Bandwagon Blogger says Follow Me on Instagram! Story time is just getting started…

I will admit it – I have been a bandwagon blogger. I started the blog when I had an abundance of free time on my hands. More than enough. Too much, if there is such a thing. I’m sure some reading that sentence might cringe, or disagree in some way. But I was adrift.

Today, I am happy to say, I don’t have that problem! Free time is once again something precious, to be hoarded, and treasured. I am a graduate student. So you see, it’s not that I have stopped writing.

To reinforce this lifestyle, my tried and tested Nikon D60 has finally gone caput after a lot of use, and from time to time, abuse, at my hands. My trigger finger is getting itchy: and so my love for Instagram has finally taken flight.

So Follow Me on Instagram! 

More travel photos from around the world, as well as a whole bunch from my home, Canada, as well. Photos from Home and Away! Food, travel, the great outdoors.

I’m hooked you guys. So I’m here to say that I haven’t given up on the blog, just put it on the back burner on a very gentle, slow cooking simmer. It makes me happy to see that people still come to the blog as it is through search engines and other external links! The most popular posts continue to be those that I had some sort of experience or story to share – factual or fictional.

There are a ton of travel bloggers out there to be sifted through online, but true storytellers among them seem few and far between. That is something I am trying to keep up with on Instagram by sharing my photographs. Instagram is like the Travel Years, just distilled and concentrated down. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

Vietnam Photo Gallery 2

Visiting Vietnam was a wonderful experience, and a true challenge/eye opener for my first ‘real’ travel experience. Cruise ships, and crossing the border don’t count. I particularly enjoyed the northern parts of the country – the City of Hanoi, the northern mountain region of Sa Pa and surrounding communities, and Cat Ba Island. Even in winter, beautiful and unique flowers could be found blooming everywhere – a dramatically different type of winter than I am used to, coming from Central Ontario.

After releasing my first set of favorite images from Vietnam, I decided the time was ripe to give you some more! Traveling for many is becoming a way of life, and many people ask me about my time there. Please enjoy – your feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

Photos on Monday’s – The Harbor at Mui Ne

The Harbor at Mui Ne

Today’s Photo on Monday comes to you from Mui Ne, on the southeastern coast of Vietnam. The entire harbor is filled with boats, but my favorites are the small, colorful, round boats used by local fisherman that remain close to shore.

My first cold Monday back in Canada, and I am already thinking with longing of the heat and humidity of South East Asia!

Monday Photo Post – Converge

Hello everyone! Today is the last day of the Fall Colors Photo Contest – I am entry No. 5 so don’t forget to VOTE! But I digress.

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Today’s Monday Photo Post is one taken from my archive of Prince Edward Island photos. It is also my response to The Daily Posts weekly photography prompt, Converge. Taken on a grey day on a beach along the North Coast of the Island, I like the way the lines of the beach, the ramp and the sky all lead together towards to horizon. Looking at these pictures always makes me long for PEI!

What’s so great about scuba diving?

Early, wet, and sometimes cold mornings. Long drives and overly enthusiastic morning people. A crushing need to look under the dock now, beyond just lying on top of it. These are some of the harder parts to take about scuba diving (Scuba Diver Life dispels more myths about diving here). But I got back in tanks after 10 years as a regular swimmer – so what’s the draw?

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This may sound silly but one thing only got me off of the couch and on my way to the Scuba Shop on Notre Dame one afternoon in July. It is one of the most beautiful sights to turn over on your back while under the water, and see the sunlight filtering down on a clear day. I was watching a television show about scuba diving (ever watched Descending?) and the camera person flipped over on their back to give the viewers a glimpse. I picked up the phone and called Mike in that instant, before I could hesitate, because I knew I had to see that again for myself. Soon.

There is so much beauty to be observed under the water! Saltwater, freshwater, warm water, cold water – it makes no difference to me. I first learned to dive as a teenager in 2005, surrounded by three of my cousins. The Open Water certification for recreational divers by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) consists of an in-class portion, pool classes, and open-water dives. It was a hell of a way to spend March break, but by the end of it we were all ready to jump in the pool – tank, fins and all.

While many memories fade, or are just forgotten about, my time spent in the Dominican Republic with them is crystal. It was the first time I was ever able to swim in the ocean, and the place where I learned to dive! I recall being nervous at first, but once you’re in that blue, blue water with visibility for days that all melts away. We were tested on our basic skills – things like regulator recovery and clearing, clearing a flooded mask, and the tired diver tow. My diving buddy quickly earned a nickname – Glowstick Panter – for the way his legs glowed white under the water, and how quickly he went through his air supply. Hope you’re reading this!! Scuba diving has always been something I have done with my family.

Some mornings, getting up early is worth it.

A father helps his son gear-up on Open Water testing day.

Our trip to the Dominican Republic sparked something in me – the travel bug. Since then I have completed a lot of school, scoured the internet planning my own trips and appreciatively/enviously looked at their travel photos. It was time to get traveling and back in the water myself!

Planning the trip to Vietnam and Indonesia, and advancing my diving education has moved in lock-step. The idea of traveling to Indonesia and not scuba diving there is inconceivable! And something I learned this summer? Scuba diving is similar to riding a bicycle – you never forget, and it comes back to you after a few kicks. So everything I learn now will continue to be useful, as long as I travel and dive. Costa Rica 2015… Yes please. More on that later!!

The point here? Diving and travel go hand in hand. When I first started considering the idea of scuba diving again, my travel companions and I were asking ourselves the question, “What jobs can we do that allow us to make a living, and travel at the same time?” One of the jobs on my list was Scuba Instructor, and so I started looking into that. Then we committed to going to Asia. I figured there was no better time to start the PADI Advanced Open Water certification. I found the blog of Astrid Fischer to be particularly inspiring – she just completed her instructor levels on Tioman Island and blogged about it here.

One more great thing? Besides being fun and awe inspiring, scuba diving is a hobby that is good for your health. Leg and core muscles are working, you are getting active (usually early in the morning), and there are benefits associated with swimming and being in water. This is true, no matter where you go.

So give diving a shot! Your certification never expires. It’s good for your health, your sense of beauty, your travel addiction, and your family life. Plus, being up early in the morning means some amazing pictures you wouldn’t have been able to take otherwise, and maybe some new friends that you wouldn’t have made otherwise.

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A sunrise I caught walking to the dive shop one morning.

Developing my travel blog – a journal, a magazine and a ‘get your hands dirty’ guide.

This past week I have been overwhelmed with the kindness of both ‘strangers’ and friends of family, in response to this post. I use the term strangers in quotes because I feel that I am beginning to develop a familiarity with some of these bloggers through their blogs each week. Thank you everyone.

Also taking place this week is the start of the Daily Post Blogging 201 Challenge. The Challenge combine with a positive response from the social networking community has influenced me to think in a more detailed manner about this blog and what direction I would like to take it in.

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So, briefly about the Theme…

1) I envision Year 24 as a travel diary/magazine that functions to relate, educate, inform, entertain and/or inspire anyone who is passionate about or interested in similar things as me! That is to say – photography, diving, food, writing, travel and the great outdoors (to name a few).

– A travel diary because my content is mostly personal, and coming from my own experiences. The blog doubles as a personal writing space and a developing writing portfolio. Year 24 is a working title, since it only applies for a limited time only.

2) Any future theme developments will find new and better ways to feature images and photography. Less white space.

– I enjoy a magazine-style feel with blogs that post a lot of images because they feature strong photos next to strong words – equal parts. Pictures can say a lot about a situation or a story.

3) The blog is intended as a way to develop and grow my personal brand, through connections and communications with others who share my passions.

– bloggers, photographers, writers, divers

– backpackers, first-time trippers and other travelers

– friends and family

So in light of these general blog ‘themes’, what are some basic goals?

1) A Regular Feature: I want to get into the habit of posting a regular feature. Just a simple, Sunday or Monday 3-photo post each week (example). This shouldn’t be a problem since I always have a camera out and about. The beauty of this being that the content kind of generates itself, as long as I’m not being lazy.

2) Traffic: I would like to see Year 24 getting 20+ visitors each day by the time I leave for Vietnam in January! I have a few ideas of how to achieve this, including the implementation of a regular weekly feature!

3) Portfolio Content: This doubles as a personal goal, but I want to add three more publications by departure time for Vietnam. Since we’re setting goals.


So wish me luck! This is the direction I had planned on taking Year 24 in since I finally decided on a name for the blog back in July. I’m glad these blogging challenges are here to give me the kick I need in the right direction.