We can’t describe with words how thankful we are for these last 5-6 months. It has easily been the best time in our lives and that is thanks to all the fanstastic and inspiring people we have meet along the way. When we started in November we sat out with an open mind and hope to find people that could enrich our life and inspire us to pursue our dreams, but without really knowing where to start or where to go. As it turned out these people we were looking for always ended up right in front of us, we meet them in these fortuitous situations and they became really good friends. Everyone of you have a filled a space in our heart and we will be carrying the memories of you with us where ever we go. You have truly opened our eyes, broadened our minds and hopefully we will meet each other again some day. Thank you!
Tomas, Patrik and Vadim at The Three by PTV Hotel
The friendly Sri lankan men we met our first night on the trip
Wildlife photographer Luxshmanan Nadaraja and his wife Nelun from Sri Lanka
Sara and Hampus from Sweden
Thukai who taught us how to dive on Fiji
Steph and Robin from New Zealand
Elly and Russ from Detroit
Jon Brown from Boston
The father and son that where traveling around Central America from England
The couple with a dog that where driving all the way from USA to Uruguay
Alana Newman and her husband from California
Rich Bryant from Canada
Alicia and Raoul from Sweden living in New York
Yannick from Canada
Fire fighter Erica from California
Kate and Sherman from New Zealand
Gill from Canada
Mark and Brian from Canada
The kids on Mana Island in Fiji
Martina from Sweden
Fijoy and his team in Colours production from India
Jeab from Thailand
Arthur, Kalle and all the others that we met in Thailand
Dor, Dana and Natan from Israel
Tom Guy from England
Mataiasi from Fiji
Henry from New Zealand
Big T from Fiji
Simon from Fiji
Jone Sowale from Fiji
Kamil from France
Gregory and Leigh from New Zealand
Christie and Alex from England
Andri from England
Jacob and Pauline from England
Erika Thomson from New Zealand
The team behind Bangkokvanguards in Thailand
…and many many more.
While in New York we met up with a lot of different photographers, swedish, finnish and american. One of them was Jon Brown. Originally from Boston but just like a lot of other people, he came to New York trying to make his name in the industry. A few years later and he is working with fashion photographer and are flying to places like Brazil, Dominican republic, Canada and so on to work on different photo shoots that are taking place. It is always inspiring to meet people in your own age that has worked hard to be where they are today. There is no luck, no road not taken, it’s about hard work and commitment for what you love to do and believe in.
A part from being a great photographer he also shares a rooftop terrace overlooking New York’s amazing sky line. There we had a few drinks before heading out to on our best night in New York, including a live performance from our dear friend Alana Newman at Manhattan Inn.
Kate and Sherman is a lovely and truly inspiring couple that we met during our time in New Zealand, we just have to share their story with you.
Kate’s originally from Boston and Sherman from Philadelphia but just after they got married, when people around them expected them to start a family and buy a house, they moved from the states to New Zealand. What was suppose to be a one year working holiday turned into three years and a blooming photography business.
Sherman early got a good job at a advertising agency in Auckland. Kate started off as an employee but with too little time for her personal projects and to develop her own creativity she decided to go solo and start her own business. Today she is an established New Zealand Wedding Photographer that shoot weddings all over the world. Because the wedding season in New Zealand and most other parts of the world are so different, she goes to the states for their summer season and when it’s winter in the states, wedding season starts in New Zealand. She also inspired us with her food photography by showing us her latest work for a cook book with colorful bakery and yummy cupcakes. Now we are looking into finding a similar project, photographing a themed cook book would be a dream come true.
We first found out about Kate when goggling around to find photographers in Auckland. Her work is lovely, she has her own style. We set up a meeting at a local café and it turned out that we had so much more in common than just our passion for photography. The coffee that we had led into a glass of wine, then drinks, dinner and a evening out all the four of us. Neither of us wanted this new friendship to end so quickly, we had so much fun hanging out, but the day after we had to leave Auckland with our rental car. When we left Auckland it was with the feeling of happiness that we just found amazing new friends but we also felt bad about not spending more time with them. We wanted them with us on our trip, imagining how much fun we could have had together! So we decided to meet again when we got back to Auckland.
10 days later we drove into Auckland again to meet up with Kate and Sherman. Fredrik hadn’t tried the New Zealand surf yet, so the boys went to a good surf spot just 30 minutes outside of Auckland. The girls had a nice picnic on the beach while playing with their cameras. The surf was good, and hanging on the beach also. After the beach we stopped by a local brewery on the way back to get some food and tap beer before calling it a day.
Our idea was to sleep in the car somewhere around Auckland our last few days, but we ended up getting invited to stay with our new friends in Parnell. We couldn’t have asked for better friends in the city, thank you so much Kate and Sherman for everything, meeting you really made a difference, we miss you guys. All the best of luck to you with your projects, until we meet again.
When we sat down on the plane at Heathrow with destination Colombo, Sri Lanka, little did we know what fate had in store for us. We had booked the flight with Sri Lankan Airlines and the flight attendants were wearing colorful saris much like those on Thai airways flights. One of the first impressions that we got from Sri Lanka was the in-flight magazine Serendib. On the cover was a photo of a bird from Sri Lanka and inside it had some interesting tips of what to do and a really good map of the island, so we decided to take it with us.
Sixteen days later we where back in Colombo again for our onward flight to India and we had arranged for an airbnb stay in the city… and the stay just exceeded every expectation we ever could have imagined. First of it’s a really beautiful house with lots of light, an inside garden, antique furniture and lots of framed paintings and photographs. You get your own big, clean room and bathroom and the family living there are so friendly and helpful.
Nelun that we had contacted on airbnb.com is a designer for Barefoot (the store we wrote about earlier) and a part from designing sari clothes she also paints and does graphic design. As if this wasn’t enough it just happens to be that her husband is wildlife photographer Luxshmanan Nadaraja, the photographer who has taken the cover photo on Serendib magazine which we’ve had in our backpack for the last two weeks!
Luxshmanan has been a wildlife photographer in Sri Lanka for 29 years and in his coffee table book “the nature of sri lanka” you get a unique insight to Sri Lanka’s beautiful nature with stunning photos of wild animals and plants. To buy his book send an e-mail to him on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us.
We are so lucky to find all these inspiring people, this happened to us in a city with over 3 million people and in a country with a population of over 20 million. Sometimes the world can seem so small!
Thank you so much Nelun and Luxshmanan for the stay. Thanks Nelun for helping us shipping gifts back to Sweden and thank you Luxshmanan for the tips on nature photography! If it had been possible we would have really like to stay longer with you guys!
Sri Lanka is a paradise if you like us, love tea. The fact is, that Sri Lanka has the world’s 4th largest tea exporter and Ceylon tea is their specialty. In 1995, Sri Lanka was the world’s leading exporter of tea and though the country has changed name to Sri Lanka (Ceylon until 1972), the Ceylon tea is an important trademark for the country. In Colombo we went to a vintage poster exhibition with the theme Ceylon. It was inspiring to see and personally we liked the posters from the 50’s best.
We also had some really good food. Since we’ve mostly eaten rice and curry the last week, we treated us to some good western food at Barefoot, a handicraft store that sells beautiful fabrics and handmade items. Visit their homepage to read more about the company. The exhibition was in connection to the nice garden café inside the store and the first thing we did when we got there was to have lunch. Then we looked at the exhibition, browsed the store and then decided to have an early dinner. It was the best food we’ve had in since Mirissa, it was so good! It was well worth the extra money and Barefoot surely is a nice escape from the busy city of Colombo.
This is Iresh Dishan, he is 19 years old. His mother is a staying home wife and his dad is a fisherman. This young man has dreams, big dreams. One day he wants to work on a bank as a manager. But to stand a chance do that he has to apply for the university among 300 000 other students in Sri Lanka. Among them who apply only 20 000 students are accepted each year. To be able to apply he has to take extra classes for the exam and that costs money that his family don’t have.
Thanks to a program that the organisation Swedish friends in Sri Lanka started he has been able to get money for school supplies and extra classes via a sponsor family in Sweden. Now Iresh is waiting for the results to see if he can full fill his dream. If he gets accepted for university the sponsorship program will continue to his graduation.
We meet Iresh on Matara Children’s Centre in Matara, he was there for an assessment of the sponsor program he’s been part of and we got the chance to meet him as well. Iresh is a young entusiastic man. He proved to us that it’s not where you come from that sets the limits, it’s where you are dreaming of going. In Sweden we are lucky to get money to go to university and to study what ever we like, that’s an opportunity no one should take for granted.