Adventures Abroad

Adventures Abroad
Machu Picchu

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Hostels

Due to the fact that I woke up early today and ate breakfast alone in my hostel, I decided to tell the story of last night.

Remember how I told you that hostels are great places to stay in? Well, they are, but like with everything else there are pros and cons. Last night seemed like another typical night in Rio, but to my surprise B and I decided to head back to our hostel (I´ll give you the run down on it later) instead of dancing. When we arrived, we went to the bar attached to get a beer before truly calling it a night and going to bed. I got up to head to the bathroom, which is attached to the common area. In this common area is a computer, a television, and couches for people to relax and be social. Or so I thought. I walked in and an older guy was on the computer and I thought nothing of it. Yet, when I walked out of the bathroom, the older guy was actually on some kind of pornographic chatsite. It took a lot for me to contain my laughter...until I got to the bar where I told B to go peak in the window. We both laughed for a while and finished our beers. Oh, no this story is not over yet. We went to watch the things remembered for 2011 on the t.v. and to my surprise the older guy was still looking at a pornographic site. We pretended like this was not happening and the room was filled with youngsters hanging out. All of us looked at each other with an awkward smile and assured each other it was really happening. Finally, an employee came in and gave the most priceless expression that I will never forget. He turned around to look at us...puzzled. He quickly walked out and got Maria, who I suppose was a type of manager. Maria came in and called the guy out into the hallway. Everyone started laughing and the older guy walked back in, but continued to look at the site. Maria came back in about 5 minutes later and yelled at him again. She eventually called him into the hallway and after he came back he logged out. In the end, Maria apologized to all of us and said, "when this happens, we try to stop it immediately." I suppose that means it happens quite often.

So, what does this teach us?
Everything has its pros and cons.

Do you have any funny stories about your adventures abroad?

Happy New Years, fellow bloggers!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Lights

Are you looking for something fun to do this holiday season? If yes, then check out the Bull Run Festival of Lights. This is a festive light show that has been going on for over 12 years now. You pay a small fee of roughly $20 for a car full of people. At the end of the light show is a carnival. Yes, you read that correctly! Grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the holiday spirit. Be sure to bring the kids to see Santa!

So, what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Tip: Dress warmly if you plan on going to the carnival afterwards!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tis' The Season For Travel

Now that the stress of exams are behind me, I figured we should travel into the world of Christmas. To welcome 2012, B and I are heading to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Due to this new adventure, I decided I should think of really good gifts that people can get for traveling whether its camping, hiking, or just exploring. Each product is linked, so check it out!

So, what kind of gifts do you get for an avid traveler?

Fellow bloggers, stay posted for my new adventure to South America. 

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Photojournalism: David Burnett

Have you ever thought about combining photography and journalism together? Well, David Burnett has been a photojournalist for over 35 years. He has worked as a freelancer for National Geographic, Time, and Life. A National Geographic representative said, "he is known as someone who can-no matter how challenging the assignment-return with the picture."

Burnett's photo featured in National Geographic's photo contest

What does Burnett have to say about photojournalism?
1) Why did you become a photojournalist?  What inspired you?  How did you do it?

"Once I joined the high school yearbook staff, I was bitten by the bug. From the time I saw my first picture develop in the tray.. the magic of the white paper slowly emerging with greys and blacks to make  a real photographic image, there was nothing else I wanted to do. I loved the idea of sharing something I had seen, and letting others be able to share that moment. At first it was just pictures of the French Club and the cheerleaders in school but eventually that became something more universal and (hopefully) marketable. I was working for a little weekly paper by Senior year of high school. It didnt pay much but I felt I wanted to pursue it, and I just never stopped trying to find clients who might be the right place for me to share my images."

2) What's most gratifying about your work?

"There is something gratifying when you connect with a picture. It's fun to watch others react to your own work, because that is what counts. It's less important for me that I love my work, than that it be accepted in publishing, and eventually perhaps art circles, as something important.  I want my pictures to tell a story, and I want that story told to as many people as possible."

3) What are some personal characteristics a photojournalist should possess?

"You need to be single minded, tough, ready to pursue the difficult; empathetic, and able to understand the needs and feelings of your subjects.  And able to operate on few hours sleep, with nothing but a candy bar to keep you going.  The energy comes from the picture taking and the excitement of being able to see the world. Curiosity: own it."

4) What advice can you give me that would best help me understand the career of photojournalism?

"Work hard, prepare not to receive any accolades or atta boys. Enjoy seeing your work produced, and if lucky, published.  Take joy in the making of the images."

Well, what about photography should you know?

1) What should I know about photography?
"Study the great photogs of our time.. start with August Sander, Martin Chiambi, and shoot right through the 20th century... KNOW good photographs, and why they are good.. Cartier-Bresson (who shot with the simplest LEICA, nothing 'auto' about it), Gene Smith, Leonard McCombe (LIFE), Grey Villet (LIFE), Bill Eppridge (LIFE), Salgado... the list goes on and on.. but only good can come from your paying attention to what has been done by those who went before you. Just because you can see your work instantly on the back of a digi cam doesnt mean youre special... but take your inspiration where you can, and never stop looking for good images.. both by others, and those that happen in front of your own eyes."
2) How do you climb to the top?
"The biggest thing about our business is ... Good Photography. In the end, your pictures, for better or worse, will determine whether or not you are going to be successful.  You need a business plan, you need to understand that you have to STAY in business to REMAIN in business, and that by doing things such as guarding the ownership of your images (copyright), you retain the rights to resale important pictures over the course of your life.  Giving up that copyright means you give up the chance to re-license those pictures down the road." 

A special thanks to David Burnett for taking the time to answer a few important questions.

For more information on David Burnett visit National Geographic or