Four Years Through a Lens

Almost four years ago to the day I began my random musings on this blog. In that time it has evolved from a predominantly word-based account of travels and the daily life of living internationally, to (I hope) an increasingly image-focused reflection upon the diverse, distinct, and unique environments I am lucky enough to find myself in.

Two years ago I marked the second full year of this blog with a selection of images that captured the essence of that period.

Two years on again, I would like to repeat this exercise with ten carefully selected images from the period April 2013 to April 2015, which are collectively some of my favorites from this time and provide a small glimpse into another two years of travel, exploration, and life as an expat.

1. December 28th, 2013 – Angkor Wat, Cambodia

An incredible sunrise at one of the world’s most ancient and mysterious archeological sites. It is moments like this that make the cramped buses, early mornings, and days of unwashed clothes completely worth it.

John Stanlake_01926673013_Angkor Dawn_02_Silhouette

2. December 18th, 2013 – Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

Taken as I stood on a bridge with the city of Yangon sprawled around me, this image sticks in my mind as the famous Shwedagon Pagoda seemed to be visible across the whole city.

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

3. July 2013 – Prague, Czech Republic

I’ve never actually written about Prague in this blog, but it’s where my teaching life began in 2009, so it holds a special place in my heart. Visiting again in 2013 reminded me just how wonderful the city is. One of Europe’s finest.

4. Georgetown, Guyana

My home for one year until June 2013, Georgetown (and Guyana) has a vibrancy that’s hard to explain in words. You really have to experience it to realize how the diverse cultures fuse together to create an intriguing country.

5.  December 2013 – Bagan, Myanmar

Sunrise over the ancient pagodas in Bagan. It’s hard to put into words quite how beautiful this morning was, so hopefully the photo provides some idea.

6.  January 1st, 2014 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Spending the first day of 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City was a nice way to kick off a year that involved more travel and exploration. It was my first time in the south of Vietnam and I plan to return one day.

7. March 2014 – Sandwip, Bangladesh

The photo may speak for itself, but Sandwip (a small island west of Chittagong) was a total joy to experience when I stayed there for a few days with a colleague’s family. This photo was taken one early evening, and it’s one of my personal favorites from any of my travels.

8. August 2015 – Dartmoor, Devon, UK

It’s always nice to go home. Sights like this make it all the more worth it…

9. July 2014 – Huye, Rwanda

This is less about the actual image and more about the significance of the location. Fours years after leaving Rwanda, July 2014 was the first time I set foot once again in the Land of a Thousand Hills. It was a special feeling to be back there, even if just for a week.

10. March 2015 – Jessore, Bangladesh

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

Jessore, Bangladesh

8 thoughts on “Four Years Through a Lens

  1. This is nice John, shows what an interesting life you are leading! The best thing about your blog, as opposed to others, is that more than just staying in these places you have tried to really live in them. So many expats, whizz around with their cameras like crazed visitors to a museum or nature park. Gawping and prodding with only a thick serving of ignorance to help them along the way.

    It is clear you have a passion for the countries and cities you write about, a passion that is not blind but reflects upon their intricacies, delights, and even injustices. You never write as if above or superior to a situation or event. Simply interested, engaged, and at times slightly fearful. I am sure this attitude of non-judgmental interest has endeared you to many people.

    I feel that your years of travel and living abroad can have done nothing but good for the UK’s international reputation. More John Stanlake’s should be sent into the World as a UK PR campaign.

    More importantly for me, following your blog has increased my interest in so many places from Chittagong (possibly my favorite name for a city) to Kigali. I am a slightly less ignorant person thanks to your blogs.

    N.B. the captions for photo 4 and 5 includes: “hard to put into words”, “hard to explain in words”!

  2. You certainly have done some amazing travelling over the past 4 years John and through your photos and bloggs I feel as if I know more about the countries and the people who live there. Here’s to the next 4 years wherever that may take you.

  3. You have helped us to share your fantastic experiences John.What a wonderful world we live in and have not been able to see it all. Your blogs have been so informative and have given us a little ” window ” with the photos and your writings. Well done as ever John .

  4. Hi John. This really is an extraordinary blog. I am so incredibly jealous of your ability to capture a certain something in your photos. And don’t give up on the narrative either!

  5. Never did I think for one moment John, that you would travel the world so much, but full marks to you for doing so. I am pleased that you have achieved so much and whilst doing so, helped so many less fortunate to have an education. Enjoy and always be safe son. COYG’s !!

  6. Great photographs John – as usual – you certainly capture the essence of the countries you visit. Look forward to your future journeys wherever they take you.

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