I was born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada and spent my summers camping at the lake and my winters building snow forts as a kid. When I got older and started travelling more, I knew I needed to find a job that would give me heaps of time off to travel, and I ended up settling on “geologist,” knowing that I could work FIFO in the mining industry and have half of the year off to do the things I really wanted to do (which basically just travelled, meet new people, eat a LOT of new foods, experience different cultures, and see what the moon looked like on the other side of the world). I ended up landing a fantastic job on 2 weeks in / 2 weeks out roster and found myself with enough time to travel somewhere new whenever I wanted to. As I started travelling more, I began to take photos to share with friends and family back home. The more photos I took, the more I wanted to hone this new skill, but it wasn’t until I moved to Australia and was left waiting for nearly 2 years for my residence (and work) visa to be approved, that I finally found the time to dedicate towards learning, practising and improving my art. Since then, I’ve added registered drone pilots to my list as well and now shoot both aerial and non-aerial images and videos for clients. With travel largely restricted for us here in Australia over the past couple of years, my recent work has focused mainly on South Australia, but I’m looking forward to getting more use out of my passport again and exploring some new international destinations.
Why do you travel and photograph your journeys?
I’ve always had itchy feet, and could never stand to stay in one place for too long; travel has been a natural extension of this. I’m happiest when I’m out exploring and love to learn something new, plus experiencing the cultures, traditions, and foods of a region is always best done on location! 🙂 I’m a creator at heart, and photography is an opportunity to play with light, perspective, and colour to build a picture that I can share with others. I want my photography to give people a glimpse of the experience and magic of being there, I want them to feel connected to these locations even if they aren’t able to be there right now, and ultimately I want to inspire them to go out, explore, discover, and get lost in the moment; whether they’re venturing to the farthest corners of the globe, or walking through their home city.
What is your favourite thing or item to photograph?
The night sky. Space fascinates me, and I love how impossibly small I feel when stargazing. It’s incredible to think about how much we’ve learned about the universe, and how much more we know nothing about at all.
What’s your go-to travel hack?
my biggest tip is to do a little research in advance and make sure you understand local customs and culture, but also just understand how locals go about their daily lives, what are the things that they always do/don’t do – you’ll end up being a more considerate visitor when you’re there, but hopefully, you also won’t stick out like a sore thumb. Scammers and thieves are always on the lookout for people who look unfamiliar or unconfident with their surroundings because those are the people who are less likely to be paying attention to pickpockets, or who can be taken advantage of because they don’t immediately recognize when something’s not right.
Got any gear you can’t travel without?
My Kobo eReader. I love reading books, but only seem to find time for it when I’m on a plane or sitting on a beach, so my eReader is always with me when I travel. I would miss my phone and camera a lot but have definitely traveled without either in past. But a book? I’ve always got one in my bag.
What destination are you eager to go back to?
Too many! I’ve loved nearly every place I’ve visited, but Egypt and Greece would be amazing to go back to. I last visited these countries waaaay back before smartphones were even a thing – I’m sure they’ve changed immensely but there’s still so much I haven’t seen in both of these countries that I would love to back.
How do you stay safe when you’re travelling?
Similar to my answer about keeping gear safe – make sure you research where you need to go in advance so that you don’t stand out as more of a target. Then you can pay attention to your surroundings instead of needing to focus on a map. Ask locals who work at your accommodation if they have any recommendations for where is safe / not safe to visit when you’re travelling solo. And just like you would at home, stick to well-lit and heavily-trafficked areas when it’s dark. I’m also a big believer in trusting your intuition – I’m very lucky that I’ve had a few bad experiences while travelling, but the ones I have had always happened when I ignored my gut feelings about a situation.
What’s the best way to experience a destination like a local?
Ask a local! Seriously! People generally love to talk about their lives and are usually very happy to share what they love best about their home cities and countries. It’s easy enough to find info online before you go, but definitely ask the locals you meet when you’re at a destination to tell you what their favourite foods are, what they love doing on the weekends, or the best way to travel from point A to point B. You might just discover a hidden gem you hadn’t heard of yet!
What’s your favourite word in another language?
not a word, but a phrase in Swahili – poa kichizi kama ndizi ndani ya friji – which means “cool as a banana in the refrigerator.” It’s fun to say, and the visual always makes me smile too. If you climb Kilimanjaro you will definitely be taught this phrase as a response to “how are you doing?”
When and where are you next travelling?
I don’t have any flights booked at the moment, but planning on doing some more travel around South Australia in the near future. Next year I’ve got tentative plans to head to South Africa, but I’m sure there will be one or two more trips in between then and now!
Since Day 1 Travel with Jane has been about levelling the playing field for women in Australia. In 2020, we’re taking the fight global. Stay tuned to learn how you can support the women who tackle the gender divide here and abroad.