My goal in life, money-wise, was always to make enough of it to live comfortably and travel every year. And today, after extensively discussing travel and living abroad with several people, I decided it was time to get organized on my travel goals, at least for the next 10 years. I’m setting up a plan to save extra money every month for a travel fund, research the places I want to visit and deals/prices to make it happen. I’ve been already cutting my expenses to the bare minimum (I really don’t need cable tv), and i’ve been doing some extra photography on the side, to help up with my travel-fund goals.
This year, I have two trips planned: Southern Utah and a road trip in California. I’ll be talking about those soon, but in the meantime, here are my goals for the next 10 years:
In the next 10 years, I’d like to visit at least 3-5 countries I’ve never been to, with the following being on my top 5:
(Also on the list, but maybe we’ll shoot to go to all those in my 40s: Germany, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Greece, Turkey, South Korea, Czech Republic, Iceland)
Japan is definitely happening in the near future. I already started saving for it, and I have an idea of hoe much money I need to make it happen. I’d like to make it a 2-week trip, with at least 2 or 3 days dedicated to Disneyland Tokyo. I’m also very curious to see all the temples and historical sites in the country, and not really high on my list of priorities is Tokyo, actually. Except, I’d love to go shopping for all sort of cool things, and to spend a couple of hours at a Cat Cafe. New Zealand is somewhere I’d like to go and spend some good time at, maybe doing a road trip through the islands, like my friend Adina from Gluten Free Travelette did. I’d love to go see all the places that Lord of the Rings were filmed at (#nerd), and to enjoy the sea, of course. And, Canada! I can’t believe I live so close to it, and yet, haven’t visited. This is definitely on the short list because it will be very easy to make it happen. I might even make it to Vancouver before Japan. But I’d also like to go to Quebec on the other coast. Scotland is another top spot on my list, especially Isle of Skye, who has some striking landscapes. Thailand is last, but not least. I have a friend who lives there, and I’d love to visit her and see all the beautiful sights of the country.
And I’d love to revisit some of my favorite stops in Europe, from when I went when I was 14:
I know they are the top 3 cliche places to visit in Europe, but what can I say? There’s a reason why they are so popular, and I’d love to make my way back to all three. I’d also love to explore much more of England than I did when I was only 14 and a little tied up to my group to be able to go anywhere I wanted. For example, we never made it to Stonehenge, one of the places I most wanted to visit at the time, because the driver didn’t feel like driving us there. I was so sad about it, I’ve longed to go back to go check out that place. And to revisit so many of my other favorite cities I’ve been to on that trip: Oxford, Brighton, and of course, London. At least when I was in England, I was there for 3 weeks with plenty of time to explore, but the rest of Europe was a blur. Two days in Paris, with a quick sightseeing tour where we didn’t even stop at the attractions, except for the Eiffel Tower. I, with a couple of other friends at the time, vowed to go back with our significant others some day, so Mike, let’s get on with this! lol. And Venice, ah.. I even wrote here some other day how I wish to go back there on a photo trip, to just enjoy the city for a couple of months and take pictures.
In the USA:
I’d also like to add some more US travel to my itineraries, I feel like there’s so much of this country for me to see yet:
I have been dreaming of a Hawaii vacation for years. I’ve been trying to find a friend who’d be willing to go, but due to costs and how much time off we’d need, it’s been kind of tricky. So Hawaii has been postponed indefinitely, but if anyone feels like going in February next year, let’s make some plans. I’ve been to DC for a conference, so I only had a day to sightsee, and I’d love to go back and actually spend time in all the museums. Alaska ia also a place I’d love to visit, big expanses of striking landscape is kind of my thing.
I also made a quick Google Maps to place virtual pins on all places I have visited and or lived so far. I hope to expand on it in the near future.
View Been there, done that in a larger map
You can check out my travels on my photography blog.
I have seen quite a few variations of the same theme floating around the web: a notebook with pictures of clouds in its pages instead of plain white pages, for you to doodle or write ideas (and I think it would be super cool as a diary too). But even though I love it, I’m iffy on buying it… I mean, wouldn’t it be way more personal and fun if the cloud book had photos of clouds I’ve seen in real life, floating around in the Spring Sky? I thought so too, so I made my own cloud book with Blurb. I think this book would make an awesome gift to that creative person in your life!
I really love the cover I created for it, by the way:
The story behind the cover? I was at Andrew McMahon’s concert last week, and when he started singing “Watch the Sky” I suddenly saw this book taking complete shape in my head (before it was just wisps of thought). And I saw the cover like this, this font, some doodles, perfect. This book is that song.
If you love it and want it, you can buy it! For now, I have a hardcover version uploaded to Blurb, but if you have interest in getting this book with a soft cover, message me and I’ll upload a new one! And, they have an awesome coupon for April, so you should definitely take advantge of it: 15% off promo code APRIL15. And this code is good to buy my book, or to make your own! I get credited if click on my affiliate link –> Blurb, but even if you don’t, Blurb is awesome, and I strongly recommend them as the place to print all your books and magazines.
A few weeks ago, I was offered an early bird trial of Blurb’s new Designer Photo Book Templates and I of course said, Yes! Now that I have my finished product in front of me, I’d like to share how fun and easy it was to create this beautiful looking photo album! If you have recently taken a fun family trip or want to remember a great birthday party, head over to Blurb and create one of their new Designer Books using the code DESIGNMYBOOK and receive 20% off your order! You can thank me later!
Offer Code: DESIGNMYBOOK | What it’s good for: 20% Off Designer Book Templates only* | Expires: 3/31/
*Fine print: Get 20% USD, AUD, CAD or EUR off your Blurb Designer Bookify product total up to $150. Offer expires March 31, 2013 11.59pm local time. May only be used once per customer and on books created by you. May not be combined with any other coupons, volume discount or applied retroactively to previous orders.
I don’t know about most of you guys, but in Brazil, I grew up with those Sticker Albums, that were basically a way to promote movies, cartoons, and sports. The boys would all have soccer sticker albums, and the girls had the latest Disney movie album (Aladdin was my first!). We would trade stickers so we could complete our albums, and it was so much fun.
So much fun, that even now, at 30 years old, I still like them. Latest one I got was for the Harry Potter last movie. And also, I used it as an inspiration to make a (sort-of) DIY gift for my boyfriend for Christmas. I used Blurb.com to create the album, Moo.com to make the stickers, and then I bought a few tiny envelopes to sort the stickers into. Of course, this is a DIY that requires a certain knowledge of design tools, like InDesign, or Photoshop, but I do think it’s possible to make it happen with Blurb’s BookSmart! Here’s your steps:
1. Select all photos you’d like to print as stickers (this would be a cool project to do as a portfolio too, with your design work, very interactive), make sure they’re all with high resolution. Personal tip, don’t choose too many, or the project gets overwhelming. I had 50, which was the minimum Moo would print, so perfect.
2. Know the size of your sticker, then make the pages with the little blank spots where the stickers go. I designed the pages by theme, so they would have the captions and all that. Number all your blank spaces. Important: know the size your stickers will print, so you can make the blank spaces in that size (a bit smaller is even better!). Here’s what one of my pages looked like (designed on photoshop):
4. Then you wait… Sigh! In the meantime, I bought cute glossy envelopes to fit my stickers.
5. Stickers and album arrive! and I sorted all stickers and wrote the numbers where they went on the album behind them (use a soft pen so it doesn’t leave a mark on the sticker). Then I mixed them so they wouldn’t be in order on the envelope (I put 3-4 stickers per envelope). I packaged everything up and gifted the album and 3 packs of stickers to the boyfriend! Then each day I’d give him 2 more, so it took a few weeks for him to complete the album. It was something we did together, so it was a lot of fun.
And what’s cooler is that Blurb.com has a promo code going on now thru Valentine’s day! Print a photo book (my sticker album was totally a photo book!) and you can get 20% on your entire order of photo books | Code: MYBOOKLOVE.
Blurb.com sent me this promo code with a sample post: “Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, why not create a Blurb photo book filled with your favorite moments for that special someone. Instagram books and Facebook books are quick and easy to create and make the perfect little gift for the one you love.” But I thought.. Hey, I have an EVEN BETTER idea. Hope you like it, and I’d love to see the books you create with it!!
Sometimes a thought gets hold of you, and you just have to write it down. This one was what I had in my head while sewing tonight. iPhoneography, especially the app Instagram, gets a lot of bad rep. There’s a pletora of memes making fun of people who use it, pretty much demeaning the subjects and objects people choose to photograph with their phones, and then also making fun of the tons of filters that are added to make the photo look like it was not taken with a digital device.
Well, I’ve been known for having a more positive outlook on things (some people think it’s weird, but I love it!). To me, iPhoneography brought something back that we were sorely missing: iPhoneography helped us find beauty in everyday ordinary things again. Pebbles on the sidewalk, a crack on the wall, a leafless tree against a sunset, and yes, even our own breakfasts. It makes us, camera-phone owners, to walk a little bit more aware of our surroundings, searching for that beauty on everything, that one shot that will get the most likes on Instagram, because yes, a brick wall IS truly a work of art. And if you can’t see that, I’m sorry my friend, but you are a little bit jaded.
Here’s a cool story I heard about iPhoneography the other day: One of my co-workers said that a friend of hers, while planning her wedding, reached out to one of her friends who posted some photos on Facebook that she really liked, and asked him if he’d be willing to be her wedding photographer. He was honest and told her that he only used his phone and a few apps to get those pictures, but she said she didn’t mind, she loved what he did with his pictures and she wanted him to photograph her wedding. So he came to the wedding armed with his phone, and had an assistant with him with another phone, and together they captured lots of images and made an album the bride was proud of. And nowadays, with companies like Blurb that can print Instagram books at a really good quality, it might be a viable and inexpensive way to photograph an event.
So here’s the moral of this story: grab your phone and go outside. Pay attention to all the beauty around you and capture it and share it with all of us. Thank you for reading/looking!
Those photos are old, but I just stumbled across them (again, it seems I always go back to them) when looking for something for a different project. The place in the photos was a small part of my growing up. Here’s the story: my parents had a sailboat for most of my life (I think the first time I set foot in one I was 4 or 5, but dad you can correct me if I’m wrong), so spending time by the sea was a normal occurrence during our weekends. This abandoned place in the pictures, used to be an inn and restaurant in one of the main islands in the Angra dos Reis bay area, in Brazil. I remember visiting it often, I remember that the restaurant was expensive, the inn kind of fancy and isolated, and they even had an ape in cage in the back (I’m sure that was illegal…). There would always be people out and about around there, and boats lining up on the pier. And then I grew up, moved away for college and didn’t return for a really long time.
In 2005, I think it was around Christmas time, I went back to that sailboat for one last time (not that at the time I knew it would be the last-last). When we arrived at that island, the inn and restaurant was just ruins. It looked like it had been there abandoned for decades, not a mere few years. It made me feel like that place never really existed, and that all my memories of there were just a fantasy. Did it all really happened, or was it just a trance hiding from me what the place was really like, a bunch of ruins?
Most likely is just that deterioration happens much faster in a tropical area, and so close to the sea. Nevertheless, the place has quite an interesting feel. Enjoy the images.
Disclaimer updated: this is not a paid post, but I do get a small commission if you order your book from Blurb. But considering the pile of Blurb books I have at home, I can safely assure you that I’d still recommend them to you even if I didn’t get a dime out of it. Speaking of dime, I also have a discount code you can use, just type 15OFFBOOK on check out. And hit me up in the comments if you want any help creating your book.
So I first came across Blurb when I was about to graduate, and was looking for a place where I can get a nice printed copy of the manual I was writing as part of my final project (kind of like a thesis). I was designing the entire book in InDesign, and then I hoped to find a place to print it from that. Of course, when I actually sent the stuff over, I found out I had a few other adjustments I didn’t take into consideration, but in the end, I got a really nice book printed and ready to deliver to my project advisor. And of course I graduated with an A, the book looked awesome! After that I printed a few very small and short photo books, but about a month ago, I decided to go big and print a 160-page, hard-cover photo book with my photos from this year’s trip to Disney. This time though, to save some time, instead of designing the book in InDesign, I used Blurb’s app BookSmart.
And I was so happy, and so proud of the album I received, I immediately jumped on my computer to make another one, this time with photos from my trip to Disney in 2004-05, when I did my internship with Disney. For this one I didn’t have photos as awesome as the ones I took this year, but what mattered to me was just to have all those great memories I had from that trip in a wonderful and easy to go through book.
And the price was excellent. I created two one-of-a-kind, 160-page hardcover books, with high quality paper and my own design, and with the help of some coupons, I got them for a price of about $50 each including shipping, That’s not exactly cheap, but it’s a great price for the quality of the book you receive.
The only thing I am not super happy about with Blurb is the lack of cool pre-made designs to choose from to add on your book. Shutterfly has really pretty pre-made templates that you can use, but unfortunately, their price is not competitive for a book with as many pages as the one I got. So overall, I’ll still rather use Blurb, and if I have some extra time I can do the page-by-page design on my own.
This year, as you probably already know I turned 30. But you would never guess how old I am if you take into consideration the way I decided to celebrate my birthday weekend: with a visit to the Living Planet Aquarium and the Hogle Zoo.
At the Aquarium, I got up close and personal with their Gentoo penguins, probably the cutest wild animals I have ever seen this close! The encounter that the Aquarium has planned is awesome: you get a backstage tour of their facilities, and then you get to spend 20 minutes in a (freezing cold) room by the penguin exhibit, and the super curious little guys come over to watch you (for a moment there, I thought I was the wild animal and they had come over to watch, not the other way around!). It was hard to contain so many “awwwws.”
The next day I went to the Hogle Zoo because I really wanted to check out their new baby giraffe. And she is the cutest little giraffe I have ever seen! She seems very calm and quiet, and then, out of nowhere she starts up running like crazy, and her legs just go everywhere, so adorable!
But the zoo is also full of other cute animals, so I spent my time wisely and got a peek at all of them!
The temperatures are finally starting to drop, and it’s been pretty chilly in the morning when I go to work. I’ve been loving this weather, though, and I feel like everything around me looks even more beautiful when the weather is cold. The light is different or something, but I swear everything looks more interesting when the temperature drops. It’s almost like my own little tradition, walking alone to the bus stop, listening to music, enjoying the lower temperatures.
This weekend I did just that, but this time I brought my camera with me, and I didn’t have to be at work, so I had all the time in the world to be alone outside taking pictures. It was really early, so it was pretty much just me and my camera. I think you’ll see in these pictures what I love so much about cold mornings. And there’s even more photos over on my photography blog.