T is for Travel- #AtoZChallenge

T” is for traveling. One of my all time favorite things! I love a good book, but I love it even more when I’m reading it in some new place, somewhere I’ve never been.

My last trip was a big one. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere for a while. I pretty much accept now that I won’t be able to go back to work for months, if not years. Until I start ‘earning a living’ again and have more than enough to just barely pay the bills by using up my savings, I won’t be going anywhere.

I did go to the big Travel Show in Dallas a couple of weeks ago. That was just to see what’s on the RADAR. Exploring what I can work on for my new travel writing and photography career.

I took a detour on the way home, stopped in Ennis and did the Bluebonnet Trail. The flowers were beautiful. Fields full of bluebonnets, indian paintbrush and other spring blooms.

I will be going to the TBEX in Huntsville AL next month. I’m really looking forward to that. I hope to make some contacts and improve my blogging. 🙂

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite travel quotes. I hope they inspire you, like they do me. Enjoy. 🙂

     

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I is for Istanbul- #AtoZChallenge

“I” is for Istanbul. Turkey. I was able to take a nice long stop there on the way to my photography safari last November. I’m so glad I did! Here’s a recap of my first day…

Istanbul! What an exciting city! I hear the seagulls cry, the ships distant whistle, the calls of the street vendors selling roasted chestnuts and corn on the cob. I smell the sea air mixed with cumin, coriander, cinnamon and apples.

The sense of history here is intoxicating. The locals are used to it, but it amazes me to walk along the hippodrome past the Spiral Column sunk almost 10 feet down into the ground. The ground level of 2000 years ago.

I spent yesterday soaking up the history of this place. I started out practically next door to my hotel. Walking up the street to the Arasta Market and right next door to the Mosaic Museum.

Again, the mosaics were at ground level from 2000 years ago, so we walked along a platform to see them on the ground. Some smaller ones were mounted on the walls where we could see them close up. There were good explanations in English (and other languages).

Outside the Mosaic Museum is the Blue Mosque. Just across the street is the Islamic Arts museum. Pass by the construction in front of the entrance door and climb the stairs. Make your way around dozens of small galleries showcasing various ancient civilizations with an Islamic focus.

I was most impressed with the books (Qu’rans mostly). They were absolutely gorgeous! The fine, delicate decorations, the flowing script, the golden ink. The information cards listed the calligraphers (as they should), their work was simply stunning!

From there, cross over behind the Aya Sofia (museum) to find the Carpet Museum. This one was not included on the Museum Pass (85 TL for 5 days). It cost 9 TL. There were 3 galleries to look at. The carpets were displayed very nicely, but except for the 2nd gallery they were very short on information.

Outside the Carpet Museum is the main gate into Topkapi Palace. I managed to look at the Aya Irini (another old Byzantine church), and the Archaeology Museum before being chased out at closing time (5 pm).

The church is old and empty, you’re not allowed to go upstairs and there’s netting to keep the pigeon shit and feathers from falling on you. I would skip it if I was pressed for time. The Archaeology Museum is another story. It was very impressive!

There is a whole forest of ancient tombstones, columns, and statues outside. There are at least 3 different buildings to explore. The first one I looked at had a huge selection of tombstones and sarcophagi. It was very impressive. The detail work was amazing. Some of those things were huge! I wondered how many people did they put in there?

There is another building full of ceramics. It had a domed ceiling, surrounded by stained glass windows, and tile on the walls- some of them decorated with gold paint. How beautiful!

Each room showed the different styles of ceramic from different time periods and civilizations. Some of it was fairly crude work, some of it was extremely fine and delicate. I loved the beautiful swirling patterns of blue and white.

The last building I was able to explore was under construction. I had to walk through a long passage covered in white plastic. The actual museum started out with life sized marble statues of the gods. Artemis, Apollo and more.

They were setting up an exhibit with TV screens, ‘Are We Human’. It looked very interesting. I saw something about 2000 years of history in Aleppo, showing the latest destruction. I would have liked more time to try to figure out what was going on. There was something else about oil- ‘leave it in the ground’- which I really wanted to learn more about, but I was running out of time.

Upstairs, Istanbul through the Ages was a very thorough timeline of artifacts found nearby and more history of the people who lived around this area and Turkey. I was only halfway through the second floor when a guard told me it was time to leave (at only 20 til 5).

So Many Stories

I have so many great stories to share from this safari. Tons of great photos too. Too bad the internet is so horrible here and I can’t get anything posted. I can’t even open my mail on yahoo.

I’ve spent the last week on safari in Tanzania with Great Escape Publishing. There were about 20 of us altogether- 16 ‘students’ and 4 teachers- in 4 jeeps (or land rovers).

We started and ended our safari from the African Tulip in Arusha. We had a lucky week. The weather was great, hardly any rain. We saw all of the big 5- even a rhino at the very end (but it was so far away I could hardly see it).

We saw lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, hippos, buffalos, gazelles, giraffes, zebras and more. What was really fantastic was seeing so many of the babies. I’ve got some fantastic photos! Not as many as I’d like, but enough that I’m still thrilled. 🙂

Even tho I bought a new lens especially for this trip, it wasn’t really what I needed and so I missed out on a lot of really great shots I could have gotten if I had spent the money for the proper equipment.

I bought a 70-300mm lens with an adapter for my Sony camera. The adapter was manual tho, so it was really hard to get it to focus. Almost all of my shots were blurry when I used that lens. I finally gave up and went back to using my old 70-210 lens where the auto focus worked.

The other problem I had was that my camera does not have an eyepiece to look through. I had to use the screen on the back of the camera and since it was so bright out, I couldn’t really see anything to focus on and just had to guess half the time.

I’m glad I got to make the trip, but it’s a shame I was so concerned about money that I skimped on the camera gear. If I ever get a chance to come back over here, I’ll try to get a better lens. It makes so much of a difference.

Orient Bosphorus

I was picked up right on time at my hotel. I was glad to see a few others coming along while making our way to the ship.

We arrived at the dock, just past the Galata Bridge, and boarded our vessel (sorry but I didn’t get the name). There were a few similar vessels Med moored to the seawall. Our group was one of the first to arrive. We all went to our assigned tables and the crew brought out our national flags for us.

I was surprised by how many different nationalities were represented on this cruise. Azerbaijan, Japan, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Lebanon, Tunisia, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, India, and more. Just at my table there were people from Kuwait, Pakistan, UK, Algeria, and US (me).  And the boat wasn’t really all that crowded. 🙂

We got underway and got to know each other over our appetizer plate. I tried to figure out what everything was. I tasted a little bit of everything. Nothing was really familiar except for a slice of baloney, some cheese, slice of cucumber and tomato.

Between all of us at the table, we figured out that we also had hummus, carrot salad (not sure what else was in it but the carrots but it was good), potato salad, and dolmus (Greek  word for stuffed grape leaves with spiced rice inside). There was also another salad with peas, carrots. And an orangy mystery. Nobody had any clue as to what it was. It was bland tasting, like maybe some sort of bean paste.

We had a choice of chicken, fish or spicy Turkish meatballs for our entree. I had the grilled chicken. It was nothing spectacular. It came with rice and a small salad.

While we were eating, the MC went around the room. Table by table he gave a little pep talk on each nationality, while the rest of us cheered him on. It was actually pretty entertaining. The guy was good. 😉

The show started with a Whirling Dervish. I liked his lighted costume. I wondered how he didn’t get dizzy spinning around like that. But I think that’s pretty much the point. They’re supposed to get dizzy. Remember how you used to spin around when you were a kid? Same thing. 😉

After the Dervish, we had various folk dances. The dancers were excellent. They were spinning and jumping around. The men did something similar to the famous cossack dances. They even did a knife throwing exhibition (only at a block of wood).

The belly dancers were the big hit of the night’s show. The main dancer went all around the room, teasing all the men and really hamming it up. I do wonder how people who have such traditions as belly dancers can also want to keep all women covered up with nothing but their eyes showing. I find it kind of funny to watch the ladies taking photos of each other when they’re all covered up like that. I mean, how can you even tell who’s who? I really just don’t understand the Muslims.

Last night was a great example of people from all over the world- different cultures, different languages, different histories, etc- just getting along being people together and having a good time.

The show ended and the DJs started playing some wild dance music. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single song he played before, but I liked it. Most everyone else knew the songs by heart.

Everyone really got into it. All but a few were out on the dance floor. One woman was jumping around out there with her baby (who looked bewildered). The group of ladies from Lebanon started line dancing (a little differently than we do it in Texas). 😉

line dancing ladies from Lebanon

line dancing ladies from Lebanon

It was pretty chilly outside, but I had to go out to take pictures a few times. 😉

The waterway was beautiful at night. The bridges were all light up. We passed by some of the larger buildings close enough to get a good shot. The moon was just rising over the Asian side of the Bosphorus. I spent a few minutes out on deck smoking. I peeked in the wheelhouse (had to take a look). The Captain even let me take his picture.

All the crew members were very good and friendly. You could tell they liked their jobs. I’m sure they probably get asked the same questions constantly (I started out on passenger vessels), but they never let it show.

 

They dropped me off at my hotel around midnight. I had a great time. If you ever get to Istanbul, check out Orient Bosphorus.

Blogging

I haven’t been paying as much attention to my blogging as I would like lately. Since I went on that delivery trip to Colombia and was totally cut off from the world (no internet), it seems like I’ve just been trying to catch up.

I haven’t been doing much that would explain my absence. I’ve only had a total of 5 days work (whoo-hoo!). I went to a Nautical Institute seminar and then left for a travel writing workshop in New Orleans for a week. That was fun but kept me super busy.

When I got back I had a room mate move in, so trying to get used to having someone new in the house. I finished my taxes (finally) or at least enough to get them to my accountant before the deadline this coming week. And I finished with everything I needed to do to give my license renewal application to the Coast Guard.

Along with all that crap I pretty much had to do, I also managed to do a few fun things I wanted to do. I got to go out for the last of the Rum Races with Captain Vic on the Laz. I made it to a couple of Campaign for Liberty (political) meet ups. I started painting class again. Went to the inaugural Sail La Vie Dive Bar tour (looking forward to the next one).

Went to see Snowdon last week and the Deepwater Horizon movie Friday (both were good, the DWH was intense!).

I’ve been off the Buzcador for about 6 weeks now. I still haven’t caught up with everything I was cut off from when I went out there for 3 weeks with no internet! I’ve been spending a minimum of 2 hours/day online (usually much more) and still can’t make any progress.

I feel like I should apologize, that I haven’t been spending much time blogging, but I just don’t feel like spending anymore time online. It’s getting to be a real drag.

I’d much prefer to spend my online time blogging and writing, but I’ve been spending it catching up on ‘important’ emails, looking for work and filling out ridiculously long and repetitive online applications (that have nothing to do with the job I’m applying for).

I’m getting to the point where I’m trying to decide should I just say ‘the hell with it all’ and ‘retire’?

Even tho I have no where near enough money saved up to support myself for the (hopefully) 30+ years I’ll have left. Do that, move to somewhere cheap like Mexico and work on my writing, photography, and painting? In hope that somehow I’ll be able to survive?

Maybe one of these days I’ll figure out how to ‘monetize’ my blog. Or someone will like one of my photographs or paintings enough to buy one (for more than a quarter!). Or maybe my book will become a best seller?

Or give up on doing anything with my life, suck it up and take some soul-sucking minimum wage job at McDonalds or Walmart?

I think I don’t really have much of a choice at this point. There’s nothing I can do about the price of oil, so not a thing I can do to go back to a decent job, a job that I care anything about. I’ve already applied to every maritime company in the USA, most of them more than once. Plenty of overseas companies too.

I think, for the sake of my sanity, I’m going to have to ‘retire’.

But I don’t want to. 😦

To Work- or Not to Work?

That was the question…

I’m scheduled to work tomorrow and Tuesday this week. If I’m lucky I will get to work both days. Nothing else on the schedule for me for the entire month. 😦

The training center where I’ve been working has also been struggling to survive since the downturn in the oil markets. They have very few students, so very few classes, so not much work for me. 😦

I have a long planned trip coming up the 1st of November. It’s super expensive and something I’ve wanted to do since the 1st time I watched Tarzan on TV when I was a kid. A real bucket list trip. A photography safari!

Friday, I got a call for a possible job. The first real job since last September. I had to give it a pass.

Why does it always seem to work like that?

New Orleans Was A Trip!

I just got home from New Orleans. What a trip! I got in around midnight last Thursday (after  attending the Nautical Institute seminar). Friday morning the workshop started bright and early 8 AM. I’m not a morning person.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday was spent 8-5 in the travel writing workshop I was there for. Monday addition on ‘Social Media’. My brain was spinning by then and ready for some down time.

Tuesday, I slept in and was able to spend the day around New Orleans gathering information for my planned writing projects. I had researched beforehand and thanks to Mike at Hospitality21 and Christine at the New Orleans CVB, I was comped tickets to a couple of wonderful New Orleans attractions.

Everyone I talked to about the World War II Museum raved about how good it was. I had been wanting to go for a couple of years. I spent all afternoon there and still didn’t get the complete experience (I missed the movie and show- I’ll have to go back for that).

I made it to the Steamboat Natchez just in time for departure. A really nice way to spend the evening. A jazz dinner cruise on the Mississippi River. You could imagine yourself back in the day of Tom Sawyer if you ignored all the people taking ‘selfies’.

I had a late flight out on Wednesday, so spent the morning wandering around the French Quarter: walking down Royal Street, checking out the antique shops, looking at the artists working along Pirates Alley and Jackson Square, breakfast (brunch) at Monty’s, listening to jazz at Latrobe Park, timidly tasting a couple selections at the Pepper Palace, wandering through the French Market, and then taking the Riverfront streetcar back up to Canal Street.

I spent the last couple hours wasting my time (and my money) at Harrah’s Casino and before I knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel to catch my ride to the airport. I guess it’s a good thing they don’t allow smoking anymore, I might have missed my plane if I hadn’t needed a smoke!

More later, as I get my photos uploaded. 🙂

Back In New Orleans

Whew! It’s been a hectic couple of days. I actually got to work Monday-Tuesday this week. Was supposed to have Wednesday too, but the students finished up early and so no role players were needed. Sucks!! I really could’ve used that extra day of pay.

But, I put the extra time to good use. I’ve been trying hard to get my taxes to the accountant before leaving for this weeklong trip. I managed to get a few things sorted out and dropped off a package for her on the way to Houston this morning.

I made it just in time for the seminar the Nautical Institute was putting on at the WGMA facility (near the ship channel). They had a pretty good turnout. I was happy to see a few old friends there and had a chance to catch up a little bit. Might even turn into a bit more work for me.

They had 5 different presentations. Everything from how the new DP scheme worked to how the new regulations for low sulfur fuel affected ship handling, to a historical perspective re: shipping and refugees, a very interesting slideshow on the newly opened Panama Canal expansion, to testing life saving equipment in the Arctic (I certainly would NOT want to have to try using any of it up there)! It was really very interesting. Especially the part about polar bears and walrus. 😉

I left the seminar at 5:00 and of course got stuck in traffic. It wasn’t too bad yet and I made it to Hobby in plenty of time for my flight. Actually, I tried to get an earlier flight. I had plenty of time for it, but they would have charged me 3 times what I already paid to get the earlier flight. WOW!

I did not take the earlier flight. What the hell!? Why in the world do they do that sort of thing? It doesn’t cost them a single damn cent to put somebody on a different flight, but they all want to make like it’s some huge big deal and just gouge the hell out of you! All it does is ruin their customer satisfaction. Anybody out there work for the airlines have another reason for this other than that they do it because they can get away with it?

I just checked into my hotel. It was a pretty quick ride from the airport. It only took about a half hour. I took the shuttle ($36 round trip). Usually it takes much longer, it seems I’m always the last one they drop off.

I’m too tired to do much tonight. I arrived here after midnight so all I did was check out the room and go out for a cigarette (no smoking hotel). I was hoping for a room with a view, but no such luck. I’m right next to the elevators, convenient but noisy, and I’m looking at a wall about 20 ft away and down into a garage ($42 for parking- wow- gouging again). 😦

Looks like I got real lucky to get a room at all. Even in the short time I was down in the lobby, I heard 2 people that had reservations but the hotel had no more rooms. They were pissed (and I don’t blame them one bit)!

I’m so excited to finally be here! Looking forward to starting the travel writing workshop in the morning. It’s going to be a very full weekend. We’ll be in the workshop from 8-5 every day and then (of course) going out to explore at night.

I’ve already missed tonights bourbon tasting set up by a few people on the group Facebook page. That’s probably not something I really needed to do anyway. I’ve got plenty of plans for later, once I get a little sleep. 🙂

A to Z: Korea

Korea is a very interesting place. I spent about a month there right around this time last year. My excuse for going was to attend the travel writing and photography workshop in Seoul put on by GEP.

I wanted to do some exploration before and after the workshop, so I flew in early and spent some time in Incheon. I went to Jayu Park, Wolmi Island, the fish markets.

I always got a kick out of the locals wanting to take their picture with me. Turn around is fair play, I’m usually taking plenty of pictures of the locals. They loved it. 😉

I took the train down to Okpo, on Geoje Island. I was hoping to visit an old friend I used to work with. He still worked for the same company but they had been keeping him in Korea for 2-3 years. I wanted to try to find something similar myself. Turns out he was out of town, but I had a good time exploring around town and talking to some of the other expats there.

I made my way back up to Busan. I met an online friend through a meetup group and we met for dinner. She showed me around town and even to tour her ship at the Maritime Academy. I got to meet some of the students and was very impressed with their organization there.

I used to work as a captain of a tuna boat and it turns out the company we worked for had their home office right around the corner from where I was staying. I tried to meetup with some of the guys I used to work for, but they were pretty busy and we never did make it happen. I spent my time in Busan wandering around taking pictures of the harbor, the markets, the parks.

The train back to Seoul was clean, efficient and cheap. I was ready to meet my fellow travel writers the next day.

I had a blast wandering around the city with the group. We were there for the Lotus Lantern Festival and the photos we got were great! We went to the old castle, to a talk about tea, on a food tour, we even got to go visit the tunnels to North Korea!

Seoul Korea for the travel writing workshop

Seoul Korea for the travel writing workshop

I really didn’t want to leave, there was still so much to see and do. The people were so friendly and helpful, most spoke at least some English so I had no real problems with communication or finding my way around. The scenery was gorgeous! Very green, with a rocky mountainous coastline. Everything was very clean and well maintained. The food was fresh, healthy and cheap (and plenty of it). It was easy to get around and really pretty affordable (I stayed in local hotels not the fancy ones for foreigners). I would love a chance to go back again. 🙂

*Another post for the A to Z Challenge. 🙂

Norms Thursday Doors

Norm does a photo challenge on ‘doors‘ every Thursday. I like to get into these things when I can. Here’s a photo I took while wandering around Seoul Korea with the Travel Writing group last spring. I walked all around town for hours. It’s a very safe and interesting place, the people are friendly and easy to talk to. They’re very  happy to practice their English with you! 🙂

 

Accepted!

I’ve been trying for a few years to get started in a second (or 3rd) career as a writer/photographer. I’ve been reading International Living magazine for a long time now (decades). I usually glance over the ads, but eventually I was tempted to sign on for their travel writing course.

I did it and over the years since, I’ve taken a few other courses through IL and what is now called GEP (Great Escape Publishing). I started this blog at the Boston workshop they put on back in August 2013. I figured the blog would be a good way to get my work out to the public without having to go through an editor. I was getting so frustrated at having my photos rejected and I couldn’t even understand what they were telling me when they told me WHY they rejected them.

All along the way, I’ve still been trying to come up with something that I could sell to someone. I do enjoy writing and photography, but I am also really looking for some way to earn an income without having to be out on a ship so much of the time. I really want to find a way to travel more and spend more time doing the things I want to do instead of what other people want me to be doing. 😉

I have somehow managed to have a couple of articles published online (here, here, and here), but that came about only because someone happened to see my blog and liked what I had written on here. I had never been able to get up the nerve to actually send in a formal query to a real magazine editor.

Until last trip home. I FINALLY got around to sending in an article to International Living! I had high hopes. I was really anxious too. I had written a short article (they say short is much better to start with), but I had written it about Singapore. Singapore is not one of the countries IL usually features. I thought they might like it since it was about how to eat cheap there. They DO like articles about how to save money. 🙂

I’m still waiting to hear back from them. I HOPE they willl let me know something one way or another. In the meantime, I’ve been working on trying again to get my photographs accepted on some of the stock photo sites. I’m happy to say, I’ve managed to get some accepted!

I still don’t really understand why they accept some and they refuse others. I do understand what they’re telling me now, I just don’t SEE what they’re telling me about in the photos I’ve sent. So far, my acceptance level is 40% at Bigstock, 0% at Canstock and Fotolia. I’m getting better, at first my acceptance level was only 26%. 🙂

Here are 2 of the photos I submitted. Can you tell which ones they accepted? The first one is of a temple on a lake in Bali, Indonesia. The second one is of the beach in Cancun, Mexico.

Which one do YOU like best? Why?

2015- Year In Advance

I just did a post on what I’ve been doing last year. Now I think I’ll write one on what I hope to be doing next year (other than ‘retiring’ from work and spending all my time in   a hammock under the palms on some bright tropical beach with a couple of cute cabana boys fetching me umbrella drinks between our frolics in the clear blue ocean waves). 😉

My major project this year is to get myself located in some other place. I NEED to get out of the United States of America. Most people won’t understand why (it’s political), but it’s been a goal of mine for a long time now. The feeling that I’ve had that I need to leave is just getting stronger all the time.

I’ve put it off for a lot of reasons, #1 being the lack of available work visas (and a trust fund). If I didn’t still have to work to support myself and pay my bills, I would have already moved years ago. I recently found out that Panama has a new visa program and so I have been trying to find a way to get down there to check it out.

I had planned to take a trip down to Costa Rica for a blogging workshop last May and from there head over to Panama to get this whole process started. But I got a new job at the end of May and had to cancel that whole trip. 😦

Since then, I’ve been trying to get to Panama and haven’t been able to. I had planned to go after I got off the ship this trip, but at the moment I have no idea when that will be or how long I’ll have off. All plans are on hold until I can make sure of my work schedule.

Other than going to Panama, to investigate moving there permanently, I hope to travel more this year. Last year I went to Las Vegas, Korea, and New Orleans for vacations. I wound up going to Aberdeen, Scotland and Luanda, Angola for work. I did get to look around Aberdeen a little bit while I was there, but I haven’t seen anything of Angola except the airport and the drive to/from the hotel.

Seoul Korea for the travel writing workshop

Seoul Korea for the travel writing workshop

There are so many places I’d still like to explore. My #1 travel goal for this year is… Antarctica! It just looks so amazing and I love the fact that the animals are still unafraid of people. I want to get there soon since I’m afraid that the ‘authorities’ will be restricting access even more than they already have. I’d love to take a small ship cruise down there where you can get up close and personal with the landscape and the animals. I hear there are even opportunities to meet some of the people who work down there.

I’d also like to hike up Mt Kilamanjaro and do a safari while in Africa. I hear Botswana is really great for that. Kenya or Tanzania sound good too. The guys from South Africa on here tell me I should go visit their country. 🙂

I’d love to visit India. I’ve always been fascinated by the art and architecture from that region. I think the culture is very interesting and the landscape and wildlife look like it’s a place I really have to spend some time.

I’d love to cruise the Nile and see the Pyramids in Egypt. I love all the history there.

I doubt I’ll even get to go to all of those places I just mentioned, so I’ll leave off on the travel wishes for now. I also want to get a few other things done this year. 😉

I want to finish working on the house I’ve been replacing the rotten siding on for a couple of years now. 😉

I want to get out sailing more often this year. Maybe even get another little Sea Snark so I can go out by myself without having to go all the way up to Houston. I’m so glad I found Sail La Vie so I can go out sailing with them whenever I’m home and have the time, but they almost always go out sailing from Kemah onto Galveston Bay.  I hate having to spend 2-3 hours driving just to get out of the house to do something different!

I want to learn at least basic Portuguese so I can communicate better with the people I work with now.

I want to find more time to work on my art. I like to draw, paint, etc. I’ve seen some classes I can take locally, but never seem to have the time to make it to any of them. Problem is, they’re usually for 4 weeks or more and I’m never home for that long. Maybe I can just go to 1-2 classes? Here’s a picture of a pastel drawing I did while I was out on the tuna boat.

I want to learn more about photography and find the time to work on my photos some more. I want to get signed on to (and accepted at),  at least ONE stock agency.

I want to work more on my writing and improve my style. I really need to figure out how to describe things better. I have always been just a very straight-forward person, both in writing and in person. I don’t know how, but I need to learn how to “show, not tell” when I write. I want to get off my butt and at least ASK a few editors to take a look at my articles!

 

I want to do better with my blog. I’m still learning. I haven’t been able to stick to any kind of ‘editorial calendar’ like I was trying to. I’ve had a really hard time keeping up with other bloggers in the challenges or even keeping in touch at all.

At this point, I have no idea how much (if any) of all that I’ll be able to accomplish this year. My list of things to do this year will probably wind up just like my list of “things to do today”, or “this time home”. Never finished, but never ending. 😉

Do you have lists like that?

Silhouette at Sea: Ship and Seagull

I thought this photo would be another good one for the Weekly Photo Challenge from the Daily Post. This week the subject is “silhouette”.

I took the photo a couple of months ago when I was in Korea. I had gone there to attend a workshop on travel writing and photography.

I flew into Incheon and decided to stay there for a day or 2. Just to rest up before figuring out what I wanted to do. I had a couple of weeks to spend on my own before meeting the rest of the group in Seoul.

I took this picture my first day there. I wound up down by the waterfront (of course) at a place called Wolmi Island. It\s one of those “pleasure islands” the Asians seem so fond of.

I wandered around for a while taking pictures. I had some local junk food (tried the little boiled  ‘silkworm cocoons’- which I did NOT like at all! they tasted like salty dirt!).

I was surprised at how nice and quiet and peaceful it was there. I really enjoyed my afternoon there. 🙂

Photo Challenge: Red (shoes on pink tailed puppy)

Here’s another entry for the challenge (red). I just couldn’t stop watching this guy in his bright red coat with his cute little dog and it’s matching red shoes. 🙂I

I took this photo while I was in Korea for the travel writing/photography workshop a couple of months ago. I started out in Incheon and this was my first day out exploring. I wound up at Jayu Park where I could look out over the city.

There were beautiful views over the harbor and the city surrounding the hill. There were lots of local people out enjoying the gorgeous sunny weather. A couple of school girls even asked me for a photo and interview. 😉

It was a nice place to start my explorations of Incheon.

Inspiration!

This whole thing with my blog started a long time ago, out of my growing desire to move away from the US. Why? That’s an issue for another post. 😉

Because of my desire (need) to move out of the States I’ve been a subscriber and reader of International Living magazine for decades. They’ve given me inspiration and lots of good information.

So why am I still here? Good question! I’ll move as soon as I can figure out SOME way to support myself outside of the USA.

I’m too young to retire and I don’t believe social security will be there for me anyway. I can’t leave the US til I find another country to accept me and no other country will allow me to move there and take a job away from one of their native citizens.

That’s where the travel writing and photography comes in. 🙂

I’ve been trying for YEARS to find SOME way to earn an income where I don’t have to be physically present on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been trying to find a way to earn an income where I can really enjoy life instead of always being at work at a job I no longer enjoy.

So far I’ve tried vending machines, rental property, stocks and now travel writing/photography/blogging. I’ve been working on all of them off and on since at least 1995. STILL working on most of them, tho I did pretty much give up on the vending machines. 😦

IL Editor Jennifer Stevens came out with a travel writing course through the magazine that I did on my own at home years ago. I never followed through to send anything in to any magazines. 😦

Later IL worked together with AWAI (American Writers & Artists Inc) to start offering workshops.

They have workshops on travel writing and photography (and other things like copy-writing, etc). I’ve gone to a few workshops and enjoyed them all.

I have tried to get my photos accepted twice now on a couple of the stock photography sites. I’ve been pretty discouraged. I’m told I don’t have a good enough lens in my camera for my pictures to come out with a high enough quality to be accepted. 😦

I don’t have the patience to spend hours on the computer trying to eliminate every speck of dust that somehow makes its way into my camera lens (even on my favorite Sony camera)!

I can’t bring a big fancy camera with me to work since I’m limited on luggage. I travel a lot on my way to/from work. So….

I heard there was a way to earn money from blogging. So I decided to start a blog as a way to get my writing and photography out to the general public without having to go through any approval process.

I wouldn’t need to get an editors OK for my writing. I wouldn’t need a big fancy camera for my pictures. 🙂

When AWAI (now GEP- Great Escapes Publishing) offered a blog add-on to their travel writing workshop in Boston last year, I signed up for it. I got this blog started in order to have something I could get feedback on.

I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. I enjoy interacting with people from all over the world. I sometimes wonder how people are finding me and what caught their interest. Especially when I see people from really out of the way places.

I still have no idea of how to ‘monetize’ my blog. The recent Blogging 201 challenge had one assignment about that. I’ve been working through that challenge but I’ve been late and tho I’ve read through the Day 13 challenge on monetizing, I haven’t actually DONE it yet.

I don’t really see how I can make any of what they suggested work yet. I just don’t have enough views or followers yet. It seems I’m building my numbers, but VERY slowly. 😦

I did just get some very encouraging news on my other attempts to get my work out there. 🙂

I was recently published (twice!!) in the Maritime Executive magazine! The first time, they used my photos in an article about ECDIS. The last time they actually used my entire article just as I wrote it and my pictures too!!

I had just returned from my latest GEP travel writing/photography workshop in Seoul, Korea. I had been thinking about this article for a while. When I got home and had a bit of spare time, I finally put it all down on paper (computer) and sent it in.

I was SO excited to hear it was published! I guess the workshops have been helping me after all. 🙂

I think the biggest challenge is just to ASK!

Check out this video from GEP. I met most of these people in Boston (or Chicago the year before). They’re all doing great. They’re very inspiring to me. I see that they’re living their dreams and making it work so hopefully I’ll be making more progress soon too. 🙂

Preview: Back to Boston

Just a quickie here, that’s all I can manage til I get off this trip. It’ll only be a couple more days and I’ll be home again. 🙂

I was looking at the pictures I already had uploaded here (since the internet is too slow for me to get any more on and I can’t spend much time on it here).

I thought I might go back to Boston where this blog really got started. 🙂

I had been thinking about it for a while. I really had no idea of how to do it. How to get started. How to make everything work.

I had been interested in the idea of travel writing and photography for a while already. I figured since I LOVE to travel and take pictures of everything, it would be a perfect fit!

Yeah, I guess it would be if I could manage to find the time to actually WRITE.

I DO manage to take pictures, tons and tons of pictures. But I learned while taking a workshop on how to be a travel writer/photographer that I was not taking good enough pictures. They had to be PERFECT. 😦

At least I learned what I was doing wrong and why my photos were rejected (mostly to do with the quality of my camera lens).

I also learned that you could do a lot with a computer to improve your pictures. I still haven’t learned how to do that very well. I’m better than I was, but I still have a lot to learn. I also still don’t have the time to spend editing all my pictures. Even getting them uploaded onto my computer is hard sometimes.

I am still working on my photography and I still toss around story ideas and put together a little thing every once in a while, but I’ve only actually tried to get my pictures accepted twice (so far) at stock agencies.

I’ve never tried to send in an article (yet).

It seems I’d just rather spend any spare time off on another adventure. When I’m forced to stick around the house, I spend it taking care of business I can’t put off any longer. Like working on my taxes (ugh) and other fun stuff like that.

I had heard that blogging was a way to make money online while doing something you enjoy. I was all into that!

When I found out there was going to be an additional blogging session as part of the travel writing/photography workshop I was interested in , I was sold on taking time off for another learning vacation!

I just barely managed to get this blog started before I left for Boston. I had such a hard time figuring out how to do things like upload a photo, make a ‘gallery’, add a link, etc. Things that I do all the time now and seem so simple. 🙂

The workshop was great. Paula Pant, who has a blog called Afford Anything, was our instructor for the blogging session. She was really inspirational and a lot of help.

I met incredibly interesting people every day there and the instructors sent us out and around town on some helpful assignments. Then we had our work critiqued. I learned a lot there but was still hungry for more. I still feel like I could use more help.

Especially with the part about how to make some kind of an income from this internet stuff! I’m really enjoying the whole process of blogging and meeting people from all over and interacting, but I’m spending a lot more time on it all then I ever thought I would.

Remember I started out this post saying “just a quickie here”? That’s what I mean…

Here’s a ‘taste’ of Boston, I’ll be back with more later. 😉

PS-I’m going to another workshop in Korea in a couple of weeks, can;t wait to get over there and see/do/try everything!! Maybe I’ll even run into some of my old tuna boat crew. 😉