QJTW in National Geographic

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I recently had the extreme honour of having a photograph published in a National Geographic hardcover book. To say this is exciting for us is an understatement! I have come across National Geographic’s photography books in homes and hostels all over the world and marveled at the incredible pictures within. To be included in one myself is something I never even imagined.

The book is entitled Rarely Seen: Photographs of the Extraordinary, and was released in October of 2015. It is available almost everywhere as you would expect from a National Geographic publication. Click the image above to buy from Amazon.

My photograph is located across pages 246-247, but you will have to buy the book to see what it is!

This dazzling photography collection is the perfect gift for aspiring armchair travelers and avid photographers alike. Inspiring and provoking, RARELY SEEN is 400 pages of once-in-a-lifetime moments, natural wonders and little-seen objects from the far reaches of the globe. Organized around the themes of Phenomena, Life, Places, Objects and Moments, each photograph captures what very few get the chance to see for themselves — from 30,000-year-old cave art sealed from the public to animals that are among the last of their species on Earth to volcanic lightning, giant crystals that have grown to more than 50 tons and desert flowers that bloom just once a year.

Posted from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

A Sydney Volunteering Opportunity in Malawi

Our month in Malawi was like nothing else. We’d seen so much and loved having the time to soak up the culture of this wonderful country. We’d also spent A LOT of time in terrible transport and very basic accommodation, so we decided to enjoy a little luxury in Lilongwe for a couple of days before moving on to Zambia.

There wasn’t a whole lot to report from our time in Lilongwe, except for an attempted pickpocketing incident as soon as we stepped off they minibus. In fact, we weren’t going to write a blog from here at all. And then we meet Vittoria.

Vittoria is an Italian Australian woman who was staying in our guest house. As tends to happen when we meet Aussies abroad, we got talking about what an embarrassment Tony Abbott is.

As it turns out, Vittoria was in Lilongwe for a very sad reason. A few years ago, after completing a world record breaking quad bike ride (and raising $100,000 for OXFAM), her son Daniel was struck by a speeding car and killed. She was in Lilongwe to prepare a ceremony in his honour.

Vittoria amazed us with her outlook and told us of the foundation she started in his name, The Valerio Daniel de Simoni Association

Continuing his charity work, the foundation works with refugees, asylum seekers and other disadvantaged groups around Sydney. We were amazed by Vittoria’s strength and her ability to turn her loss into a gift.

We would encourage anyone in Sydney who had been considering donating some time to the disadvantaged to get in touch with the foundation.

Posted from Lilongwe, Central Region, Malawi.

A Close Encounter With A Wild African Elephant

An elephant coming in to the dining room to see if there's anything to eat.

An elephant coming in to the dining room to see if there’s anything to eat.

A large elephant emerged from behind one of the chalets. We heard one of the owners of the South Luangwa lodge we were staying at say “Oh, this elephant is quite unconventional, stay still. Don’t move!” From our seat on the very edge of the patio we watched silently as the elephant moved toward us. As it stopped in front of us the scale was apparent. It’s head was larger than our head and torso combined with tusks stretching on for what felt like forever. I stayed frozen as the huge beast sniffed all over Leckie, brushing its trunk against his arm. Then, knocking Leckie’s wine glass over, it moved on to me. My heart pounded as it sniffed me and I closed my eyes to quell a moment of panic.

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Posted from Northern, Zambia.

Malawi: Dedza’s Ancient Art and Avoided Questions

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Travelling from Cape Maclear to Dedza was quite a challenge despite the relatively short distance seperating the two. With no regular public transport between them we once again resorted to the ancient art of hitchhiking. Unfortunately the first four cars to pass us were other white travellers, and even though three out of four had empty seats, they turned us down because they were ‘full’ or simply tried to ignore us as they slowly drove past us at the crossroads. Thankfully car number five was a Malawian with an empty ute tray. No problems.

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Posted from Dedza, Central Region, Malawi.