Every month (or so), I interview someone from the Travellerspoint community for the Talking Travel series. Today, I have an interview with Marlis for you. You've probably seen Marlis around the forums, but you've almost certainly seen some of her photos featured on the Travellerspoint home page. In this interview, Marlis tells us about her travels in 2008, plans for the new year and her love for photography.
Marlis on her Antarctic cruise.
Happy New Year Marlis! Did you do much travelling in 2008?
Let me first wish you and all TP members a very exiting New travel year.
2008 was a good one for me, traveled as much as I could. You know how it is when you have a business, there are slow weeks when you can go away and let your assistant take care. In 2008 I started early with my dream trip to the most southern place in the world, Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia in Argentina, where the trip to the Antarctic Peninsula started. It was really a unforgettable experience. Flying in a little plain over the Beagle Canal and some days in Buenos Aires at the end were also highlights of the first trip of the year.
Before I had left I had booked already the next flight to Buenos Aires for April. My brother who lives in NZ and Germany had asked me to give him some tips about places he should visit in South America, so I booked for him accommodation (through TP) for the whole trip and told him and his wife that I feel very sorry that I can't meet them so short after my big trip. Big surprise when they came from Chile I was waiting in Buenos Aires at the Airport. We had seen each other last time 9 years ago in NZ so we enjoyed for 2 weeks BA and Iguazu together before they left for Brazil and I made on my way home a 1 week stop in Ecuador again to visit my godchild.
In October I had the feeling that I needed some days just to relax and study for my exam for my Dutch passport, besides shopping for my business in Ecuador. In Vilcabamba I found the perfect place, not too high and with a pleasant climate, spoiled myself at the spa, enjoyed the Bavarian food (hostel owners are from Bavaria, Germany) so it was more a relaxing vacation then travelling.
What about 2009? What are your travel plans for this coming year?
Right now I don't know where to go, Patagonia or Brazil - maybe I should flip a coin. At the moment I only have tickets to BA booked but should make a decision soon since I leave on the 5th of February. For later this year I have no plans yet but this may change, depending on how much the economy situation will affect my business.
Anyone who's browsed through your photo gallery will know that you take some beautiful photos. What kind of camera do you use?
Olympus 5050, Olympus E 100 RS, Olympus E 520/70-300mm and 14-42mm Nikon Coolpix 8800. The E 100 RS is my favorite. It's fast and has a very good lens. The other ones have more pixels but are slow compared to the E 100.
How long have you been interested in photography?
This question brings back childhood memories. My brother's hobby was photography and his bedroom was also his darkroom. I was fascinated when he was showing and teaching me everything from taking a photo till the print. Not realy a surprise that I was later working as a photographer until I left Germany.
One of the things I find on trips is that it's easy to get distracted by always wanting to get a good shot. You see something beautiful, so you want to take a photo. But as a result, you don't stop to enjoy it and really experience the place. Do you find this?
Yes, but only when I have to follow like a sheep a guided tour so I try to avoid it and arrange a private taxi tour or walk around alone. I really hate it when I can't take my time to enjoy the places where I am. I like to sit down and watch the people passing by, talking to the vendors at the flea markets and watching painters or street performers.
You're originally from Germany, but you've been living in the Netherlands Antilles for the past 17 years. What attracted you to the Netherlands Antilles?
Actually it's 18 years now that I've lived here on Bonaire, one of the 5 Islands of the Netherlands Antilles (this is changing). It was love at first sight; this was my place and I could feel it: Tranquil and peaceful, multicultural and unspoiled, no ghettos, the climate, the language, easygoing on Island time but with some influence from Europe/Netherlands.
Check out these past interviews in the Talking Travel series: