When I was a kid, my mum bought me an atlas nearly as tall as me. I spent hours poring over maps and the country blurbs in the back, memorising facts like populations, life expectancies and literacy rates – then imagining how those people lived. It sounds dramatic, but I thought I’d never know. The internet was still a luxury then and we were dirt poor. I’d always been the one kid without travel stories.
Then the internet spread. Flights and hotels got cheaper and, after my mum and I saw Green Day for the first time, we wanted to see them again. The next show was in Germany. So it began. We gradually sold our possessions to visit 21 countries and five continents – with and without Green Day. It was a victory over poverty for us. So here are photos from most of the countries we’ve visited this decade.
Looking over Toronto and its vastness from this height was humbling. It also looks like a sci-fi metropolis. I love that stuff. Read about our one-day trip to Toronto here.
OK, Cornwall isn’t considered a country by most – but to the Cornish, it isn’t just part of England. I lived in Penryn and Falmouth for three years while studying photography at Falmouth University. My lecturers would hate this post. Legend tells of one burning a student’s workbook because it praised a Joe Cornish photo. Admitting I love pretty pictures demeans my fine art work in the eyes of the art world. Well, I take photos of what I love, not what elitists think I should!
My decade and decision to pursue photography began with my crappy phone camera. As for this trip, well... my mum and I knew we’d try to get to Costa Rica for Green Day’s final show of the 21st Century Breakdown Tour, but it was only 24 hours before departing we finally had enough money to book everything. Read about it here.
Our trip to Prague ended up as silly as Costa Rica. Everything was booked. We intended to make the journey like normal people. Then we missed our Polskibus from Krakow. We had to get there in time for Green Day's show that night. So I downloaded Uber, not really even understanding what Uber was and requested a 320 mile ride from Krakow to Prague. The poor driver (a saint) had only been on Uber for two days. It wasn’t that expensive, but Uber have since put the price up in case any other Polskibus passengers think it’s a good idea. What little we saw of Prague was pretty (and cheap). Read about the trip here.
Picking one photo of the country I grew up in is hard, but Dovedale is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s also where my love of pretty pictures began. My grandpa, a keen photographer, sent me off on a school camping trip with a disposable camera. I was so excited to capture the beautiful scenery forever… then all my photos came back white. I went back with my college tutors in 2014. My photos came out this time.
I took this photo from a Ouibus window, having not seen much of Paris because we got lost looking for the Ouibus before and missed it. That sums up both me and my last visit to France. Read the story here.
This is a phone pic from just a few weeks before I began studying photography. Konstanz was definitely more exciting than Hannover Expo Plaza. I’ve not finished my recap of the Konstanz trip yet, but when I do, you can read it here.
This trip was a happy accident. I was going to Palermo for work. My mum decided to join me, but by the time she booked, flights back to England were out of our budget. Then we found an €18 flight to Athens. So we went, staying with the most amazing Airbnb host named Efthymios, who sent us off with a backpack full of Greek goodies. Then we couldn’t get out of Athens and ended up getting home via Beirut.
As my plane began its descent to Palermo, I saw the stars, lightning and city lights glittering on the water all at once. It’s a hard choice, but it was probably my favourite Italian city. At every turn I wanted to take another photo.
If you thought Costa Rica or Prague was my most ridiculous moment, think again. We really didn’t mean to go to Lebanon – but the detour from Athens only cost as much as the flight back from Athens to London. Beirut is a fascinating city rich in history. Seeing the Cedars of God, supposedly planted by Jesus himself, was one of my most surreal experiences. I’ll also never forget the bus network – unofficial minibuses that either barrel down the middle of the motorway well over the speed limit, or crawl along at 2mph. Best of all was the Rave Mobile™, an over-capacity bus zooming by at midnight with bangin’ Arabic pop blaring and neon lights flashing. Read about Beirut here and the Qadisha Valley here.
When we went to see Green Day in Chula Vista, we couldn’t afford to stay in San Diego. So we stayed in Tijuana instead. Our Airbnb host, Roberto, was both kind and interesting. He even showed me how to make a smoothie.
On our second day in Morocco, a random stranger invited us into his family home for mint tea. Moroccan hospitality is not a myth! Though I'm part Moroccan, this was my first visit. I can’t wait to go back. Read about our first day here.
This was another whirlwind Green Day trip. It mostly went to plan. I loved Oslo’s clean, modern streets.
Lisbon is the best city. You can’t change my mind.
I can’t say I’ve really visited Serbia, but I did see a beautiful sunrise from Belgrade Airport.
I didn’t get as many photos of Seville as I would’ve liked because, you guessed it, Green Day. It looked lovely, though. Read about that trip here.
Overall, Geneva is probably my favourite Swiss city. For a short visit, Montreux was just stunning.