It is time to wipe off the dust from your favorite #travelhacks category and shed some light to the practical side of my last trip. So far I have been purely emotional about Maldives (and I will be for some time to come, bear with me), – let’s translate it to some collective wisdom. What’s important to know about flying to the place where the sea meets the sky, erasing the very idea of the horizon?
- Plan your route. First things first. There are absolutely fantastic things about Maldives (the color of the water, the ecosystem, the milky white sand, – I don’t really need to mention them here, do I), less fantastic things (hotel prices, activities for those who doesn’t like the beach but was forced to come by the loved ones), – and there is travel. Getting there is a heck of a travel, with not so many direct flights at reasonable prices (especially now, when Qatar airspace is closed for most international itineraries). A few recos: from Europe, there is a direct flight from Paris with Air France (which was not available at the time we were booking). Then, there is a universally great route quality/ price wise through Abu Dhabi with Etihad. And, finally, Sri Lankan airlines, the cat in the bag we took (clearly, because it’s a cat). For what is costed, Sri Lankan turned out to be a very decent airline, part of the One World. From the luggage perspective, Sri Lankan is the best airline in the world, letting you check in up to 32 kg in the Economy.
With half of my Intagram feed going to Japan to marvel at the sakura blossom or to admire the red colors of the autumn, I am happily keeping South Korea – with equally gorgeous cherry time and fall colors – to myself. For me, mass tourism takes the magic of the places away (think Santorini flooded by several hundred of ferry hoppers), – I kind of don’t even want to go to Japan now.
Especially when I have my family still in Korea. Here I am taking on from the previous post on South Korea Daily, to share with you some of my favorite pastimes there, Korea’s less known casual side, and simply the things that make me happy there.
At last, I am having a kind of break in my seasonal weekly travel routine, so I can swipe off the dust from my cameras, go through the photos I made it what now seems to be another life, take out my digital brushes and create a little. Also this week’s challenge is interesting.
The theme of this week is Peek. I have this blog for a year and a half, and travelling from my old photos to my more recent ones, I can see how my work as a photographer has changed. I used to (as any other starting photographer) aim at making to crispest, the brightest photos depicting my subject in the most accurate way. A cute small tribute to HDMR. Now, comfortably achieving that, I am moving towards being more creative with my photography. Which, ultimately, means not showing it all, or not showing it that well.
I like this photo (that much that I chose it as a cover for my latest blog post about South Korea) because it makes you pause and reflect. What you see is a girl leaning towards her table (or what’s in front of her), – but then you don’t know whether she is eating, typing on her smartphone or, maybe, drawing or creating some other kind of art. If she is writing, to whom? if she is making something, what is it? In the end, this photo – not that crisp and not the revealing – makes you think more about its subject than would the one processed to the minute details. You pause and spend some times asking questions, guessing, contemplating.
And that is one of the key objectives of the photography, ins’t it?
I have been flying to South Korea for 13 years, and yet I wrote only two blog posts about it: one about the racoon cafe in Busan and one about cherry time. To me, this place is something very casual, very homelike, very laid back, – somewhere I always come on holidays and have undivided attention of my parents and a cat (cat’s attention I never get, but that’s life). My packing to South Korea is two pairs of shorts, a swimming suit, three T-shirts, flip flops and gifts to Mus and Dad. (On my way back, I fill the suitcase with Korean cosmetics.) Recently I am not even taking my Canon with me, unless Mom and I are making a sweet detour somewhere else, like we did to Bali, and travelling light with my street camera, Fuji X-T2.
So today I want to show this country like I see and love it: no postcard views of the temples (which are gorgeous, by the way), no ultimate Instagram material of the cherry blossom.
The question I am asked about Paris the most is its restaurants – which could be a reflection of my image, or of my taste in friends, anyhow too late to change both. I am not home as often as I would like to be, and when I am here, I do my best to enjoy the city, to celebrate that I, even largely theoretically, live here, – and eating out is a big part of it. (There are also periods in my life when cooking at home simply makes no sense, because most of the things I buy over the weekend do not survive until my next culinary attempt.) So I have put together my top favorites in Paris, for you to savour.
October is an exciting time for me at work. I start new projects, bring up new topics to the discussion on Digital Innovation, and even introduce a couple of new full-bred solutions. I fly for weeks straight (actually, I am set to fly through the entire month), and put all my energy into my job. Then comes a weekend. During the week, I am looking forward to it as a time when I can finally switch gears and create, read, do sports. I somehow picture it as 48h charged up with useful and exciting activities for which I can’t set time aside during the week. And then, on Saturday/ Sunday I spend most of the time in my pjs, watching series, ordering food and doing rare bicycle gigs around the city, mostly to go to the movies. (I do read books though.)
I now I think it it’s okay. I used to feel sorry for these unused stretches of creative time, but then I got to a point in my life when I understood the value of planned downtime (hello, “How to Have a Good Day” by Caroline Webb). This time around, I am embracing my racoon weekend personality, swiping the dust from my August photos (made with Fuji, by the way, my go-around-the-city camera, instead of my Canon 5DIV), to spread some more love for South Korea, the country of my eternal vacations.
This post captures my visit to a racoon cafe in Busan, South Korea. Today Korea – a small country with no natural resources and a landscape made up by 70% of mountains – is one of the world’s leading economies. I have been coming there for 13 years by now, and could witness their economic ascent. I gave a lot of thought about what made Korea what it is now, and being humble and eager to learn is one part of it. Take Apple vs Samsung battle. Some years ago, Apple used to be the number 1 phone in Korea, the high earner’s trade mark and a sign of (be)longing to the Western sophisticated civilization. Most of what Samsung did these days was to mirror Apple’s design and functions, first to a very modest success. With years, Samsung caught up with Apple, offered their own progressive techs, and now very few people in Korea still have an Apple device. Samsung there is all the rage now (despite the fact that Apple offers a very appealing price level in Korea).
The same about animal cafes. Koreans have been excited about cat cafes, even launched a few dog cafes (where dogs are wandering and playing around, not what you could have thought), and now introduced a racoon cafe.