Lofoten Islands Days 2 and 3

The idea was to sleep in, and leisurely wake up mid-morning before sunrise. I could have breakfast as the glow of dawn slowly emerged, then go out and shoot some photos during blue hour. While a mere 2hrs of daylight per day might sound awful to most, to me it sounds like a photographer’s paradise. Sunrise happens […]

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Photographing Iceland in Winter

For once I might have gone somewhere warm and tropical this winter. I had my eye on Lake Toba in Indonesia, which for some reason has fallen out of the travelers’ eye in recent years. It’d have been perfect for me, I think. I am continually in search of off the beaten path type places, the ones that feel new […]

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Is this the most beautiful waterfall on Earth?

Despite its namesake, Iceland doesn’t get all that cold even in the dead of winter. Temperatures hover just below freezing throughout the season, and the water flowing through Godafoss never has the chance to freeze over. Instead a multitude of icicles are formed by way of wind driven mist and water splashes. The end result is a gorgeous, half frozen piece of natural artwork. […]

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Scenes from Goslar, Germany at Christmas

Over the last year of staying in the USA I’ve tried to make the most of my time at home, but “the itch” for travel never went away. I wish I could say exploring Christmas markets in Goslar, Germany for a few days was enough to satiate my hunger for travel, but the trip went by faster than a car ride on […]

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Exploring Iceland’s Ring Road: The North

A most moderate pace   Speeding is a terribly bad idea in Iceland. There are the safety implications of course, but more immediately concerning is the near certainty of receiving a ticket. Paid on the spot and starting at hundreds of dollars, speeding tickets are no exception to the general rule that everything is expensive in Iceland. So […]

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Christmas in Belgium with a Holga

A crap camera that’s …true The leaves are falling with vigor and we are again rapidly approaching my favorite time of the year. After taking some time today to look through pictures from past Christmas markets, I found a few of last year’s markets in Belgium that were still hiding on my hard drive. I never published most of […]

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Exploring Iceland’s Ring Road Part 2: The Westfjords

Leaving Snæfellsnes “I could stay here,” I think. “I could live here.” But rarely do I contemplate the reality of such grand ideas because it’s always a one way road back to reality.     Instead I imagine, purely and without complication of critical thought. I imagine my single idyllic night here was representative of a lifetime, as surely a lifetime could be […]

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The most beautiful lake in the world

The Pearl of Siberia It’s known as The Pearl of Siberia. Really, it’s the pearl of planet Earth. As much as I’ve traveled and as much as I’ve seen, only a handful of places have struck such a lasting chord with me. Lake Baikal, or “Ozero Baikal” as the Russians pronounce it, is one of those places. Holding 20% […]

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Some trips stick with you.

How long does a vacation really last? There have been several articles which claim that the benefits of a vacation fade quickly after it’s over. While I’ve found that to be true for short, easy trips, I’ve also found longer and more challenging trips stick with me for far longer after I return home. I think that’s because the more difficult trips force us to […]

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Exploring Iceland’s Ring Road: Part 1

I scan the landscape as I pull out of Keflavik Airport. Customs was quick and easy, and I’m happy to already be at the wheel of my newly acquired rental car. Green moss covers dark volcanic rocks in all directions. Small yellow posts line the highway before me, providing the only real contrast to speak […]

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Taking Pictures in Brussels

I already wrote a good bit about Brussels (and why I love it) at my friend Michael Hodson’s website Go See Write: A Photographic Journey Through Belgium’s Christmas Markets Rather than say the same thing here, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Last in my series of Belgium Christmas Market posts,  here’s Brussels in all […]

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Why You Should Go to Siberia This Year

A Winter’s Journey to… Siberia? While most of your traveler friends count the days to their tropical island getaways this winter, you might consider bucking the trend and heading somewhere that’s completely off the beaten path. Siberia might not top anybody’s list of winter travel destinations, but it holds untold rewards for those willing to […]

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A Photowalk Through Zurich in Wintertime

It’s Almost Here Winter is fast approaching and I can hardly contain my excitement. Maybe it’s the crisp, refreshing air, maybe it’s the holidays, or maybe it’s the way the sun lingers low on the horizon throughout the day. If the name of this website doesn’t already give it away, I love winter. Last year I fully embraced […]

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Breathing in Northern Asia

A short story to cool you off It’s late July, North America’s just endured its worst heat wave of the year so far, and I can’t wait for things to cool off. If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you already know my affinity for cold weather. Otherwise, “The Polar Route” says it […]

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New Destination Gallery: RUSSIA

Twelve Cities, Six Weeks Worth of Travel The new Russia gallery is the culmination of about six weeks of travel through Russia on two separate trips. Cities included St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Tyumen, Tomsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Listvyanka and Lake Baikal, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok. Travel between each city involved a cumulative 16 days worth […]

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Istanbul: A Photo Essay

Last month I spent the better part of a week in the incredible city of Istanbul, Turkey. I was caught off guard at what a lively city it is – the people are passionate above all else. They’re proud of their history and they have an active and vested interest in their future. It’s plainly obvious […]

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Tasting Istanbul

A tour for someone who hates tours Istanbul is a food lover’s dream. There are so many food options and so many flavors in the city that it’s absolutely overwhelming. It’s like being in a maze without a map, without a sense of direction, and with no idea of where to even begin. It’s a perfect […]

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Film Pictures from Istanbul

Last week I spent a quick 5 days in Istanbul. I had mostly good vibes about the city. I loved it’s food, architecture, history, markets, and culture. But WOW are there a lot of people! There were long lines for the touristy things, and the non touristy things had tons of people too. I wouldn’t […]

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Top Things to Do in Iceland

I spent two weeks driving around Iceland last fall, and I can’t wait to go back (someday…) All these must sees can accessed by making a circular route on Highway 1, Iceland’s main highway, and this post is vaguely laid out in a clockwise fashion around the country. Without further ado: Check out Reykjavik Resist […]

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Living Large in Reykjavik

Live large in Reykjavik Iceland’s capitol is bursting at the seams with life and energy. A full day can easily be spent walking around without a plan.   The View Situated on Iceland’s southeastern coastline, you’ll be treated to breathtaking glimpses across the bay as you explore the city. Don’t miss the view from the top […]

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Video! Welcome to the Trans Siberian Railway

Welcome to my first video! It’s a summary of Trans Siberian train travel covering two separate trips – once westbound in late fall on the Trans Mongolian route from Shanghai to Moscow, and once eastbound in winter on the classic Trans Siberian route from Tallinn to Vladivostok. The video’s best watched in full screen (click […]

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Just How Cold is Siberia in Winter?

I just finished my second trip on the Trans Siberian Railway, an epic journey that took me from Tallinn, Estonia to Vladivostok, Russia by land. I went in late fall the first time across, and although it snowed in every Russian city I visited I was left wondering just how cold it gets in the […]

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Embracing the Challenges of Traveling Abroad

Regardless of where you are in the world, traveling challenges in unexpected ways. It’s how we deal with those challenges that make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful trip. I’m in Tyumen, Russia, halfway around the world and twelve time zones away from my home in Chicago. Two months ago I’d barely even heard of […]

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The Icelandic Swimming Experience

Maybe it’s the always chilly arctic temperatures that make swimming in a warm, naturally heated pool so irresistible. And perhaps it’s the stunning views and pure, unpolluted northern air that’s prompted so many Icelanders to build those pools outside. I use the term “build” in a loose sense, as many Icelandic pools are nothing but […]

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The Rudest City on Earth?

I have to assume the woman is apologizing. She’s working the coat check desk at the Armory Museum in the Kremlin, and she’s just aggressively slammed my coat down onto the table. My DSLR was inside one of the pockets, and a horrible sound filled the room as a part went flying. All eyes are […]

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Why Would You Want to Travel HERE?

Welcome… to Siberia It’s rare that the mere name of a place evokes the sort of visceral feelings that “Siberia” is likely to conjur. For me it’s a wide ranging mix of sentiments: amazement, wonderment, fascination, a little bit of fear, and a lot of respect. Far from anywhere and sparsely populated, Siberia is the […]

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Make Your Own Gluhwein This Winter

I wasn’t able to make it to Europe this December like I had hoped. But no big deal; there’s plenty to get done at home and in the down time there’s Gluhwein! What’s Gluhwein you ask? It’s spiced wine mixed with fruit juices like apple, orange, and cranberry. It’s served hot with an optional shot […]

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Running Across Lake Baikal

Running… on a lake? By volume, it’s the largest freshwater lake in the world. It’s also the world’s oldest and deepest lake, and it holds some of the clearest and cleanest water on earth. And it’s cold. The lake freezes over every year thanks to Siberia’s brutal winters, and every March a marathon is run […]

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Road Tripping Iceland

Long hours were spent in the car during my 2 weeks worth of road tripping around Iceland. I never got bored, not once. Here’s why: The landscape changes quickly and for no apparent reason. One minute you’ll be driving through a frozen wasteland of nothingness, the next you’ll descend into a valley of lush, vibrant […]

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Two Days in Besalú, Spain

Why Not? All you can eat, all you can drink. A private chef, a visit by the mayor, an amazing villa in which to stay, and being surrounded by cool people who share one common passion for travel. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that? I love taking pictures and for me that’s the easy […]

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Around the World in Two Weeks

View a high resolution version Around the World in Two Weeks You know those taste test kiosks at the grocery store, the ones that give you just a bite so you can see if you like it? Speedpacking is the travel equivalent of that. It’s ideal for people who don’t have a lot of time […]

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Best Places in Europe for…

Looking for new travel ideas? Here are 5 places in Europe to check out. Best places in Europe for: For going broke on $10 coffees: Moscow, Russia Кофемания (Coffeemania) in Moscow, at $10 usd a cup, boasts the most expensive coffee anywhere I’ve ever seen. Well, except for maybe the $30 cup of Kopi Luwak coffee […]

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Christmas in Munich

‘Tis the Season The holidays are my favorite time of year: the air is crisp and refreshing, snow blankets the landscape, and there is a wonderfully festive quality to all the hustle and bustle as people brave the elements and get their shopping done. And when it comes to the charms of the season, you’d be […]

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The Difference Between Snapshots and Photographs

Walking around Prague on my latest international trip, I couldn’t help but notice the myraid cameras adorning the necks of enthusiastic tourists. It got me thinking: if everyone’s taking pictures of the same thing in the same place at the same time, what can be done to stand out? What’s the difference between a tourist snapshot and a […]

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Trans Siberian Railroad

I’ve finally finished blogging the Trans Siberian Railroad, a journey that took me from Shanghai to Moscow by train between Oct-Nov of last year. If you want to jump right in, start with my post on Shanghai. Otherwise, read on! I’ve traveled a lot over the last several years. I mean a lot. And despite all my […]

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