15 Years of World Travel in 50 Photos

Picking out photos from the past 15 years of my travels ended up a more daunting task than expected.

A lot has changed since I first travelled at age 21 in 2001: back then there was no Facebook, no Wi-Fi, no blogs as such, and while I had just bought my first mobile phone, the idea that you might take it overseas with you was absurd- it didn’t work in other countries. Travel was a much more “raw” experience, technologically speaking, compared to today (I wrote about this once before). Furthermore, I had zero photographic expertise or even interest back then. As such, I travelled with a basic automatic film camera.

In 2004, I became interested in the art and physics of photography. I was inspired enough to get a film SLR. This was followed by my first digital SLR in 2006, a Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel). In 2013, I finally upgraded to a full-frame Canon EOS 6D. Not surprisingly my photographic skills have improved a lot since 2001, and so there was a great temptation to heavily weigh this list of pics towards more recent years!

It was fun going through all the old memories, but narrowing down a shortlist of pics from many thousands took some time.  In the end, I selected photos based on interesting travel experiences in cool places rather than photographic merit. It has to be said that the best times have actually been more about the people than the places, and so the list reflects that too. I’ll run briefly through a few stories, but feel free to scroll through until you find something interesting.

With that said, cast your minds back to….

2001

Every traveller setting out to see the world for the first time has their own version of Shangri-La. For me at 21, having just completed a very male-centric Electrical Engineering degree, it was Scandinavia. The polar opposite of my native Australia, Scandinavia represented everything that seemed exotic and interesting to me: ice, snow, mountains and babes. In my first trip there at the end of 2001, I visited my friends Maria and Todd living up in Bodø above the arctic circle.

Bodø, Norway
Bodø, Norway. This is where we walked the family dogs, it felt like the edge of the earth to me.

At some point, despite storm warnings, we drove to Hemavan in Sweden to go snowboarding. A huge blizzard blew up, flooding roads and rivers, creating landslides, and covering the roads with ice. We drove at 30 kph the whole way to avoid coming to grief in the whiteout conditions, and though it was terrifying we arrived in one piece to perfect powder.

Drive to Hemavan, Sweden
Arrival in Hemavan, Sweden, after one of the scariest drives I’ve ever attempted

In these early years that other alternate reality of movies and TV shows, America, featured heavily. My travel buddy Scott and I travelled to New York just after the September 11 attacks. The Twin Towers, where I had stayed as a child during a family trip, were now a giant pile of rubble. We stayed for a month and it was my first Christmas and New Year overseas.

Times Square, New York City, with Ben and Scott, USA
With mates Ben and Scott in Times Square, New York

2002

2002 saw Scott and I travelling overland from Malaga in Spain to Rome in Italy. We had a ton of adventures on the way, and flew home to Australia via a week in the Thai islands.

Hostel Kabul in Barcelona. The guy with the cigarettes in his ears had fallen off the Christopher Columbus statue the night before and split his eyebrow open.
Hostel Kabul in Barcelona. The guy with the cigarettes in his ears had fallen off the Christopher Columbus statue the night before and split his eyebrow open.
Scott at Carcassonne, France
Scott at Carcassonne, France

In Nice, France, we met a kiwi guy who travelled with a Porcelain cat as a good luck charm. On the marina at Cannes he ran a dirty pink towel up a flagpole and demanded we salute it as an homage to hostel life. Too startled to disagree, we obeyed and an onlooker took the photograph.

Saluting the Hosteller's Pink Towel in Cannes, France
Saluting the Hosteller’s Pink Towel in Cannes, France. I am holding a guitar and the porcelain cat is in the foreground.

2003

After my travels in 2002 it was over a year of scrimping and saving in my engineering job before I said “bugger it” and borrowed $6000 from the bank to go travelling again. It was a pretty extensive world trip, starting with surfing in the Maldives, hitting up Sweden, Norway and Finland for summer, and coming home to Sydney through the USA and Tahiti.

Surfing in the Maldives
On a wave somewhere in the Maldives. The atolls, ocean, flying fish and dolphins made me feel overjoyed to be out in the world.

In Sydney I had met a cool Swedish girl called Monica and so I hung out for a month in Stockholm and the surrounding archipelago, enjoying the parties, barbecues, and 24-hour sunshine.

Stockholm in Summer
This day in Stockholm it was like 30C and everyone was out sunbaking everywhere. These guys were diving off the balustrade into the harbour so I stripped down to my undies and did the same. Across the water is Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town. Swimming around in a foreign harbour with all that history and architecture all around was just exhilarating.

Sometime in the next couple of months I made a journey up to Lapland in Norway to meet up with Outi, a marine biologist from Finland that I met whilst on the Hurtigruten in Norway in winter 2001. We met up in a town called Lakselv (“salmon river”) and hiked up into the surrounding fjells and spent a couple of nights. I was horribly attacked by mosquitoes, but we sat in the most amazing silence in the midnight twilight, looking at storm clouds hovering above distant valleys, and hearing the howling of wolves (Outi was much braver than I it must be said).

Outi and Matt, Inari, Finland
With Outi in Inari, Finnish Lapland
Dinner of sausage and banana with melted chocolate in the Norwegian Fjells.. my long-suffering boots fell apart and we had to duct tape them together.
Dinner of sausage and banana with melted chocolate in the Norwegian Fjells.. my long-suffering boots fell apart and we had to duct tape them together.

Her and I then set off exploring the Finnish part of Lapland. Being a noted marine biology student researcher, we were welcome to stay at various research stations in remote locations. Here’s us crossing a lake in a wooden canoe to reach a research station in Kevi. I remember that the passenger bus to reach this location was also the mail delivery- the driver cruised along with the bus door open and threw bundles of mail into large letterboxes as we passed.

Research Station, Kevi, Finland
Crossing a lake to reach a biological research station in Kevi, Finland

After Lapland, Outi went back home to work while I caught a bus up to Kirkenes in Norway and connected with the Norwegian coastal steamer, Hurtigruten, for my second voyage. I sailed down the coast to Trondheim, stopping in the Lofoten Islands which are just stunning.

Canoeing in the Lofoten Islands, Norway
In Stamsund in the Lofoten Islands, the hostel had free rowboats that you could use. A couple of us decided to head out around midnight, but the tidal currents meant getting back to the hostel was difficult. That’s why I’m straining in this shot

After Finland, I flew to the US and spent a week in New York City and a few days in LA, before my flight to Tahiti was turned around midair due to a cracked windscreen. Thankfully I eventually made it a day or so later, and met up with my old travel buddy Scott for some island time.

Scott and Matt in Moorea, Tahiti
Island men, Moorea, Tahiti

2004

After my world trip in 2003, Outi came to visit me in Australia and we fell in love. I started doing a PhD, but being so travel obsessed 2004 became all about exploring Finland. The lakes, the snow, the people, the nature, the culture, the deep mythology. I became obsessed with the northern lights. We also spent more time in Lapland and went on hiking, cross-country skiing and dogsledding adventures.

The Baltic Sea in Helsinki, completely frozen over.
The Baltic Sea in Helsinki, completely frozen over.
We spent a lot of time hiking and cross country skiiing across frozen lakes. There are lakes everywhere in Finland. This one is in a little place called Juorkuna.
We spent a lot of time hiking and cross country skiiing across frozen lakes. There are lakes everywhere in Finland. This one is in a little place called Juorkuna.
Snowbowarding in Levi, Finland
Snowboarding in Levi.
Hitching up the dogs up in Inari, in Finnish Lapland.
Hitching up the dogs up in Inari, in Finnish Lapland.
Ice Hole Swimming, Saariselka, Finland
Sauna is a ritual in Finland and if done properly, usually involves dunking oneself in freezing water or snow between sessions! Here I am naked in a frozen river in Saariselka in northern Finland. We actually had to break the ice to get in the water. Luckily, there was a smoke sauna at 80C closeby.

2005

2005 saw things going in a completely different direction. I was newly single and ready to explore other parts of the world other than the north European wilderness. It was also the year I met my future wife, Anna, a blonde Brazilian goddess. As often happens to nomadic-types, we met right before I headed off on a tour of Spain, France, England, Scotland and Japan. In London I went to stay with my brother and sister who were living there at the time. I left the same time the Tube bombings happened, before flying to Japan where I had my only pair of shoes stolen within two hours of arrival. An hour after that I accidentally won a huge gambling jackpot. In 2005 I also visited China for the first time, staying with the family of Guoxiao, one of my academic colleagues, in a small town a few hours drive from Shanghai. It was an amazing experience.

Boys at Montserrat, Spain
With travel-buddy Brad and a new friend from our hostel at Montserrat, Spain. Montserrat is a monastery up in the mountains.
I had such a great time in Scotland it was hard to know what to include. This is the Isle of Skye. I rented a bike and rode out to that rock formation in the background, Old Man Storr. I hiked up the mountainside around midnight. Being summer, the sun was still out.
I had such a great time in Scotland it was hard to know what to include. This is the Isle of Skye. I rented a bike and rode out to that rock formation in the background, Old Man Storr. I hiked up the mountainside around midnight. Being summer, the sun was still out.
With Guoxiao in Tongxiang, China.
With Guoxiao in Tongxiang, China.

 

2006

In 2006 I got my first digital SLR and my the quality of my photos went up a lot. On the first night I had my new camera in Sydney, my friend Campbell’s wife Christie suggested we should go and photograph a lightning storm that had moved off the coast of Sydney. We sat on a headland for an hour and I fired off a few 30-second exposures, not really knowing what I was doing. Next thing I captured the image of the ship below, which remains one of my favourite photos ever.

Lightning hitting the ocean somewhere off the coast of Sydney, Australia, ship
Lightning hitting the ocean somewhere off the coast of Sydney, Australia

Something very special happened in 2006- I moved to Delaware, USA on exchange from my PhD, moved in to a house with a bunch of cool American surfers, and had an American college experience. (Delawhere? Chuckle.) This included frat parties, tailgating sessions before football games, making good use of my Australian accent, surfing the Jersey coast and consuming a lot of beer and burgers. Meanwhile, Anna had moved back to Brazil. Since I was barely a continent away (ha) I made not one but two trips to Brazil during the time I was in the US. (I also did a trip to China again- gosh I feel tired just recalling all this.)

Tailgating in Delaware, USA
“Tailgating” in Delaware, USA, before a big football game.
Sunset on Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Sunset on Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Anna and I went up to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio to see the view. In the end, we ended up with our heads in the clouds. It didn't matter.
Anna and I went up to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio to see the view. In the end, we ended up with our heads in the clouds. It didn’t matter.

2007

2007 same me more and more focussed on my PhD work as I moved toward completion. I travelled to the USA to visit Anna who had moved there, and I also visited Norway for the first time since 2003, hanging out with my old friend Maria. One of the highlights of the year was presenting my work at a conference in Milan, Italy. After Milan I hung out in Venice a couple weeks and then caught the train up into Switzerland, to a place up in the mountains called Davos, where my old Swedish friend Monica was doing microbiology research. We climbed to the top of mountains and had a great time.

Sunset in Milan Duomo, Italy
On the day that I finished presenting my papers in Milan, we went for some beers in the main square near the Duomo. There was the most beautiful sunset and the light was incredible. It coincided with my feeling of freedom knowing I’d finished my work and could now enjoy myself.
Grand Canal Scene, Venice, Italy
Venice, the most exotic and amazing city one could possible think of.
On Top of the World, Davos, Switzerland
On top of the world above Davos, the highest town in Switzerland

2008

This was a crazy, crazy jam-packed year. I went to New Zealand for the first time with my girlfriend Agnieszka, and roadtripped both islands. I was surprised at how similar the terrain was to that in Norway. We also travelled up the East Coast of Australia, seeing the Great Barrier Reef for the first time.

On top of Mt Whakapapa in New Zealand, also known as Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings.
On top of Mt Whakapapa in New Zealand, also known as Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings.
Orakei Korako Thermal Park in New Zealand.
Orakei Korako Thermal Park in New Zealand.
This is Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island, in Australia. It's also the only place in the world where rainforest grows on sand. I love this shot because it reminds me of the vastness of my home country.
This is Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, in Australia. It’s also the only place in the world where rainforest grows on sand. I love this shot because it reminds me of the vastness of my home country.

My own backyard out of the way, I finished my PhD in March, and a couple of month later moved to the US again. This time, I was living in Portland Oregon on the West Coast. Some of the best times I remember from that summer were surfing out on the Oregon Coast. Even in summer, the water is barely 8°C, and a 5mm wetsuit, hood, and booties are needed. But the waves are great.

Surfing at Short Sands, Oswald West State Park, on the Oregon Coast.
Surfing with work colleagues at Short Sands, Oswald West State Park, on the Oregon Coast.
Startled Birds, Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast, USA
A memorable moment on Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. I was taking photos of hundreds of roosting birds, when a freak wave ran up the beach. Almost like a mini-tsunami. All the birds took flight and I got this shot before I had to turn and run to avoid being washed away.
Matt's Apartment, Portland, Oregon
My apartment in Portland overlooked the city baseball stadium and the West Hills. It was rather sparsely furnished but I loved the view.
White Christmas, Portland Oregon
2008 was my first white Christmas, but I was depressed. I missed my family and it was blizzarding all day. Finally in the late afternoon the weather cleared and I was able to go outside and walk around.

2009

2009 was another year of self discovery, living in Portland USA, and things were no less hectic than 2008. My friends and I spent much time in the amazing Pacific West outdoors, snowboarding at Mt Hood, surfing on the coast, hiking and white-water rafting. Another highlight of the year was a trip to Alaska that I did with my parents. We did a roadtrip from Anchorage to Palmer, followed by a cruise through the Inside Passage, with incredible views of glaciers and snowy peaks. My 20s ended and I turned 30. Working for a German company in the US, I did several trips to the former East Germany and was captivated by Dresden, a city I think of unparalleled beauty. It’s all the more remarkable when you remember it was razed by firebombs in World War 2. I capped the year off with a month in North Carolina, where my old Delaware surfer buddies now lived. As if the year had not been intense enough, I managed to fall in love with a girl there. It didn’t work out.

Misty Cedar Forest, Diamond Head National Park, Oregon Coast
A misty forest of cedars on the Oregon Coast
The first day we drove to Mt Hood in my friend Bronislav's car, there were several inches of snow on the ground even as we left Portland and it began blizzarding. We got halfway up the Columbia Gorge before we could go no further because of the thick snow and ice. Struggling to fit a sub-standard set of snow chains, we managed to limp the car slowly to the mountain, which took several hours. Just after we took this shot, we got on the first chairlift for the day, only to have it break down mid-air halfway up the mountain in the snowstorm. We were completely drenched in freezing sleet and stranded for an hour mid-air. We even started debating whether we should jump off the chairlift and suffer a couple of broken legs rather than freeze to death. Once we were rescued, we were so wet and cold we decided just to go home. That took another several hours, with several stops down the mountain to fix broken chains and un-bog the car. Truly an ordeal.
The first day we drove to Mt Hood in my friend Bronislav’s car, there were several inches of snow on the ground even as we left Portland and it began blizzarding. We got halfway up the Columbia Gorge before we could go no further because of the thick snow and ice. Struggling to fit a sub-standard set of snow chains, we managed to limp the car slowly to the mountain, which took several hours. Just after we took this shot, we got on the first chairlift for the day, only to have it break down mid-air halfway up the mountain in the snowstorm. We were completely drenched in freezing sleet and stranded for an hour mid-air. We even started debating whether we should jump off the chairlift and suffer a couple of broken legs rather than freeze to death. Once we were rescued, we were so wet and cold we decided just to go home. That took another several hours, with several stops down the mountain to fix broken chains and un-bog the car. Truly an ordeal.
Driving to Mount Hood, Oregon
This was a better day on Mt Hood. It had been dumping for days but now the weather cleared. The excitement was palpable as we approached the powder-covered mountain through gorgeous valleys of spruce.
At the bottom of a run down Heather Canyon, an off-piste section of Mt Hood with an incredible powder bowl leading down from the summit.
At the bottom of a run down Heather Canyon, an off-piste section of Mt Hood with an incredible powder bowl leading down from the summit.
Glacier Bay B&W, Alaska
Cruising in Glacier Bay, Alaska.
Kayakers in front of one of the glaciers. Gives you an idea of scale. The cave is formed from the runoff meltwater of the ice
Kayakers in front of one of the glaciers. Gives you an idea of scale. The cave is formed from the runoff meltwater of the ice. I imagine this was a decent kayaking trip for these two.
I fell in love with the grandeur of Dresden, on the Elbe River in Germany. One aspect I love about the city is that on side of the river, the bank is built up with the buildings and cobblestones of old Dresden (largely rebuilt after the war), whereas the other side of the riverbank is in its natural state! I can't remember seeing that in any other major city. There's people walking and riding bikes and there's a grassy beergarden where you can buy a weissbier and take in the view. Beyond that is Neustadt, the edgy, gritty part of the city with great bars and nightlife.
I fell in love with the grandeur of Dresden, on the Elbe River in Germany. One aspect I love about the city is that on one side of the river, the bank is built up with the buildings and cobblestones of old Dresden (largely rebuilt after the war), whereas the other side of the riverbank is in its natural state! I can’t remember seeing that in any other major city. There’s people walking and riding bikes and there’s a grassy beergarden where you can buy a weissbier and take in the view. Beyond that is Neustadt, the edgy, gritty part of the city with great bars and nightlife.
White Water Rafting, Snake River, Washington USA
Rafting on the Snake River in Washington State, USA. On this particular waterfall, given the severe difficulty the boats were given the option of walking around it. All but 2 boats took that option. The boat before us capsized going over the falls, and we were delayed while they rescued a girl who badly hurt her knee. We went over completely out of control, ended up totally submerged, went up on one side and nearly flipped, but handled it. We were stoked!
One of the most incredible sunsets remembered because of the friends I was with. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.
One of the most incredible sunsets remembered because of the friends I was with. Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

2010

In 2010, I picked up my life and moved back to Australia to start afresh. The previous years had burned with such an intensity that I was keen to lay low in my hometown of Sydney and relax. As it turned out, my new job involved transferring technology to a different major German company, also in the Dresden area. And so it was back on the plane to Europe. It is a long flight to take when broken-hearted, and so, living out of a suitcase in the east of Germany, my friend Fabian suggested I get on the train to St. Anton in the Austrian Alps, where he was staying with friends.

I use the word “train” lightly, because actually it was 4 trains, with 5 minute transfer times, and I’d have to do the 8-hour trip late at night once work had finished. In the end I felt so low that I thought I had nothing to lose. Somehow, I made all the connections and arrived in snowy St. Anton at midnight. There was a single taxi outside the train station and he winced at the address. We began driving up a twisted mountainside in the pitch black, with the snow pouring down and a sheer unfenced drop on one side. Unsure of where we were going and feeling isolated, I was beginning to think this whole thing had been a bad idea, when suddenly on the road ahead, there was Fabian. He’d heard a car approaching and come out to see if it was me.

In a strange little house up a mountainside in the Austrian Alps, after my 8 hour train and taxi trip. There was a barn with cows attached to the house.
In a strange little house up a mountainside in the Austrian Alps, after my 8 hour train and taxi trip. There was a barn with cows attached to the house.
The view of the Austrian Alps out the window in the morning made the trip all worth i
The view of the Austrian Alps out the window in the morning made the trip all worth it.

The trip back did not really go to plan- I missed the final connection and stumbling around at midnight in some snowy, freezing tiny town in East Germany I’d never been before, I luckily found a taxi driver who was willing to drive me the final 100 km up the autobahn- for a fee of about €150.

In the end, there was little rest in 2010- I spent 3 months just in Germany. Since Fabian and another of my best mates, Daniel, lived in Germany, this was not such a bad thing, and much good cheer was had.

Town Hall on Bridge, Bamberg, Germany
According to legend the bishop of Bamberg did not grant the citizens any land for the construction of a town hall. This prompted the townsfolk to ram stakes into the river Regnitz to create an artificial island, on which they built the town hall they so badly wanted.
Daniel, myself and Fabian, in Freiburg, near the Black Forest.
Daniel, myself and Fabian, in Freiburg, near the Black Forest.
Freiburg viewed from the tower of the Munster, with the Black Forest in the background.
Freiburg viewed from the tower of the Munster, with the Black Forest in the background.

Towards the end of the year Anna came to visit me in Sydney and we rekindled our romance. I visited Spain for work, and for the first time, Korea, which I loved, but I left the camera at home. Anna and I also went on a cruise of the Pacific to New Caledonia. Pheeeew!!

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
Locals, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
Friendly locals in New Caledonia.

2011

It might come as little surprise that in 2011 I was completely burned out. I planned a whole year sitting on the couch at home in Sydney- it was just going to be me and the Nintendo Wii and I couldn’t wait to get fat. But then my travel buddy Brad called up and was raving about a snowboarding trip in Japan, and well, it sounded pretty badass. So I finally agreed. And then my travel buddy Scott ended up getting married in Thailand and made me a groomsman, and well I could hardly say no to that.

As it turned out, Japan was great, and we had a sensational couple weeks snowboarding the freshest, deepest powder I’d ever seen in Hakuba and Niseko. But we managed to time our visit for the 2011 earthquake, my first ever, which was a doozy at 9.0 on the Richter scale. We were on an elevated train in Tokyo at the time and were lucky enough to be able to pull into a station and tumble out onto the platform as the train smashed itself back and forth against the station walls. We then walked for 6 hours to get back to our hotel on the other side of Tokyo, avoiding swaying skyscrapers. (You can read the full story here.) With the coastline destroyed by apocalyptic tsunamis and nuclear plants going into meltdown, we were very lucky to already an air ticket booked out of Japan on the day the airport reopened 3 days later.

Niseko Snowboarding, Japan
I love Japan- the landscape, the people, the food, the snow- it’s one of my favourite places to visit.
Earthquake Aftershock, Tokyo 2011
I wish I had thought to get out my camera at the moment the main quake hit, but I was too busy with self preservation and trying to understand what was happening. This was half an hour later, when the first big aftershock hit. Everyone is standing in the open away from buildings as the ground shakes like the ocean. Over to the left there were some TV screens, and people started screaming as they broadcasted pictures of the tsunami.

After that experience, I practically limped into Thailand. Boy was I worn out. But I was a bit earlier than the rest of the wedding party which gave me some time to relax in a nice hotel and at the lovely Kata Beach in the south of Phuket. I also went over to Ko Phi Phi for my first ever full moon party, which was a blast. A Spanish girl told me a story about being attacked by a pack of monkeys which has traumatised me ever since, and I slept in a tiny hut above a rocky cove for about 5 bucks a night. The wedding was also great- a top bunch of friends, all in a fun place all at once. It was a real party, and I returned home feeling like the world was my oyster again.

Ko Phi Phi Leh island, Thailand
Ko Phi Phi Leh island, Thailand
Kata Beach Sunset, Phuket, Thailand
Sunset on Kata Beach, Phuket
Thailand Wedding
About to marry off our friend Scott (second from right). I’m on the left.

And then work needed me to go on a trip to Rhode Island and Boston and Harvard, and well, it was Harvard, so a scientist doesn’t say no to that. I took the opportunity to swing by my old stomping ground in Portland OR, and returned to Sydney via one of my favourite cities, San Francisco.

Sea Lion Pastiche, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, USA
A pastiche of sea lions. Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

2012

As 2012 dawned, my travel bug returned with a vengeance. I went on a world tour for work and play, taking in parts of Canada, the USA, the UK, China and Korea. I also visited Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and went back to Germany, my 8th visit, where I (finally!) visited Berlin for the first time and did Oktoberfest in Munich. Last but not least, I visited Anna in Brazil- twice. On the last of these occasions, we took a flight from Brasilia to Rio where we tried unsuccessfully to land twice in a tropical thunderstorm, on one of the world’s shortest runways. The captain finally, mercifully, diverted up the coast to Vitoria and I can say it was by far the scariest flight experience I have ever had. Anna and I flew back to Sydney on the 30th of December, landing on the 1st of January and skipping New Years Eve altogether- or having it in the air somewhere over the Pacific, whichever you prefer.

The Twelve Apostles, on the Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Twelve Apostles, on the Great Ocean Road, Australia
Travel Buddies in a London Pub, Beers, UK
Two beers, per man, per day, perhaps. With travel buddy Scott in a London pub in Islington.
Street Art in Brick Lane, London. Left etching is by Vhils.
Street Art in Brick Lane, London. Left etching is by Vhils.
I had no sooner arrived in my hotel in the centre of Seoul, Korea, when scores of riot police began streaming from all sides and hastily assembling into formations. A protest march blocked the main thoroughfare and had a tense standoff with the police.
I had no sooner arrived in my hotel in the centre of Seoul, Korea, when scores of riot police began streaming from all sides and hastily assembling into formations. A protest march blocked the main thoroughfare and had a tense standoff with the police. I shot this from my hotel room window.
Happy Riot Police, Seoul, Korea
After the worst seemed to be over, I warily ventured outside the hotel, where I found the riot police to be a bunch of friendly kids, happy to smile for a photo!
The incredible Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
The incredible Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Beers with my mate Mitch, at Oktoberfest in Munich.
Beers with my mate Mitch, at Oktoberfest in Munich.
Standing in front of the Berlin Wall in Friedrichshein, Berlin. Where I am standing in this picture was actually in the death strip between the two walls- in the area where shoot to kill was authorised. Now it's a pleasant place to go for a stroll.
Standing in front of the Berlin Wall in Friedrichshein, Berlin. Where I am standing in this picture was actually in the death strip between the two walls- in the area where shoot to kill was authorised. Now it’s a pleasant place to go for a stroll.
Flying into trouble- the skies approaching the storm which tried to swat us like a fly.
Flying into trouble- the skies approaching the storm which tried to swat us like a fly above Rio, Brazil.

2013

2013 was quite the year. Anna and I moved in together in Sydney, and I started Confiscated Toothpaste. The year was bookended by visits to Port Macquarie, where my parents live in Australia. I went to a lot of my favourite world cities this year. I went to Europe twice- the first trip taking in a conference in Hamlin, Germany, of pied piper fame, before going to Berlin again, which I couldn’t resist. I then spent time in Switzerland before going to London. In September, I went back to England again, doing a roadtrip of Sussex, Dorset and Cornwall with my dear old Dad before going to Paris, which I love. There I met up with Anna and we did a roadtrip from Paris to Milan, Italy through the Swiss Alps. In between Europe trips, I went to Korea, visiting the DMZ. Finally, in early December I snuck in a trip to Malaysia and Singapore.

Snowy Berlin- the Bode Museum.
Snowy Berlin- the Bode Museum.
The 4 food groups according to Germans: Meat, potato, sauerkraut and beer.
The 4 food groups according to Germans: Meat, potato, sauerkraut and beer.
Joint Security Area (JSA) of the DMZ, Korea
The Joint Security Area (JSA) of the De-Militarised Zone (DMZ) on the Korean Peninsula. The blue huts are UN building and straddle the border, which is the line of concrete on the ground. The building in the distance is North Korea. A North soldier watches through binoculars.
This is Dorasan station in South Korea, connecting rail to North Korea. The trains are currently not running after the North closed the border.
This is Dorasan Station in South Korea, connecting rail to North Korea. The trains are currently not running after the North closed the border.
Boats on the beach at low tide in St. Ives, England.
Boats on the beach at low tide in St. Ives, England.
On Top of the World in Tintagel
Who says England has no spectacular scenery. This is Tintagel, on the Atlantic coast in Cornwall.
Magical St Germain in Paris, by night.
Magical St Germain in Paris, by night.
The streets of Milano, Italy.
The streets of Milano, Italy.
A proud vendor in the Abu Dhabi carpet souq.
A proud vendor in the Abu Dhabi carpet souq.
The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kangaroos in the Backyard, Port Macquarie, Australia
Kangaroos in the backyard of my parent’s house in Port Macquarie, Australia.

2014

There’s nothing quite like exploring your own backyard and I don’t do nearly enough of it. I think one of the things about doing a lot of travel is that when you’re back home, that becomes your rest time. I tried to push myself in 2014 to appreciate what I had a little more. We did a trip with my Dad to Wilson’s Promontory, the southern-most tip of Australia, that was just one for the ages. Oh yeah, and Anna and I got married in her hometown of Brasilia, Brazil. We got married in the world’s most beautiful church, after travelling to Rio for the World Cup. In September I spent a couple weeks in Amsterdam for a conference and stayed in a houseboat on the Amstel River, and afterwards did a roadtrip of the Netherlands and Belgium with my buddy Ed.  At the end of the year, I was invited to talk a conference in Busan, Korea’s second largest city after Seoul. It’s right on the beach with fantastic seafood and beautiful walks through the forest.

Squeaky Beach, Wilson's Promontory, Australia
The stunning Squeaky Beach in Wilson’s Promontory Australia. Aptly named because the white sand squeaks as you walk on it.
Sydney Opera House Butterfly Projection, Vivid Festival 2014.
During the Vivid Festival, beautiful patterns are projected onto Sydney landmarks, like the Sydney Opera House above.
Guys on a motorbike in Rio de Janeiro Centro, Brazil.
Guys on a motorbike in Rio de Janeiro Centro, Brazil.
Rocinha Favela, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil, and is located near Rio de Janeiro’s wealthy suburb of São Conrado.
2014 World Cup Final Crowd, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The crowd during the 2014 World Cup Final in Rio de Janeiro.
Santuario Dom Bosco Wedding
Our wedding in the dazzling azure Santuario Dom Bosco in Brasilia, Brazil.
Wedding in Brasilia, Brazil
Newly hitched in Brasilia.
Life on a houseboat in the Netherlands. That's my bike on the Amstel riverbank outside.
Life on a houseboat in the Netherlands. That’s my bike on the Amstel riverbank outside.
Amsterdam Canals in Sepia
Amsterdam, like Venice, is endlessly beautiful and exotic.
Ed and Matt on Reclaimed Coastline, Zeeland, Netherlands
Ed and Matt on reclaimed Dutch coastline in Zeeland, a land of collosal dykes and wind turbines. It mightn’t look like much but as engineers we were in geek heaven. And the Dutch haven’t forgotten the bike paths either (in red).
Lost in a Corn Maize Maze, Netherlands
I was late to a phone conference across the border in Belgium, but we couldn’t resist running around a corn maze (maize maze) we saw on the side of the road.
Waffles in Belgium
Munching down on Waffles in Bruges, Belgium.
Ghent Cityscape, Belgium
You’ve probably heard of Bruges in Belgium, but not Ghent. This photo shows why I prefer Ghent: one of the most beautiful fairytale cities imaginable, but actually still well in use and lively, with universities, students, great bars and even an ancient castle.
Sunset over the beautiful Haeundae Beach in Busan, Korea.
Sunset over the beautiful Haeundae Beach in Busan, Korea.
Matt and Anna, Lake George, Australia
With my new wife Anna at Lake George, near Canberra. Some of Australia’s conservative politicians announced that they found wind turbines ugly. It’s hard to imagine that they could find this view ugly on their drive into Canberra for the sitting of parliament. Perhaps they’d prefer an open cut coalmine?
Icebergs Ocean Pool, Bondi Beach, Australia
The iconic Bondi Beach in Australia, with the Icebergs ocean baths in the foreground. The pool is so called because the club swims only in winter. If it’s not cold enough when the season starts, they compensate by pouring ice cubes into the water.

2015

Every traveller when they explore is looking for something deeper within- their own personal Shangri-La perhaps, or the promise of inner peace, or to understand themselves better, or to challenge themselves in some subconscious way. I didn’t travel so much in 2015 because, at 36, I wasn’t searching for that so much anymore. Life went in a different direction. The year started with a bang, seeing the Sydney Harbour New Years Fireworks properly for the first time. It really is the best New Years Eve in the world. (Mental note- must check out the Rio one to properly verify this comment…) We planned that 2015 would be the year we’d become parents, and that happened with the birth of Sebastian in December. In the meantime, we moved into a sweet new apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour, a view such that the outside world always seems right there regardless. As the year drew to a close we watched the fireworks again, this time with the novelty of seeing them sitting on our own bed.

Oh- and I also did a tour of the US South. I took in jazz in New Orleans, rock n’ roll in Memphis, and country in Nashville Tennessee. That was followed by a week in New York City, where my travel bug was first stoked back in `01. Once bitten, forever smitten.

Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks

Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks
Sydney New Years Eve fireworks
Music is everywhere in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
Music is everywhere in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
City of New Orleans Train
The Amtrak City of New Orleans Train travels from New Orleans to Chicago. I took it as far as Memphis, and loved it.
Fire hydrant and yellow cab, New York City.
Fire hydrant and yellow cab, New York City.
Lightning Storm Over Sydney, Australia
A great sunset lightning storm blew up over Sydney in late 2015 and I was lucky (unlucky) enough to be caught in it- with my camera.
New Years Eve Fireworks, Sydney 2015/2016
A burst of fireworks over Sydney Harbour marks the start of 2016.

Hope you enjoyed my little photographic journey. I might be writing stories for Confiscated Toothpaste for the next 3 thousand years or so. Roll on 2016…

 

Cover Art: Fragments of the Earth

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Matt Edwards

Australian solar power scientist travels the world for 15 years, takes photos, writes stuff, has toothpaste confiscated. I like adventures that involve art, history, science, music, technology and partying. Sometimes all at once...

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