boat Finland helsinki

If I asked you to name the largest group of islands (by number) in the world, I wonder where you’d think that might be. Pause a moment and ponder.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking of sun kissed beaches and turquoise waters, with palm trees flapping around lazily in the breeze. Maybe there’s a pina colada somewhere in the shot.

Visiting the worlds largest Archipelago

boat Finland helsinki

If I asked you to name the largest group of islands (by number) in the world, I wonder where you’d think that might be. Pause a moment and ponder.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking of sun kissed beaches and turquoise waters, with palm trees flapping around lazily in the breeze. Maybe there’s a pina colada somewhere in the shot.

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DCIM\106GOPRO

Here are three things I didn’t know about Finland: it’s made up of a lot of water and islands, Finnish people are crazy about the outdoors, and there are almost as many saunas as there are people.

Perhaps these things don’t come as a surprise to you, but this was my first visit to the country, and I like to go to a place knowing as little as possible, so I can be happily overwhelmed by new stuff.

That, or I’m too lazy to do research. I prefer to think of it as the former.

Exploring Finland’s Great Outdoors

DCIM\106GOPRO

Here are three things I didn’t know about Finland: it’s made up of a lot of water and islands, Finnish people are crazy about the outdoors, and there are almost as many saunas as there are people.

Perhaps these things don’t come as a surprise to you, but this was my first visit to the country, and I like to go to a place knowing as little as possible, so I can be happily overwhelmed by new stuff.

That, or I’m too lazy to do research. I prefer to think of it as the former.

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Jambalaya at Momo in Poznan, Poland

Maybe you recall that we went to Poznan in Poland recently. Maybe you even remember that it was our second time; our first visit happening last November. Back then we did a post on the food of Poznan, with which we managed to surprise ourselves a bit, I think, because we usually don’t really do food posts. Anyway, you can imagine we were looking very much forward to coming back this summer and eating more of the same stuff again, but that didn’t happen.

The Food of Poznan– Summer Edition

Jambalaya at Momo in Poznan, Poland

Maybe you recall that we went to Poznan in Poland recently. Maybe you even remember that it was our second time; our first visit happening last November. Back then we did a post on the food of Poznan, with which we managed to surprise ourselves a bit, I think, because we usually don’t really do food posts. Anyway, you can imagine we were looking very much forward to coming back this summer and eating more of the same stuff again, but that didn’t happen.

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Dubai marina night skyline

Early on in 2014 I whizzed across to Dubai to take part in the Arabian Travel Market – a very large travel show where I was speaking on a variety of topics, from working with professional travel bloggers, through to the importance of mobile in today’s tourism industry.

Yep, I do more than take pictures it turns out.

In photos: Dubai

Dubai marina night skyline

Early on in 2014 I whizzed across to Dubai to take part in the Arabian Travel Market – a very large travel show where I was speaking on a variety of topics, from working with professional travel bloggers, through to the importance of mobile in today’s tourism industry.

Yep, I do more than take pictures it turns out.

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DCIM\100GOPRO

I popped over to the Visit Finland website recently, and discovered that they have a Finnish name generator. My Finnish name turns out to be Tapio Kontio, which means Ancient King of the Forest Bear. Which was nice. Try it yourself here, and let me know your Finnish name in the comments.

Anyway, I was on the Visit Finland website because I’ve recently been invited to visit Finland for the first time. I always get so excited about heading to a new country. It’s the little things that get me – the different shops on the high streets, the different cultural attitudes to asking the way to the toilet, and all those signs I can’t even begin to pronounce (assuming I can read them!).

To Finland!

DCIM\100GOPRO

I popped over to the Visit Finland website recently, and discovered that they have a Finnish name generator. My Finnish name turns out to be Tapio Kontio, which means Ancient King of the Forest Bear. Which was nice. Try it yourself here, and let me know your Finnish name in the comments.

Anyway, I was on the Visit Finland website because I’ve recently been invited to visit Finland for the first time. I always get so excited about heading to a new country. It’s the little things that get me – the different shops on the high streets, the different cultural attitudes to asking the way to the toilet, and all those signs I can’t even begin to pronounce (assuming I can read them!).

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Glacier new zealand west coast scaled

And so we roll around to version 15 of this post, where I highlight some of my most popular pictures I’ve shared on my Facebook Page from the last month or two. I’ve renamed the series to mark the fifteenth edition, but other than a prettier label, the filling remains the same.

Since the last round up we’ve had the pleasure of visiting Poznan, Dubai and Paris, and of course continued to share various images from our other travels. I’d add something brilliantly witty here, but having now done fifteen introductions to this post, I think you’re probably happier just getting on with the eye candy. Am I right?

20 Spectacular Photos From Around The World: XV

Glacier new zealand west coast scaled

And so we roll around to version 15 of this post, where I highlight some of my most popular pictures I’ve shared on my Facebook Page from the last month or two. I’ve renamed the series to mark the fifteenth edition, but other than a prettier label, the filling remains the same.

Since the last round up we’ve had the pleasure of visiting Poznan, Dubai and Paris, and of course continued to share various images from our other travels. I’d add something brilliantly witty here, but having now done fifteen introductions to this post, I think you’re probably happier just getting on with the eye candy. Am I right?

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Laurence at sunset

I’ve been blogging for just over four years now, with probably three of those years at a more serious level. I’m often asked what that’s like, how I started, and how we got the blog to where it is today – helping us to see the world and, even better, getting paid to do so. It’s the dream, right?

Of course, like any dream, it takes a lot of hard work, frustration, mistakes, and learning. It’s also unlikely to make you rich, except in experience.

In today’s post I want to share some of my observations on what travel blogging is all about, where I think it’s likely going, how to turn it into a business with a liveable income and of course, how you can go about that yourself. First though:

How to Become a Professional Travel Blogger

Laurence at sunset

I’ve been blogging for just over four years now, with probably three of those years at a more serious level. I’m often asked what that’s like, how I started, and how we got the blog to where it is today – helping us to see the world and, even better, getting paid to do so. It’s the dream, right?

Of course, like any dream, it takes a lot of hard work, frustration, mistakes, and learning. It’s also unlikely to make you rich, except in experience.

In today’s post I want to share some of my observations on what travel blogging is all about, where I think it’s likely going, how to turn it into a business with a liveable income and of course, how you can go about that yourself. First though:

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Rock fortress Sigiriya Sri Lanka scaled

I recently spent a very brief amount of time in Sri Lanka, a country I have never visited before, and where I am helping to set up a conference with the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.

In between zipping from location to location, peering at hotel rooms, inspecting conference venues and bravely trying at least nineteen varieties of curry, I managed to get a few photos.

Brief Wanders in Sri Lanka: A Photo Essay

Rock fortress Sigiriya Sri Lanka scaled

I recently spent a very brief amount of time in Sri Lanka, a country I have never visited before, and where I am helping to set up a conference with the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.

In between zipping from location to location, peering at hotel rooms, inspecting conference venues and bravely trying at least nineteen varieties of curry, I managed to get a few photos.

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Notre Dame from behind scaled

It had been a while since I had been to Paris, so when Loz and his friend Dan’s photo-workshop was announced to take place in the city of love, I foraged the vast plains of the Internet to find advice and inspiration as in what to do and see.

It didn’t take long for me to get slightly irritated. Every single Paris post I read had a reference to scams in it. At one point I was convinced that there are as many posts about the scams of Paris than there are posts about the sights of Paris. Probably not a good sign. I can’t deny it put a bit of a damper on my anticipation. Who is looking forward to going to a beautiful city only to have to constantly be aware of scam artists?

Tips for Surviving The Scams of Paris – A Little Case Study

Notre Dame from behind scaled

It had been a while since I had been to Paris, so when Loz and his friend Dan’s photo-workshop was announced to take place in the city of love, I foraged the vast plains of the Internet to find advice and inspiration as in what to do and see.

It didn’t take long for me to get slightly irritated. Every single Paris post I read had a reference to scams in it. At one point I was convinced that there are as many posts about the scams of Paris than there are posts about the sights of Paris. Probably not a good sign. I can’t deny it put a bit of a damper on my anticipation. Who is looking forward to going to a beautiful city only to have to constantly be aware of scam artists?

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Paris Notre Dame and Seine

Paris, is, quite frankly, a wonderful city. Stuffed with sights, cafes, and baguette wielding locals, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most visited cities in the world.

Today’s post is a photo essay from a weekend I spent in Paris recently where I was delighted to teach a photography workshop as part of my Lightmoves Creatve project. We had what could best be described as “variable” weather, but we managed to get out and see some of the sights and get some photos all the same!

Here are ten of my favourites from the trip, starting with the shot above of the River Seine and Notre Dame, and moving on to:

10 Reasons to Visit Paris. In Photos.

Paris Notre Dame and Seine

Paris, is, quite frankly, a wonderful city. Stuffed with sights, cafes, and baguette wielding locals, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most visited cities in the world.

Today’s post is a photo essay from a weekend I spent in Paris recently where I was delighted to teach a photography workshop as part of my Lightmoves Creatve project. We had what could best be described as “variable” weather, but we managed to get out and see some of the sights and get some photos all the same!

Here are ten of my favourites from the trip, starting with the shot above of the River Seine and Notre Dame, and moving on to:

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Poznan Cathedral Spires Clouds

Cities change throughout the seasons; that’s nothing new. And although travel guides always debate the “best time to visit”, in the end they often admit that each season has its own benefits, its celebrations, its food, its fashions. We fell in love with Poznan during our first visit last November, but we weren’t prepared to find the city so different from that when we returned this summer!

It inspired us to write this post and give you five very good reasons to check out Poznan in the summer time, starting with:

1) The ice-cream

Obviously! European cities go crazy for ice-cream in summer, and Poznan is no difference. The most popular gelateria in Poznan is “Wytwornia Lodow Tradycyjnych” (meaning “Manufacturer of traditional ice-cream”), which has two shops in the city. It was those guys who kinda kick-started a legitimate ice-cream culture in the city, when they appeared on the scene a year ago, with artisan ice-cream in ever-changing and sometimes unheard of flavours (Guinness ice-cream, anyone?).

Five Reasons to visit Poznan in Summer

Poznan Cathedral Spires Clouds

Cities change throughout the seasons; that’s nothing new. And although travel guides always debate the “best time to visit”, in the end they often admit that each season has its own benefits, its celebrations, its food, its fashions. We fell in love with Poznan during our first visit last November, but we weren’t prepared to find the city so different from that when we returned this summer!

It inspired us to write this post and give you five very good reasons to check out Poznan in the summer time, starting with:

1) The ice-cream

Obviously! European cities go crazy for ice-cream in summer, and Poznan is no difference. The most popular gelateria in Poznan is “Wytwornia Lodow Tradycyjnych” (meaning “Manufacturer of traditional ice-cream”), which has two shops in the city. It was those guys who kinda kick-started a legitimate ice-cream culture in the city, when they appeared on the scene a year ago, with artisan ice-cream in ever-changing and sometimes unheard of flavours (Guinness ice-cream, anyone?).

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Purnululu bungle bungle rock formation scaled

Note – my involvement in the Trover campaign is being funded by Trover. All words, thoughts and opinions remain my own.

In the last few months, I’ve been looking on enviously at friends who have been raving about Trover. I say looking on and not partaking, because rather tragically, Trover was an iPhone exclusive for a good long time. It was available on the web of course, but I can’t carry that around with me so well.

For the last few weeks though, I’ve been trying out Trover on my Android powered phone, first when it launched in beta, and then when it became publically available (grab it here, it’s free!).

Trover: The Discovery App You Should Be Using

Purnululu bungle bungle rock formation scaled

Note – my involvement in the Trover campaign is being funded by Trover. All words, thoughts and opinions remain my own.

In the last few months, I’ve been looking on enviously at friends who have been raving about Trover. I say looking on and not partaking, because rather tragically, Trover was an iPhone exclusive for a good long time. It was available on the web of course, but I can’t carry that around with me so well.

For the last few weeks though, I’ve been trying out Trover on my Android powered phone, first when it launched in beta, and then when it became publically available (grab it here, it’s free!).

Read More

playa montanita clouds hdr_PPS scaled

“Where you from, friend?”

An earnest looking chap called to me from his stall, one of countless lining the road between the beach and the town centre. It was filled with trinkets, but cunningly had an incredibly cute cat asleep in the midst of the trinkets.

Montanita: Ecuador’s beach party town

playa montanita clouds hdr_PPS scaled

“Where you from, friend?”

An earnest looking chap called to me from his stall, one of countless lining the road between the beach and the town centre. It was filled with trinkets, but cunningly had an incredibly cute cat asleep in the midst of the trinkets.

Read More

town hall poznan scaled

In Europe, summer time is of course also festival time. There is – pardon my French – a crap load of festivals, and people will travel a long way to attend them. Some of these festivals have become a cult thing to go to, some have disappeared again despite having been popular, some are tiny and only known by word of mouth, some take over whole cities.

Seven Summer Festivals in Poznan

town hall poznan scaled

In Europe, summer time is of course also festival time. There is – pardon my French – a crap load of festivals, and people will travel a long way to attend them. Some of these festivals have become a cult thing to go to, some have disappeared again despite having been popular, some are tiny and only known by word of mouth, some take over whole cities.

Read More

Beach New Zealand

Beaches! I love them. So much so that the last post I did on this site was all about beaches. And that wasn’t even the first.

Being as I am keen to share my knowledge with you folks on the subject of photography, via both tips and advice on this very blog, and through the medium of the spoken word at the odd workshop, it seemed sensible to put together a post all about how to take better beach photos.

Which I just did. Although I actually did it as a post for a site that talks all about beaches pretty much all of the time, which seemed like a good fit.

Beach photography tips

Beach New Zealand

Beaches! I love them. So much so that the last post I did on this site was all about beaches. And that wasn’t even the first.

Being as I am keen to share my knowledge with you folks on the subject of photography, via both tips and advice on this very blog, and through the medium of the spoken word at the odd workshop, it seemed sensible to put together a post all about how to take better beach photos.

Which I just did. Although I actually did it as a post for a site that talks all about beaches pretty much all of the time, which seemed like a good fit.

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Diving Pier, Galway, Ireland

The Irish city of Galway has many enchanting properties, and although I hardly spent a full day there, it was enough to make me decide that I’ll definitely be back one day; hopefully sooner than later. While I might not be able to list everything there is that you can see and do in Galway after my brief stint, I sure can share some of the reasons that might make you want to visit – and stay longer than I did! Here they are:

Tidbits of Galway City!

Diving Pier, Galway, Ireland

The Irish city of Galway has many enchanting properties, and although I hardly spent a full day there, it was enough to make me decide that I’ll definitely be back one day; hopefully sooner than later. While I might not be able to list everything there is that you can see and do in Galway after my brief stint, I sure can share some of the reasons that might make you want to visit – and stay longer than I did! Here they are:

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Beach at Francois Perron National Park - Western Australia - Australia

The chaps of Barcelo Hotels got in touch with me recently, to ask if I’d be interested in telling you about their newly launched blog.

In case you weren’t aware (I wasn’t), Barcelo is a leading Spanish hotel chain offering 140 hotels in 16 countries, and their blog is full of ideas of things to do and places to visit around their destinations. So far so good.

As a bonus incentive, they offered to give you guys the opportunity to win 10% off a stay at any of those properties (see more below). Overall, sounded like something worth sharing - if I could figure out an angle!

In Photos: 10 Gorgeous Beaches From Around The World

Beach at Francois Perron National Park - Western Australia - Australia

The chaps of Barcelo Hotels got in touch with me recently, to ask if I’d be interested in telling you about their newly launched blog.

In case you weren’t aware (I wasn’t), Barcelo is a leading Spanish hotel chain offering 140 hotels in 16 countries, and their blog is full of ideas of things to do and places to visit around their destinations. So far so good.

As a bonus incentive, they offered to give you guys the opportunity to win 10% off a stay at any of those properties (see more below). Overall, sounded like something worth sharing - if I could figure out an angle!

Read More

Acropolis sun beams athens

Athens! When I landed, I have to admit to feeling a frisson of excitement. It was my first visit to the city which essentially sparked the beginning of the western world as we know it, and I couldn’t wait to get my eyes on some of the sights that I already felt I knew so well.

As luck would have it, I arrived in the middle of the night and had an aisle seat, so my first sight of Athens was a glow of orange glimpsed between the head and shoulders of my fellow passengers. Not exactly the first impression I had hoped for.

Visiting Athens: What You Need To See & Do

Acropolis sun beams athens

Athens! When I landed, I have to admit to feeling a frisson of excitement. It was my first visit to the city which essentially sparked the beginning of the western world as we know it, and I couldn’t wait to get my eyes on some of the sights that I already felt I knew so well.

As luck would have it, I arrived in the middle of the night and had an aisle seat, so my first sight of Athens was a glow of orange glimpsed between the head and shoulders of my fellow passengers. Not exactly the first impression I had hoped for.

Read More