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PASSPORT The Magic of Travel

F LY T O G R A P H E R Q U A R T E R LY

SUMMER 2017


PASSPORT The Magic of Travel

Flytographer Quarterly Issue 3 Summer 2017

Cover image: Adil

in Marrakesh for Flytographer

Editor: Michelle

Ardiel

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“18 summers.” Have you heard this expression? It refers to the number of summers you have with your kids before they grow up. As as mom, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as time flies by and our vacation planning has become a last minute after-thought. Half of the magic of travel is the planning and daydreaming for months in advance. Do you plan your travel well before? Or are you more spontaneous and decide last minute? A mix of both? Seeing our customers’ incredible photos makes it impossible to forget what a big and endlessly fascinating world is out there, and I want to share as much of it as I can with my kids. Recently, we decided to map out our bucket list for the next three years, and get the saving/planning/ daydreaming started now. Next spring will be our first adventure: Japan, during the gorgeous cherry blossom season. When you think about your next 3-5 years, or even 10 years, what places are calling you? There’s definitely inspiration for you in our latest issue of Passport. We are excited to share travellers’ stories from across 6 continents ... from the CEO of Artifact Uprising’s honeymoon in Brisbane and how his grandmother instilled a love of travel in him, to a couple who rekindled their passion on a 10th anniversary trip to Santorini, to a westcoast beachy bachelorette in Tofino, to a look behind the scenes of our annual Flytographer Global Meetup in Florence, to my favourite one, solo traveller Melany ... whose story you just may fall in love with too. Her story reminds us that we all have a limited number of seasons to spend in life, and our travel dreams and memories are a worthy investment that shouldn’t be delayed too long. In the end, they bring us one of the richest “returns on life” we could ever imagine. Enjoy. Nicole Smith CEO & Founder

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PASSPORT The Magic of Travel

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Family Journey to Marrakesh Photos by: Adil in Marrakesh for Flytographer

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Sharan’s story I live in New York City with my husband Hanish and 2-year-old son Reyan. We have lived in our incredible city for the past 12 years and are so happy to call it home. The exposure to different foods, culture and people is what drives our thirst for travel, to experience firsthand the places that nurture each and every one of us. Reyan’s passion is airplanes - he loves flying! He has completed 24 flights now, a jet-setter at only 2 years old. He is the absolute center of our family and the light and laughter of our lives.

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We were to heading to southern Spain to join my extended family for a reunion and to celebrate Reyan’s birthday. Marrakesh has been a place we have always wanted go, to experience the culture, food, colours, traditions and people. We decided to make it a side trip, as it seemed like this was the perfect time to enjoy it together as a young family. My favourite memory was wandering the streets of the Medina and Jemaa el-Fna. There is so much history and natural beauty, and the people are so friendly. Everywhere we went, from our beautiful riad hotel, to the Medina and even to the outskirts of the city, everyone was so welcoming and kind.

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We weren’t sure how noisy the Medina would be in the evenings with a 2-year-old, so we stayed just outside it in the Hivernage district. It is a relatively newer area of the city, compared to the ancient Medina known for its traditional riads. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are looking for a clean and, above all, relaxing oasis. We stayed at the Dar Rhizlane, a beautiful boutique hotel; it is an absolutely perfect setting for anyone looking for a recharging and delicious stay. I think the best time to visit Marrakesh is around April when we went, as it wasn’t extremely busy and the weather was perfect (not yet unbearably hot!).

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Sharan’s top tips 1. Must-do activities include taking a Moroccan cooking class and treating yourself at a hammam spa. 2. The Medina is the ancient centre of the city that is more than a thousand years old. Get lost in its winding streets and discover all the amazing architecture and shops. 3. For a beautiful day trip from Marrakesh, hire a driver to take you to the Atlas Mountains. The scenery is breathtaking and there are fascinating Berber villages at the base to visit. 4. The beautiful Majorelle Gardens are 12 acres of colour and exotic greenery. It’s a paradise! 4. Tajine is the thing to eat; however, they also do breakfast extremely well in Marrakesh, so sit back, relax and enjoy the start to your beautiful days here!

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Florence by Vespa Photos by: Sonya in Florence for Flytographer

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Annastasia’s story Florence was the first stop on our honeymoon, just two days after our wedding! In the ten years we have been together, both John and I have travelled to Europe, but never together. Florence proved to be the perfect setting for newlyweds: outstanding food, welcoming people, the intrigue of historic culture and romance lingering just beyond every bend. We woke up to lazy mornings with cappuccinos, went exploring through new places every afternoon, and spent the evenings bathing under the stars while enjoying the most authentic food and wine.

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One of our best adventures was renting a Vespa. We zipped around the streets of Florence like the locals. Following every whim, we found ourselves in the most magical and remote places, as if they had been waiting for just us to arrive. We grew attached to the freedom, the thrill and the authenticity that the Vespas represented and were overjoyed to have Sonya, our Flytographer, capture the little life we had made for ourselves there.

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Sneaking out in the wee hours of the morning was such a fun adventure! It was Sonya’s brilliant idea and we couldn’t be happier with the way the shoot turned out. Florence was ours before everyone woke up and the pure joy that radiated out of Sonya while shooting made the experience even more enjoyable. It was MAGIC - a true highlight of our honeymoon! We miss the food, we miss the wine, we miss the gelato, we miss our Vespa, but at least we have our pictures to remind us of all the memories we created while we started the next and biggest chapter of our lives together.

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New Joy in Travelling Solo Photos by: Silvia in Amsterdam for Flytographer

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Melany’s story My husband died five years ago. I’m 57 and all my friends have partners. I was tired of waiting for someone to be free or interested in travelling with me, so I decided to go alone. I went to Amsterdam to see tulips and windmills. I had the best holiday of my life. I couldn’t stop smiling! Amsterdam is a lovely, welcoming city. The people are exceptionally friendly, and everyone speaks many languages. I am vegan and it was very easy finding delicious vegan food. My top tip would be to wear thick-soled shoes to help stay steady on the cobblestones.

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To paraphrase Alain de Botton, “Being closely observed by a companion can inhibit our observations of other people. We have to make ourselves seem more normal to fit in and it stifles our curiosity.” Every single day, I went where my curiosity led me. I saw centuries-old churches, famous paintings, and, yes, tulips and windmills! I was filled with joy, and Silvia at Flytographer captured it perfectly. When I’m an old woman in a nursing home, I will look at these photos and remember my bliss.

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Local Guide to Bangkok Photos by: Erin in Bangkok for Flytographer

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Originally from the southern USA, Erin moved to Bangkok almost two years ago to work as a photographer and designer at a school. She’s shared her local tips on what to eat, see and do in this fast-paced city along with her gorgeous photos from a recent shoot at Wat Arun with fellow Flytographers Bayu and Ivony from Bali.

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Eat 1. Street food. No, seriously, eat it! My go-to street food favourites are: Fried Rice with Chicken (“Cow-pad-gai”); Pad Thai with Chicken (“Pad Thai gai”); Steamed Chicken with rice with a yummy sweet and spicy sauce (“Cow-man-gai”); minced pork salad (“Lap moo”); papaya salad (“Som tum”); and green curry with chicken (“Gang-kia-wan-gai”). Be sure to them to make it not spicy (“Mai pet”), unless you want your mouth to be on fire! 2. Roti - another street food. It’s Thai fried dough covered with sweet condensed milk and toppings like bananas, Nutella or peanut butter. Incredible! 3. Not to be missed is the famous and delicious dessert, Mango Sticky Rice (“Khao Neow Ma Muang”). Glutinous rice is soaked in sweet coconut milk and topped with fresh, juicy mangoes. Grab a spoon and enjoy every bite - it will be one of the things you crave when you return home! 4. Brunch has become a big deal in Bangkok. Check out Roast or Toby’s. Other hot spots include Rocket, Not Just Another Cup and Tribeca. 5. For coffee, Factory BKK or Casa Lapin are my favourites, but you could also hit up Phil Coffee Company, Ink & Lion Café, or Kaizen Coffee Co for your caffeine hit.

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See 1. There are over 400 temples (“wats”) in Bangkok. The favourites include Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew. 2. The Grand Palace is crowded, but it’s magnificent! Keep in mind that the dress code is very modest for both men and women. 3. Khaosan Road is an eclectic mix of shops and food stalls catering mostly to the backpacking tourist. Bayu & Ivony wrote: “Our favourite place to stay and hang out in Bangkok is definitely Khaosan road. If you love street food and want to experience night life and parties in Bangkok, then staying in Khaosan would be highly recommended. (It might not suitable for a family trip though!) All food is very cheap and so delicious. You can try anything and they are all so good!” 4. Visit Jim Thompson’s former home. It’s a beautiful Thai-style teak house of the mysterious Jim Thompson, an American architect who revitalized the Thai silk industry. Eat lunch at the restaurant and browse through the gift shop for some amazing Thai silks! 5. For a day trip, take the train to Ayutthaya, a beautiful old city that is easy to get to. I love to rent bicycles and ride around the old ruins!

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Do 1. Shopping around Siam Square is a must! The malls are extravagant and there is so much just to see by walking around. 2. Hire a long-tail boat to travel along the Chao Phraya and explore all the hidden canals. Seeing the city by river is an unforgettable experience! 3. Chatuchak Weekend Market. If you are in Bangkok during a weekend and you don’t go to JJ Green, then you have missed out. This market is huge and this is where you want to go to buy everything from dishes to Thai tourist knick-knacks and vintage clothing. You can find everything here! If you want a real experience, wander into the pet section to see monkeys, sugar gliders, owls and other exotic animals. (Although if you are a true animal lover, this may not be the best thing for you to do.) 32 • PASSPORT | The Magic of Travel


4. Get a real Thai massage. Your muscles will be stretched and rocked, compressed and pulled, and you may even have the practitioner walking on you to get really deep, but you will feel amazing afterwards (promise!). 5. Cooking with Poo. This isn’t what it sounds like! It’s an amazing Thai cooking class in the heart of the slums and a great way to see Thai life beyond the high-rise city. The organization gives back to the community and is making a positive change in the poorest districts. 6. For a fun way to spend the day, I recommend visiting one of the floating markets. Damnoen Saduak is my favourite, but go early before the crowds! 7. Lastly, be sure to take a tuk-tuk. Granted, it’s not the best way to get around, but it’s a fun thing to do (if perhaps a little scary!). Be sure to agree on a price before you get in.

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24-Hour Adventure in Dublin Photos by: Vanessa in Dublin for Flytographer

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Bianca’s story I originally didn’t plan to visit Dublin - it wasn’t even a major “todo” for me. I was only going to visit London for the weekend after finding dirt-cheap airfare. If you know me, however, things can never be so simple, and my weekend trip quickly turned into a solo, seven-country, 14-day world tour. My wanderlust is as strong as my curl pattern, evidently! Armed with a hit list of locations and food to try, it was 24 hours well spent. I not only made a handful of new friends and learned some German (of all things), but every Irish man and woman I spoke with was kind, helpful and full of facts about the city.

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After landing in Dublin, the customs agent and I got into a bit of a chat about my overnight stay. He suggested I take the bus into the city instead of a cab. It was only 10 Euros round-trip and gave me a quick tour of the city. I opted for a hostel stay at Generator while in Dublin because it was one night and I was alone. It was my first time staying at a hostel and it felt like a posh dorm. I opted to stay in a mixed dorm - but, boy, would I be in for a surprise...

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Once I checked in and locked up my suitcase, I went wandering. I LOVE a good thrift store, especially one that charges by the kilo. Dublin Vintage Factory receives clothing every other day from all over Europe. Travelling alone means struggling to get your picture taken. Following the “if there’s no photo, it never happened” rule, I did some research into finding a local that could show me around and help me capture my visit. Flytographer paired me with Vanessa. She walked me around Temple Bar and showed me some of the nooks and crannies that tourists wouldn’t normally find. My advice is to check out Temple Bar to say you went there, but grab a pint from a local Irish pub for a more authentic experience.

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Later that evening, I would walk into my hostel room and be greeted by five German guys, drinking Guinness in their boxers. We became fast friends, and I had a fabulous night as we talked tattoos and politics, and I tried to convince them to come on a walking tour with me the next morning. Fun fact: I can now curse in German! The next morning, I joined a walking tour north of the river. We made stops at Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, Chester Beatty Library and the Spire. During a break in the tour, I stopped at the nearest pub and ordered Irish stew to warm up. Meat, potatoes and vegetable stew with bread and butter - none of this would be approved by my nutritionist! The best part of the trip was walking around with Vanessa, and her showing me parts of the area that tourists would normally miss! While we were shooting, we ran into Vanessa’s partner and he surprised her with a kiss. As a solo traveller, I love to be able to experience little life moments with the people I meet.

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Remembering the Love Photos by: Ioannis in Santorini for Flytographer

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Shamena’s story It was our 10th wedding anniversary and we were travelling without our children for the first time. It felt like a thousand butterflies were circling in our stomachs! We knew that we had been aboard the monotonous train called life, with children and so many responsibilities, and that we had not stopped in a long time to look at each other and simply smile. This ten-day break taught us to stop and breathe. It taught us to love each other better ... kiss better ... and make love without the thought of the children calling us! We jumped the cliffs in Amoudi Bay in Oia and it was an insane experience. We thought we had lost the excitement of having an adventure, but we found ourselves again. Our top tip to all married couples is to take time to get away from everything and live your life with each other, to just breathe life again. How rejuvenating this experience was to our souls ... oh my!

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With a Little Help From a Friend Photos by: Orsi in Lisbon for Flytographer

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Ty’s story Our European trip started as a Christmas morning surprise, and the following two months were spent planning our travel itinerary details. Behind the scenes, however, I was meticulously coordinating an extra-special experience for Kate. After finding the perfect ring, I felt there were too many challenges in travelling with it, like customs, lost luggage, her discovering it, and just general paranoia. Enter my best friend, Blair. Blair wholeheartedly agreed to fly a total of what turned out to be 60 hours, just to help me present this ring to Kate in Lisbon. After our European adventures in London, Paris, Barcelona, and a few cancelled flights and missed trains, Kate and I arrived in Lisbon - and secretely, so did Blair.

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As we walked up the steps where our Flytographer, Orsi, was waiting, I made a few wide-eyed contact signals to Blair, who was hiding behind a ledge with the ring he had travelled across the world with. Once the secret exchange was made while Kate wasn’t looking, I dropped down to one knee. The moment was ten seconds or ten hours, I still can’t tell. The important part is she said YES! If that wasn’t enough to get the tears flowing, I pointed for Kate to look around the ledge where she saw Blair waiting with a Cheshire Cat grin. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

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There was a local man playing lovely music on a drum during all this, and a sweet elderly lady publically announced her blessing, wished us a happy future together, and welcomed us into the hearts of Lisbon. Of course neither of these things were part of the plan, but it all added to the magic. It’s a moment that we want to relive over and over again, so being able to have a set of photos that transports us back is priceless. I’ve learned that when you have a vision, even if it has a lot of moving pieces, you mustn’t be afraid to persue it. You have to just roll with the stuff that doesn’t go according to plan; however it unfolds, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

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Celebrating Family Bonds Photos by: Martina in San Diego for Flytographer

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Soraya’s story The inspiration for our vacation is connection. I am a single mother by choice to a wonderful 8-year-old boy. In the hectic day-to-day shuffle of life, carving out time with my son when I’m not also multitasking on the laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. is a challenge. Our annual Mother’s Day/Son’s Birthday vacation is a time for us to get away and have fun. My favourite memory from our vacation was seeing my son’s face when we arrived at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. He was so excited to be on an aircraft carrier!

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The funniest story of our vacation has to be the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios in Hollywood. My son begged me to get on the ride, but I was hesitant because I did not want to get my hair wet. After watching the ride for a bit, I figured I might get away with some minor splash-up of water. Boy, was I wrong! As the car decended into the water, a huge spray soaked my head. I laughed it off and we took pictures of my “new” wet hairdo! Our Flytographer, Martina, was fantastic! She recommended a location with great architecture and backdrops. When I saw the images, I was blown away! She captured great moments of our happiness in the most beautiful way.

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Holiday Escape Photos by: Orlando in Barcelona for Flytographer

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Ena’s story Melly & I have been together for over 10 years, with five years of friendship before that. We are both busy, striving to grow our careers, which often leaves little time to spend together. We both have huge families and usually celebrate Christmas with them, but we realized that travelling to spend time together as a couple instead of travelling to be with family was the best thing we could do for our relationship.

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We decided to take a trip to Barcelona as it was one of our bucket list destinations. We looked into how Barcelona celebrated New Year’s Eve, and were attracted to their custom of “Twelve Grapes” and champagne. This ended up being our favourite cultural experience, witnessing the “twelve lucky grapes for twelve lucky months,” and celebrating at the Magic Fountain. It was an unforgettable experience, as we also met another couple from Lebanon and Morocco.

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We were definitely amazed by the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. We ate authentic paella from the city, and it was so delightful with Spanish white wine. Our favorite thing was learning about Gaudi’s work at Casa Batllo. Art and culture is so important in our life, and that is why we decided to capture our trip in true Barcelona form. We were so happy to have Orlando as our Flytographer. He did research on our hotel and knew there was a rooftop terrace, so we went there for some photos. That individual creativity was great and we wouldn’t had thought about it ourselves; it resulted in one of the best images! Our photos turned out so urban-like and they truly define us and what we love.

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Adventures in Africa Photos by: Nadine in Cape Town for Flytographer

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Shanna’s story We fell in love with Cape Town while visiting South Africa last May for our 15th anniversary, and vowed to spend more time there in the future. While planning a trip this past February to explore Namibia, we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit farther south once again. As we had only spent a short afternoon in the wine lands, we decided this time to spend two nights at Babylonstoren. When I looked at the pictures online, I knew it would be a great opportunity to contact Flytographer to capture some special moments. A space where farms, gardens and wine unite seemed like just the perfect atmosphere to really unwind.

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There are way too many amazing memories along this twoweek vacation, such as climbing Big Daddy in Namibia, driving through sand dunes at Sandwich Harbour, trying to sleep through thunderstorms in the middle of the desert, discovering flora and fauna along 7-hour routes through Namib-Naukluft Park, climbing granite boulder mountains near Damaraland and taking in the crashing waves in Camps Bay.

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Climbing Big Daddy in Namibia together was fun. It’s a great feeling when you both feel like winners, trying to make it up in 47°C weather. When even our local guide had to pull over and get out his phone to film the heavy rainfall we experienced, it put our appreciation of nature at a whole new level. One of our favourite things after sunset was to grab a bottle of wine and discover the empty gardens of Babylonstoren on our own - no visitors are allowed on the property in the evening, so the grounds are available for guests only. Never would I have thought years ago that vacation and farm could exist in the same sentence.

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If you fall in love with the idea of staying somewhere like Babylonstoren, and especially if you’re limited on time like we were, enjoy yourself and don’t leave the grounds. We booked a restaurant outside the hotel for one of our two evenings and immediately regretted leaving the property even for only a little over an hour. It really is an amazing place. If I had to pick my favourite memory, it would really have to be discovering Babylonstoren and capturing our moments on camera when we found our real utopia. All I can think about is going back with the kids and capturing even more memories with Flytographer Nadine alongside us.

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Westcoast Spirit Photos by: Paul in Tofino for Flytographer

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Alice’s story We went to Tofino for a bachelorette to celebrate our beautiful bride-to-be Jess. We are all already very lucky to live by the ocean in Vancouver, but there’s nothing more spectacular than the open ocean, crashing waves and rugged beaches of Tofino (especially North Chesterman Beach) - the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot! The weekend was filled with many laughs, strolls on the beach, dance parties, bonfires, wine, chocolate and candy. It just so happened we were there during the #WomensMarch movement and it was beyond empowering and inspiring to have our own mini march on the beach. A weekend we’ll never forget!

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Where to eat in Tofino 1. Tacofino is a must. Tacofino’s original truck is located in Tofino and serves up tacos, burritos and more with a West Coast vibe. 2. Wolf In the Fog is the place to go for cocktails or a group dinner. Inspired by the beautiful nature of Tofino, this trendy spot serves up beautifully plated dishes with quirky twists. Don’t forget to order a “six pack for the kitchen” to properly thank the staff for your full belly. 3. The Schooner Restaurant is the perfect spot to settle in for a cozy dinner. Work your way through their oyster bar menu and wash it down with a bottle of bubbly. 4. For brunch or afternoon cocktails, head to the Pointe Restaurant at The Wickaninnish Inn. With a dining room overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the chefs don’t have to look far for inspiration for daily brunch items. Sunday brunch includes champagne. Enough said. 5. If you’re feeling all of Tofino’s beautiful natural surroundings and want to get in on the goodness, Green Soul Organics is the place for your daily dose of juice. Stop in for a fresh squeezed juice (and maybe a vegan ice cream cone) to treat yourself from the inside out.

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Flytographer Paul’s Local Tips 1. In Tofino, there is no such thing as bad weather! The beauty of this place is that it suits any type. Overcast days allow you to see more shades of green and the rain makes the forest an even better experience for your senses. ALWAYS bring your raincoat. 2. There are 7 beaches I can think of all within a ten minute drive of Tofino. Go find your favourite! They all have their own flavour - whether you’re a surfer, beach comber or solitude seeker. If everywhere to eat has a queue, grab some local charcuterie or salmon for a picnic. 3. We may be at the end of the road here, but it could just be the beginning of the real adventure. Get out on the water, whether it’s checking out the wildlife on a tour, kayaking, surfing, or even hiring a local guide to take you and your mates to a nearby island (for the most memorable beach fire you’ve ever had)!

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Flytographer Q&A Photos by: Brigitte in Kauai

Name:

Brigitte Location:

Kauai, Hawaii Equipment:

Canon 5D Mark III How long have you lived in your city?

Nearly 3 years. I’m originally from Québec.

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How did you come to be a photographer? Tell us a little about your background.

Growing up, my family travelled a lot. Early in my childhood, I learned to cultivate a love for foreign landscapes, which has ever since been reflected in my work. I discovered photography as a new passion when I was 14. I moved to Montréal in 1991 and obtained my college degree in photography at Cégep du Vieux Montréal. This flourishing period gave me the opportunity to meet great people and develop my style as a photographer. Since then, I have worked for Voir, a weekly cultural newspaper in Québec, and gained experience working with modelling agencies and with interior design photography, casting portraits and fashion photography.

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How would you describe your personal photography style?

I love truth, so my goal is to fix the true emotion of the moment. The ultimate goal is to get the perfect memories. I also like minimalist photography. I like clean and symmetrical cropping and for my model to have the primary role of the scene. The landscape should have a secondary role when I create a portrait. Pure line and color, true emotion and beautiful light is the key to making a great portrait for me. Where do you find your creative inspiration?

The location and the beauty inspire me a lot. If the model loves to pose and feels good in front of my camera, it helps me to do a great job. I love to make people look their best. I love to reveal their beauty - photography can do that.

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What does a perfect day in your city look like?

A sunny day is always the best, but I don’t mind to do photography when the sky is cloudy because the light is soft and the ambience is also very interesting. I prefer sun, but the clouds are always welcome, too. Where are your favourite places in your city to get a coffee and a cocktail?

Tahiti Nui of Hanalei is the best place to eat well and have fun for dinner - the ambience is tropical, very Hawaiian style. They make a delicious Mai Tai. I recommended this place to every person who wants to experience a real Hawaiian feeling. The music there is also incredible. At night, there is always a good band to add a magic touch to this mythic place. Where was the last city you travelled to?

The last trip I took was in Senegal, Africa. This trip literally changed my life because it was so different than what I thought East Africa would be like. I loved the people from that country because they were very respectful and kind. This trip was a photographic trip and I was not disappointed. I made an exhibition to share my vision of this place when I came back. I had an exhibition of my film photography, mostly portrait and landscape, at the Art’chipel Gallery near Québec City last summer.

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If you could live anywhere in the world for one year, where would you live and why?

After Hawaii, I think New Zealand would be a good destination for my family and me. Everybody seems to say that country is just amazing, in all circumstances ... What do you most enjoy about shooting for Flytographer?

I love shooting for Flytographer because it is a professional and respectful company. I feel that they have confidence in me and I feel the same about them. Also, we can be free as photographers to choose the best photos for our customers. I love Flytographer because everything goes well and the process is simple.

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The True Magic of Travel Photos by: Jason in Brisbane for Flytographer

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Brad’s story My love of travel and the idea of having unique experiences was something that my grandmother instilled to me. She is a big traveller; she’s travelled all over the world, to something like 95 countries on every continent except Antarctica. Since I was little, she always took me around to expose me to different cultures and different things. If it wasn’t international travel, then it was simply going into places around my city. For example, when I was young, intercity Detroit was kind of a sketchy place to go, but she was like, “No, I grew up here, I don’t think it’s a scary thing. We’re going to experience it.” And so we would go.

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In doing these things with me, my grandmother took away that fear that sometimes we have of things we don’t know. What got me really hooked, though, was the trip she took me on to Europe in my senior year of high school. We did three cities in five days, and it was the most mind-blowing trip to me. She’s really done it all, and to go on that trip with her, and hear about all her other experiences that she’s had, really gave me the bug. She was always encouraging me to make travel part of my life. When I was in college, I went to go live in Italy for six months; I had no money - I was totally broke. I remember she pulled me aside and she said, “This is the most important six months of your life. You’re going to learn how to be uncomfortable, and still enjoy it. You’re going to learn so much.”

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She was right - that six months changed my life. When you travel broke, it’s such a different experience. You get into situations where you have to figure it out, but those are the things you remember for the rest of your life. Learning to be comfortable in being uncomfortable is key. I think everyone should have two experiences: one is travelling broke and the other is travelling by yourself. Travel is so important to me, so when I met Emily, one of major the reasons I married her is her spirit of adventure. We did a lot of road trips when we were dating where we would just pick a spot on a map and say, “What is this place? Let’s go find out.” On some trips, Emily and I would end up in these bad, awkward, painful situations and we had to rely on each other to get through them. In the end, these things made our relationship so much better. No matter who you travel with, your spouse or your friend or your family, you develop deep bonds because you have these experiences that cannot be replicated with anyone else. A few months before our wedding, Emily and I decided that we wanted to do one big trip to have those kind of experiences that would be uncomfortable or just so different, and to go through them together. We chose to go to Patagonia. We backpacked around and rented a car for several weeks. No one spoke much English, and neither of us speak much Spanish, but we loved it. That trip was so perspective-shifting in realizing what is really important and what the things are that we really needed to be focusing on. I think in many countries, we forget what we truly need. We think it’s a new car or a big house, but is that really what you need to be happy? For me, I discovered it’s about sitting on the front porch with a cup of coffee and watching the most beautiful sunrise you’ve ever seen, and having the people that you love right next to you while you do it. That’s what life is about.

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The magic of travel reminds you of how small you really are. When you are standing somewhere really far away, either a mountain peak or inner city or wherever, that experience is happening to you and nobody can take that away. Travel reminds you how big the world is and how small your problems really are. I think that’s why trips are so important, like when you come back and you can say, “Wow, I can continue to be happy in what I’m experiencing, whether or not I’ve got money, whether or not I have a house, whether or not I’ve got a car, whether or not I have all these worries ... my life will go on.” That kind of perspective is the magic.

*

Brad Kopitz is the CEO of photo print company Artifact Uprising. Brad’s story was adapted from his interview for Flytographer’s new podcast, to be launched this summer.

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Brad’s Travel Hacks 1. Go talk to the locals. Forget the travel sites with tips from other tourists; you want to talk to the bartenders and restaurant workers and shop owners - find a local and ask them what you should be doing. 2. Rent a car whenever possible. If you only fly in and out of a city, it doesn’t really give you that shift in perspective like travelling in from a car can do - and the experience of navigating your own route. 3. Do your best not to stay at a resort or to go to restaurants where you already know the name. A chain is going to serve the same drinks and food no matter where you are. Go for local every time for a true experience. (My wife and I love to order food that we can’t pronounce and have no idea what it is.) Open yourself up to new!

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Romance Rekindled Photos by: Michael in Chicago for Flytographer

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Lacey’s story Andrew and I met in 2006 when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore in our high school yearbook class. I instantly knew that we were going to be friends when he sat down beside me. We dated on and off all through high school, but after, we went our separate ways. It wasn’t until January of 2016 when we would reconnect, on Tinder of all places. I was getting ready to take a travel nursing assignment in Colorado and had no idea where this would lead, but I swiped right and messaged him. We exchanged numbers and started talking. I came home for a few days and we decided to meet up where we had one of our first dates in high school. We chatted for what seemed like hours. After all these years, it felt like no time had passed at all, and I knew that I still loved this man sitting across from me.

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Andrew’s story Lacey loves travelling, and I knew that a life with her would always be an adventure. She had a six-week trip planned to see her friends in London for their wedding. Being in a relationship with a travel nurse was already quite difficult, and I couldn’t imagine being away from her for another six weeks, so when she asked me to come visit her in London, I seized the opportunity. Not only am I afraid of heights, flying long distances isn’t my forté either. I never thought I’d have the privilege to travel overseas, but knew it would be an incredible experience. I planned an epic date night in London which included theatre tickets, a romantic dinner and a stay at a historic hotel. I knew that this was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It’s funny how life works. We went our separate ways after high school and moved on, but falling back in love with each other through travel is our greatest adventure.

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The Proposal After two months of proposal planning with Flytographer, our trip to Chicago was here. My mom travelled with us from Memphis to go visit her friends, which helped because I was able to hide the ring in her luggage without Lacey finding out. Our first day in Chicago, we landed super early, so our day was jampacked full of sightseeing, but at every moment I was paranoid that she’d find out the plan. At dinner Saturday night, we decided for a casual night at Gino’s East, so she could try Chicago deep dish pizza. We’re Prosecco-holics, so we ordered a bottle with our pizza. Being the paranoid person I was, I thought for sure that she had figured out my plan, especially when our shared iTunes playlist seemed to be the restaurant’s background music. On Sunday morning, I told Lacey we had a full day ahead, with brunch at the Walnut Room inside the State Street Macy’s, a trip to Lincoln Park Zoo and that some other things were in store. After our brunch, we slowly made our way to Lincoln Park where she mentioned that it seemed silly how dressed up we were to be at the zoo. I was running thirty minutes early from what I told Michael, our Flytographer, so to kill time, we made our way through the indoor conservatory, which was like a sauna and didn’t help with my nerves. After I pretended to be interested in thousands of fern species, we made our way to what I called “my favourite spot to take a Chicago selfie.”

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We made our way through the nature boardwalk and stopped just before the proposal spot. I told her we needed to move inside the arch for a better shot of the skyline, and then I got on one knee and said, “Our love is the greatest adventure we could go on. Let’s start our next chapter and get married. Lacey, will you marry me?” Shocked and in total disbelief, Lacey said “Yes!” I then pointed out our photographer, Michael, who caught every moment on camera a must for planning a proposal!

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After our engagement shoot with Michael, and an exciting FaceTime call with her parents, I had one more surprise in store. For the past few months, we had been eating at Maggiano’s in Nashville. Growing up, Maggiano’s was the place my family celebrated special moments and family get-togethers. When we returned home and went to the restaurant, my Aunt Cathy had planned a huge surprise engagement dinner with my family! It was the perfect way to begin our new crazy life together and give Lacey a glimpse of what it’s like to now be a part of my family.

*

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

Flytographer’s Global Meetup 2017 The planning and excitement had been building for months. Finally, April arrived, and with it, Flytographer’s 3rd Global Meetup! This year, the beguiling city of Florence was the backdrop to three days of workshops, photo shoots, friendship, fun and laughter for 30 of our photographers from around the world. Read on for our photographic adventures in la bella Firenze!

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Flytographer: Guido in Rome

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

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Day 1 We kicked it all off with aperitivo at Uva Nera Enoteca, a charming wine bar with lots of delicious drinks and snacks to fuel our fires. Hugs were doled out freely as old friends reconnected after last year’s event; new friends were embraced and welcomed with as much enthusiasm. Amid all the laughter, photo-taking and icebreaking games, the Meetup had officially started with a bang.

Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

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Flytographer: Carly in Lake Tahoe

Day 2 We started the the next day bright and early with a custom food tour around the San Lorenzo Market, presented by local culinary company MamaFlorence. We split into two groups with an expert guide each, and, cameras in hand, set off for tasty bites and unique photo ops. We visited a variety of stalls in the market, learning about Italian food traditions and enjoying samples at every stop. At one stall, we were treated to a variety of cheese topped with aged traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena. Did you know that true balsamic vinegar is kept in the barrel for a minimum of 12 years and up to 25? It’s thick and concentrated, so a few drops are all you need. Delicious!

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Flytographer: Vanessa in Dublin

Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

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After satisfying our tastebuds on the food tour, we were ready for workshops. We gathered in a beautifully restored palazzo-turnedartists’-space in the heart of old Florence called Numeroventi. The entire building is filled with light and artwork, and was the perfect setting for a group of creatives hungry for visual poetry. Collaboration was the name of the game for this Meetup, and we wasted no time getting into groups and sharing our best ideas.

Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

After a full day of collaborating and connecting, we took a short break and then met up at Piazza Giuseppe Poggi in the Oltrarno neighbourhood for a golden hour photo walk led by Alberto, one of our Florence photographers. He proved to be an expert tour guide, giving us history lessons and pointing out interesting details, all while taking necessary (and frequent!) breaks to let us pose each other and shoot throughout the streets.

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

Flytographer: Martina in Barcelona

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Flytographer: Johnny in NYC

Flytographer: Guido in Rome

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After a couple hours of walking and shooting, we were ready to put the calories back on with a traditional Italian meal at Trattoria Diladdarno. The restauranteurs were kind and patient with our large group, filling us up with delicious food and excellent service. Stuffed full of tasty burrata, gnocchi, pork loin and red wine, we rolled out of the restaurant and into the coolest thing tucked away on the sidewalk - a photo booth! Of course we couldn’t let this opportunity go to waste, and we all ended up with souvenir strips of photos.

Flytographer: Roberta in Rome

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Photo: Michelle at HQ

Day 3 Rested (somewhat) and ready, we got things rolling the next day with business workshops and editing demos. It was a jam-packed session full of tips, questions, and brilliant ideas. We had so much to talk about, we didn’t even make it through our itinerary! Peak Design, a super-cool gear company from California, generously sponsored our meet-up with an Everyday Backpack to give away to one lucky photographer ... and the winner was very happy indeed!

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

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Flytographer: Mankica in Ljubljana

After leaving our beautiful artists’ space, we made our way back to the rented house of Flytographer’s HQ team for a pizza and wine party to wrap it all up. Emma, one of our Florence photographers, spoiled us by bringing tubs of decadent gelato to the party, which included “Buonatalenti,” an exclusive-to-the-city flavour named after the Renaissance Florentine who is reputed to have invented the famous Italian ice cream. Molto bene!

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The night ended with many of us hitting a local karoake bar to dance and sing and simply enjoy our final few hours together. Although the time spent as a group goes by much too quickly, it is gratifying to see that our Global Meetup gets better every year, with new friendships formed and old ones rekindled, with knowledge and skills generously shared, and with laughter flowing like water. It may have been hard to say goodbye to this community of creative spirits once the final song dropped, but we are all comforted knowing that this magic will last until we meet again.

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Flytographer: Martina in Barcelona

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Flytographer Passport Magazine Vol 3  

Capture the Magic of Travel with our customer stories and beautiful travel photos. SUMMER 2017

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