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Do you always travel with a camera?

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And What’s the best conversation you’ve had with a stranger on a plane?

The Travel Belles talk about their camera addictions and share the best conversations they’ve had on a plane. 

Weekly Question #18: Do you always travel with a camera?

It seems that we are a group of dedicated shutter-bugs: the answer to this question was broadly ‘Yes!’ Having a camera with us on our travels provides us with mementos of our journeys…

As Judith so wonderfully puts it: “Photos bring my journey’s memories into focus whenever I want.”

But our cameras serve many more purposes than that. “I love my camera. Having it gives me courage, inspires me to go places I might otherwise be tentative to investigate. And it helps me see places in a more detailed light,” says Krista.

Margo agrees: “I have always been a photobug – having a camera gives me a “purpose” or “agenda” while traveling, which has always been helpful on different levels, serving as a kind of barrier or protection from the world.”

As bloggers, we also use cameras to support our work: “Now that blogging requires visuals as well as the story behind them, I’m now developing my skills as a photographer and taking more pics. Having a camera on me wherever I go means I can practice my photography and have loads of inspiration for my writing,” says Justine.

So it’s not surprising we’re fairly particular about our cameras. As Amanda says: “I always take a camera on overseas trips. I wish it was smaller, but I like my current camera. Even though it’s bulky, I wouldn’t trade the quality of the image for a more lightweight camera that doesn’t take as good a picture.”

Still, we’re not surgically attached to our cameras, and most Belles enjoy spending at least some time camera-free. “I have found that the times I’ve forgotten it when visiting tourist sites and villages that I have felt surprisingly free (once I have stopped kicking myself for missing photogenic moments!)” says Brittany.

Katy agrees: “I do like to spend at least half a day of any trip camera-free, to just wander, drink in the atmosphere of a place and take the opportunity to just be in the moment without focussing on trying to capture it.”

As does Margo: “I think it can be very relaxing to leave the camera behind sometimes – I’ll end up meeting more people and headed off in a different direction than I would be if I had been in full on photography mode.”

So do you rather travel with your camera, or leave it behind? Share your thoughts!

Weekly Question #17: What’s the best conversation you’ve had with a stranger on a plane?

Long Haul Flight

A mother and daughter from Pakistan, a Paraguayan linguist, a kindred spirit in Australia. Just some of the remarkable people we’ve met whilst in the air, and a reminder of the magic of travel.

Justine shared the story of the lady she met on a flight home from Egypt:

“We chatted for what felt like forever. We talked about marriage, children, lack of hot water on the plane for a decent cup of tea, and of course home. She asked me if I had ever wanted to visit Pakistan and she urged me to go. As we were taking off, her little daughter peered out the window over Cairo and simply said with a wave: “Goodbye Egypt, you’ll always be in my heart.” She said exactly what I was feeling and it brought a tear to my eye.” 

Whilst grounded in Sao Paulo, Katy met a Paraguayan gentleman who looked after everyone:

“Stranded in the airport, he gathered lost souls around him and entertained with funny stories, soothed a crying baby, relieving its fraught mother, and led a quiet protest to have our passports returned to us. I had dinner with him that night in the hotel where we were put overnight, and he gave me such faith in my future, which set me off on my adventures feeling confident and assured.”

Krista had the most extraordinary meeting of all, when an Aussie she met on a plane turned up at a fair she was working at, over a year later:

“On a nearly empty flight to Vanuatu, I sat beside an Aussie man named Neil. We hit it off right away and it didn’t take too long to discover we were kindred spirits in so many ways: both of us starting our lives over, our love of travel, the ocean, good food, etc. Two weeks ago I was at a medieval festival, teaching medieval medicine at a booth when suddenly I heard my name being called. I looked up and there was Neil!! With his wonderful girlfriend and her little girl. We couldn’t believe it! We could not stop smiling.”


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About the author

Originally from Salisbury in the UK, Katy Stewart is an itinerant freelance writer. She indulges her passions for travel, film and literature at her blog, Starry-Eyed Travels. You can follow her on twitter @SEtravels.

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