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Here in Vancouver, we woke up to a delightful surprise on Christmas morning: a light dusting of snow. Not enough to create havoc, but enough to call it a white Christmas, something that rarely occurs in Vancouver. (And go ahead and laugh, those of you who live in colder climates. It may not look like much to you, but for us, it was a significant amount.)

I went for a walk to take some photos for the blog and this little Italian car caught my eye. It’s a bit difficult to see the snow because of its colour, but I decided to post the photo anyways, simply because the car is a Fiat 500. And 500 — cinquecento — is a significant number for this post.

Because it’s my 500th blog post.

I had no idea where this blog would take me when I started six years ago, but here I am, still having fun with it. The best part, as much as I enjoy sharing my travel experiences with you all, is how this blog has given me a new lens on my hometown. Wherever I go in Vancouver, whatever I am doing, I now am constantly on the lookout for photos to take or topics to write about that will give someone who has never been to Vancouver a little taste of what life is like here on the Wet Coast of Canada.

That’s because you, my readers, come from all over. WordPress is nice that way in that they tell you these things. This past year alone, I’ve had visitors from 60 different countries.

Going forward, I’m thinking of slowing down somewhat on the frequency and length of my posts. That’s because I have some other projects that need my attention in the coming year, and no big travel plans in my near future.

Then again, who knows? I’ll probably change my mind when (not if) the inspiration hits me.

Kalahari Sunrise

So, here’s a thing: it wasn’t until after my African safari that I realized I wanted to do more with my photos than simply post them on Facebook. I also wanted to tell the stories behind the photos. Starting a travel blog seemed like the natural next step in my social media evolution.

But here’s another thing: even though it was five years ago this month that I was on that safari, and even though I am well into my fifth year of posting to this travel blog, I have yet to write about that safari.

So consider this a heads-up: my Kalahari safari will be the focus of this blog over the next few weeks months. If Africa and animals aren’t your thing, feel free to tune out for a couple of weeks.

To get us started, here’s a photo I took just before sunrise at one of the watering holes we camped beside.

Nossob Sunrise

There and Back Again Is One Year Old

Birthday CandleYup. It’s been a year. That’s 89 posts posted, 282 photos uploaded, and who knows how many words written.

To celebrate, I’ve bought the domain for If my tech skills are any good, you all should be able to find me there within a day or two. (The old address will continue to work, but traffic will automatically be redirected to the new address.)

And if I can just say this for the record: I had no idea when I started this blog and picked the name There and Back Again that Peter Jackson was intending to release his first Hobbit film the same weekend I’d be celebrating my first blogiversary. All I can say is: very odd coincidence, that.

After a year, however, I can also say that I still like the name very much, despite the teasing from a friend who, a few days after my first post a year ago, looked at it on his iPhone and said to me, “You started a blog about hobbits??”

The name There and Back Again suits what I envisioned this blog to be: a place to post photos and tell stories about my adventures while off on walkabout, but to also show off my town to anyone on the Interweb who’s considering a visit to Vancouver. It’s a beautiful world out there, and it’s a beautiful city right here.

So, here’s to a year of blogging. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey as much as I have. Stay tuned: there are lots more photos and stories to come.

A Second Look

I took this photo of the House on Stilts one day last summer when I was biking along the Coal Harbour seawall. As I slipped my camera back into my pocket and got back on my bike, I noticed a fellow turning to see what I was shooting.

This happens a lot when I take photos. And, more often than not, people pick up their camera to take a photo of what they had just walked by but failed to see.

Whether I’m travelling the world or wandering around my home city of Vancouver, I’m always on the lookout for my next photo or story. This blog is me sharing with you what I see. If my words and images encourage any of you to take a second look at your surroundings ― however beautiful or mundane ― then that’s something already.