Hi and welcome to Image Earth Travel, a photography and travel blog geared towards independent travellers, and anyone with a passion for photography.
I love capturing the globe with words and lens! And when not travelling to exotic destinations, I’m based in Brisbane (Australia), working as a Technical Writer and freelance Photographer.
My intrigue with photography started at a young age using a 110mm film camera (remember those?) – I was addicted!
Working in an Old Time studio for a couple of years shooting everything on an old Hasselblad Flatbed camera, I saved enough money for my year away from Australia.
With a lust to travel, I donned my first backpack in 1985 and spent about a year backpacking around the world solo.
Met loads of other travellers along the way whilst travelling through Africa, Europe, Britain, Egypt, India, and a first quick taste of Thailand.
Travelling by bus, train, boat, and hitchhiking, cemented forever my passion for travel and photography. Although I travelled independently, a 21-day Topdeck tour made sure I didn’t miss the main sites in Europe.
Life at Sea
Apart from local and global overland travelling, I’ve been a part of building (from plans) a Roberts 28′ Motor Sailor and launched ‘Naiad’ in the Hawkesbury River (NSW).
Motored Naiad to Sydney for work and to finish her fit-out, which took over 4 years (on top of the initial 5+years to launch). Set sail bound for Brisbane (Queensland), meandering up the coast for 6 months and also lived up and down the coast for years.
This part of the Australian East Coast has some of the best and most pristine cruising grounds in the world, and especially the Great Barrier Reef.
During this time, we extended Naiad to 34′ and lived on her for 20 years in total, until deciding we needed a bigger boat.
In 2008, we flew to the US to buy a Catalina 47′ and after only looking at 3, settled on ‘Reality’, which was already hauled out and winterised in Long Island (NY).
After trucking Reality to Miami by road, fitting her out for ocean passages, we finally set sail down the Miami River and onto Florida. From buying Reality, fitting her out, and finally leaving the US took 3 months – we left on the last day of my 90-day visa!
From Florida, we sailed to Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and almost due south in the beautiful Caribbean Sea to Bonaire. A short sail to risky Venezuela to explore this spectacular country for a while, then onto Curacao.
I love the sea and always feel at peace on the water; especially during night watches, when a backdrop of a million stars kiss the horizon, fusing everything together – magic!
During the 2011 Brisbane floods, I lived on Reality on my own, which was scary. Although with the help and support from close friends, all went well and Reality made it through safely.
An extended journey
After a 10-month trip in 2011 to Morocco and South America, and more short overseas trips, finally left Australia again in March 2014. This time for an extended journey.
Landing in Singapore without a real plan, travelled through SE Asia for over 10 months.
Crossing overland borders through Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, the only flight was into Myanmar (Burma) from Thailand, as border crossings were closed or only granted a 15-day travel visa, at the time. From Thailand, crossed overland to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam taking our time to experience each country.
The rough plan after a couple of months in Vietnam was to do the Trans-Siberian through China, Mongolia, and Russia over many months and possibly a year or so. Sadly, the visas were too short, too expensive, and too difficult to obtain once outside of Australia (country of residence). If you’re doing a short trip or organised tour then it’s not a problem.
So, a quick change of plan and onto Eastern Europe…during the bitterly cold winter!
It’s a real pain that Australians can only stay 90 days within a 180-day period in Schengen-agreed countries; as of today, that’s 26 EU countries. Sadly, I had to leave again, after 3 months.
From Poland, we flew to the UK for a while but I did have a short 6-day stay back in Australia. Whilst there, a wonderful 2-week sailing trip in Fiji saw me catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen in years, before returning to the UK.
Buying a 1997 Fiat Ducato Motorhome (Reg) in the UK and experiencing some of England’s beautiful corners first, the tail end of 2015 through to 2016, saw us driving for 3 months through France, Spain, and Italy. An amazing experience and comfortable way to travel whilst meeting loads of like-minded travellers.
Once again, I had to leave the Schengen area and return to the UK.
How to fill in 3 months before returning to the EU? Volunteer with FED again…of course. This is the NGO in Thailand that we volunteered with back in 2014, but this time will see a stay off 3 months to help out.
More time in Europe
During the last few years of travel, the desire to obtain Italian Citizenship grew, but this was always going to be difficult. Instead, another trip to Australia end of 2016 to request a 12-month Italian Residency Visa and back in Italy, I’ve only just received my residency card, some 5 months later.
Now that I have this card and with a base in Southern Italy, travelling around some of Italy’s stunning sights without time-constraints is fantastic!
After three-years since leaving Australia, still plan on staying out as long as possible as there’s still too much of the globe to explore. So, stay with me, leave me a comment or two now and again, so I know you’re still out there, and read the next adventure!
Want to send me on a trip? Contact me via email at Nilla’s Photography to discuss.