“It seems that the more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it, how many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn.” – Anthony Bourdain

Similarly, the more I travel within the same country, the more I realize how very little I have seen of it.

That was most definitely the case with Thailand on the eve of my last impending visit. As I approached my third visit to the country, I sat thinking: I’ve seen the beaches. I’ve walked the markets. I’ve visited the temples. In fact, I’ve checked off most of the tourist boxes, much as I disdain the concept.

It is also true that the more I travel, the more I want to take things slowly. I’m not immune to the syndrome of “I want to see all the things!” I still take my picture in front of the Eiffel Tower (or in this case, the Grand Palace in Bangkok.) I still want to feel the exhilaration of standing atop a hotel rooftop, sipping on cocktail on the edge of a famous bar with the city lights out ahead of me.

Yet there is merit in slowly letting a journey unfold, perhaps in a corner of a country that isn’t vying for visitor attention. The beauty of continuing to return to a place is reaching a level of comfort to push yourself deeper, into pockets of the country and experiences you might once have overlooked.

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I’m not one to typically enter contests.

I am, however, someone who loves to take photos (if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know. I can’t get enough.)

Yet when this themed photography contest came across my desk, I was immediately drawn to the concept. Soon I found myself pouring over the more than 10,000 travel photos in my archive looking for images that best represented earth, water, fire, and air.

The elements surround us at all times, yet for me it’s travel that brings my senses alive and helps me appreciate the softness or hardness of the nature around me. Perhaps it’s the changing of scenery, the exploring of new places, or the acute attention to our surroundings, but I find myself immersed in the rawness of the world when I’m traveling. Certain destinations or experiences bring out a prominent element, which is what drew me to each of the images I’ve selected.

Outside of each individual element, what cemented these choices for me was two-fold: their sense of movement, and their ability to tell the story of the place I was.

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Vietnam seems to be on everyone’s list these days.  As little as one year ago, I had little clue how much the country has to offer travelers.  As I sit here today, it seems the word has gotten out — the culture, the sights, the FOOD.

Vietnam is an experience.  There is culture, language, and flavor here that is unlike anything you will experience in the rest of the world, in Asia.  Though traveling there (starting with the visa process alone) is a bit more complicated and a bit more emotionally challenging (particularly for Americans) than many of the other destinations in Southeast Asia.  More than other countries I’ve visited, Vietnam has layers and layers that you could spend weeks uncovering.

If you’re looking at a trip to Vietnam as a part-time traveler, however, you’re likely to have limited time to spend there.  I still find practical itinerary advice — where to visit, for how long, and what to prioritize, to be mostly missing online.  I’ve outlined the highlights based on my experience traveling through most of the country.  Whether you’ve got two, three, or four weeks there, one thing is for sure — you’re going to have plenty to see.

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It’s almost a crime to photograph Istanbul without color…almost.

There’s still something so timeless and effervescent about this glorious city, in all its history and grandeur.  The colors of the Turkish capital are really something, but taking them away allows the eye to focus on what perhaps is even more unique and beautiful about the city.

When it comes to Istanbul, it’s all the details.  See for yourself…

Istanbul Black and White photos

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Yoga and meditation: where did I learn most about these two things?  While traveling, of course.

They’re both prime examples of why part-time travel is so important: I may have tried them or deepened my understanding while traveling, but it means nothing if I don’t continue to practice them once I’m home. Travel is the source of so much discovery and personal challenge.  But the fact is, I need many of the things I learn about traveling most…at home.

First, a small anecdote about how my journey with yoga and meditation began…

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