Tag Archives: travel photography

Q&A with Abigail King: On Swapping Scrubs for Travel Writing and Photography

19 Jul
Abigail King

Abigail King

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who have had firsthand experiences wandering the world. Last time, we featured Matt Long from LandLopers. Today, we’re happy to feature Abigail King from Inside the Travel Lab.

When Abigail decided she was going to leave her day-to-day life behind to pursue a career in travel writing and photography, she also left behind her career as a doctor. Now, she’s a successful lifestyle journalist and blogger who splits her time between writing travel stories and snapping photos that will leave you in a permanent state of wanderlust. Lucky for us, Abigail takes the time to answer our questions!

Beit Sitti Amman Jordan

Beit Sitti, Amman Jordan

1. Where are you now and where are you headed next?
Right now, I’m in Cardiff getting ready for a summer of festivals as part of the #MustLoveFestivals projects (16 digital storytellers heading to more than 40 festivals across Europe this summer). I’ll be covering festivals in Nuremberg, Puglia, Dublin, Malta, and Barcelona.

2. You gave up your life as a doctor to achieve your dream of becoming a travel writer. How did you make the jump and what was your biggest challenge?
I did what I always do and read a lot of books on the subject! Then, I saved up some money to cushion the blow and gave myself a one year trial period to find out whether I really wanted to write or whether it was just a fantasy. The biggest challenge was definitely getting that first commission. I think that’s easier now that there’s blogging to soak up your time and talent (and energy!) but those first few months of nothing but rejection letters were definitely the toughest.

3. You’ve been published in the BBC, National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet, and have won numerous awards. How do you balance work and travel?
It’s tricky! Again, blogging is slightly easier because you’re usually covering the place you’re currently in. With traditional freelance work, you can be, say, in a market in Hong Kong and get a query about a piece on a beach in Barbados that the editor wants feedback on ASAP. So, then you find yourself tucked in an Internet cafe writing about Barbados while the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong swirls around you.

Fish, Okinawa

Okinawa

4. You’re also a talented photographer; where did you pick up the craft and what is the most photogenic place in the world?
Well, thank you! Again, a lot of reading and a lot of practice – that’s my top tip for getting better at photography: Take more photos. Then, ask yourself whether you’d be happy sending those photos to a customer. That really sharpens up your skills.

Ah, there are so many photogenic places in the world. But the Namib Desert is exceptionally beautiful so I think I’d have to say that. Sossusvlei (Death Valley) has a jigsaw cream floor that spreads out across rusty red sand while dark skeletons of trees spike into the sky…it’s stunning.

Namib Desert

Namib Desert

5. At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. What do you think about this mission and do you think this type of service would benefit the travel community?
It’s a great mission, so in one word, yes!

6. Do you have a memorable bus story to share with our readers?
Hm. I was on an overnight bus in Mexico once near the border with Guatemala when soldiers stormed on and yanked out the passenger sitting behind us. That was pretty memorable.

7. Wow, that must have been quite an experience! Has it changed the way you feel about taking buses and do you still rely on them to get around?
Haha! No, well I’ve seen people marched off planes and trains too by the police so I think if you let things like that put you off you’ll never do anything and never go anywhere. Buses definitely still have a place in my travel toolkit – they have the advantage that they usually arrive in the center of town and they provide great views and chances for reading (and sleeping) that driving can’t match.

Landing in Madikwe Game Reserve

Landing in Madikwe Game Reserve

Thanks, Abigail!

You can follow Abigail’s adventures on her blog, as well as on Facebook & Twitter.

Photos by Abigail at Inside the Travel Lab

Q&A with Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere on Photography and Bus Travel

16 Feb
Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere

Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Miro & Lainie from Raising Miro. Today, we’re happy to feature Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere.

Gary Arndt sold his house in 2007 and have been traveling around the world ever since. He’s visited all 7 continents, over 116 countries and territories around the world, all 50 US states, 9/10 Canadian provinces, every Australian state and territory, over 125 US National Park Service sites and over 180 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 2010, Time Magazine named Everything Everywhere one of the Top 25 Blogs in the World.

1. Where are you now, and what’s your next destination?

I am writing this in a bus station in Liberia, Costa Rica. I’ll be heading to San Jose in an hour and tomorrow I hope to visit my 192nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Talamanca mountain range.  Next week I’ll be heading to northern Canada to the Yukon.

2. You’ve traveled over 7 continents and visited over 116 countries. How do you keep travel interesting and exciting?

There is always something more to learn. You can spend your entire life traveling and never run out of new things to learn and experience. The Earth is much larger than any human lifetime.

3. You’ve got a great travel photography ebook that everyone should dowload. I was especially touched by the Red Shirt Protester in Bangkok, and the Kids in Canoe at Rennell Island. Can you share your photography process— do you set out to capture moments, or let them come to you spontaneously?

It all depends. Both of those images have interesting stories behind them.

Red Shirt protester in Bangkok

Red Shirt protester in Bangkok

The photo of the red shirt protester took place in Bangkok in 2010. There were huge political protests taking place in Bangkok while I was there. I went down to the main protest area several times to meet and photograph the protesters. One day they were going to hold a rally at the Prime Minister’s home which was only a block from where I was staying. I went down with my camera and was between about 10,000’s protesters and maybe 1,000 police in riot gear. It started to rain and all the other photographers took shelter. I had an umbrella with me, so I stood out in the middle of the street and took the photo of the single man standing in front of the police. It is one of my favorite images.

Kids in Canoe on Rennell Island

Kids in Canoe on Rennell Island

The photo I took on Rennell just happened. The Solomon Islands is a country which gets very few tourists. Rennell Island is off the main archipelago and gets maybe 100 tourists per year. East Rennell is a 20 mile drive from the airstrip (which is just grass) over coral. During that 20 mile trip we had 8 flat tires. At the end of the road is a large lake you then have to cross. I was told they get about 10 tourists a year in this part of the island. One day I visited one of the villages on the lake and the kids in the village had a blast following me around. When I left by boat, they hopped in a canoe to follow me, waving their arms the entire time. The photo I took was my parting shot of the kids as I left.

Great photos can happen at any time. Sometimes you can plan for it and sometimes they happen unexpectedly.

Underwater photography in the Great Barrier Reef

Underwater photography in the Great Barrier Reef

4. In yesterday’s blog post, you mentioned taking the bus in Costa Rica, and how confusing the bus system can be because there is no central bus depot. What do you think of Busbud’s mission, which is to gather the world’s bus travel information? Would this type of information help your readers in their travels?

Absolutely. In many countries such as Costa Rica and the Philippines, the bus system is very distributed. There are many different bus companies which run different routes from different places in each city. There isn’t necessarily a central bus station. There is also seldom any signage to tell you where to go.  The more information you have, the easier your life will be.

Bus in Queensland, Australia

Bus in Queensland, Australia

5. Can you share a memorable bus travel story with us?

I took a bus in Egypt from Luxor to Suez which went up along the Red Sea. The bus was so dilapidated that spent most of it sitting on a spare tire. I’ve never counted the number of countries I’ve traveled by bus in, but it is certainly a big number. Even in some countries with an extensive train system, I often end up taking a bus because it is cheaper and just as fast.

Hammock over water in Caye Caulker, Belize

Hammock over water in Caye Caulker, Belize

6. Finally, there are many random facts about you that people are surprised to discover, like the fact that you are a part owner of an NFL franchise, and you also have a huge collection of magazines and DVDS. For Busbud readers who hesitate to take on a long-term travel trip because they’d be leaving behind so much “stuff”, what advice would you give them?

Stuff can be replaced. The actual act of getting rid of much of your stuff is actually a rather therapeutic experience. Once you spend an extended amount of time living out of a bag, you realize just how little you need to actually get by. Most of what you need can be put into storage and it will be waiting for you when you get back.

Thanks Gary! You can get in touch with him on Twitter and Facebook.  Follow Gary Arndt’s adventures on Everything Everywhere.

Photos by Gary Arndt at Everything Everywhere

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