Feature

The Cars of Kitten D’Amour

The Cars of Kitten D'Amour

Sometimes when you make decisions you don’t quite know why you make them but obviously there was a helping hand in making those decisions for you. Sunday was something like this for me. In past weeks I had visited Westfield Carindale for coffee on Sunday but did kind of think a change would be nice.

Ironically it was kind of last-minute that instead of a change I opted for doing the same as the past few weeks. It was not until I walked in the door and caught a glimpse of one of these cars below that I knew why unconsciously I had made that choice. The reason all this is important is that I have spotted at least four of these cars a few times in recent weeks. It was only on Sunday seeing them lined up as they are in the photo below that I got context for the collection.

The Cars of Kitten D'Amour

The cars were on display as part of an event called “The Cars of Kitten D’Amour.” Kitten D’Amour is an Australian based fashion brand that takes inspiration from 18th century France. If you take a look at their Instagram feed, some of these cars are often part of the photos there. All five of these cars are in absolutely immaculate condition.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette

Black 1959 Chevrolet Corvette
1959 Chevrolet Corvette

1967 Mustang Convertible

Velocity Blue 1967 Mustang Convertible
1967 Mustang Convertible

1967 Shelby GT500

Candy Apple Red 1967 Shelby GT500
1967 Shelby GT500
Candy Apple Red 1967 Shelby GT500 Front
1967 Shelby GT500

1956 Ford Thunderbird

Black 1956 Ford Thunderbird
1956 Ford Thunderbird

1967 Shelby GT500

Green 1967 Shelby GT500 Front
1967 Shelby GT500

Cars Lovers

I am absolutely not going to profess to be anyone that knows all that much about cars. But I do know when I see a very nice car in great condition, and all of these cars definitely fit that description. If I had to pick a favourite myself, I would have to go with the blue 1967 Mustang Convertible. However, that particular choice is much more based on the colour than anything else. I would love to hear in the comments below which of these cars if your favourite.

I know that cars are not something that I have shared here in the past. However, do know that from time to time I see some rather nice cars in displays like this or at other meets. So I would like to know if the readers here would be interested in seeing more posts like this. Just let me know in the comments below and I will be sure to grab the camera out the next time I see some classics.

Feature

5 Spots to Visit in Brisbane, Queensland

Kangaroo Point - Brisbane City Skyline

Over the years I have struggled to find words to write about my home city of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. It is likely a stage many locals go through when looking at their city. Where the city just seems a little bit plain and uninteresting due to familiarity. But in reality, there is a lot to see and explore in Brisbane, and I thought it was time to share some of it with you.

In this post, I wanted to focus on some of the spots in and near the Brisbane CBD. I will also be looking to share some more posts with other locations around Brisbane as well shortly.

1. Brisbane City Botanical Gardens

Brisbane City Botanical Gardens

Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is a beautiful garden area that covers 49 acres right next to the Brisbane CBD. To the north of the gardens is Alice Street and the south-west is the Queensland University of Technology with the rest hugging the Brisbane River.

The gardens are a beautiful place to escape the hustle of the city and take a walk. With many different garden areas and grass areas just right for a picnic.

One of the prominent features of the gardens is the Brisbane Riverstage which hosts local, national and international concerts each year. In addition to the various events and concerts at Riverstage, the gardens have a whole also hosts many different events throughout the year.

If you are visiting at the right time, you can take a free volunteer guided walking tour around the gardens. Through the walk, you can find out about the plants and features of the gardens. Walking tours leave from the Rotunda near the main entrance near the intersection of Albert St and Alice St, twice daily. More Information is available here.

2. Southbank

Southbank Parklands are an extensive park, restaurant and shopping precinct located on the southern bank of the Brisbane River opposite the CBD. The area welcomes some 10+ million visitors each year.

Southbank does contain some attractions that might be of interest. There is a beach for swimming, The Wheel of Brisbane, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Maritime Museum, over 50 restaurants, many shops and accommodation options.

The area also hosts some 150+ events per year including the Brisbane Festival in September where it is the focal point. While also hosting The Collective Markets on a weekly basis from 5 pm – 9 pm Friday night, 10 am – 9 pm Saturday, and 9 am – 4 pm Sunday. More Information about Southbank here.

3. Queen Street Mall

Brisbane - Queen Street Mall

If shopping is your thing while you are visiting the Brisbane CBD, the Queen Street Mall is the spot for you. With over 700 stores in and around the Queen Street Mall, you are bound to find something that catches your eye.

Queen Street Mall is a two-block long pedestrian mall which runs between George & Adelaide Streets. Numerous arcades run off the mall including Wintergarden, Brisbane Arcade & Tattersall’s Arcade. Along with a number of shopping centres including the Myer Centre, Queens Plaza & MacArthur Central nearby. More Information is available on the Queen Street Mall Website.

4. GOMA

If you enjoy taking a look at some art the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery Of Modern Art would be a great spot to visit. The collection of QAGOMA holds over 17,000 pieces and works to deliver a dynamic program of both Australian and International exhibitions. The gallery is also home to the Australian Cinémathèque, the only dedicated cinema facility in an Australian art museum.

You can find the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery Of Modern Art in the Stanley Place Cultural Precinct at South Bank. A short walk from the City Centre across either the Victoria Bridge or Kurilpa Bridge. The galleries are open daily from 10 am – 5 pm, except Good Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day.  With a later opening time of midday on Anzac Day to show respect for the fallen soldiers remembered on this day. For the most part, visiting the gallery is free, except for some special events and exhibitions.

In addition to the galleries, you can also find a store where you can purchase related merchandise. Along with cafes and restaurants when you need a bite to eat or coffee to keep you going on your visit. More Information is available on the GOMA website.

5. Roma Street Parklands

Roma Street Parklands sits on the northern fringe of the Brisbane CBD. Offering another parkland option to escape the concrete footpaths of the CBD. The gardens are said to be one of the two best examples of contemporary display gardens in Australia.

There are some areas to explore and discover within the gardens. There is the Spectacular Garden, Rainforest and Fern Gully, Lake Precinct and Upper Parkland. Even I found parts that I did not know were here while out getting some photos for this post.

Like the City Botanic Gardens, you can take daily guided walks around Roma Street Parklands. The walks leave at 11 am and 1 pm except for public holidays. For more information visit the Roma Street Parklands Website.

Enjoy Brisbane

Kangaroo Point - Brisbane City Skyline

I hope whether you are local to Brisbane or a visitor that you enjoy seeing some of the city. If you are a Brisbane local why not take some time and visit one of these locations. If you have visited one, I would love to hear your experience in the comments below.

My Other Brisbane Posts

If you would like to read more about Brisbane you can find my Brisbane Photowalk Post or my Brisbane Night Photography Post. If you would like to see more of Brisbane let me know in the comments below.

Feature

Avoid Theft with 3 Ways to keep valuable safe

3 Ways To Help Avoid Theft From Ruining Your Holiday

When it comes to travelling there are plenty of stories about trips to beautiful places where everyone had a wonderful time. But there are also many stories that end on kind of a sour note, with money, valuable or everything stolen. While it is not always possible to avoid theft when travelling there are a few things you can do so it does not totally spoil your holiday.

There are definitely times when it is all but impossible to avoid theft affecting you. In cases where your life may be in danger, I would definitely prefer to lose a little money than my life. However, when it comes to crimes of opportunity there are definitely ways to avoid being targeted and reduce the overall impact of theft.

1. Stay Aware And Alert To Avoid Theft

There can be a big difference in your general awareness when you are at home in your own town, versus being in a foreign city. Travelling in a foreign city can often be a sensory overload for many people. The result is not paying nearly the same attention to the area immediately around you.

In addition to this, you will often find yourself in areas with a lot more people just because of the tourist draw of an area. Essentially, this creates the perfect situation for crimes of opportunity, such as pickpockets and those waiting for people to put down valuable items.

You put down your bag, just for a moment, to take a photo. When you turn back to pick it up, it just is not there. The thought that this would never happen to you, should be a wake up to just consider how you do things like this. Just think about where you put things and how much attention you pay to them.

It is not just your belongings to watch out for. In some ways, you always need to be aware of what is happening around. While you don’t want to be totally paranoid about every little thing. If the same stranger keeps popping up in the most unlikely of places.

The best approach is to look at how you handle your belongings? How do you move around a city? How you might be providing an opportunity for someone to do you harm? If you can in any way remove these opportunities you can help yourself to make your travel safer.

My Own Experience

Personally, I am someone that is generally fairly conscious of my surroundings. I notice many small details that many people miss, I cannot explain how I developed this, but it has been quite beneficial.

One evening while staying in Nice, France, I was walking in the general direction of my hotel. The street was nearly empty of people and I had planned to stop and photograph The Basilica of Notre Dame before heading back to the hotel for the night. I was just wandering along stopping and starting to look at different things along the way, but something felt off.

I had noticed that there was one other person that seemed to be matching my moves far too closely. They were not close to me but the speed they were moving was quite consistent to mine and they would stop moving when I did and continue when I would. I decided to test the theory and crossed the road with them following that move as well.

There is a chance that this was nothing, but there was also a chance that there was something more going on. I decided to make a beeline for the hotel and left it to take the photos of The Basilica of Notre Dame the following day. In this case, I preferred to take a precaution, even though nothing might have happened, but my theory is better safe than sorry.

2. Avoid Theft & Don’t Give It Away

So many thefts are not the result of an item being forcefully taken, but you allowing the item to be taken. I don’t mean that you have to offer your possessions to a thief, most people will say I never let them steal from me. However, if you don’t take some precautions to avoid theft you basically have let the item be stolen.

There are a few key things that I have found can help avoid or at least limit your chance of valuables being stolen. Consider that the easier it is for them to be directly accessed the easier it will be for someone looking for an opportunity to steal from you.

  • You might feel comfortable keeping your wallet in your back pocket, but this is often the easier place to access for a thief. Consider a front pocket or something that will attach to your belt.
  • Carry the smallest bag that you can, one which can be secured. A big bag that is open, makes it easy for someone to dip their hand in without you knowing.
  • Always keep zips or latches on your bags closed. You might find it annoying to keep opening and closing it, but it definitely helps keep you a little more secure.
  • Only take your valuables out when you need to. Try to avoid pulling a wallet full of cards or money out and digging through it in a public place. It is better to know what you have before leaving the hotel and being able to go straight to it when needed.

The Bag I Use

Having a great small bag to carry around when exploring a new city is a great option. The specific bag that I use is Kathmandu Transit RFID Deluxe v2. However, the specific version that I have is no longer available. But they have replaced it to the Kathmandu RFIDtech Pouch Deluxe which looks to be nearly the same except for some small design differences.

I find that it is great to carry everything that you might need during the day while out and exploring. Things like a map, tablet, notebook, pen and even a small camera. Plus it has places you can put your passport and credit cards where there is RFID blocking technology.

3. All Your Eggs

Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket

The above saying is something that can be very applicable to the times when you might be travelling. Even more so when it comes to things like cash and valuables. If you carry all of your cash and cards in the one wallet and that is lost or stolen, you have lost everything. However, if you take an approach to split up these sorts of things, you reduce the risk of losing everything.

The way in which you split up your cash and cards will vary depending on what your exact circumstances are. Mine solutions while travelling solo would be a little different for a couple or family travelling. There is also a difference depending on the different bags and such that you take.

While travelling I try and keep a minimal amount of cash in an easily accessible wallet along with one credit or money card. I would keep some additional cash or money in a money belt, pouch, or another bag I am carrying. Finally, I would keep the remainder of any cash or cards in the most secure place I can. Which might be a safe deposit box if I can get access to one where I am.

The biggest challenge that I face is on the days that I am travelling. In these cases, you have to carry everything with you. While it does leave you a little more exposed, the idea that I have followed is to separate things as much as possible in the bags that I physically keep in my presence. I will still keep them split between a wallet, money belt and each bag I am carrying. But I never tempt fate by putting too much if anything into checked luggage.

Stay Safe And Avoid Theft

I sure hope that I have not given you second thoughts about travelling with this post. But do hope that I have encouraged you to be a little more proactive about the security of your valuables along the way. So I hope that you do enjoy your holiday and keep your valuables safe and avoid theft by taking some precautions along the way.

Feature Travel Tips

3 Tips To Ensure An Uninterrupted Audio Experience When Travelling

3 Tips To Ensure An Uninterrupted Audio Experience When Travelling

At home, you often have nearly unlimited access to the internet and all the wonders that we can stream at will. Everything from the latest news, music, movies, books and more is accessible without a second thought. However, once you board a plane or cruise ship and leave the connectivity of your home or mobile internet you lose a lot of access.

In the past, I have shared around the topic of costs associated with accessing internet on a cruise ship. But when it comes to internet in the skies, the access and cost can vary widely, depending on the airline and country you are flying in. So if you want to save your pennies and ensure an uninterrupted audio experience when travelling you might want to consider the following tips.

1. Download Music

Music has for some time been moving away from buying individual tracks to streaming across the internet. It works great when you are at home or even around town, but when you lose that phone signal the music stops. But not to worry, as most services provide an option to download and listen offline. I have linked to the guide on how to do this for some of the popular platforms. However, just if your service is not listed look for information about offline listening.

Apple Music | Spotify | Soundcloud

It is a good idea to take a few minutes to check this well in advance of going away. The time to download can be significant depending on how big your playlist might be. So you don’t want to be waiting on the download to happen when you are supposed to be heading to the airport.

2. Download Audiobooks

Audiobooks, like music, can be something that you will want to plan in advance and not at the last minute before heading to the airport. The size of the download will depend on a couple of factors.

Firstly the length of the audiobook and secondly the quality of the audio recording. While both factors can play a part in the size of the download, only the audio quality might be something you can change. But that will depend on the service where you purchase your audiobooks.

If you are buying from Audible you will find they are available in two quality options, standard or high quality. The high-quality audio works out to average 28.8 MB per hour and the standard is around half of that. So if you are downloading an audiobook that is eight hours long your download will likely be between 115 MB and 230 MB. That does not seem like a lot but it can sometimes take longer than expected to download. If you are not already using Audible you can get there with the banner below. It is an affiliate link and if you sign up for the service I will receive a small commission.

3. Download Podcasts

Podcasts are another great option for listening when travelling. Podcasts can be a great option to binge listen to while you are travelling. Especially if you are cruising or know you have a lot of hours in the air getting to your destination.

You need to make sure that you are downloading episodes to your device. Just because you subscribe to a podcast does not mean that all the episodes will automatically download. Often it is just the latest episode that will download, but you do have the option to download any of the back episodes.

Many podcasts have been running for quite some time and have a lot of back episodes. So unless you are keeping up with episodes you may have ample episodes to choose from and listen to. On my last cruise, I knew I would be spending some time walking on the decks each day. As a result, I took some time and downloaded around 24 hours of podcast episodes. Over the period of 10 days on the cruise I did not even need half of the episodes, but it was handy to have them available.

Be Prepared

So hopefully these few thoughts have been able to help you be a little more prepared for your next time travelling. It can definitely help to save a little of the boredom that a long haul flight can bring. But can also help if you are looking for something to fill in a little time between activities on a cruise. But if you don’t plan ahead you will be limited to a much smaller range of what happens to be on your device.

Feature Travel Tips

Considering The Right Time For Travel

Considering The Right Time For Travel

One thing that I have come to know about travel is that it can be very much a timing thing. Sometimes that is going to be getting the timing right for yourself on a personal level. At other things that might be getting the timing right for when you want to visit a particular destination. Of course, on both sides, there can be anomalies, but below I have a few things that you might like to think about in regards to timing.

The Right Time For You

In some ways, this is the much more difficult part for me to give you any advice on. The fact is that for almost everyone there is a very large number of factors that can make up a decision to travel. You may have existing commitments, such as family, friends or work that might play a part. There can also be a financial consideration that you need to make in both paying for the travel and supporting yourself while travelling.

So it very much comes down to asking yourself one very important question.

“Is travel your priority or a priority you would like to persue?”

The answer to this question can very much determine in some ways if you should be focusing on travel at the moment. If you feel that you want to make travel a priority you can overcome almost anything to do so. It just can come down to how you look at the commitments or considerations that might be standing in the way. By no means should you just ignore them but you can look at ways to work around them or reframe them. However, those likely are not something I can help with as part of a short blog post.

The Right Time For Your Destination

There might be personal timing issues you can face and may not have a definite answer. On the other hand, there are timing aspects of your destination that are considerably more definite. Included can be if attractions are open, what the weather at a particular time of year is or if tours are available. All of these can play a part in whether it is worth considering a visit to a particular destination.

Attractions

Depending on the country that you might be visiting the attractions that are available to visit may vary. While many countries do tend to offer year-round attractions, other areas you will find some attractions close down for part of the year.

You might find that this is one very important consideration when making your booking to visit a destination. The last thing that you want to do is arrive somewhere and find that one place that you were going for closed for the season. I experienced this sort of problem in parts of England and also the city of Vienna when I visited.

In England, I visited a number of English Heritage sites around the south of England. I found that a number of sites that I would have like to visit had already closed for the winter months. While disappointing a little forward planning and research would have better allowed me to organise other options. Likewise in Vienna, I visited the city towards the very end of the winter months. Tours that operate through summer only were not yet underway.

Weather

Depending on the time of year that you might be going to visit a city the potential weather can be a factor. Of course, there are times that you will not be able to predict this in the future. But there are also times that you can narrow down your timing based on how you might expect the weather to be.

An example of this might be if you are looking to go skiing you would not visit Vancouver in June. Likewise, if you don’t particularly like the cooler weather you would probably not visit New Zealand in July. So if you have a particular preference for weather or temperature that can be something worth researching in advance.

Travel Availability

There are some instances where the method you would like to travel by might not be available when you want to travel. One of the best examples of this would be if you like to cruise. Cruise ships will often only spend a part of the year cruising in any one location. A great example of this is cruising to Alaska which generally is only available between April and September. These are the best months to cruise, even though sometimes the weather is not entirely favourable. Likewise, cruises are available year-round from Australia, but the majority of ships operate through the summer months. With just a small number still cruising through winter.

When Might Be Better?

One of the easiest options when it comes to choosing the right time to travel is to search Google. A simple search for “When is the best time to visit X” will often give some good advice. That is with X being your destination that you would like to visit. Some destinations may be good all year round, but others may have a specific window of time that is best to visit.

As for a personal time that is better that could be something you need to consider looking at in your own circumstances. Is now the time you have a travel? Could a point in the future be better? In most cases, I suspect you will enjoy the trip, but just don’t put something else in jeopardy for a moment’s pleasures.

Destinations Feature

A visit to the Nice Flower Markets in Nice, France

Flower Market, Spices - Nice, France

When you are travelling there are always a couple of truths that pave the way. The first one is that you rarely if ever spend the whole trip travelling in the same way. Which is exactly how I found my way around and between places on my last trip to Europe.

I started the trip flying from place to place, Brisbane to Seoul, Seoul to London, London to Vienna. Eventually finding my way across to the United States of America and Fort Lauderdale, before boarding a cruise ship. The cruise ship took me back the other way across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean before arriving in Venice. From there it was back on to a plane to arrive in Nice, France.

Nice, France

It was right around this point that another one of the truths of travel popped up for me. That is the reality that there is always something that escapes your planning. In this case, it happened to be the fact that it was a public holiday in France. It was Labour Day, and that meant very little was operating or even open. The public transport was not operating, which meant a€45 taxi ride instead of a€4.50 bus fare. Almost every single shop that I passed by was closed. The majority of options for food were closed as well, which meant I end up with McDonald’s for dinner.

But of course that was just one day, and the next day was a new day, thankfully not a public holiday again. I had a tour booked and instead of wondering what to do, I got to see a whole lot of the city of Nice. The final stop on the tour was a visit to the Nice Flower Market.

Nice Flower Market

Flower Market, Spices - Nice, France

The Flower Market in Nice was for the most part very much what the name might suggest. However, despite that I am rather surprised to look back and see that the only photos I have from this visit are of one particular stall. The stall offered a selection of spices (above), sugars (below) and a range of other what looks like potpourri.

Flower Market, Sugars - Nice, France

I just cannot understand what I was thinking not taking more photos. But maybe that is where yet another truth of travel comes into the picture. You always seem to realise what you missed a long time after the fact. The only thing you can do is hope to live and learn for the next time.

Feature Lifestyle

Why I Started A Travel Blog

Why I Started A Travel Blog

It was March 2010 and I had been working consistently for nine years give or take a couple of months. I finished my studies at the end of year 11 in 2000 and started working the next year. Besides the occasional trip to Northern New South Wales to visit family, I hardly went anywhere since I was a child.

A Choice To Work

Of course, this was not for any other reason than my personal choice to do so. I decided to get a job and go to work and just kept on working. Finding that first job did take a little bit of effort. Subsequently, in that first couple of years, I also bounced from one job to another. Eventually, in 2006 I found the job that seemed to stick, well at this point it is the job I held the longest. Coincidently at this point, it is also the most recent job I had.

In the beginning, the job seemed great, I was making reasonably good money, and the only downside was that it was night shift. But fast forward a couple of years and the hours only seemed to get longer and longer. Soon I found myself going from casual work to permanent work and from 25 hours a week to 55 hours a week. The only plus side is that I was getting paid for every hour I worked. The mistake I made though was instead of taking the holiday leave I accrued, I would get it cashed out and keep on working.

Working To Much

I somehow kept up a regime of working anywhere from 45-55 hours a week for nearly three years. I think in large part due to the work not being physically challenging but more mentally challenging. But no matter, if it is physical or mental doing these sort of hours on a night shift, can take its toll. Especially when you make that sort of decision not to take holiday breaks and keep at it week in, week out.

Eventually, in early 2010, I knew I needed a break, working like this is not what life is meant to be about. I could have continued to make a choice to work, but I could see that would not go so well in the long term.

A Well Needed Holiday

In March 2010, I finally arrived at the decision I needed some time off and booked a week of annual leave from work. I had less than two weeks to book some airfares and accommodation. But on the 20th of March, 2010, I boarded a plane for Melbourne.

In some ways, it feels a little weird to say this but at the age of 26 years old I was taking my first trip away by myself. But that is very much the result of the choices that I made along the way. Week after week and year after year I decided to work and push off the idea of travel.

The Choice To Blog

It might come as no surprise that while I was planning to travel friends and family showed an interest in the trip. Coincidently I had been looking for a way to focus what I had previously been doing with blogging. To share the details and activities of my trip seemed like a great idea.

At the time I was probably approaching the idea with some degree of laziness. I did not particularly look forward to the idea of retelling the same story over and over again. So the idea that I could write the story once in the blog and direct people there was a positive for me at the time. However, this is definitely something that has changed since I am more than happy to walk at length about any of my travels.

In many ways, through sharing your story on a blog you can add a lot more value than the spoken story. It allows you to better integrate specific photos at just the right time. While also sharing the details in a logical order and not missing a key point.

Getting Started With The Blog

Starting a blog for me was rather easy and straightforward endeavour. I had previously built or worked on a number of different blogs, but none that were as focused on one topic. Initially, I used a personal domain name that did not lead to any idea of the topic. However, in recent times I did change the name to come under the Travel Explored banner.

I started the blog six days before leaving for Melbourne and shared a couple of posts before leaving. I continued posting, each day while in Melbourne. Sharing eight posts which totalled some 6,000+ words and included over 50 images from the trip. The feedback that I received from family and friends was extremely positive and made the experience very worthwhile.

Travelling & Blogging More

If you have read much on the blog here you will see my trip to Melbourne was just the beginning. I have continued to blog each and every overseas trip that I have taken. That totals 35 countries, over 90 days cruising, probably close to 100 flights and I am sure many other statistics.

Now that is a little of the backstory around how I got started over eight years ago. But the trigger that moves you towards a blog, or sharing your story can come from just about any place. In the near future, I am thinking of offering some posts that share how to start your own blog. But would like to hear some feedback from you. Is this something you would like to read about? Let me know in the comments below.

Feature Photography

Multiple Memory Cards & Batteries

Multiple Memory Cards & Batteries

When it comes to memory cards and batteries these are two accessories that you must have for your camera. But what do you need and why do you need it? These questions maybe are not all that important when you are at home, but become more important when you are planning to travel with your camera.

Memory Cards

Extra Memory Cards

The memory card is like the film and is what your camera will save every photo you take. Memory cards can come in a number of different types but the vast majority of consumer cameras use the SD Card Format. Some of the higher level Digital SLR cameras do use another format called compact flash.

In the past, you would often receive a small memory card with your camera. To my knowledge, this rarely happens anymore and it is the first accessory you will find yourself purchasing. But it is a purchase that you need to be somewhat smart about and not rush into buying the biggest you can afford.

Buy Multiple Memory Cards

The approach I have always taken is to avoid buying a single big memory card in favour of multiple smaller memory cards. Instead of purchasing a single 128GB SD Card I would prefer to buy 4 x 32GB SD Cards. There are a couple of reasons why this can be a good idea.

The first is that if your memory card fails, dies or gets full you will have a spare one available. When travelling this can be a big benefit depending on where you are or what you are doing. If you are on a cruise tour and your card dies that could mean no more photos that day. If you have a spare card you are straight away back up and running.

The second thing is that it allows you to cycle your cards. So if you lose your camera or a card dies you will only lose the photos on that card. If that is your only card it will likely be all your images. With multiple cards, you will possibly have some images on other cards.

Finally, I have rarely found that it costs you any more to buy multiple smaller cards over one big card. If anything the smaller cards are more often on special and end up costing you less.

My Position

I personally own 5 x 32 GB memory cards that I use between two cameras. I have one in each camera and there is always a spare one for each camera plus one backup. To date even when filming video, I have never filled all five memory cards in one session or day.

Batteries

Extra Betteries

The reality with digital cameras is that they do need to be powered by a battery. Unfortunately, sometimes these batteries do not last as long as we would like. In some cases, this is a very similar situation to memory cards when you are travelling. If your battery goes flat half way through the day and you only have one that is it. Or if you forget to charge the battery the night before you could have no camera all day.

An Extra Battery

The biggest problem with batteries is that they are not necessarily cheap, especially considering the time they last. But buying at least one spare battery can be a lifesaver in the situations mentioned above.

Of course, the mileage of your battery will very much depend on your camera and what you are doing. Filming video will often drain the battery faster than just taking photos. Likewise, if you are inside and using the flash it will likely not last as long either.

I still believe the biggest benefit comes from those times when you don’t have time to charge or forget to charge the battery. Having that spare battery in these circumstances can save a lot of miss opportunities.

My Position

I personally own a total of five batteries for my two cameras. I am lucky that the two camera’s even though different models use the same battery. That is one battery for each camera, plus a spare for each plus one extra. Unlike memory cards, the batteries have come close to being a problem. In one filming session of roughly four hours, all five batteries were used. Each may have had some charge left but once they were on the last bar I changed the battery. That was to avoid the camera going flat in the middle of capturing a clip.

Smart Investments

You will find that at the end of the day if you are serious about your camera the additional investment will be worth it. There are so many other scenarios that I could have included here to justify the investment. But at the end of the day, a spare battery and spare memory card are well worth the extra money. Leave a comment below if you are a photographer with what your backup options are.

Destinations Feature

A View of the Danube Canal in Vienna

Vienna -Danube Canal

The very first day that I arrived in the city of Vienna was definitely an interesting experience. It was the third day of a journey that would take me across three continents, through 19 countries in 80-days. But at this early point in the trip what happened, I went and got myself lost.

Now by saying that I got myself lost, I was still in the city of Vienna. I was not in some far off remote wilderness miles from anywhere. But I did not know how to get from where I was to where I needed to be. I had decided to walk to my hotel from the train station. In an attempt to avoid the need to decipher the ticket machine for the subway. But not having collected a map at the airport and finding none available in the train station, I tried to go from memory. That did not work out so well and eventually walked into a hotel and asked for help.

Danube Canal

It was on that first day not long after leaving the train station that I cross the Danube Canal. Having studied the map of Vienna before leaving home to presumably know my way to the hotel I think all was well. It seemed to be in the general region I expected, but soon enough I knew I was not in the right spot. I came across a park that was much bigger than I remembered on the map.

But alas that story is better left for another time. Everything ended well with me finding my way to the hotel. But I did not find myself at the Danube Canal again until the morning of my second last day in Vienna. The weekly pass that I had purchased after getting lost for the subway had run out. I decided instead of bypassing everything in between I would walk into the centre of town.

Vienna -Danube Canal

Ironically that walk is the same walk, in reverse, I should have taken on the day that I arrived. The bridge in this photo is the bridge that I should have walked across the canal. But these are the lessons that we learn when we travel. Especially the ones that relate to the idea of never relying on your memory to get around a city. No matter how good your memory might be.

Cruising Feature

A Sunrise In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Sunrise

The first time I decided to book a trip and travel overseas, I had no idea what my future travels would hold for me. I booked a trip to visit four countries, where the predominant language was mainly English. All of them reasonably easy for a tourist to explore and navigate with maps and a little assistance. These countries were The United States of America, Canada, England and Hong Kong.

Of course, that trip did leave me with many fantastic memories and led to a lifelong desire to travel. Even at that point, there were places that I expected I might travel to and some that I never even considered. One such place was Central and South America, somewhere I never expected to travel. There were photos that looked beautiful from these locations but they still did not manage to make it onto my want to travel list.

When An Opportunity Arises

I returned from my first overseas trip towards the end of November 2010. By the end of March 2011, I was already heading back to the USA. However, I was arriving with a much different trip in mind too when I started my planning. The plan started out spending eight weeks exploring the United States. But the planning was rather challenging and I soon took a suggestion to look at a cruise.

The cruise option started as a maybe a seven-day cruise in the Carribean. A couple of days of trawling options and I soon discovered a rather good deal on a 28-day cruise from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale and back to San Diego. The cruise would transit the Panama Canal in both directions and visit numerous ports in Central America. Even though I never had a desire to visit these places, how can you let an opportunity to visit them pass.

Puerto Vallarta

The first of fifteen ports on this cruise was the city of Puerto Vallarta. After two days at sea after departing from San Diego, it was nice to set foot on dry land again. Although I had well and truly settled into being onboard a ship at sea, even though I had never done so before.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Sunrise

One thing that did surprise me a little was the time of the sunrise. I had been awake early to see our arrival into port for the first time. It was still dark as the ship was pulling aside the pier, even though it was almost 7.30am. But soon enough the sun peaked over the mountain range that sits behind Puerto Vallarta.

Experiencing Different

One thing that I come to enjoy being onboard a cruise ship was the different experiences that came about. Seeing sunrise and sunset from so many different perspectives. Trying new foods, because why not be a little daring when you travel. Seeing different cultures and getting to do so without having to also face the challenges of a ground-based trip.

When you consider just how many potential cruises there are out there, I say some stars aligned to bring me to this one. I travelled onboard the MS Statendam, which at the time was owned by Holland America Line. However, now cruises under the P & O Australia banner as the Pacific Eden. Cruising onboard a smaller cruise ship was a great introduction and led me to continue cruising three times since.

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