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2014 was a strange one travel wise – I went for long periods of time without so much as leaving town, then seemed to travel nonstop for weeks on end trying to figure out the balance between not getting antsy and being on the move too much. It was also a year when I finally gave in to Instagram (I was resisting another social media account to feed) and captured some images from around the world that I truly love, both for the photo themselves and the memories tied with them. Here are few of my favorite Instagram photos of 2014 and the stories behind them:
Traveling through some of the Greek islands this past October made for some of the prettiest photos. In fact, out of my ten most popular photos on Instagram, nine of them are from Greece. Out of everywhere I went, Oia on Santorini was probably the most picturesque…but don’t let those photos fool you…
This photo of the Church of St. John the Baptist on Santorini looks fake – all the angles and colors seem like a color-by-number painting – but it actually isn’t edited much at all.
I was in Venice in February for the last day of carnevale. While the city was unbelievable, the carnevale scene was disappointing. There didn’t seem to be much going on unless you were willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for events and balls which, traveling on my own and already paying $60 just for a hostel dorm bed, I was not. The vast majority of people in town were not dressed up at all and the ones who were simply stood around posing for people to take photos of them like street artists. Not what I expected.
The small, old churches that dotted Greece reminded me of the many temples in Thailand, complete with little offerings and even loud speaker systems that broadcasted monks chanting throughout the neighborhood.
Speaking of monks…I rarely take photos of people, but this is probably one of my favorites shots of all time – a monk praying in the tunnels of Wat Umong in Chiang Mai. The temple, located on the edge of the city near the university, used to be more removed from town. Now, even though it’s not quite the forest refuge it once was, the temple grounds are still larger and more leafy than many.
I snuck this shot of the love locks on the Ponts des Arts in Paris before more were boarded up and prepared to remove. The weight of the thousands of locks on the bridge’s railings are ruining the structure and the city is cracking down. On another note, I had a guide point out the combination locks that were mixed in with the others. Supposedly they’re put there by Parisian men with their foreign girlfriends…when the girl leaves they can go back and remove them to use them again! …do you believe it?
Over the summer I drove through the Palouse, an area encompassing parts of southeast Washington, north central Idaho and northeast Oregon known for its farmland and wheat fields. It’s beautiful and also where I went to university so particularly close to my heart. I love these rolling hills of golden wheat in rural America as much as I love the bright green, terraced rice paddies in Southeast Asia and, really, they’re quite similar. (Also, do you see the lady bugs??)
Chiang Mai is filled with temples. They are literally on every street or corner with their shiny tiled roofs and elaborate naga entrances. I loved how this black and white shot of the Burmese temple in town, Wat Pa Pao, looks like some of the photos I’ve seen of town from the 1940s and 50s. Timeless.
I’m surprised by how tiny these crabs on the Thai islands are every time I see them and wonder why (and how) they make the perfect, little balls of sand that are almost the same size as they are. I tend to use Instagram to highlight the little details of a place or daily life and this image is a great example.
While Greece was all sunshine and blue skies for me this past fall, England was…gray. I didn’t mind though as I ran around the city seeing sights for the first time since I lived there six years ago with my old roommate and cousin. London is one of those places that no matter how much time you spend there, there will always be more to do.
Moving forward I’ll be posting more on Instagram so if you enjoyed these, please stop by my gallery and let me know what your Instagram is in the comments below!