Hi, guys! I'm Ella - a 20-something year old born and bred in England. From a young age, I've always felt a passion to travel the world and explore different cultures. I'm especially fascinated by wildlife and often find myself daydreaming about all the exciting places there are to visit.
I'm passionate about writing, photography, editing photos, making videos and of course travelling. Therefore blogging is the perfect way for me to follow my dreams. I created this blog in late 2016, just before I was due to travel to the Seychelles. I just wanted to share my experience, and more importantly, inspire others!
Although I blog about travel, I'm not exactly your typical 'travel blogger'. My story is certainly not the most conventional; I didn't quit my job to travel the world. Instead, mine is the story about how sometimes life can have alternative plans for you than what you originally had in mind and how saying 'yes' to opportunities can take you to the most surprising, yet rewarding of places. C'mon, grab a cuppa and I'll tell you all about it.
I was born with a yearning to travel. I always wanted to see the world and immerse myself in rich cultures, so different to my own. In typical English fashion I moan that England is boring, cold and rainy! Instead I crave the scorching sun and tropical downpours. But probably what most excites me is the wildlife. I'd confidently say that I have a passion for animals. Out of all the places on earth, Africa tugs at my heart the most; the diversity of wildlife in Africa is something truly wonderful. I especially love large predators and boy does Africa have plenty of those!
Before I left home (I left home at 18), I did a lot of travelling with the family. If you want to know more about 17-year-old me, read my introduction to my blog here. My first solo adventure was actually with school. When the opportunity to visit Africa came up as a school trip, I just couldn't refuse. I didn't know anyone too well who was actually taking part in the trip but it was definitely worth forcing myself out of my comfort zone in order to visit Zambia. I am so glad I went. I may have nearly been eaten by a hippo at least 3 times (eek!) but the thrill was totally worth it. Africa had made an impression on me and to this day I think I left part of my heart in that glorious continent.
I finished school the following year and took an even bigger step than last year's school trip to Zambia. I booked a trip completely solo. I arranged to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia. I knew none of my friends would be interested in going so I just booked it on my own. It was terrifying travelling half way across the globe alone but once I arrived, there were so many young people in the same position as me and I made friends instantly. I can confidently say to this day that this trip was the best experience of my life and I thoroughly recommend experiencing at least 1 trip completely on your own, as scary as that sounds. If you want to read more about the best summer of my life, have a look at this post here.
I was due to go to university that September. I always planned to take a 'gap' year after university. For years I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to go on a road-trip around America in a pick-up truck. Life however, never goes to plan! After 1 term at university, I quit. You see, the summer before I started university, I met my partner who was in business. During my time at university, I wanted to spend my time with him and found myself getting more and more involved in the business. I made the decision to leave university to work full-time on the business with him. You can read more about this life-altering decision here. At this point, I still planned on going to America in 3 years time (the time I would have finished university). If things had gone to plan, I would have already been to America! Business is not easy and sure is demanding.
My life may have not gone to plan but I don't regret a single decision that I made. In the past 4 years of working on the business, I have achieved a lot of great things and experienced a lot of life-lessons that have ultimately made me a better person. If it wasn't for my business, I would have likely never come across travel blogging and would never have been given the opportunities that I have. The greatest achievement though has to be my little cat, Cookie - my pride and joy!
I know that my passion lies in travelling so I make sure I travel at least once a year to somewhere very exotic. Sometimes I think I spend more time daydreaming about travelling than I do working! But I won't quit my business to travel. I have a house (with that a mortgage) and 2 cats so it isn't so easy to drop everything to travel full-time. My ideal is to go travelling more often, maybe once a month or maybe for a month every quarter. We shall see if that goes to plan!
So, follow me on my journey as I try to pursue my true passion to travel the world! 🌍
What camera do you use?
I have several pieces of kit that I use. The important thing to remember with cameras, which I cannot stress enough, is that, to an extent, the hobby of photography is not about who has the best kit, but how you can use your current kit to get the most out of your photography. Anyway, let's get into what I use.
Canon 650D: This is my main camera. This camera is a pretty basic DSLR but it does a lot. I do not feel the need to upgrade my camera yet. It takes high quality photos in RAW format and can take high-quality 1080p videos. For getting started in photography, this is a great camera and I have no issues with it.
The most restrictive thing about it is the standard kit lens which it comes with. I purchased a good quality zoom lens a couple of years ago to take better wildlife photos and my gosh, the difference in quality of photo that this lens takes! It's turned the camera from basic to great! In fact, I love it so much that I use my zoom lens to take 'close-up' shots. Well, you have to stand thousands of yards away (not literally!) to take it but the quality surpasses that of the kit lens so much that it's a must!
Standard kit 18-55mm Canon lens: I admit, I hardly use this lens anymore now that I have my zoom lens, but before I had another lens to compare it with, this was great. Here are some photos that I took with this lens.
In fact, my entire Namibia trip was taken using this lens on my Canon 650D. I was perfectly happy with it on that trip. I only decided to upgrade afterwards because whilst on game drives, it was impossible to photograph faraway animals, which leads me onto my next lens.
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens: I bought this lens to enable me to take pictures of animals which are faraway. Because this was my first lens purchase, I put a lot of thought into it and splashed out on an expensive one. I am super impressed with it. Although not practical, this has turned into my go-to lens just because the quality is so much better than my 18-55mm. It's not ideal having to stand so far away from the subject, but it works. My next purchase will definitely be a more wide-angle lens of the same quality as this. I have my eye on one but it is not cheap!
Here are some photos taken with this lens.
You may only notice subtle differences as both sets of images have been edited afterwards to make them look better. Differences are more noticeable in their raw forms. With the zoom lens, detail of the subject is much sharper and there is a nice background blur. The colours also seem to pop out more.
I also have use filter at the end of this lens. Details below.
Hoya UV 67mm filter: I bought this filter to go with my zoom lens for 2 reasons. Firstly, I've heard you can't buy a good lens without a good filter and secondly, if I dropped my camera, the filter is more likely to get damaged than the lens itself. If I didn't have the filter, my lens could smash and that is much more expensive to replace than the filter. Anyway, onto the benefits of the filter itself. This filter cuts out UV rays so that your image is sharp and not ruined by excess sun rays. I've never used my lens without the filter so I cannot comment on how the lens is without it but I know that I get fantastic images using the 70-300mm with this filter.
Rode VideoMic: The last piece of kit I bought for my Canon 650D is a mic for videos. The mic is good for removing background noise and increasing sound quality. I only got this recently so I haven't taken it on my travels yet.
iPhone 6 Plus: Yes, I use my iPhone to take photos a lot. The iPhone cameras are amazing, especially the newer ones. I have absolutely no complaints with it. If I don't feel like lugging round my DSLR, I just make sure I have my phone on me and I am sorted. The video quality is also good. The camera films in 120fps for slow-mo as well.
Here are some pictures taken with my iPhone.
GoPro Hero 3+: GroPros are fantastic little cameras. The waterproof casing is great and because these cameras are not that expensive, you feel comfortable submerging them in the water. The mounts are also great. My particular GoPro films in 1080p but the newer models can film in 4k. Another benefit of the newer models is that they have a screen on the back - mine doesn't. Sometimes I've had my subject out of the frame and not been aware. Other times, I've had horrific dust and water droplets on my lens and not noticed until I played back the footage. I do like this camera but I am interested in upgrading to the Hero 5 for those 2 reasons mentioned.
DJI Phantom 4 Drone: This is my most recent and favourite piece of kit. I absolutely love it! Not only does this drone give you amazing perspectives, but the quality is fantastic. It's the only camera I have that films in 4k and my, do you notice a difference. The gimbal also makes the footage sikly smooth. I was worried that the drone would be hard to fly but it's actually really easy, albeit terrifying. Over time I'll likely gain confidence flying it further away.
Here are some screenshots taken from videos filmed with the drone.
How do you edit your photos?
I edit all my photos in Lightroom. I don't actually do that much editing. I mainly adjust exposure, vibrance, lighting and shadowing. That's all!
What programme do you use to make videos?
I use Final Cut Pro. I would highly recommend this if you have a Mac. If you use a Windows computer, I would recommend Sony Vegas Pro. I had a Windows computer for years and Sony Vegas was my best friend. Eventually, I moved over to Mac because I fell out of love with Windows and Final Cut Pro is very similar, if not better, than Sony Vegas Pro. Final Cut Pro is also very good at handling 4k footage.