I often am asked how much of places I get to see when I travel for races and training camps. My answer is most often the ambiguous “Not as much as if I were there for holidays, but a lot more than if I wasn’t able to travel at all”. Depending on how well I know the person, how much time I have, and whether we’re having a proper conversation or just engaging in small-talk, I may or may not elaborate.
The truth is, I do see quite a lot.
Not endless hours of traipsing past museums, galleries, famous landmarks, and historic buildings characteristic of your typical tourists itinerary but often even more endless hours of hills and mountains and lakes and trails and pools and tracks and… supermarkets (and unfortunately airports).
Over the years I have come to enjoy the subtle differences between all the different places I get to travel to. You may think the supermarket reference was a joke. It was partly. But I do genuinely enjoy the variety of different choices available in different countries (I was first introduced to the sumptuousness that is creamed honey on my first trip to race in New Zealand), and exploring the yogurt isle each year when I get home to discover the new options that have popped onto the shelves in my absence….
Let me take you back to 2013.
Freshly graduated from university I was dabbling in triathlon full-time and headed over to Europe in July for my first stint of what has become an annual migration following the racing scene to warmer climes.
I spent 2.5 months based in the stunning lakeside town of Aix les Bains. I was overawed by the experience. Oddly, you might think, one of the memories that has stuck from my initial reaction to the place was being amazed at the size of the gulls compared to our Silver Gulls at home. Of course I knew there are a multitude of gull species of many shapes and sizes around the world (even in Australia!). I’m sure I’d even seen ones similar before, being lucky enough to have travelled a lot as a kid. But it wasn’t until I’d had the opportunity to just be, and experience the place daily, that I took note of something as seemingly ordinary as a gull.
Now this is just one example of the things I get to “see” on my travels.
As many of you may know by now, one of my hobbies outside of swim-bike-run is playing around with a camera. My beloved Nikon DSLR has now done 6 round-the-world trips with me (I was sadly too enthusiastic about packing light on my first trip back in 2013 or it would have been 7), and many many races. I even accidentally left it on a plane from London to Geneva… but thats a story for another day.
As a consequence, I have a lot of photos of all sorts of things from all over the world. And I mean a LOT. Some beautiful, some interesting, some just plain weird, and many utterly terrible.
With rather a lot of extra time on my hands thanks to current unfortunate global circumstances I have taken the time to sift through some of my photos. I have found it an excellent escape and chance to look back and reflect on experiences that have sometimes flown past too fast to really take in let alone share.
So now, of course, is the perfect time to share.
And where better to start, than with the humble gull (although sadly I have no pictures of the gulls in Aix!)
And there’s many more where they came from!