Travel tips, stories, photography and advice - Finding the universe

Old observatory Oulu Linnansaari park finland

Air guitar. We’ve all done it. Our favourite song comes on the radio and before we know it we’re strumming along with the best of them. My personal favourite is actually air drumming, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, if I was going to ask you how air guitar and Oulu were connected, you might not know. I sure didn’t. Until I visited, and learnt that Oulu is the home of the world air guitar championships. Yes, that is a thing. No,unfortunately,  I didn’t get to see it because we visited at the wrong time of year. But yes, I did get to perform my very own air guitar solo whilst in Oulu. More on that shortly. Let’s talk a bit about Oulu first.

Air Guitar and Technology: Visiting Oulu, Finland

Old observatory Oulu Linnansaari park finland

Air guitar. We’ve all done it. Our favourite song comes on the radio and before we know it we’re strumming along with the best of them. My personal favourite is actually air drumming, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, if I was going to ask you how air guitar and Oulu were connected, you might not know. I sure didn’t. Until I visited, and learnt that Oulu is the home of the world air guitar championships. Yes, that is a thing. No,unfortunately,  I didn’t get to see it because we visited at the wrong time of year. But yes, I did get to perform my very own air guitar solo whilst in Oulu. More on that shortly. Let’s talk a bit about Oulu first.

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Burney Falls Shasta Cascade-2 - scaled

And here we are again, with the latest edition of the most popular photos from the Facebook Page over the last month or two. We’ve sailed on past 400,000 fans on Facebook in the last couple of months – a huge thanks for all your support over there! It is genuinely appreciated.

Also, while I’m thanking you, I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for us in the Annual Bloggies. It was an honour to be nominated, and even nicer to win the Bloggy Award for Best Photography on a Blog. Ok, so part thanks, part brag.

21 Spectacular Photos From Around the World: XVIII

Burney Falls Shasta Cascade-2 - scaled

And here we are again, with the latest edition of the most popular photos from the Facebook Page over the last month or two. We’ve sailed on past 400,000 fans on Facebook in the last couple of months – a huge thanks for all your support over there! It is genuinely appreciated.

Also, while I’m thanking you, I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for us in the Annual Bloggies. It was an honour to be nominated, and even nicer to win the Bloggy Award for Best Photography on a Blog. Ok, so part thanks, part brag.

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Pepper bridge winery vineyards blue mountains

A few weeks ago, if you’d asked me where Walla Walla was, I would probably have guessed somewhere in Australia. It just has that sound about it.

Obviously I would have been entirely wrong. It turns out that Walla Walla is in Washington State in the US, about four hours inland from Seattle, and there’s not a kangaroo in sight.

Why is this relevant? Well, we were recently invited by the nice people of the Courtyard by Marriott to come experience the wines, art, and general wonder that is Walla Walla, as part of their celebrations in opening the 1000th Courtyard Hotel. Which also happens to be in Walla Walla.

Visiting Walla Walla: Wineries, Art and a Hotel

Pepper bridge winery vineyards blue mountains

A few weeks ago, if you’d asked me where Walla Walla was, I would probably have guessed somewhere in Australia. It just has that sound about it.

Obviously I would have been entirely wrong. It turns out that Walla Walla is in Washington State in the US, about four hours inland from Seattle, and there’s not a kangaroo in sight.

Why is this relevant? Well, we were recently invited by the nice people of the Courtyard by Marriott to come experience the wines, art, and general wonder that is Walla Walla, as part of their celebrations in opening the 1000th Courtyard Hotel. Which also happens to be in Walla Walla.

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Rock arch santa cruz california

I have the rather jolly fortune of spending a part of 2015 in California, which has given me plenty of opportunity to explore some of the highlights of the area.

From San Francisco, an easy day trip is to pop across to the gorgeous town of Santa Cruz, famed for its boardwalk, laid back vibe and surfing opportunities galore. I took advantage of this fact and headed there recently to see what I could find to do, and of course to wander around and take some pictures.

What To Do On A Day Trip To Santa Cruz, California

Rock arch santa cruz california

I have the rather jolly fortune of spending a part of 2015 in California, which has given me plenty of opportunity to explore some of the highlights of the area.

From San Francisco, an easy day trip is to pop across to the gorgeous town of Santa Cruz, famed for its boardwalk, laid back vibe and surfing opportunities galore. I took advantage of this fact and headed there recently to see what I could find to do, and of course to wander around and take some pictures.

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Brooklyn bridge and New York skyline

The following sponsored content is brought to you in partnership with Yonderbound, who are in the process of moving from being just a great hotel booking engine who reward you for using them, and experimenting with letting you book activities, and wanted to share that with you. If you’ve not used Yonderbound yet, I can recommend checking them out, and don’t miss the free credit on sign up towards your next trip. All words are mine.

Last time I was in New York, I think it’s fair to say I wasn’t exactly “active”. I mean, I moved from place to place, and my shutter finger was certainly busy, but I don’t think any of the sight-seeing or bar-hopping I did could really qualify as being exactly active.

Getting Active in New York

Brooklyn bridge and New York skyline

The following sponsored content is brought to you in partnership with Yonderbound, who are in the process of moving from being just a great hotel booking engine who reward you for using them, and experimenting with letting you book activities, and wanted to share that with you. If you’ve not used Yonderbound yet, I can recommend checking them out, and don’t miss the free credit on sign up towards your next trip. All words are mine.

Last time I was in New York, I think it’s fair to say I wasn’t exactly “active”. I mean, I moved from place to place, and my shutter finger was certainly busy, but I don’t think any of the sight-seeing or bar-hopping I did could really qualify as being exactly active.

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town square at sunset tallinn estonia

We almost didn’t make it to Tallinn. Waking at 5.00am on a January morning in Helsinki, we looked outside to see flurries of snow and temperatures well below freezing.

A thirty minute walk in the dark to the ferry terminal didn’t seem like a hugely appealing activity, particularly as neither of us had slept particularly well the night before, and the thought of tramping around an unknown city in these conditions wasn’t exactly filling us with joy.

Why Tallinn Needs To Be On Your List: One Day Itinerary Ideas

town square at sunset tallinn estonia

We almost didn’t make it to Tallinn. Waking at 5.00am on a January morning in Helsinki, we looked outside to see flurries of snow and temperatures well below freezing.

A thirty minute walk in the dark to the ferry terminal didn’t seem like a hugely appealing activity, particularly as neither of us had slept particularly well the night before, and the thought of tramping around an unknown city in these conditions wasn’t exactly filling us with joy.

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Tree smoke light

This content was written by me and sponsored by CARE.org, a global humanitarian organisation who focus on fighting poverty around the world..

When I was growing up in the Seychelles, one of my most vivid memories of visiting my grandmother is that there would invariably be something burning.

I should probably clarify.

Fighting Poverty with CARE - #CAREKnowsHow

Tree smoke light

This content was written by me and sponsored by CARE.org, a global humanitarian organisation who focus on fighting poverty around the world..

When I was growing up in the Seychelles, one of my most vivid memories of visiting my grandmother is that there would invariably be something burning.

I should probably clarify.

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Rauma old town in Winter

Visiting a summer town in the dead of winter is a weird experience. To start with, I’m fairly sure we were the only people staying in the hotel. The town’s streets were oddly, almost eerily quiet, at any time of the day or night.

The exception was after the local team played ice hockey, at which point it appeared to flame into life.

I managed to catch that game – my first ever – which was quite the experience. More on that below.

Rauma–Visiting a World Heritage Site in Winter

Rauma old town in Winter

Visiting a summer town in the dead of winter is a weird experience. To start with, I’m fairly sure we were the only people staying in the hotel. The town’s streets were oddly, almost eerily quiet, at any time of the day or night.

The exception was after the local team played ice hockey, at which point it appeared to flame into life.

I managed to catch that game – my first ever – which was quite the experience. More on that below.

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Swarovski pocket cl review 1

Binoculars. Truth be told, they aren’t something I have ever really spent much time contemplating. As a photographer I spend a great deal of time peering through bits of glass with one eye, rather than enjoying it with both!

This isn’t to say I’m not familiar with binoculars of course. I grew up on a small island in the Seychelles called Bird Island, which was famous, as you might imagine, for its hordes of nesting seabirds, not to mention being home to many passing migrant species. My parents and many of their friends were avid bird watchers, and I have certainly spent some time with my eyes up against binoculars having the virtues of various birdlife explained to me.

Are these the perfect travel binoculars?

Swarovski pocket cl review 1

Binoculars. Truth be told, they aren’t something I have ever really spent much time contemplating. As a photographer I spend a great deal of time peering through bits of glass with one eye, rather than enjoying it with both!

This isn’t to say I’m not familiar with binoculars of course. I grew up on a small island in the Seychelles called Bird Island, which was famous, as you might imagine, for its hordes of nesting seabirds, not to mention being home to many passing migrant species. My parents and many of their friends were avid bird watchers, and I have certainly spent some time with my eyes up against binoculars having the virtues of various birdlife explained to me.

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Sunrise from Iso Syote hotel finland

Don’t like the cold? Neither did I when I decided to go to Finland for a spot of Winter fun at the start of 2015.

On the other hand, I’ve always liked the idea of the northern lights, clear skies and fabulously frosted landscapes. All of which, it appear, seem to require putting up with a spot of chilly weather.

I travelled around various parts of Finland, and I’ve already told you about my amazing two day husky safari up near Rovaniemi in the Artic Circle.

Falling in Love with Winter in Finland at Iso-Syote

Sunrise from Iso Syote hotel finland

Don’t like the cold? Neither did I when I decided to go to Finland for a spot of Winter fun at the start of 2015.

On the other hand, I’ve always liked the idea of the northern lights, clear skies and fabulously frosted landscapes. All of which, it appear, seem to require putting up with a spot of chilly weather.

I travelled around various parts of Finland, and I’ve already told you about my amazing two day husky safari up near Rovaniemi in the Artic Circle.

Read More