For some time I had been beating around overland travel ideas, at first i wanted to travel around the world, then I wanted to go from London, England to Vladivostok, Russia and back to London via central Asia. Ultimately I settled on a route that was London, England to Hong Kong. Over seven weeks I traveled through 12 countries on 17 different trains, 4 ferries and a couple unforgettable bus rides. The total time in transit was approximately 8 days and 21 hours. Below you'll see some of my favorite photos from the trip.
London, England seemed like the best place to start a trip like this cause the access to major airports and the connection to mainland Europe.
After a short train ride from England I had made it to Brussels where I was switch trains and head to Antwerp. Before I left Brussels I had the chance to grab lunch near The Grand Place and there was a Pride party happening. I didn't take too many photo but I did get this one i really like.
Once I arrived in Antwerp I was met by a long time friend, Sabine. She was kind enough to let me crash at her place for the night. In the late afternoon we had a walk around the city. I've been to Antwerp many times but this was the first time I had ever seen any of it.
Den Bosch, Netherlands
The majority of my time spent in the Netherlands has been spent in Amsterdam with few exceptions. This time around I got to see some of a town called Den Bosch or 's Hertogenbosch. Here I stayed with my friend, Merel. We've known each other since 2006 I think, its always great when you can catch up with old friends while you travel. After dinner we had a very long walk around the city center. It was full of tiny roads and canals, it might be one of my favorite places I've ever been in Europe.
On the train to Amsterdam I found out the my buddy Josiah was gonna be in town that day and since we both travel for a living its hard to actually hang out. I was stoked. I met with my friend, Joyce who's couch I was crashing on that night and we met with Josiah and wandered around Amsterdam. The next morning I woke up before the sun to snap some photos of what I had hoped was gonna be a pretty empty city, I was right. After taking a nap I learned it was a day later than i thought it was and i needed to be in Sweden the next day but the only train to Copenhagen, Denmark left in an hour and a half.
Once I got on the train from Amsterdam it was a short 11 hour train ride to Copenhagen. I had to make 2 transfers along the way and at one point after leaving Germany the train pulled on to a ferry before arriving in Denmark. Once I arrived in Copenhagen it was night and i was exhausted but i sorted my ticket to get to Stockholm the next day and went to bed. My train didn't leave till early afternoon so i slept in just a little and had a nice walk around Copenhagen.
Stockholm is one of those places I've been but never seen anything. At the train station I met my friend Anthony who now lives in Berlin. When I started planing this trip I reached out to him to see if he wanted to meet up some where and he met me in Sweden and traveled with me to Finland and Estonia as well. The first night we didn't do much other than play catch up. The second day we walked a lot around the water front and through old town we also checked out some of the train stations that are done up like art exhibits. I found Stockholm to be a very beautiful place.
Stockholm to Helsinki
Instead of flying to Helsinki I wanted to continue this trip overland so Anthony and I took the Viking Line Ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. It's a 19 hour ferry ride through the archipelago east of Stockholm and out into the Baltic sea. The ferry has a few bars and restaurants, a dance club, coffee shop and even a casino. We spend the majority of the time on the deck until the sun set.
Helsinki, much like Stockholm is a place i had been a few times but never actually seen anything. So upon arrival we head right to Spun coffee to see an old touring friend by the name of Kal. He gives us the low down on the city and helps us find a place to stay. What was originally meant to be 4 nights in Helsinki ended up only being 2 due to the cost of everything. On the 3rd day we took the ferry to Estonia.
Tallinn was an unexpected addition to the journey. It was a short 1.5 hour ferry ride from Helsinki. The ferry dropped us just a stones throw from Old town which feels like one of the most medieval city centers I've ever seen. My time there was pretty brief, less than 24 hours but I tried to make the most of it.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
2 hours through a storm on the Gulf of Finland, a quick run to the train station in Helsinki and a 4 hour train ride was all it took for me to get from Tallin to Saint Petersburg. I spent 3 nights in St. Pete mostly in the center but i did manage to make it out to Peterhoff which is so incredible I suggest you google it. The new friends I made while in town pretty much walked me all over, it was incredible. Without them i don't think I would have done so much.
I arrived early in Moscow on the overnight train from Saint Petersburg. Instead of taking the subway I walked the 3 miles to my hotel. Checked in and went to Red Square. Later in the evening I met up with a friend of a friend, Arizona. Arizona and her friend who's name escapes me at the moment took me around and showed me some of the other parts of the city that weren't so central. My second day in Moscow was pretty much killed by the rain until the evening and on the morning of the 3rd day I left Moscow.
Moscow to Krasnoyarsk
After Moscow I took a 3 day train ride to a city in Siberia called Krasnoyarsk. After the second day I started to get a little cabin fever. The longest the train would stop was 45 minutes. Thankfully there were stores and people selling things on the platforms.
After 3 days on the train Im sure I would have got off in a city that was soon fire. Krasnoyarsk was a nice city and my first taste of Siberia. houses were made of wood, there were statues of Lenin, and there was a kiddie amusement park in the center. I was pretty happy. Maria, a friend from Saint Petersburg had told me she had some friends in Krasnoyarsk who wouldn't mind showing me around. They were Ariana and Liza. 2 Linguistic student who couldn't have been more hospitably. They showed me the city and then took me to a place called "the beautiful bank" for sunset. It was just the break from the train I needed.
This was a city I wasn't really sure about what to do here but i knew it was kind of the gateway to Lake Baikal. I had booked a room for one night in hopes of finding a way to get to the lake and all i found was a touristy place called Listvyanka or a day trip to an island called Olkhon for something like $500. Just before I was about to give up I asked the people working the front desk and they informed me of mini buses that will pick you up and drop you off for $20 each way, which isn't bad for a 5 hour ride. before all this nonsense I had a nice long walk around the city and I fell in love, it could have been because it was a Sunday but it was quiet and beautiful.
Olkhon Island, Russia
The town was dirt roads, no indoor pluming and exactly what I needed. I spent 2 very peaceful nights in a cabin 5 minutes walk to Lake Baikal.
Ulan - Ude, Russia
After another night in Irkutsk I took the train to Ulan - Ude which was to be the last town on my journey through Russia before heading south to Mongolia. The train ride was short but most of it was along the southern shores of Lake Baikal. In Ulan - Ude I didn't do much other than walk and drink coffee. It was at this point in the trip though I noticed people had started to look less european and much more asian.
Ulan Bator and Northern Mongolia
It was 6:45am and I had jus got off the train in Ulan Bator when i spotted a man holding a sing for the hostel I was staying in. There was a van to the hostel with only one other person in it, an english kid named Basil. After we checked in and showered Basil and I roamed the city looking for interesting things to do. By the time we were tired we realized it was only noon. I had a nap and looked into the "tours" the hostel offered. I found out in the morning a 10 day tour of the North and center of Mongolia was leaving at 9 am and I wasn't sure i would be able to take another day in the city so I signed up and was off the next morning. The First day we drove for hours to a monastery, the second we drove for hours only stopping for food, gas and to camp. That night we ended up camping next to a dormant volcano. Day 3, 4, and 5 We spend at a yurt camp on the shores of Khovsgol Lake.
Day 6 - We left the lake and had a drive day, some 400 KM on dirt tracks through mountains, Deserts and small towns. We camped that night on top of a hill overlooking a valley filled with Nomadic farms. Day 7 - was much more driving. We would stop for breaks and for food but we were on a mission to get to our ger camp. About an hour after we arrived the sun set. Day 8 - We rode camels, played in sand dunes, and hiked up and on giant rocks that reminded me of Jumbo Rock at Joshua tree National Park in California. Day 9 - We hiked some in the morning. Our driver and I hiked up quite a high pile of rocks and could see the entire valley. Later that day we went to Hustai National Park. Apparently the park is the only place in the world with wild Takhi Horses. We saw dozens of these horses as well as a few heard's of Red deer. We ended up pitching our tents just outside of the park. Day 10 - Was just a day to drive back into Ulan Bator.
Ulan Bator, Mongolia......AGAIN
After 10 days out in the wilds of Mongolia with no shower the first thing I did was get coffee and then shower. I spent 2 nights in Ulan Bator just decompressing after the trip. the first day the only things i did was have coffee, walked to the train station to get a ticket to Beijing and then got dinner with the people who were on the tour. The second day I did laundry and repacked all my things to get ready for the train the next morning and then walked to the Zaisan Monument. It was a bit of a walk across the city and up a hill but totally worth it.
Train to Beijing
The train was about a 26 hour train ride which was mostly uneventful. The train passes through a large part of the Gobi desert stoping only a couple times before hitting the Chinese Border. The crossing into China was interesting to say the least. First they come on and take your passports then the train backs up and then pulls forward into a garage then back and forth until each car is disconnected from each other. Then they lift the train cars and disconnect the wheels and replace them with new wheels. In china the gauge of the rails is a different from Mongolia, Russia and else where in the world. Once the wheels are swapped they lower the cars and reattach the cars to each other and pull back to the platform. Immigration then brings back your passports and depending on how long the swap takes you have some time off the train. We had 45 minutes before the train left the station. By the time we left the for Beijing it was 1 am.
Beijing was kinda miserable. The smog really messed with my throat but the sights were pretty incredible. The first day I was there I went with some of the guys from the train to the Forbidden City. On the second day i just walked and checked out the hutongs. I was trying not to spend too much time out side as it was really doing a number on my health. Day three was pretty insane though. Went to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. The First part of the day you couldn't see a thing but after a couple hours the clouds began to break and made for an incredible hike back to the bus.
It was in Xi'an that I realized my Chinese plan wasn't gonna really be doable and after I would finish my journey and head to Hong Kong. The Plan for Xi'an was to see the Terracotta Warriors and to hike Hua Shan Mountain. On the first night I went to hot pot with Will (one of the guys from the train to Beijing). The next day we went to see the Warriors. Getting a ride to the train station was pretty I'm possible so we walked in the rain. It was so easy to find the buses and actually get to the warriors. There were so many people there that we were only there for about an hour. The extra exhibits weren't super interesting anyway. There was a Burger King and a Starbucks incase you needed to indulge. Back in the City we checked out a part of town called "muslim quarter" it felt like a totally different country, people hawking bootleg merchandise and selling incredible street food. We tried not to stay out too late cause we had plans to wake up early to head out on the hike but didn't realize you needed your passport to buy a local train ticket and wasted the whole morning. The last day in Xi'an was basically a bust.
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
By the time I got across the border and into Hong Kong it was after 10pm. I was exhausted from the 9 hour train ride from Xi'an. My 4 nights in Hong Kong consisted of loads of Popular photo spots, Loads of walking and TONS of delicious food. I hit up a bunch of the housing estates, The peak, the water front, and the temple street night market. It was a wonderful end to an incredible trip.
For the longest time I've wanted to go to Myanmar. It seemed like a mysterious place with a very rocky history and it was very intriguing. Last year I was in Southeast Asia and was going to go but there was some family stuff I had to fly back to the states to attend to so this year i was determined. After tour i had flown to Bangkok and from Bangkok was gonna fly to Yangon. I had booked the hotel and the plane tickets and from what i thought I had the visa sorted. So the morning of my flight I head to the airport and check in for my flight but little to my knowledge the visa company I had used was a scam and I wasn't allowed to check in for my flight. Someone from the airline had told me that the Myanmar Embassy does same day visas if you get there early enough so i hop in a cab and head to the embassy. Just to rub a little salt in the wound it was less than 1/2 mile from the hotel I had left a few hours earlier. After doing the paper work and paying the fee the lady says "come back to this window between 3:30 and 4:30" which gave me almost 6 hours to kill. I got back to the embassy sometime around 2:30 and there was already a line of people waiting so I too set my bag down and waited. The windows opened and the people sprinted for their passports. I got mine walked outside and got in a cab back to the airport. "You'll have to pay for that in cash" the ticket agent had said as i was trying to purchase a new ticket on the evening flight to Yangon. After a ATM run and some cussing to myself I was on my way. The flight a little delayed and the taxi driver were trying to rip me off but I had made it to Yangon that evening and checked into my hotel. All was right with the world and I was happy and excited to explore the next morning. In the morning I walked around Yangon for hours. First to the travel agent to buy a bus ticket to Bagan for later in the evening then up and down every street I could. Through crowds of people selling things all over. Fruit and veggies, Raw meat and toys you could get anything you needed in those tiny streets in Yangon. Its a beautiful city. After walking for a few hours i made my way back to the hotel for lunch and a coffee before going to Shwedagon Pagoda. This pagoda is massive and gold and was clearly visible from all over the city. The day was hot so i only spent about an hour the cause the ground was hot without shoes on. In that hour or so i did manage to get some awesome photos.
The bus to Bagan was surprisingly modern and the AC made it feel like a meat locker. I loved it. The trip was supposed to take something like 10 hours but due to a accident on a one lane bridge it ended up being closer to 14 hours. Once in Bagan I wasn't too sure where i was staying but the cab driver said he knew a cheap ($8/night) place. I had to wait around a few hours to get my room because someone was still in it but that didn't bother me at all. after getting my room I rented an E bike (electric shooter) for the day to cruise around and check out the sites and try and find a spot for sunset. little to my knowledge most of the really high pagodas were closed until further notice because of a recent earthquake so it was a bit hard to find a place. I cruised around for a bit more before it felt like my bikes battery was dying so i started to head back to my room to have the people next door charge it for a while. i had made it less than a mile before it started to rain also before the bike started to get slower and slower before i knew it i was soaked and going 8 km/h and had to push the bike up slight inclines. At one point I tried to get out of the rain in the door way of a temple but it didn't work well so i just kept going. I sat in the lobby and watched people go about their business like it was a sunny day. The rain had stopped and the clouds parted shortly before sunset. I got my bike and hauled as much ass as i could to try and get back to the temples in time. in the dark the temple site is a much more spooky place. All kinds of new sounds however the spookiest thing of all is the people in cars and on motorcycles buzzing around. The next morning i was up before the sun and headed back to the same place i saw sunset since it was the only place i could find to get elevated enough to see over trees. Once the sun was up i got breakfast had a nap. Around mid day i went and checked out the local market which was full of everything under the sun. I bought some food off one of the people selling food on the street. In the late afternoon I went for another drive on the bike bound and determined to find something i hadn't seen yet. I briefly talked to a man at one of the closed temples and he had pointed me in the direction of a place that wasn't closed to check out sunset. I found the temple cause there was about 20 e bikes parked near it. i parked and barely fit my giant ass through the hole to get on top. Sunset was beautiful even tho there were so many people (tourists watching sunset and locals trying to sell souvenirs).
The next morning i was awake before the sun again, showered and headed downstairs to meet the taxi to my 13 hour boat ride to Mandalay. 15 minutes and 15000 bumps from the hotel was the jetty where in the black of night the boat had one lonesome light on. I boarded found a seat, dropped my bags and went up to the deck to see what was around now that it was becoming slightly light out. We had to wait for the boat that was docked against us to leave and we were off. I watched the sunrise ate my breakfast (cup of coffee and 2 piece of toast) which was provided and ended up falling asleep for 6 hours. the rest of the trip up river was spend mostly just watching the water and listening to music. We arrived in Mandalay just before it got dark. I have always been a bit weirded out getting to some place I've never been in the dark so i was happy we got there when we did. i continued the lazy trend of the day and didn't leave the hotel till the next morning.
Almost every day I was in Myanmar I was awake before the sun. My day in Mandalay was no different I had scheduled a cab to take me to the U bein bridge at 4:45 am since I was told it would be about a 45 minute drive. when we arrived it was still pitch black out but there were people already out and about. While i waited for the sun to come up i decided to walk the bridge.By the time I made it to the other side the world was starting to light up. Fisherman out in boats, Monks walking to the monastery, kids swimming it was the beginning of a new day. I was a bit unsure what to do with myself after i had to check out of my hotel so like I usually do I just wandered around checking things out. It was around this time i realized how in ahh people were with my tattoos. I had noticed a couple people looking at them the couple days previous but not like here. almost every person I walked by pointed and stared. I got to the point it was almost uncomfortable. I ended up back at the hotel cause i was sick of walking around i had only been there for a few minutes before the guy at the front desk mentioned going up Mandalay hill for sunset. I took a mototaxi up the hill to the pagoda where there were tons of people (locals, monks, tourist, and kids). The sunset was kinda lackluster but being up there as the sun lite up all of the colorful tiles it was almost magical. It was awesome considering i was pretty much over the day before i left the hotel.
We arrived in Nyaungshwe around 5 am as i got off the bus it was a much more mellow version of being attacked by cab driver then i was used to as there was only 2 people i could get a ride from. Like always I had not booked accommodations so i just had them take me somewhere. I checked in and passed out again for hours. The whole reason I was in Nyaungeshwe was to take a boat ride on Inle lake mainly to see the local fisherman which was supposed to take a full day so i had decided I would save that for the next day. The first day for the most I just walked around this small town drank coffee and ate pizza. Towards the late afternoon i found myself near the jetty tho and I ended up taking a quick sunset boat trip which I'm sad to say was actually better than the actual boat trip i took the next day. It was informative but once the sun was up it felt more like everywhere we stopped someone was trying to sell me something instead of see or learn something so what was originally supposed to be a sunrise to sunset boat trip ended up being about 5 hours. The rest of the day in Nyaugshwe was pretty much spend on the patio of my hotel watching people work and then later watching the rain.
The bus back to Yangon was quite funny there was only 5 people on the bus when we left Nyaungshwe and it reminded that way because the bus we had all got on was also a cargo bus for local businesses so we were making all kinds of stops as the couple employees load and unload boxes. Another 13 hour bus ride and i was back in Yangon. My last day in Myanmar was spent much like every other day wandering around and just soaking everything in. I was awake the next morning bright and early to head to the airport and fly back to Bangkok.
After I left Japan i decided to spend a couple nights in Bangkok before heading off to Myanmar. The first night I was there I had gone for a walk and somewhere along the way it began to rain so hard you could barely cross the street, rain so hard my camera got so wet i thought it was forever broken. Turned out after a day of drying it was fine.
As many of you know I work for a band and tour around the world for a living. When ever it is possible I like to go abroad and check out places if were going there. After our tour in the US our next show was in South Korea so i went early to check out Seoul it was a little different than other places I had been in Asia and that was awesome. hope you enjoy the photos.
I know i had not updated for a while but that is mostly because I was busy working and not actually taking photos so here's some of the highlights from this summer.
- Photos 1, 2 are from New Hampshire
- Photo 3 is from Long Island, New York
- Photo 4 Detroit, Michigan
- Photo 5 Dallas, Texas
- Photo 6 Somewhere outside of SLC, Utah
- Photo 7, 8, 9 Venice Beach, California
I've been so busy with work lately that I haven't really had much time to actually take photo and i miss it so much. I did have the chance to catch the sunrise a few days ago just outside of Charleston, SC. I'm not sure if its cause I haven't been taking photos or what but i think i got a lot of awesome photos.
Hey Everyone! It's been a little while since I've wrote or posted but that's cause I've been off in Europe with work for the last few weeks. Below youll see Photos from Paris, The Ferry ride from France to England and Saint Petersburg Russia. Enjoy.
Ferry from France to England
Saint Petersburg Russia
So for the last 3 years my brother (Joe) and I have been taking a vacation around May or June. First to Oregon, Second to the Badlands of South Dakota, and this year to the American Southwest.
Day 1 Page Arizona
After meeting in Las Vegas we drove to Page, AZ where we stoped for the night. We got to Page with just enough time to check out Horseshoe Bend at sunset.
Day 2 Monument Valley
In typical fashion we were up super early to drive the 2 hours to Monument Valley where we would spend the day. We were kinda shocked there was only 1 real hike you could do but it was still a good day.
Day 3 Canyons, Dunes, and A failed attempt.
we had an 8 am tour at Antelope Canyon which was incredible but for some reason ive hardly even looked at the photos. From Antelope Canyon we went to Coral Pink Sand Dunes state park in Utah which was so awesome no people great weather a must see if you ask me. We ended the day in Zion, where we attempted and failed to hike angels landing. We made it up passed the first set of chains be became to afraid of the height after that so we still feeling like we did something pretty awesome turned back.
Day 4 Hike hike hike.
We stayed in Zion National Park on our 4th day of the trip and hiked our butts off. I probably hiked more that days then I have ever hiked.
Day 5 Bryce Canyon
We tried to sleep in this day but that didn't really happen so after coffee and breakfast we were off to Bryce Canyon National Park. still kinda exhausted from the day before we only did a 3 mile hike dubbed "The Best 3 Mile Hike In The World" it was pretty to say the least. After Bryce we drove back to Vegas and my brother got to experience that for the first and probably last time since he didn't like it too much
Hey there folks, Sorry its been so long. I've been a very busy boy. but to keep you updated on my photo happenings here is some photos from my trip up to the beautiful land of the maple leaf. Many thanks to Sacha for letting me sleep on her couch
Day 1 Lighthouse Park
Waking up at 5 am to take a bus 8 hours isnt always the most amazing thing but when one of your best friends is who youre going to see its always worth it. After playing a little catch up we went to lighthouse park for sunset. This is the result.
Day 2 Jones Lake
We woke up at the crack of dawn to make the 2 hour drive from Vancouver to Jones Lake. It was incredible. I found out that my 70-200 lens isnt working so well so alot of my photos were actually crap.
Day 3 A gondola and Suspension Brides
After a brief highway closure we decided to check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, oddly enough none of these photos are from there. Once we heard the sea to sky highway was clear we went and rode the sea to sky gondola which was incredible. Thats where these photos are from.
On the second day off in NYC I found myself at the 9/11 Memorial and the One World Observatory.
So I had been commissioned by The Gramlist to do a couple photos for a client of theirs called Saxx which is an underwear company and I had to get one more photo for the so again Brian and I ended up in the Gorge and Brian became the underwear model he always wanted to be. The reason there aren't more photos is cause I only took about 15 all day.
Well I've been on tour for a few days now and have been so preoccupied with it that I've forgotten to post the last 2 days of "adventuring" Brian and I did before i left so this post is from the coast. We Hiked Gods Thumb, went south to Devil's Punchbowl and north to Neskowin.
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to link up with Moment Lens and some PNW photographers (Monty, Brian, Vadim, Erika, Spin, Chris) for a quick little trip through the Columbia River Gorge, Panther Creek Falls and the Mt. Hood National Forest.
These are from my Phone shot with the Moment 18mm Wide or 60mm Telephoto lens
And These are from my camera
Today Brian and I went and hiked the Salmon River Trail. Its a 8 mile in and out trail in the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness which is a part of the Mt Hood National Forest. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as i enjoyed the hike.
Day 3 in a row of hanging out with Brian we decided to go hike Wind Mountain (it sounds scarier that it was). After hiking to the top we snapped some photos for Happy Socks and hiked our happy asses back to the car. We then Proceeded to drive along the Washington side of the gorge for a while and finally ended out day at Rowenas Crest.
If you've read any of these posts you'll realize i do a lot of photo adventures and hiking with Brian Stowell. On Friday Brian and i had made plans to meet for lunch down town Portland I brought my camera cause i intended on walking home and taking come photos of the cherry blossoms along the river. Well Brian and I got to talking the next thing i know we are en route to his place to pick up his camera and heading to the river to snap some photos. After shooting for a bit we decided to change locations and on the way to Pittock mansion we completely changed our minds and decided to head to one of my favorite places on the Oregon Coast, Cape Kiwanda to shoot sunset. We picked up Brians wife and set off for the coast.
Again Brian and I head to Washington but this time his friend Lauren joined us. we went and wandered around Gifford Pinchot looking for a good over look for them to shoot product photos for some legging company. After we got lost on some back roads. The photos didn't end up being much to look at but I figured id share anyways.