Posts tagged Photography

Nightcrawler: Finding Melbourne’s Best Street Art After Dark

Melbourne, a city famous for its street art and graffiti scene, is a fascinating and bustling city by day dripping with fresh coats of spray paint. But I deciding to get a different perspective altogether by exploring Melbourne street art by night. The city seemed to transform when the sun set, in a bit of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde way. In no means bad, but personalities, artworks, people, and senses are all amplified in the neon lights of alleyways. It was as if the street art itself came to life after the city fell asleep.

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A Walk Through the Fascinating Roman Forum

The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

It had only been a couple of days since I had arrived in Rome and fulfilled a childhood dream, and even though I had been in the city for a relatively short period of time, I had already managed to get hopelessly lost in the Eternal City. After taking it easy that night, and doing some light exploring the next day, I figured it was time to get to know the history and the city a bit better.

I very rarely take tours in cities. 

Wandering a city with no predetermined destination or sight is my typical method of discovery, but with a city like Rome packed with rich history dating back 2,000+ years, I thought it best to experience some of it by the deep knowledge of a guide. Now, if you have been one to take a guided tour of anything in the past, you may agree with me that some tours are either way too boring, way too detailed, or that the guide straight up knows nothing.

Back in 2013 when I attended the Travel Blog Exchange in Toronto I met some representatives of a tour company called Walks of Italy, and promised I’d check them out when I finally reached Italy. Travelers and bloggers I knew had already heaped praises upon their tours, so I reached out to them before arriving and they were excited to help me get to know Rome a bit better.

The first couple of days in Rome I had passed by the Roman Forum numerous times — a sprawling complex of ruins in the center of the city about 2-3 stories beneath the modern-day Roman roads. Each time I couldn’t help but pause and scan across the ancient square at the tall chipped pillars, the old and crumbling brick walls, the carved marble blocks scattered about — and I was trying to re-imagine what everything was and how it may have looked in Ancient Roman times.

This tour helped me do just that.

We met up across the Via dei Fori Imperiali, the main road the runs past the Colosseum and to the Forum complex. After brief introductions and linking us all up with headsets so we can always hear him (something I hadn’t seen on other tours), we were on our way. Descending down a ramp into the Forum brought us to the street level which ancient Rome had been built upon, and over the couple of thousands of years had been buried.

The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

The most celebrated meeting place in history” — The Forum Romanum, or Roman Forum, stretched out before us — littered with broken pieces of a time long past, and at times forgotten. This was the heart of ancient Rome; where a bustling marketplace met politics, triumphant processions paraded and news from around the empire was announced. It was a beautiful and chaotic square where the heartbeat of the empire was felt, where monuments of great men stood, and where great temples stood reflecting the awe of the gods.

Capitoline Hill, Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Long grass swayed in an otherwise barren patch of land with the Capitoline Hill (City Hall) towering over the Forum. On the right, the Arcus Severi, or Arch of Septimus Severus still stand proud in triumphant marble, with the pillar remains of the ancient Temple of Saturn on the left.

The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

A closer up look at the Temple of Saturn, the god of the Capitol, of wealth, and of time — yet as the empire faltered and crumbled, so too did Saturn’s reign of time end. Originally build in 497BC, this is the remains of the third incarnation of the temple that had once held the statue of the god in the interior which was veiled and equipped with a scythe, almost as if the Reaper. It would also become the treasury for Rome.

The beginning of our Walks of Italy tour around the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Our guide walking us through historical stories and showing us recreations of the Roman Forum itself, while we sat on the ancient stones that once were apart of that period.

Photo of Cyprus Trees in Rome. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

In the forum the Roman Cyprus Trees climbed into the sky.

Old stone walls in the Roman Forum near Caesar's tomb. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Stone walls of the buildings which once populated the square, remnants of the beautiful white plaster swathed in colors, still standing as if it had never known the rest of Rome had fallen.

Palantine Hille in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

The brick skeleton of the Imperial Palace overlooking the Roman Forum.

The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

The Imperial Palace stands atop Palatine Hill, the supposed birthplace of Rome where Romulus and Remus had come upon the she-wold Lupa who kept the babes alive after they were sent to their deaths down a river from a fearful and superstitious King.

The temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Castor and Pollux temple in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Views of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, built in 495BC and named for the twin sons of Zeus.

Temple of Faustina in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

The Temple of Antonius and Faustina, built for Emperor Antonius’s deceased wife and later turned into a Catholic Church. Probably the only reason it had survived so intact throughout history

A photo of the temple of Antoninus Faustina in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

As we walked past the temple, our guide explained that the big scars seen towards the top of the pillars were made from an apparent attempt to pull the pillars down. One which failed.

Stone slabs and ruins in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Large marble blocks populate the path traveling up toward the Palatine Hill, carved with various animals like bulls and horses.

A photo of the Arch of Augustus in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

The Triumphant Arch of Augustus, the model for the two other remaining arches in Rome built in 29BC originally for Octavian and later changed to commemorate the battle of Actium against Mark Anthony and Cleopatra.

Photo up close of the Arch of Augustus in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Fierce war-horses pull a chariot forth in one of the carved scenes in the arch.

The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

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Umbrella Pines in Rome. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Umbrella pines in the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

After passing by the Arch of Augustus we snaked up toward Palatine Hill and the Imperial Palace. Olive trees lined the old stone Roman road, with flowers bursting from cracks in the stone walls lining, and the Roman cyprus and umbrella pines towering above. It was shaded and cool, a nice contrast from the hot sun of the day, and made for a beautiful fit for a palace.

A photo of an old doorway on Palatine Hill, Rome. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Palatine Hill ruins in Rome. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

A regal seagull rests atop a crumbling pillar in the Imperial Palace, almost as if to greet our procession once we reached the remains.

The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

The thin bricks stacked perfectly and once formed the high and astonishing walls of the Imperial Palace, where Emperors such as Augustus and Flavian called home. It had been plastered neatly and painted ornately, and was a place where Roman rulers would meet representatives from other countries to entertain and awe them with the grandiose dwellings fit for a god.

The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

Our guide had painted a picture of the palace for us as it once stood. It had been covered in marble, cold to the touch and perfect for the hot days of summer, with rare marbles like the yellow marble from Africa above. As history wore on, and the empire fell, Palaces like this were stripped of its beauty by raiders, and also Popes whom wanted to decorate their own churches and homes with such rarities.

Gardens in the ruins atop Palatine Hill in Rome. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

The open Stadium of Domitian, gardens of the Imperial Palace and private sporting events which were held in the Palace.

The roman colosseum seen from atop Palatine Hill. The Roman Forum in downtown Rome is a perfect look at ancient Italian and Roman history in a city that shaped the world. The Roman forum, now below street level and intact ancient structures, shows off one of the most important places in Ancient Rome where people would come to trade, make announcements, and share news.

In the distance from Palatine hill, the Flavian Amphitheater, or better known as the Colosseum, was our next destination on the tour. At this point my allergies were destroying me, with Mother Nature attacking my face. Though I was miserable, the thought of exploring the Colosseum in parts most don’t get to see drove me to fight on.

The tour so far had already beaten my expectations, with our guide filling each ruin with history and bringing us into the time period, without causing us to age from boredom in the process. I was shocked to have the thought cross my mind that I was enjoying a guided tour, and extremely excited for the next half.

Exploring the Colosseum, something I couldn’t have even imagined doing as a young boy, is going to be a completely different article because the experience was just that damn gnarly.

Have you ever been around the Roman Forum? What guided city tour surprised you?

A VIP tour of the Roman Colosseum and Hypogeum by Walks of Italy.

High in the hills of Umbria, neer Paciano Italy, there is an organic olive and wine estate called Il Fontanaro. They produce award winning organic and sustainable grapes and olives used in their wines and oils, as well as honey produced on the farm. Offering week long escapes so people can learn about sustainable agriculture and organic farming, along with Italian cooking classes, and wine tastings.

Want to see more of Italy? How about Umbria and Tuscany, or Ponza Island, or Rome? Check out these Italy guides for all things history, culture, culinary, and adventure.
*Disclaimer* This tour was provided by Walks of Italy to review, but in no way influences the opinions, descriptions, experiences, and use of the word “gnarly” on this blog.

Weekly Travel Photo: Meeting an Octopus in Italy

On a recent blogger tour around Italy, we visited the island of Ponza, about two hours south of Rome and a three-hour ferry ride. While there, I had the chance to go scuba diving for the very first time and took along my GoPro to capture the moment. And one such moment was with this little octopus that we found under a rock at the sea-bed.

Now, personally I’ve never met an octopus, but it seemed much obliged to meet me. Given the uber cuteness and subtle hilarity of this photo, I want you to come up with a fitting caption for this photo!

CAPTION THIS BELOW!

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*Special thanks to #ThisIsYourTime and Slow Living Vacations, as well as Ponza Diving School who included me in this experience*

Weekly Photo Mojo is about stimulating your cortex with retina rupturing and awe-inspiring photos from around the world to help you reach Terminal Vicariosity (The point where the mind reaches maximum capacity from living vicariously through someone else, and chooses to start actually living.)

What feeling does this photo evoke for you?

 

Weekly Travel Photo: Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge

Welcome to Praha AKA Prague AKA the City of Spires. This week’s photo mojo comes to you from the fabled capital of the Czech Republic. In the distance the spires of Prague Castle pierce the sky, with the Charles Bridge spanning Vltava River and its own tower and spires opposite. Both are important landmarks to the capital city of the Czech Republic with a history that is every bit beautiful as it is bloody.

More to come on the Czech Republic soon!

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Weekly Photo Mojo is about stimulating your cortex with retina rupturing and awe-inspiring photos from around the world to help you reach Terminal Vicariosity (The point where the mind reaches maximum capacity from living vicariously through someone else, and chooses to start actually living.)

The most beautiful landscapes from around the world

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This week’s #Frifotos theme on Twitter is the subject of landscapes. And even though I’ve just began traveling, I’ve had the opportunity to gaze upon some absolutely jaw dropping scenery from North America to Canada, Haiti to Thailand, and Cambodia. And now, as I begin traveling through Europe, I have finally been able to take in some landscapes in Italy as well.

Here are my picks, in no certain order, from my own photos of the most beautiful landscapes from around the world that I have visited.

CAMBODIA 

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Angkor Wat pokes above the tree tops in the distance as the sun sets.

 

NEW ZEALAND

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Lake Tekapo glistens in the sunlight, golden grass sways in the wind, the smell of fresh mountain air and pines fill your nose.

Check out more from New Zealand

 

HAITI

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High atop the mountain fortress of La Citadel the land drops 3,000ft into a lush and green valley below.

Check out more from Haiti

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The morning sun climbs over the hilltops above Belly Beach, nearly untouched paradise surrounded by the crystal clear Caribbean.

Check out more from Haiti

 

 THAILAND

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The valley of Pai fills with orange and gold as the sun descends behind the mountains.

Check out more from Thailand

 

ITALY

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Aqueducts from ancient Rome climb out of the landscape in the countryside outside of Rome, still defying time and the elements.

Check out more from Italy

 

CANADA

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A fiord splits the mountain range past a dark lake on a cloudy day in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada.

Check out more from Canada

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Amongst the pine trees and thick hills outside of Gros Morne National Park, a wood-plank trail disappears into the distance.

Check out more from Canada

 

UNITED STATES

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Everything was wiped away in this once-upon-a-time resort getaway — the Salton Sea was created by man, but nature denied the reward. It is the contrast to an era long gone; the silence, the desolation, the salt-crusted land and inhabitable lake, the dead fish, the seagulls squawking, and the skeletons of houses leftover that makes this oddly beautiful in its demise.

Check out more from the United States

 

What was your favorite landscape from above? And what is your favorite landscape from around the world?

 

Weekly Photo: Into the Roman Colosseum’s Hypogeum Where the Gladiators Awaited Death.

 

Imagine yourself as a gladiator of Rome, a slave warrior, deep under the enormous Flavian Amphitheater awaiting battle. The thunderous noise of 50,000 rabid Romans rumbles the roof above, but you cannot see a thing. Their stomping and shouting sounds the exact same as a foreboding storm rolling toward you. It is pitch black, besides the brief and fleeting light of a dim torch that occasionally flickers on the uneven stone walls, casting long and ghastly shadows which crawl over the ceiling.

Somewhere in that darkness the feral roars from caged lions and tigers echo, haunting that blackness. You cannot see who you sit next to, but you can smell them. You can smell the sun-burnt olive oil on their skin slathered on everyone to make them glisten in the sun. You can smell the sweat beading and dripping from yourself and the warriors around you.

Salt smell like a vast ocean, yet no cool breeze to cool your brow or culls from seagulls to calm your nerves. Just blackness and sweat. And in that blackness is the smell of death. Even though none have died yet, many have before you after leaving that blackness. The smell of death is of the piss and the shit and the sweat that happens before battle — the fear takes hold of some more than others and they lose their bowels and minds before being released into that sand-pit of death.

Soon the ceiling will crack open raining dust and sand onto our heads. Light will pour through the opening and we will rise up to the cheers of thousands. And with that light, we do not rise up to meet life, but death. Sometimes the darkness is better.

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Here is a photo from my recent restricted access tour with Walks of Italy beneath the Colosseum, called the Hypogeum. Here is where the gladiators awaited battle and 32 pens held animals for the fights. Though on this day light illuminated the ruins, showing colorful brick and moss growing, it was nothing light this in Roman times. A pigeon sips water out of a hole that once held timbers supporting the arena floor.

Here is a slightly edited photo that adds to the underground feel.

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*This tour was sponsored by Walks of Italy but, as always, my thoughts and reactions are my own*

Weekly Photo Mojo is about stimulating your cortex with retina rupturing and awe-inspiring photos from around the world to help you reach Terminal Vicariosity (The point where the mind reaches maximum capacity from living vicariously through someone else, and chooses to start actually living.)

What feeling does this photo evoke for you?

 

Weekly Photo: The Grand Canyon of Thailand in Pai

Pai is a small town in the far north of Thailand and a place I escape to nearly every month from Chiang Mai. Besides being a hippy enclave, there are outdoor activities abound; surrounded by mountains on most sides, waterfalls everywhere you look, and more than a handful of different geothermal hot pools. Another “hidden” piece of Pai that makes it amazing is Pai Canyon, considered to be the Grand Canyon of Thailand.

The canyon itself isn’t nearly as vast as the world wonder in Arizona, but it is quite impressive. Rock formations trail outward like spiderwebs — treacherously narrow with 100 foot drops in some places and fine sand that makes it even more dangerous. For the adventurous (and stupid) like myself, this is what makes the canyon so amazing — you can hike on these narrow rock formations all the way through the canyon and be almost completely alone.

If you want to spread some travel mojo, share this photo below!

 

Weekly Photo Mojo is about stimulating your cortex with retina rupturing and awe-inspiring photos from around the world to help you reach Terminal Vicariosity (The point where the mind reaches maximum capacity from living vicariously through someone else, and chooses to start actually living.)

What feeling does this photo evoke for you?

In Photos: The Most Beautiful Coastlines around the World

Whether it be watching gentle waves roll softly in on a beach, or admiring a sunset that glistens across a silver ocean like a million diamonds, or being awe-struck at the fierce and frothing water crashing relentlessly against cliffs after a storm — there is something mystifying about a coastline. It’s as if you stand at the edge of the world staring out into an infinite expanse of blue.

I scoured my hard-drives for for the most beautiful coastlines around the world from my travels including images from Thailand, Haiti, Canada, and the United States.

Enjoy!

THAILAND

Me on Koh Phi Phi looking out at Loh Dalum Bay.

Koh Phi Phi Le and the location of “The Beach” from just over the crest of our longtail boat.

Loh Dalum Bay at low-tide.

Want to see more of Thailand? Head over here!

CANADA

A lonely pony swing looking out over the coast of Norfolk County.

The inlet coast of St. John’s Newfoundland as the sun sets.

Looking out over dark green pines at the Atlantic ocean from a trek new Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland.

Cape Spear lighthouse keeping a watchful eye for sailors on the coast of Newfoundland near St. John’s.

View from the Skyline trail in Nova Scotia.

Pastel sunset and the silhouette of Rocky Harbor lighthouse in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland.

Want to see more of Canada? Head over here!

NEW ZEALAND

Doubtless Bay and Cooper’s Beach in the far north of New Zealand.

The rocky coastline around Wellington.

Looking out over Christchurch on the South Island.

Bright blue water seen from Mt. Maunganui, Tauranga.

The small town of Bay of Islands in the north of New Zealand.

The waring coastline of Cape Reinga in the Northland, where the sea and ocean me, clashing for all of time.

Weiheke Island outside of Auckland, the island of wine.

Want to see more of New Zealand? Head over here!

HAITI

Jagged coastline before reaching Labadee.

A friend meditates before the bright ocean at Belly Beach, Labadee, Haiti.

A warm morning sun radiates over the mountains near Belly Beach, Labadee.

Want to see more of Haiti on the blog? Head over here!

 

UNITED STATES

A cream-sickle colored sunset and a yogi on the cliffs outside of San Diego.

From the train pulling into northern California at dusk.

Want to see more of the United States on the blog? Head over here!

Love being on the coast? Which photo was your favorite?

Weekly Photo Mojo: A Thai man crafts bamboo rafts by the riverside in Pai, Thailand

This weeks photo mojo comes from Pai, Thailand. Under the shadow of the mountains near Memorial Bridge, a local Thai man crafted bamboo rafts by hand. I stood there on that old iron bridge over that trickling river watching this man wrap and tighten twine around massive bamboo shoots.

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Weekly Photo Mojo is about stimulating your cortex with retina rupturing and awe-inspiring photos from around the world to help you reach Terminal Vicariosity (The point where the mind reaches maximum capacity from living vicariously through someone else, and chooses to start actually living.)

What feeling does this photo evoke for you?

Weekly Photo Mojo: A Soldier walks down Memorial Bridge in Pai, Thailand

As I was exploring the outskirts of Pai, Thailand on motorbike we came to Memorial Bridge which spanned a shallow rippling river. There was a moment where I felt as though I had traveled back in time as a mock soldier in a vintage uniform, holding a sword, marched down the wooden planks. To add to the scene, at the end of a bridge a young man chatted with a woman in a flowing white dress and an old tricycle sat idle nearby.

soldier-in-pai-thailand

Weekly Photo Mojo is about stimulating your cortex with retina rupturing and awe-inspiring photos from around the world to help you reach Terminal Vicariosity (The point where the mind reaches maximum capacity from living vicariously through someone else, and chooses to start actually living.)

What feeling does this photo evoke for you?

The young Thai girl selling red balloons, and her unknown dreams

There she was, one small Thai girl holding 99 red balloons. Well, not 99, but quite a lot of balloons. I had just escaped out of the throngs of shoppers in the Chiang Mai Sunday walking street and shuffled, relieved to be free, into an intersection.

There she was, this unknown girl in a dark plaid shirt clutching strings that were pulled upward by the night sky. It was still a busy intersection, one with people flowing from all four directions in a blur of prospective customers, but not one stopped for a bright red balloon. It was like another dimension, one where she was suspended in a parallel plane with life whizzing by her all around; all she could do was pivot slowly as if she was standing on the spinning wheel of a music box. But no happy melody played.

There she was, this young Thai girl grasping red balloons which all seemed to ache to defy gravity and float away into the blackness — so many balloons she clutched tightly that it seemed they could float her tininess away too.

There she was, her name unknown, and I wondered as I saw her pivot to the silent song of night if she would go with those bright red balloons if they could pull her aloft to some faraway place. I wondered if she knew of a far away place, or if she had a fantasy place in her head that these balloons could float her away to.

There she was, a seemingly sweet young Thai girl with her eyes flicking from one corner to another, one person to another. I wondered what went through her head — maybe she dreamed of that faraway place? Maybe she dreamed no dreams? Maybe she was selling these bright red balloons, ones that rebelled against the monochrome night and defied gravity, to help support her family? Maybe her dark brown eyes that worriedly darted back and forth at passerby’s betrayed an anxiousness of something watching her, observing her, using her, or making sure she sells those bright red balloons. Making sure she doesn’t float away to some faraway dream she has. Making sure the strings always stay attached.

There she was — that young brown-eyed and seemingly innocent Thai girl, with the bright red balloons struggling to flee into the sky, standing alone in the night market with a blank expression on her face. Who knows what was going through her head, what dreams she did or didn’t have, what her name was, why she was selling these red balloons, and what she wanted to be when she grew up.

But I wondered.

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This photo I took is one of my all time favorite captures. I feel like it has a powerful yet unknown emotion to it, one where you wonder.

What went through your head when you saw the photo?

 

Weekly Photo Mojo: Desolate Beauty in the Salton Sea.

Besides the hungry gulls squawking, an eery silence lays over Bombay Beach. Once a town, floods from the Colorado River submerged the area and only left remnants of a town that once was. The ground is crusted over by salt from the Salton Sea which has a salinity level higher than the entire Pacific Ocean combined.

While exploring California before my big trip to Southeast Asia, my friends and I stopped by to walk around. Just desolate beauty remained besides this ghostly shirt that fluttered in the salty breeze.

(Many more photos coming for this haunting place!)

bombay beach salton sea

 

Weekly Photo Mojo is about stimulating your cortex with retina rupturing and awe-inspiring photos from around the world to help you reach Terminal Vicariosity (The point where the mind reaches maximum capacity from living vicariously through someone else, and chooses to start actually living.)

What feeling does this photo evoke for you?

Weekly Photo Mojo: A Silver Lake Reflects the Sky in Infinite Symmetry across Oregon.

It was Day 3 of my train adventure across America and my last day on the Empire Builder. We were just entering into Oregon when I woke up and looked out my sleeper car and peeked out the window and saw this. Immediately I grabbed my Canon, racked the shutter speed up to 500, and began snapping photos.

The clouds and the sky melted into the horizon becoming one with the mirror lake. The world could be flipped upside down and we’d never know.

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This photo is from a cross-country 6 day train adventure across the United States on Amtrak and the pre-cursor to my trip to Southeast Asia. If you want to check out the daily recap from this trip and life on the train, start at Gnarly Train Adventure Day 1!

Weekly Photo Mojo is about stimulating your cortex with retina rupturing and awe-inspiring photos from around the world to help you reach Terminal Vicariosity (The point where the mind reaches maximum capacity from living vicariously through someone else, and chooses to start actually living.)

What feeling does this photo evoke for you?

 **DISCLOSURE** I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a free trip courtesy of Amtrak for review purposes. The opinions, photos, videos, and use of the word “gnarly” are completely my own based on my experience.