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Solo travel, because it’s so much better

By Harriet Piercy

If you have anything along the lines of a bucket list, then what are you waiting for? I hope it’s not for an accomplice to hold your hand while you tick the list off, because you may be waiting a very long time for one of those. The thing is, you aren’t going to do or see any of the things you want to unless you literally, just do it. Anyway, where is that ‘fuck it’ attitude that we all have hidden away somewhere, and why are we letting fear have all the fun with it?

I want you to get that attitude out right now, dust it off, and I want you to live your damn life. Do you know why? Because nobody else cares what you do with it because they are too busy living their own (apart from maybe the people who love you, obviously). If you’re not doing what you want, that is all you will be doing—not doing what you want. Why is travelling alone rarely done?

Some excuses are valid ones. A lack of cash dolla to fund your expeditions is one of them, but there’s always a way around that when there’s a will to do so. Camping for example, which is usually fun with friends and a doobie or two, can also feel like the epitome of freedom when done alone, and it’s cheap. It costs less than you would spend on an average weekend, providing that you can get hold of a tent. Pack a few snacks, buy a train ticket and you’re good to go. This is a summer time job, you literally don’t even need a mattress, and I’m not joking. Grass is soft enough, it’s just a bit crunchy to the hearing holes, so pack ear plugs or stuff some blue-tack in there. You’ll be fine.

If you do have a little extra to spend, spend it on something like a solo trip rather than that extra extra pair of shoes or third round of cocktails that you really, really do not need. All I’m saying is that we should all try to avoid being victim to that “I will be happy when…” fantasy. You have everything that you need, you can make anything happen with exactly what you have right now.

Obviously, the biggest challenge right now is to get through this global pandemic. Flights are not essential and neither are solo getaways, however, we will get through this, and you will have your time. After all, you’ll be used to spending that extra time alone, and hopefully you’ve enjoyed your company enough to realise just how important it is to do so for the rest of your life. An extra point to this is that a solo getaway doesn’t necessarily need to be more than a long-ass walk around your town if you can, so start there. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not rent a man and a van to move all of your travel necessities right where you want them to be before you start exploring? Have a look at Transport Executive‘s options if that sounds like a plan to you.

Solo adventures have a way of shoving you out of your comfort zone, there is no gentle pushing, so you do have to be ready for the shove over the edge. That being said, remember that you are not completely alone in any scenario, and you will chat along the way even if to strangers. One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was eating in a restaurant alone, but I learned to take a book with me, a notebook, and to wear a face that said ‘I am confident in my space’. The truth is, people don’t notice, and if they do, they are more likely to admire your comfort than to judge it. Judgement is mostly fed by insecurities, keep that in mind and allow people their opinions, they do not by any means belong to you.

There is also a lot less pressure when it comes to travelling alone as you don’t need to make anyone happy but yourself. If you’re enjoying yourself doing something, you don’t need to rush it. The feeling of this is similar to when the plans you don’t want to go to are cancelled by the person who organised them, and suddenly you have time to fill by choice, even if that means doing nothing. It’s relief in its simplest of forms. It’s what you want for lunch, not what we want for lunch.

Travelling alone can be intimidating, especially if you’re a bit of a social butterfly and are energised by other people, but this doesn’t need to be the case. What people forget is that just because you are alone in experiencing something, it doesn’t mean you are experiencing something unshared. It is simply up to you to realise who or what you’re sharing it with.

As a bit of a control freak hidden under the surface of an exceptionally perfected go-with-the-flow facade, I have most definitely learnt many lessons in both of these traits. One that ties both is being able to truly accept failure in planning, nothing is ever going to be how you expect it to be. And yes, it might very well be your fault that something went wrong, but instead of having a melt down about it, look for options. There are always options.

Loneliness can be a hurtful companion too, but loneliness’ best friend is comparison, so even loneliness is not lonely. Once you realise that, you’re going to be okay. Trust yourself and your ability to spot your choices in every situation along the way.

Daryl Walker shares his ever-evolving journey as a professional travel photographer

As part of our partnership with Huawei and its global smartphone photography competition Next-Image awards 2020, we caught up with professional photographer Daryl Walker as he took part in the competition in the ‘Near Far’ category using the Huawei P40 Pro to capture the Positive Power of Creativity. The landscape photographer told us about his approach to photography and how he captures his own gems in nature.

Walker’s photography represents a mixture of his love for nature, his emotive approach to storytelling and the many adventures he goes through in life; a full-blown celebration of planet Earth. “I’m an adventure and travel photographer. I’m always striving to capture the small details and the grand vistas.” He told Screen Shot.

Near Far, experimenting with capturing a new setting with Daryl Scott Walker

For his participation in the Huawei Next-Image awards 2020, Walker chose to submit his pictures in the ‘Near Far’ category with a series of captivating images depicting his trip to Minsteracres in Consett where sequoia trees have grown to impressive proportions to create magnificent avenues of giant trees. By using the Pro mode on his Huawei smartphone, Walker’s photography offers a different perspective of nature’s hidden gems. “Using the Huawei P40 Pro has allowed me to capture some incredible perspectives. To capture the sequoias, which are very large, I’ve also used the RAW feature built into the camera and the wide-angle lens, which gave me some extra room in nailing my final idea.”

Walker decided to do what he does best: to explore and capture nature in a way that we’ve never seen before. Capturing these settings on a smartphone allows Walker to always be ready to contain a fleeting moment; never missing a beat and making sure that the environment, from all its angles and beauties, is stored with him.

Daryl Walker shares his ever-evolving journey as a professional travel photographer

“My work primarily focuses on animals, landscapes, and aerial imagery—all with a sense of adventure. My ultimate goal in photography is to inspire others to get outside and find their own hidden gems, whether this is locally or further afield. This ultimately makes me want to continue exploring, finding new places, photographing them and showing them to others.”

Have you got a Huawei? Do you love snapping moments? Submit your pictures taken with a Huawei smartphone to the Huawei Next-Image awards 2020 for the chance to win a creation fund of up to $10,000 USD.

Even developing his career, Walker had always had a fascination with our planet’s natural beauty, which naturally evolved into his main inspiration. “I find inspiration through films and other media outlets but when you have places like this on your doorstep, my own adventures then become my inspiration.”

It is this same passion for adventure and his love of nature that give Walker the ability to capture striking and powerful moments. Born and raised in the North East of England, Walker always takes advantage of his easy access to Northumberland’s finest beaches and countryside. His love for exploring and being outside both drive him to constantly experiment with new settings.

Daryl Walker shares his ever-evolving journey as a professional travel photographer

Take your time

Walker started by simply wanting to capture special moments and places on his smartphone, which led him to chase sunrises and explore mountains. From there, he couldn’t imagine a life without photography, making sure he always took his time to enjoy the journey along the way, both in terms of his skills as a photographer and the physical journeys to the remote and wild places he chooses to capture. “The beauty of photography is that you never stop learning, there is always a new skill to master.”

Daryl Walker shares his ever-evolving journey as a professional travel photographer

Use your own perspective

Through his photography career, Walker uses pictures to celebrate our planet and the many hidden beauties it contains. But, as he explained, you can find inspiration from anything and use it to capture your own hidden gems. Most of Walker’s activities involve nature in one way or another, which is strongly mirrored in his photography. Find your own passion to share your unique perspective of the world. And in the words of Walker: “As always, adventure is out there. Let’s go and find it.”

Find more of Daryl’s work here.

Have you got a hidden gem in mind you’ve always wanted to share with the world? Capture it on your Huawei smartphone and submit it to the Huawei Next-Image awards 2020 for the chance to win a creation fund of up to $10,000 USD.