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Top 15 Travel Destinations for your Surrogate Vacation

Top 15 Travel Destinations for your Surrogate Vacation

I feel your pain. It is the middle of summer. Your office is empty. All your coworkers are off on trips. Facebook feeds filled with places you are not! Well, to squelch your resentment, we bring the vacation to you!

Blend photographers stretch out across the globe, with well-worn bags and shoes, experiencing the smells, sights, and sounds, bringing it all back to you.

While most of us count ourselves among the wanderlust-afflicted, the breaks between trips, be that weeks or years can sometimes be too long. Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of our favorite far away destinations all from the comfort of your desk (AND without the expense or jet lag!). Let our photographers be your guide.


1. Delhi, India

We’ll start off in Delhi catching a ride. From Photographer Rolf Bruderer “”Mister driver, as he calls himself, is guiding us through the chaotic and ever fascinating streets of Indian cities. Driving in India, don’t try to do it yourself.”


2. Bologna, Italy

We’ll take a walk through the streets of Bologna, Italy, with Inti St. Clair. “The umbrellas in Italy struck me as whimsical and fun because of all the bright colors. I feel like they give a sense of wonder, and happiness, which is what I think we’re all seeking when traveling.“ They do indeed sing of whimsy. What a happy sight, a virtual floating umbrella parade, as far as the eye can see.


3. San Miguel, Mexico

Rounding the corner with Photographer Jeremy Woodhouse, we run into a group of mariachis playing on the steps of the Parroquia in the colonial jewel of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Mariachi music is an in-house favorite of ours, and the bright melodic sound is the best way to punctuate an afternoon stroll.


4. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Lunchtime and we find ourselves alongside photographer Angelo Cavalli of AC Productions in Kenya on Safari. “A safari in Kenya is a 360-degree experience. Not only for the wildlife encounters but for the whole trip, like the details and the care your Masai guide uses to set up a lunch table on a 4W drive hood in the middle of the Savannah.”


5. Siem Reap, Cambodia

Exploration time leads us to Siem Reap, Cambodia again with Ms. St. Clair. “The shot of the Muslim woman exploring Angkor Wat is one of my personal all-time favorite travel shots. I love that the image almost looks black and white except for her vivid colors dress and headscarf. More than anything this shot feeds the wanderlust part of my soul that is constantly seeking to explore the unknown.”


6. Doha, Qatar

As if we tucked away into the ruins and transported ourselves to an ethereal courtyard in Doha, Qatar, we come across this scene with Photographer Angelo Cavalli of AC Productions. “I was surprised to see this purebred Arabian Horse in a huge Moresque-style stable in the center of Doha, not far away from the futuristic skyscrapers of the Qatar’s capital. A real voyage in time.”


7. Inle Lake, Myanmar

Next up, we hitch a ride with an Intha fisherman of Inle Lake in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Jeremy Woodhouse takes us along to see how they demonstrate their unique method of propelling their boats by paddling with one leg, thus leaving one hand free to wield their nets. Incredible and incredibly beautiful in this light.


8. Denali National Park, Alaska

From Boat to train, we catch up with Sam Diephuis in Denali National Park, Alaska. “You don’t realize what untouched nature is until you’ve see the vast open space of Alaska.” We couldn’t agree more. The freshness of the air, the rouged toughness of the terrain, Alaska is unmatched by many a state in the lower 48. Sam continues, “There is nothing like a train ride and my camera to get the creative juices flowing. Usually I travel by myself, for long periods of time, with a lot less comfort. Traveling with my 70-year-old parents by train was a great way to spend time with them and still create some interesting images.” We are happy to tag along for the view.


9. George Town, Penang, Malaysia

In George Town, Malaysia, we get to bask in two of our favorite things: celebration and flowers! “The lanterns were up celebrating Chinese New Year. They are literally everywhere, but I especially loved these in this tree because of how the danced among the pink blossoms.” –Inti St. Clair.


10. South Iceland

Onward north to cool it down, we find Kyle Monk in South Iceland. Kyle explains, “This photo is at Jokulsarlon, which the largest glacial lake in southeast Iceland. In this photo I am taking it all in just as the other person is. I took this photo with a wide-angle lens to show the scale and depth. Iceland is stunning, and the landscape is alive and intense, a bit ominous at times but beautiful. A humbling experience.”


11. Jokulsarlon, Iceland

Iceland is an increasingly popular travel destination BUT how about surf spot! We stayed local with this one and again found photographer Jeremy Woodhouse and whale watching guide, George Cowan. Here Cowan wades into Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon for a paddle on his surfboard. I hope that is a thick wetsuit!


12. Shanghai, China

Back on dry land with Photographer Kyle Monk, we arrive in Shanghai, China. We’ve been traveling a lot but still, keep going! “I could not get adjusted to the time difference, so I was up at 4:00 am. I had the taxi driver take me to the bund. I spent the next few hours walking the waterfront at sunrise and found this perspective to be interesting. I call it “The Wizard of The Bund” Follow the gold plated road to the city.”


13. Lalibela, Ethiopia

Angelo Cavalli brings us to Lalibela, Ethiopia. Contemplation and reflection ricochet down the corridor streets. “The churches of Lalibela, in Ethiopia, are something amazing, built under the surface, are completely carved in the rock. The peace, the spirituality and the mysticism of the place are reflected in the look of this young Orthodox priest in front of his church.”


14. Seville, Andalucia, Spain

Time for Dancing! Jeremy Woodhouse’s depiction of dancers rehearsing in a private Flamenco dance studio in Seville, Spain is authentic dynamism. Can you hear it? Tap Tap Tap, their feet staccato the ground. Polka Dots wiz by! The music!


15. Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

Back in India, where we began. We are tired now. We’ve traveled all day and all night and find ourselves back in the early hours of the day at the Pushkar Camel Fair. Jeremy Woodhouse treats us to a rare glimpse of the cool and peaceful herds of camels standing around, preparing for trade, at one of Rajasthan’s most famous festivals.


Thank you for taking this journey with us. They say traveling together lets you intimately know your companions and we have appreciated the pleasure of your time along side us, even if we both are sitting behind our keyboards and leaning into the frames of photographers.


In putting together our surrogate vacation, Kyle Monk mentioned a quote he heard somewhere “Maybe it will not work out but maybe seeing if it does, will be the best adventure.” Love that! Let the adventure be the destination and live out loud in the world. You never know where it might lead you. For more inspiration and some of the most stunning travel photography this year, check out the rest of the images in the gallery. Thanks for traveling with us.


More from photographers featured in this article…

Rolf Bruderer


Inti St. Clair


Jeremy Woodhouse


Angelo Cavalli


Sam Diephuis


Kyle Monk

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