America, the rest of the World, and Photos with people I know in them. I decided to throw out the latter category because I thought I would be biased. I then set out to cull down to my top 10 in each category. With each decision to delete a photo, I felt like I was casting aside a memory, and choosing one experience over another, but I did eventually come up with a top 10. My choices are definitely skewed toward more recent travel experiences, mostly because I’m a better photographer now than I was a decade ago, as you would hope.
I had put together a list of honourable mentions, but I eventually decided that it kind of defeated the purpose.
So here we are with my top 10 travel photos from the past 10 years.
This photo was taken in 2011 on my first trip to Ireland. It’s the Cliffs of Moher on an incredibly windy day which meant for some decent surf. This photo has been my desktop image for about 2 years, and I have a print on my living room wall, so it was an easy choice for my top 10.A Pletna boat as seen from Bled Castle at Lake Bled, Slovenia. I took this in 2007 on my second trip to Slovenia. My friend Tilen brought us up to the castle as I had never been, and it offered stunning views of the lake and the countryside. I feel like this photo sums up Ireland pretty well, sheep, green and rolling hills (or mountains if you’re willing to call them that). I took this in 2013 while in Ireland for a wedding. The sheep popped up and surprised me as I was walking toward the edge of this cliff.Another shot from Ireland in 2013, I love the sheep perched atop the hill, nearly hidden in the landscape.Northern Ireland, this wasn’t too far from the Giant’s Causeway on the Antrim coast. I just really love the light in the photo how the field in the foreground is under clouds and the beach behind is lit by the sun. 2013.A man jumps from the new old bridge in Mostar, Bosnia. These guys stand atop the bridge collecting donations and teasing tourists by acting like they’re going to jump. Once they’ve collected enough, one of them takes the leap, and the process starts over. Taken in 2007, the bridge was a historic one before war saw it destroyed. They rebuilt it to connect the Christian and Muslim sides of the city.A moose in the brush in Newfoundland. This was the very last photo I took on our trip to Newfoundland in 2010. I like that the moose is nearly hidden in the foliage, just like when you’re driving down a road at 100 km/h and a moose backs out into the road in front of your car. Not that, that happened on this trip or anything.O’Brien’s tower at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. I love this tower, it is in a perfect place to be silhouetted against a sunset. I caught this guy doing a flip off the top steps in mid flip. He did stick the landing by the way. You may notice the flag atop the tower in support of the county Clare whose team was playing for the championship in hurling, which they eventually won.If you don’t know what this is, you’ve lived a sheltered life. The Eiffel Tower on a cloudy night, taken in 2007. I learned on this night that if you wait for the Tower to flash and then turn off for the night, you have missed your last subway home.A bunch of sheep graze just behind Inch Beach in Ireland. I took this in 2011 and I love the depth in the image. I printed a 16×24 of this photo and it never gets old to me.
Alright, I admit, my top ten is heavy on Irish photos, but my last 2 trips were there, with nearly a month total time spent there. I have nearly as many photos from Ireland as I do everywhere else combined. I would also say that my top 3 photos in this list are all black and white. While I do love many colour photos, it’s the black and white photos that I tend to like more in the end and those are the ones I like to hang on my walls.
Looking through all my old photos has done nothing except tempt my wanderlust. I think about my trip to New Zealand and how I didn’t have much time on my own, and how it was winter, and I feel like I need to go back and experience the summer there. I look back at Slovenia and can’t believe it’s been 8 years since I last visited and saw my good friend. I think of all the hurried travel I did as a backpacker and I wish I could go back and do it again and take my time. I met so many people, each on their own journey, and some of those people were taking a year to travel. It seemed crazy at the time, but I wish I had done that myself before I had commitments which would make that impossible.
I know travel is not cheap, and not everyone can just get up and go, but if you get a chance to do it, you won’t regret it. I value my experiences more than anything materialistic in my life. I made so many great memories that I can’t remember them all off the top of my head, but thankfully I’ve got all these photos as a reminder.
I’ve made all these photos available for sale on my Society6 page (along with a number of other photos and whatnot). As you can see below, it’s not just prints, you can get a number of different products with photos on them, even leggings for certain images. So have a look around HERE, on my Society6 page.