As always our motley crew of ever more adventurous Pathfinders have been off exploring the far corners of the globe. This month we dig into the cool and quirky – whether it’s getting a fresh and unusual perspective of well-travelled destinations like London or discovering a lesser-visited (and slightly bizarre) towns and regions like Užupis in Lithuania.
Best of the blogs
Užupis: A quirky independent republic in the heart of Vilnius – Dave McClane
You may have been to Paris and Rome, maybe even Minsk, but here’s one European destination you’re unlikely to have ticked off your travel list. Užupis is a tiny breakaway ‘republic’ (complete with its own constitution, currency and ambassador – who is, in fact, a cat) located in the heart of Vilnius, Lithuania, and in this post Dave documents his day exploring the quirky district. It’s all a bit of fun, and Dave’s observations make for entertaining, light-hearted reading, but there’s also a deeper gratification here that comes with knowing that even in the age of global homogenisation, peculiar places like this still exist – and that’s something worth celebrating.
Dave is a Yorkshireman on a quest to see – and photograph – as much of the world as possible. See more of his work at manvsglobe.com.
Japan road trip: Iga and Shigaraki – Anja Ben
It’s the entire aesthetic of this post that successfully captured our intrigue: saturated imagery of sweeping landscapes and chic ceramics puncturing a thin strip of text focused on a lesser-visited artsy town in Japan – it all just feels very cool. That’s not to take anything away from Anja’s writing – she weaves an interesting tale about following her passion for pottery to the village of Shigaraki, keeping the story nice and light thanks to the presence of Ninjas, a wonderfully-welcoming host and, of course, karaoke en route.
Anja is a writer and photographer who believes slow travel is the way forward and tends to avoid the crowds (though she will wait in line for good food). Read more at themintstory.com.
Top Instagram shots
London, UK – Romi Nicole Schneider
Why we like it: London’s Tate Modern gallery is no stranger to an Instagram feature, but Romi’s shot of the building’s viewing level is fresh, considered and hugely effective. The structure’s sloping angle provides the perfect balance for the image, naturally dividing it into two and drawing the eye across. The sky’s dappled hues blend beautifully with the textured brickwork, resulting in a delicate colour palette which runs throughout the entirety of the frame. This is a truly original take on a famous city landmark.
Romi is a roaming photographer, constantly on the hunt for her next perfect frame. Follow her on Instagram @romiaround.
Koh Lipe, Thailand – Xavier Marchal
Why we like it: Ocean drone shots can provide a completely new perspective on a picturesque shoreline, and Xavier’s image is a great example of that. The contrast between the shallows’ rocky texture and turquoise colouring and the white sands studded with blue boats creates a vertical central focus, pulling the viewer’s attention from top to bottom. This is a well conceptualised, expertly captured shot that we could happily stare at for hours!
Xavier is a full-time backpacker who has been on the road for 15 months. Follow him on Instagram @xaviermarchal.
Our favourite footage
Why we travel: 10 countries in a year – Mark Hadj Hamou
Why we like it: Aside from Mark’s incredible footage, which includes sweeping aerial scenes, close-ups of people and smiling faces and dynamic point-of-view shots, we loved this video because it truly tugs on the heartstrings. Without saying much he manages to paint a complete picture of the travel experience from fulfilling your dreams to skyping your parents and linking up with friends along the way. Combining travel inspiration with raw emotion we think this video will answer the question of ‘why we travel’ for many people.
Mark is a photographer, videographer, and Creative Director based in Paris. Check out more of his videos on his YouTube channel.
Find out what else the Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to by checking out the Pathfinders forum on Thorn Tree.