Dear Bobbi: 21st Century Pen Pals

Blog, Online Goodies, Other, Photography, What I'm thinking

Dear Bobbi: 21st Century Pen Pals

4 Comments 27 August 2013

For anyone who has ever had a pen pal or random travel partner they met in foreign lands who became their best friend – this website is for you.

Those who have been reading my site from the start (LEGENDS!) will know that almost four years ago I was in the running for “The Best Backpacker Job in the World”. There was a YouTube video that involved me scuba diving in a hot tub, which I bothered loads of people to watch to help me win. Sadly – I did not, but weirdly – another girl named Bobbi did.

I went to Australia – where this “best” job took place and ended up “working” it anyway with the other Bobbi (her name is Bobbi-Jo by the way and you can check out her blog here). After surviving shark tanks, monstrous spiders and wild cow stampedes – we parted ways, but never lost touch. In fact, not only did we correspond through emails and Skype over the following years, but we also managed to live in the same countries (New Zealand and England) and even the same city (London) again.

Now that we have the big bad Atlantic between us – as we did when we were just strangers with the same name entering random YouTube contests long ago – we’ve decided to keep in touch as pen pals of the 21st century.

May I introduce – Dear Bobbi.

A tale of two Bobbis. To the left is my photo of the New York skyline, to the right is Bobbi-Jo's of the London skyline.

A tale of two Bobbi’s, to the left is my photo of the New York skyline, to the right is Bobbi-Jo’s of the London skyline.

The website is a transatlantic correspondence between me and my name twin. Twice a week we’ll post photos with the same theme, such as self, skyline and fruit. Follow along as we send photographic love letters across the pond.

Have you ever met a great friend on your travels that you still keep in touch with? Have you ever had a pen pal?

Share your stories below!

If you want more Bobbi: Follow Dear Bobbi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

12 Photos for my One Year Instagram Anniversary

Other, Photography

12 Photos for my One Year Instagram Anniversary

6 Comments 05 July 2013

I was really late on the whole Instgram thing. I haven’t had a smart phone since 2009 and I still don’t, but in June of 2012 I treated myself to an iPod Touch and one of the very first things I did upon purchasing it was download Instagram.

I love everything about the app.

I love the filters. I like taking photos of all my food. I like seeing what everyone else is doing around the world. I love receiving likes from strangers. Plus, I like that it encourages me to take more photos. I’ll post pretty much anything and everything, but I do have one rule to my Instagram account that I take very seriously. I only post photos taken with my iPod. No SLR or point and shoot photos. That be cheating!

It’s hard to believe I celebrated my one year anniversary recently. In that year I’ve taken over 600 photos in New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, USA, Canada and England. #landscapes #selfies #foodporn #fishporn #doglove – You name it, I’ve shot it. So I thought it be fun to have a look back at my 12 favorite photos in my first year of Instagramming.

Italian Renaissance Gardens Hamilton New Zealand

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

12. Italian Renaissance Garden – Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand

This was my first hardcore Instagram day and I think I probably lost all my followers during it, because all I did was take photos of gardens and flowers. Hamilton Gardens is a stunning spot to wander around on a nice day. They have gardens from all over the world. I spent an afternoon there in June 2012 waiting for my visa extension approval.

Mount Maunganui New Zealand

11. The Mount from the top of it. – Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

Ric and I lived in Mount Maunganui for about seven months. In the off-season, climbing the Mount is one of the only things to do there. So we spent a lot of time up there. It’s a beautiful sight of the seaside town.

Hobbiton New Zealand

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

10. Bilbo Baggin’s house – Hobbiton, New Zealand

This was definitely my favorite tour in New Zealand. It’s the actual film location for the Shire in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Once a sheep farm, this Hollywood set is open to the public and located in Matamata.

Yantarasri Chiang Mai Thailand

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

9. Terry-cloth robes make me feel like I’ve made it in life. – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Ric and I don’t stay at high-end accommodation often, so I had to get a shot of me on our balcony, looking out to our pool when we stayed at Yantarasri in Chiang Mai. I really wish I had a terry-cloth robe right now :/

Elephant Nature Park Chiang Mai Thailand

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

8. Had the most amazing day with the elephants. Don’t want to leave. – Chiang Mai, Thailand

I’ve written before about my visit to Elephant Nature Park. I really didn’t want to leave this place. It was so peaceful and open. I tried so hard to get a shot like this with my SLR, but for some reason couldn’t do it.

Railay West Sunset Thailand

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

7. Can’t imagine it gets much better than this. Railay, Thailand

This one did not require a filter. After two stints in Thailand that came to about three months altogether, I finally found my perfect Thai beach: Railay. This shot was taken at Railay West Beach, which isn’t the most beautiful at day (that be Pranang Cave Beach), but definitely takes the price at night. There is a bar there that lays out mats on the beach and delivers your drinks to you at sunset. My dad, Ric and I sat there for hours every night we were there.

Changi Golf Course Singapore

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

6. Flying over Changi Golf Club in Singapore.

Ric said his dad told him to look out for this golf course when he flew out to Australia years ago, but he said he didn’t see it. So when we flew from KL to Singapore this past Autumn, I was on the lookout for it. Looks pretty cool from up in the air.

Graffiti Brooklyn NYC

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

5. Graffiti by our Brooklyn pad – Brooklyn, NYC

This was my first visit to Brooklyn and I couldn’t get enough of the street art, like this little gem.

Falling Water Frank Lloyd Wright

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

4. Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright – Pennsylvania

I’ve been wanting to visit FLW’s Falling Water for years. It’s about a five-hour drive from where I grew up, but for some reason I just never made it up there. When I came home to meet my dad’s new girlfriend for the first time, I found out we shared a love for all thing FLW, so I took it as a sign that we had to go. Double-date weekend to Western PA and I got this iconic shot of the house.

Liverpool dock

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

3. Reflections at the dock in Liverpool. – UK

Ric and I mainly went to England to visit his family for Christmas, but he wanted to also show me around the north a bit. Though we had both been to Liverpool before (actually on the same day in 2007), we wanted to visit the city again for a day of touring. We spent most of the day at Anfield, then headed to the waterfront. I absolutely adore this photo. Liverpool is such a beautiful city – and it doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves.

Drummer Joshua Tree National Park

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

2. The things you’ll come across in the desert. – Joshua Tree National Park, California

My Jucy Tour of the USA came about very last minute and randomly, but was absolutely incredible. Of all the places I visited during my three week tour of Western USA, Joshua Tree was the one I was looking forward to the most. I have a thing for deserts and heard it was a really funky place. I expected to see some weird things there and I did – like this drummer playing by the side of the road.

London

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

1. Striped block in London.- UK

I spent the first half of 2013 in London, which was another random and surprising happening in my year with Instagram. I adore this city and could probably have picked 12 photos to represent this anniversary just from London, but I chose this one to represent my five months here. London has a million and one attractions, but I like to walk around the city and take it in. This was a random street block, somewhere in the city that appealed to me.

So that was my year first year in Instagram. What do you think? If you want to follow a long in real time, follow my photos on Instagram and leave your user name below so I can follow you.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

Photo walking tour of Fitzroy-Melbourne

Australia, Destinations, Other, Photography

Photo walking tour of Fitzroy-Melbourne

4 Comments 28 May 2013

No area of Australia is quite as quirky as Fitzroy. I heard about this section of Melbourne long before I visited the country. People said the coffee there is amazing, the street art is even better. It’s colorful, yet historic. The shopping is vintage and bars have interesting themes.

It sounded like my sort of place, so I booked a hostel in Fitzroy for my first visit to the city. Walking around the morning I arrived, we instantly clicked.

I first head to Brunswick Street for a coffee. A tram rolls by as I walk up the street snapping photos and looking for the perfect cafe to watch the world go by.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

There isn’t much of a world as it was about 8 a.m. on a weekday.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The streets are empty besides a blond girl smoking a cigarette. Dressed in 80’s attire, I wonder whether she is just getting home from a night out or heading into work at one of the vintage shops on the street.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

One massive characteristic of Melbourne is its street art, so I let that lead me this morning.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

It takes me down alley ways I wouldn’t normally venture.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

And shows me an edgy side of the locals.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Street art is more than just spray paint graffiti here. It’s inventive and historic. One of my favorite things to see in a city is old signs painted on buildings.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

This section of the city somehow manages to pull off two very different looks.

On one hand, it’s a bit trashy and rebellious. You’ll see beer bottles lying all over the streets, leftover food with burnt-out incense and overgrown gardens in front of houses with paint peeling off.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

On the other hand, the area is classic and quaint. It’s home to French brasseries, boutique shops and cafes. The buildings here have history and an incredible, old-world design.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

It’s decorated with gas lamps, brightly-colored doors and neighborhood gardens.

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fitzroy Melbourne Australia

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

This mash up of lifestyles and looks probably wouldn’t work anywhere else in the world, but in a place as unique as Fitzroy, anything goes.

Photos for this post were primarily taken on Brunswick and Nicholson Streets, as well as a few side streets. Have you ever visited Fitzroy in Melbourne, Australia? What did you think?

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

Borough Market Photo Essay

Destinations, England, Other, Photography

Borough Market Photo Essay

6 Comments 17 May 2013

Roasted duck sandwiches, wild boar and black truffle ravioli and freshly made chai, there is no better place in London to tour the tastes and smells of the city than Borough Market.

Somehow I always end up here on my days off. Maybe it’s old world look of the market, which is located under London Bridge. Maybe it’s the cultures that come together and share food here. Maybe it’s the different foods and free samples. Yea…it definitely has to do with the last possibility mentioned.

Even though I’ve visited here at least a hundred times, I always do a quick tour of the market before deciding what I want. Usually full off samples after my overview, I’ll make the effort to squeeze a cheese sandwich or lamb sandwich in my stomach. The food is that good and vendors that friendly.

Enter from London Bridge and you will be bombarded with vendors selling an array of meals for lunch. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Like posh grilled cheese. The line for this cheese sandwich stand with specialty cheeses stretches around the market entrance. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Watch as your fresh oysters are prepared in front of you. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Plus, there’s something for everyone, even vegetarians. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Head deeper into the market and you’ll find mushrooms in every way imaginable, from wild to liquidated into white truffle oil. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

And olives… Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

And cheese…Free samples, anyone? Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Not just fresh food, but beautifully decorated, like this elephant cookie. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

I especially love the classic chalk board signage. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

And again… Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Though signage isn’t really necessary. Most can just let their noses lead the way. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Of course, there are pies! Maybe just one for later. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Have you ever been to Borough Market? What did you think? What’s your favorite market in the world?

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

Hump Day Photo: Big Buddha, Koh Samui

Destinations, Other, Photography, Thailand

Hump Day Photo: Big Buddha, Koh Samui

2 Comments 13 September 2012

This time next week Ric and I will be waking up in one of our favorite countries in the world, Thailand.

Since this weekly photo series is all about giving people a glimpse of some place magical to get them through the work week, we thought it only sensible to look back on photos from our last trip to Thailand to get us through our last week of waiting to get there.

Though we weren’t too impressed with Koh Samui at first (our first stop was Chaweng, which is overcrowded with tourists with the objective of getting pissed), we ended up having a good stay and one really incredible day on the island. Like many of our other favorite days in Thailand, this one involved us renting a motorbike and seeing where the day took us.

While our main goal was to visit the island’s Big Buddha, we visited just about everywhere else before reaching it. Some of our stops included Na Muang Waterfall, Grandfather Rocks and Wat Plai Laem, where we thought we reached the island’s Big Buddha, but realized we were wrong during our cruise home at sunset.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Located on the Northeast end of the island Big Buddha at Wat Phra Yai stands at 12 meters tall, its gold cover shining in the sun. We reached the statue at the last moments of day light. While I couldn’t keep my eyes off the statue on the way to it, I couldn’t keep my eyes off another breathtaking Thai sky driving away from the statue.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

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Hump day photo: Franz Josef Glacier

Destinations, New Zealand, Other, Photography

Hump day photo: Franz Josef Glacier

4 Comments 16 August 2012

It’s nothing I thought I would ever see in person, let alone walk on; a massive glacier, edged between mountains, rolling onto land. It was in Franz Josef New Zealand that I toured my first glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier is the world’s steepest and fastest flowing commercially-guided glacier. Located on the West Coast of the South Island, the town of Franz Josef is completely dedicated to the glacier. We visited in January and opted for a half day ice walk up the glacier with Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

This photo, which was taken with my GoPro, is looking up at the glacier from close to the bottom of it.

The size of the glacier is what stunned me most. We walked up it from the ground, but people actually take a helicopter to the top of it to visit a more untouched piece of ice. When helicopters are involved to reach the top of something, it must be massive.

This was by far the most interesting tour I did in the South Island and it’s well-worth a stop on any visit to the country.

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Hump day photo: green skies at night

Destinations, New Zealand, Other, Photography

Hump day photo: green skies at night

2 Comments 30 May 2012

This has to be the most colorful sunset I’ve ever seen. Taken at Pilot Bay in Mount Maunganui, the clouds turned bright orange amongst a soft blue sky when the sun went down on this March night. The dark ocean below reflected the colors above.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon.

After a few minutes, part of the the sky then became a bit green.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon.

I’ve seen a lot of beautiful sunsets in New Zealand, but this is my favorite.

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Hump day photo: From Mars with love

Destinations, New Zealand, Other, Photography

Hump day photo: From Mars with love

4 Comments 23 May 2012

Okay, so I’m not actually on Mars in this photo, but I bet for a second there you thought I was! This photo was taken during my Tongariro Crossing at Tongariro National Park in New Zealand. Once reaching the base of Mt. Ngauruhoe there is a straight (and flat thank god!) walk towards Red Crater. At this point I looked up and just thought, “That looks a lot like what I would expect Mars to look like.”

I’m centered in this Mars-like photo at Tongariro National Park.

The terrain at Tongariro National Park includes mountains, forests, dessert, lakes and craters. That’s one of the reasons I liked this walk most, it just has so much to offer, even a bit of scenery that is out of this world.

Just to prove my point, here is a photo of the terrain on the planet Mars. Photo courtesy of CBC News

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Hump day photo: Melbourne Graffiti

Australia, Destinations, Other, Photography

Hump day photo: Melbourne Graffiti

2 Comments 09 May 2012

People usually try to avoid dark alley ways when visiting foreign cities.

Not Melbourne. 

The Australian city is known for its graffiti scene and the best of it can be found down side streets, where artists have free space and a bit a privacy to paint. Once considered vandalism, these days people of the city embrace this funky form of public art.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

I spotted these shut-eyed children in Fitzroy. There are several forms of graffiti around these days. This is known as wheatpaste graffiti, because of the glue used to put these pieces up.

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Hump day photo: Rippon Vineyard

Destinations, Favorite Things, New Zealand, Other, Photography, Wine and Coffee

Hump day photo: Rippon Vineyard

No Comments 02 May 2012

Vineyards, blue waters and even a snow-capped mountain, views don’t get much better than this.

The night before leaving Wellington for an epic South Island adventure, I thought what better way to cheers the voyage than with a glass of one of New Zealand’s finest wine with my dad at Ancestral.

The posh restaurant was running a Riesling-inspired campaign featuring vineyards from all around New Zealand. Since we were planning to visit Wanaka, we tried a glass of the white wine from one of the region’s best wineries, Rippon. I prefer reds, so to enjoy a glass of white that much, I had to visit the place.

So we did.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

I was expecting a great tasting, even to spend a bit of money on a few bottles of wine, but I wasn’t expecting the view. Located on Mount Aspiring Road, a dirt path guides cars uphill to the cellar door, passing line after line of grape vines along the way. At the top is a modern, stone cellar door with a few tables set up outside facing the spectacular view of Lake Wanaka, the Buchanan Mountain Range and vineyards seen here.

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