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“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end"

Ernest Hemmingway

Oliver Stainer
Minsk Motorbike


I would encourage anyone who is given the opportunity to travel, to go traveling. And not to travel in the sense of five star hotels and private taxis, but rather backpacks, local transport, local food, local sites, and real people. Don't just go and see, but rather go and experience. It opens our eyes to the world around us, helps us understand and appreciate different cultures, and gives us an insight into far away places, and more importantly, people.

The first bag I packed was at 13 - when I left for boarding school - and I haven't looked back since. I was an immigrant at 23, born in South Africa, I moved to London, England after university and started a new life in a new country, on a new continent. And I took a year out in my 20s and backpacked from Finland, through Russia and Mongolia, across China and down through South East Asia - which included riding an old motorbike across Vietnam - before visiting Australia and IndiaTraveling has always been something I loved doing, be it in my home county, or abroad. You can see more of my travel photos on my travel portfolio page which splits out photographs according to countries visited. 

There is nothing quite like the feeling of a backpack, boots, and a ticket to nowhere. A dream, an open mind, and a camera. My mind often drifts back to those experiences, those care free moments when I could go or do anything I liked, when I could travel with whoever I wanted. I find traveling so invigorating, enlightening, and emotional. So often it's not just the surroundings that inspire us but also the people we are traveling with. And of course, we can't forget all that wonderful food along the way. 

It always amazes me that when cultures are so different from a perspective of history, religion, food and/or language, people are all so similar. We all aspire to the same things, love and care for our family's and friends, and we all have a great pride in our own heritage and culture. I don't think the journey to appreciating different cultures, and in-turn, having pride in us as collective humans, is that difficult or long. And travelling has got to be the first step in achieving this journey. 

Unfortunately, social media has not only connected people in a positive way but also in a negative way. It has been used as a tool to divide us, to highlight our differences, and to use those differences as a reason for hate. Traveling also highlights our differences, but it allows us to consider those differences in an unbiased way, it helps us to appreciate those differences, to be inspired by those differences, and to communicate directly with the people who we perceive to be so different. It's only then that we realise how similar we all are. 

On the request of a Buddhist monk I met on a bus in rural China I stayed as a honoured guest at Labrang Monastery in Gansu China. And what an experience that was. I was introduced to the head monk, sat in on their prayers, and had meals down town with some of the younger monks. When sitting and sharing our food it was them - via an interpreter friend - asking questions of me. Where did I came from? What was England and South Africa like? What were my friends like? How big was my family? What religion were they? What food did we eat? Where did we go to school? What did we learn at school? All the very same questions I was wanting to ask of them.


Even though the environment we were brought up in couldn't have been more different, we were the same. We had the same aspirations, we laughed at the same jokes, we enjoyed the same food and each other's company, we even had the same questions of each other. In the same way, I want these travel photo pages to be a positive and inspiring experience, something that not only highlights some of the wonders of the world, but also promotes those people and cultures that had such a positive influence on me. This is my effort in trying to balance all that negative energy wasted on the internet in trying to divide us. 


I hope you will enjoy looking around, and maybe something here will inspire you to travel!

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