About Me

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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The World as Our Oyster - Time for a Seafood Buffet


The view from Nat's Place in Junk's Hole Anguilla.
Well, here I am. Again faced with a blank sheet of paper lacking any real direction in which to take my thoughts.

This is the first of an ongoing series of blogs regarding Travel and the Travel industry.

The name of this blog is The Thumbnail Traveler. One of my primary issues with most websites is the quality and use of photography in the descriptions of a particular destination.. The connection between what a writer suggests seems to bear little or no resemblance to what the photographer has shot to illustrate what they liked about a particular location. Excellent writing and wonderful shots, perhaps, but I want to draw the two together and create a more or less cohesive whole when talking about things. I also want to read about those things that are important to me, as both a reader and a constant traveler.
The Kilauea Caldera, Hawaii

(BTW - You will note, for this first post, a complete disconnect between this week's shots and the content of this post. Yeah...so. Deal with it. I had to put SOMETHING up, didn't I???)

As a writer and a photographer I’m able to know what it is I find appealing…or not…and ensure that the shots I’ve taken add to the interest of a place. Of all Travel publications on the market, the closest to this goal would be National Geographic’s Travel magazine. It comes as no surprise, given their long history that they have connected the two in a way I’d like to replicate here. We get three or four travel-related magazines a month, and NGT does it best.

Okay, so this begs the question: “If they already do it and do it so well, why start a blog to do the same thing?” The answer is that NGT is a terrific magazine for exotic and far-off trips, but not so much when it comes to planning the event, nor with understanding that not everyone is destined for Borneo. While I will most certainly delve into such destinations – The Far North, Hawaii, Europe and AsiaPac – I will also be discussing much closer to home destinations and concepts. (It is all well and good to dream about a week in Hong Kong, but I’ve found that most of us – the vast majority of people hopping on planes or getting behind the wheel or a car/truck/camper – have a far more limited budget, and really can’t do more than imagine what it’d be like to spend a weekend in Dubai.)
The Musee d"Orsay, Paris

So this will be basic stuff – with pictures. If I read a particularly good item in a magazine I will certainly recommend it. If I loved a meal at an out of the way restaurant, or stayed at a wonderful hotel you will read about it here. If I have a great way to get a good deal on air fare, or see a good website with a tool I think you can use, you will read it here. In my mind I’m focused on what makes economic sense for me – if I can’t spend $300 a night at the Bellagio in Las Vegas my assumption is that most of you can’t either. $150 is much more reasonable.

The Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska
Likewise, I will attempt, through my photography, to give you some insights into the places we visit. I want to be able to share a little of my own experience, and personally I find the photographs of beautiful women tanning themselves on a tropical beach to be wonderful but not terribly indicative of what I can expect to experience when I get to the same beach.

A cold afternoon in Churchill, Manitoba

(A good example of this was a trip to the fabulous and terribly chic little island of St Barth’s a few years ago. Yes, it was fabulous and terribly chic, but we got a LOT more out of sitting on the shaded deck of our bungalow, quietly letting the breeze blow over us as the beautiful people romped themselves into a stupor at the Nikki Beach hotel a few hundred feet to the north. Travel is much more about personal expectations and wants rather than trying to emulate the beautiful people – the jet set can have their fun with no complaints for me, but I am past that point in life and for me it’s all about the experience, not the party.)
Manhattan, Rush Hour

So I bid you welcome to this little corner of the globe. Glad you’re along for the ride, and I hope to give you more than just a few things to think about. Maybe together we can make the at-times trying sport of planning and executing a trip more fun and rewarding.

Welcome to the world of the Thumbnail Traveler.