My favorite pic from each of the 26 countries I solo traveled to over the past year.

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38 comments

  1. These are great pics, and I hate most of the pics on this sub.

    You can really tell from these pics that you got out there and interacted with people during your travels. Looks like you probably learned a lot.

    1. Thank you! I did learn a lot. Indeed, of all the things that make travel so wonderful, cross-cultural human connection definitely takes the cake for me. I was blessed to cross paths with a great many fascinating people over the last year.

      1. That’s so cool! Can you share a little bit about your story? How did you end up taking this big trip and visiting all these places?

        1. Sure!

          After graduating from college I worked my tail off for three years and lived very frugally – the goal was always to travel solo for a year. When I felt comfortable with my finances I quit my job, dropped everything, and hit the road. I did three months in Europe, two months in Southeast Asia, and seven months in Latin America. I would be happy to answer questions about a given region, specific countries, budgeting, or general tips. Fire away!

          Oh, also, I documented it all! If you like travel writing that aims to amplify the voices of locals and illustrate a more raw narrative, give my blog a look, http://www.awaywardduck.com.

          1. Awesome, that’s exactly the kind of travel writing I’m into. I’ll definitely check this out.

    2. > These are great pics, and I hate most of the pics on this sub.

      This was exactly my response; I wasn’t expecting much (or rather: was expecting the same, super-saturated landscape shots), and these were a serious pleasure to look at. Great job, OP.

      1. Not the same person but:

        Boring standard shots of standard places seem to dominate.

        Many people just treat it as a “dump and run” without bothering to post any useful info or thoughts. Not beyond “FAMOUS PLACE is really pretty” anyway.

        Too many comments praise the OPs for taking amazing shots when it is a pretty bloody awful composition made slight flashy by extreme HDR saturation by their phone. Amateur shots are fine by me, just does my head in when people praise something that isn’t worth it (especially if it just happens to be a famous spot).

    1. This is a great example of what I was talking about. I don’t mean to offend OP but these are just not showcase-worthy photos. I mean they probably mean a lot to OP, as they absolutely should, but that other guy in this thread who said “these are great, and I hate most of the pics in this sub” must be looking at a different album. These are exactly along the lines with the mediocre pictures that are frequently posted here.

      I really don’t mean to be mean here, and I’m sorry OP, it’s just a timely continuation of the discussion topic in my thread.

      1. No offense taken. Can you specify why, beyond lack of leveling, these are not “showcase worthy”? Not a big reddit guy just here to share some of my experiences.

        1. Sure! And I’m glad you’re not offended.

          I’m not any sort of professional photographer mind you. I’m barely an amateur. But I generally know how to pretend like I know what a good photo is.

          First of all, none of your photos are edited after the fact as far as I can tell. They all seem like just the raw images from the camera, so the color on all of them is pretty off and bland. A lot of them are blurry, like the riot in the streets of Hungary one. It’s just like a random photo taken while the camera is in a setting not appropriate to the action taking place in the shot. Some are just framed poorly, such as the Slovenia one, the Turkey one, and the Norway one. Others are just standard mediocre photos of buildings that have been taken many times and which others have done better, such as Ipiales, Singapore, and Copenhagen.

          My favorite ones are the Cambodian dude and the skater in Ecuador. With some processing, those could be really good. Although they’re not ideal since the Cambodian one is a little out of focus, and the skateboarding one would be better served if the skateboarder were elsewhere in the frame.

          1. For snapshots though they’re pretty good and do tell a decent story about a guy/gal who got out there and saw the world.

            To be fair if you go back and look at your parents or grandparents photos that they put in albums odds are they’re all like this. They’re good memories and can be quite inspirational even if they’re not necessarily wall worthy as they are in a world full of post processed and edited images.

          2. Yeah, totally. That’s why I was kinda careful with my language and said they’re worthy of meaning a lot to OP, but not really worthy of showcasing to strangers as great photos.

            A lot of the photos I take are also purely for memorialization purposes. I’m not always trying to worry about framing and focus and stuff. It’s taxing unless it’s a major hobby (or career). Photography is a minor hobby of mine so I have an okay-ish eye but again I understand each side of the “argument” here.

          3. My grandparents went to Kenya in the, probably, 1960’s and as a kid I used to look at their photo album on a regular basis. The photos weren’t all that impressive but they inspired me to spend months and months in Africa.

          4. Cheers mate. This was my aim – not to impress u/mrgoodemployee but to inspire strangers to travel. If I had it my way, we’d be trading stories as opposed to discussing my shitty photog skills.

          5. I spent time in Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, and Cartagena. Also hit a few towns in the Darien Gap before boating the San Blas islands en route to Panama City.

            Colombia is an amazing country that gets a bad rep. Have you been? If you’re interested, I wrote a bit [here](https://awaywardduck.com/2017/09/04/medellin-climbing-to-new-heights/) about how Medellín is shedding its troubled past and cutting into its crime rate via public works of art and innovative urban planning.

          6. Thank you for the constructive feedback. Some of these were taken on my shitty mobile I picked up after mine was stolen early on – after that I often didn’t have my camera out in public places. Others were taken quickly on my camera which I then tucked away out of respect (Chom Mey, Sandinista guy, and the Bosnian Woman). I can see now that I should’ve edited/leveled/framed better and that some of the pictures of buildings were generic. Kicking myself because I have better ones from each of those countries that aren’t of just buildings.

            I’m not a professional photographer either (clearly), nor am I adept in the rules/gatekeeping of what is considered showcase worthy. But this is helpful and I’ll try and be more mindful about what I post in the future.

          7. Yeah you do whatever you want to do. The photos are fine. They’re totally “show your friends on a slideshow” level everyman photos. If you’re not actually interested in doing the processing and stuff, don’t. It’s your time, and you’re not obligated to impress people like me.

          8. > Thank you for the constructive feedback.

            Good on you for taking /u/MrGoodEmployee’s comments in the manner in which they were intended. He stated it much more eloquently and diplomatically than I could have.

            Happy travels.

      2. I think what I don’t like about this sub is that people just post mediocre pictures of random landscapes with descriptors like “breathtaking” or “unreal” that likely don’t do much for most of the users here, and they don’t do anything for me either.

        OP’s photos aren’t photographic masterpieces by any means, but I like that they actually showcase the people that he/she interacted with, a few of them suggesting he/she listened to someone’s story and/or learned about a historical/cultural event. Each person travels with their own motivations, and for me, I love the learning aspect of it, so that’s why I really appreciated OP’s pics and can see myself in the way he/she likes to travel.

        1. That’s a really great point. I didn’t mean for my comment to spin the discussion this far away from OP’s intention.

          1. No worries, actually I think this is a really good discussion that I think the sub is overdue in having. One thing I just thought of when thinking about the reason I liked OP’s pics as well as some of your other comments: should images have to be really high quality photographs to warrant being posted on this sub? We can probably all agree that there’s an unnecessary amount of shitty photography of mediocre landscapes/cityscapes on this sub, but at the same time, if the quality of the photography for a lot of the same photos were of a professional standard, I’m not sure I’d like the post much more than before. I guess personally I’m not one to get especially motivated to seek out a destination because of how its landscapes/cityscapes look in photos. I liked OP’s pics because they showcased more of an interaction with people/place than just a landscape/cityscape, which I guess is what I’m after when I come to this sub. Was it you that had the food album from Mexico City? I thought that was great because it captured the different kinds of cuisine you were trying around the city. For me, I’m interested in travel as a concept, so I like coming to this sub to debate/philosophize about travel as an activity, get and give general travel-related tips, get and give location-specific travel advice, etc. Mediocre landscape/cityscape photos don’t usually spark those discussions, regardless of whether they were taken on a shitty mobile camera or on professional equipment. Thoughts?

          2. I couldn’t agree more. I appreciate that OP here is taking the time to engage with people who are posting in his thread. That is far more important than the quality of the photos. If he had submitted this album and then peaced out, it’d be easy to be resentful and basically say “fuck this dude his photos suck” and downvote or ignore. Since he’s taken the time to talk everything out (and as a bonus has a great attitude), I’ve completed 180ed my opinion of his photos. Now I’m seeing the story of a person who had a great time traveling.

            Yes it was me that had the food album. Thanks for the compliment!

      3. From a photography point of view no, they really aren’t great, but this isn’t a photography sub and I don’t necessarily come here for award-winning photography. I come here because I like to learn about different parts of the world and maybe even consider them as future travel destinations. For that purpose I thought this was a great, interesting post.

  2. Wow man! Incredible photos. Should be published. I’m thinking of South America, what were your favorite countries / cities there? thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks! Sure thing. I only went to two countries in South America, Colombia and Ecuador. It totally depends on what you’re looking for. Ecuador has a rich biodiversity for being so small (Amazon, Andes Mountains, Beaches, Galapagos Islands), as well as fascinating cities for history/culture/day trips like Quito and Baños. Colombia equally has an abundance of natural and historical sights and is very cheap to travel through. My favorite city there was Medellín.

      If you’re looking for a more untrodden path, consider Central America, especially Honduras and Nicaragua. Reports of danger there are exaggerated; you’ll be fine if proper precautions are taken. There are still places there unsaturated by tourism and the people are more willing to open up than elsewhere on the “gringo trail”.

  3. Looks like you had some nice moments. I’ll remember about the Calcio Storico incase I’m ever in the area in June next year.

    Also thanks for the photo of the Ljubljana street performer. I had forgotten about this person 🙂 He or she was there the very first time I went over that bridge too

    1. Calcio Storico can’t be missed! Easily the craziest sporting event I’ve ever witnessed. Tickets are tough to get online as they sell out quickly but are easily scalped near the venue.

  4. I quite enjoy seeing photos like this from traveling. I like to shoot with my DSLR and edit for a “pro-looking” shot and everything, but it just doesn’t have the personality for travel photos. I often end up enjoying my imperfect shots on my phone cuz they’re spur of the moment type shots that really make you feel a part of it, not an observer. This is not a knock at your shots at all OP I really enjoyed them!

  5. Hello, I’m planning a trip around the world, and I’d like to ask you some questions about your preparation. Without being too intrusive, how much did you save for your trip? What kind of stuff did you bring with you? How did you plan your trip before you left? I hope you’ll answer these, and if you have any comprehensive posts on your blog, I’d like to read them.

  6. Wow great set of countries. Cool you went diving Sipadan! Was there 9 years ago but had crummy weather for the dive unfortunately.

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