Travel has become a large part of my life over the past 3 years. It all started when I saved my money made freelancing one summer. I had started a photography business to learn and practice the principles of photography. With a Canon 7D, I photographed corporate headshots, customized stock photography, lessons, online classes, weddings and engagement sessions. All this work taught me more about photography/editing/retouching and how to work with clients. When I returned to university in the fall, I kept about 70% of that money for travel. I used Ryanair's sales on flights and shared rooms from Airbnb to travel on weekends or school breaks. I was able to travel to 8 countries that year. For the price of a mid-range meal I could fly to Barcelona for 3 days or to Rome for less than the cab fare to get to downtown Toronto. I kept my travel mostly in Europe on a shoestring budget that year.
However, over time, I started to work abroad and roughly 50% of my travel was paid for. I was able to travel to farther places in the Middle East and Asia that I wouldn't have been able to afford myself. It's an odd thing living out of a suitcase. I go between wanting my entire wardrobe with me to only wanting a knapsack, a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and my camera.
Most people ask me in the film industry where I call home. I haven't been truly able to answer that since I started travelling. The thing about travelling for me is the more places I go, the more I want to dare and challenge myself to go further. What are the hardest countries to visit? Which receive less tourists? How far can I go on my budget? Recently, I have found myself googling the most insane places to add to my dream trip list. A few of them to make you laugh:
- Antarctica temporary residencies based on sponsorship (It is illegal to visit Antartica as a tourist except by cruise which can cost upwards of 50,000 USD. Even on the cruises, only some will allow you to sleep on the coast for 1 night and it's extremely limited. However, because it is not owned by any one country- most countries have artist visas which will allow artists to make proposals to promote the preservation biodiversity or life on Antartica. This means you can stay for either 3 or 6 months (normally the latter) on their research bases)
- Everest Basecamp Trek (Either a 14 or 19 day trek- how incredible of an experience I think this would be. However, I would like to focus more on the local porters and their incredible strength and endurance.)
- Bhutan (One of the most interesting countries to get to- Bhutan aims to be the happiest country on earth. Monasteries, Dzong architecture and Nature make this place a dream for me to travel to. However, the interesting thing about visiting is that to keep the economy high, what would be an incredibly cheap trip for us is normalized because each tourist is charged a fee in USD to be there. In addition, you must travel by guide as not to disrupt the people and preservation of such a place.)
-Svalbard, Norway (The northernmost city on earth! Either full days or sunlight or complete darkness for the winter months. People travel by snowmobile and are advised to carry rifles with them in case polar bears come into town. There are old radio stations and treks that allow you to venture out into the ice and snow.)
So, those are a few things I have been researching lately!
Having friends in the countries I visit makes that decision hard as well - you always want to go back to visit and stay awhile. I know soon I am going to have to choose a place to base myself so I'll travel all I can while I have the freedom to do so. Thus far, I have been to 20 countries and I hope the list can continue to grow! x
United Arab Emirates
A list of the countries I have had the pleasure to visit thus far: