I find it endlessly interesting to find out what people love – what inspires them – drives them and what feels like home. Everyone has a wonderfully different way of experiencing the world. I recently asked Sydney based surf photographer John Respondek a few questions…
Jessica : How long have you been a surf photographer?
John: Umm… about 15 years now.
Jessica: What inspired you to pursue it as a career?
John: I have been a surfer since i was very young and then got into photography in high school… so it was just a natural progression to mix them up.
Jessica: What is it about surfing that you love the most?
John: Thats tough. There are some many good things. But just simply being around and in the the ocean is best. And then surfing in it is so thrilling.
Jessica: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
John: I couldn’t really say there’s one highlight. Just the ongoing fun travel adventures are all highlights.
Jessica: Who inspires you the most and why?
John: I really couldn’t say a couple of names that inspire me. Its always changing. It depends on where I am, who Im with, what I’m doing. Etc. I am inspired daily by different people for different things.
Jessica: What does home mean to you?
John: Home is the best. You really learn and appreciate that when you spend so much time on the road.
Jessica: Where is your favourite place in the world?
John: Australia is the best country in the world… but other than that I love Fiji and Indonesia. For hanging, surfing and shooting.
You can see more of Johns beautiful photography on instagram.
Who do you find inspiring wanderlusters? Let me know – I’d love to ask them a few questions too.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas apparently – but for me (being Australian) I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that it’s freezing cold and I’m wrapped up like a mummy for most of my waking hours.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas recently – mostly because it’s December but also because last weekend was my annual family Christmas party. 70 of my relatives head to a caravan park by the beach to wish each other merry Christmas, celebrate the silly season, play volleyball, tunnel ball, beer pong, announce the winner of supercoach, and see how Santa makes his entrance for 2014 (previous entrances have included fire trucks, speed boats, Harley Davidson’s, tractors… the list goes on!). The family Christmas party is hands down my favourite day of the year. My family are completely mad in such a loveable way – functionally dysfunctional and the most loving, caring, kind, hilarious people I’ve ever had the good fortune of knowing and it was the first time I’ve ever missed it.
This will be my second icy Christmas in the UK – last year I spent it with the Pleasance family up on the North Yorkshire moors in a very sweet little place called Fangdale Bec. It was all so foreign to me. I’d never experienced cold like that before. I was out walking with my friend and his beautiful little sister and their gorgeous little puppy uno and I saw one of the things that makes my inner child smile more than anything else in the whole wide world ; a giant puddle. I was wearing borrowed wellies (gumboots for my Australian readers) and a Barbour wax jacket (they took pity on me for not having any idea just how cold it gets up there – it’s practically north of the wall you know) with a big grin on my face i did a big run and jump in to the giant puddle. I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t actually a puddle – maybe it was at some stage in its life – but it now was just solid slippery ice. I fell and slid across the ice and then stumbled around like an awkward baby giraffe until I made my way to the edge and back on to solid ground in a giant fit of giggles. We took walks through the forest and up on the the seemingly endless moores – it was a little bit of magic.
Christmas Day was everything I thought a British Christmas should be. It was cold, we had hot cups of tea, two open fires and were all huddled around the Christmas tree handing out gifts one by one and watching them open them. I love buying Christmas presents – it makes me so happy to see someone enjoy a gift that I spent time (weeks) searching for. I bought Ell a vintage film camera and film, a hand pressed flower necklace in resin for his mum, a turquoise ring for his sweet little sister, and a selection of craft beer for his brother. With the exception of Ell I’d not met any of them before – so it was nice to see them open and enjoy their presents. We all are our fill of Christmas food – and I ate Yorkshire pudding for the first time. I am so grateful that they took me in to their home and let me spend Christmas with them.
This year I’ll be spending Christmas with my cousin Cazz, her husband and their three little girls at their home in East London. Spending the day with family including three little sugar filled devils will be fantastic! On Boxing Day we are going to see the local Panto too. Such fun!
Stay jolly wanderlusters – sending love and happy Christmas vibes to you all x
Crazy times. I feel like a crazy person (not actually crazy). My mind and my body are going at 100 miles ( or 160.9344 kilometres in case you’re interested) an hour – I feel inspired and mental all at the same time. Loosing my marbles and then finding them again (and more) – I don’t know where to start and I love it!
Embracing the weird – loving the strange.
Enjoy the craziness in your lives lovelies
“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
― Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee
I was chatting with someone just the other day about bees and why they are dying and I could barely string a sentence together (embarrassing much!). So as to redeem myself I thought I’d put a brief summary up here.
There are so many different theories on this topic – and lots of finger pointing at various industries but from what I can understand there is a number of contributing factors – and hence a number of different things that need to change so we can save the bees from extinction and ourselves as a result.
- The widespread use of pesticides and insecticides used in the modern farming practices is believed to be killing bees. Granted some of these are meant to be ‘bee friendly’ but the jury is still out on this one.
- Home gardens also use pesticides and insecticides available over the counter. Refraining from using these products as well as planting native plants and flowers will help in encouraging bees in to your garden.
- In the UK the introduction of non-native bees is believed to have compromised the native bee population.
- There are a number of different parasitic mites that can quickly spread disease amongst a hive. In addition wax moths and small hive beetles also pose a threat.
- Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a strange phenomenon where the bees seem to just completely disappear. There have been numerous studies on the topic but no strong conclusions have been drawn.
Thanks for reading – I’d love to know what you think about this issue so please leave a comment below or tweet me @jessicaswander.
People will forget what you do but the never forget how you make them feel.
Note to the wanderlusting reader… This is something I wrote a long time ago – I had to remove it from here for personal reasons – but it’s an important piece for me and I really needed to share it. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.
My thoughts have been continuously occupied by someone for months. They most probably have absolutely zero idea about it either. It’s like a high school crush magnified by a zillion billions. I’ve been daydreaming and night dreaming and can’t seem to make it stop. I’m not even certain that I want to. I don’t think it’s healthy to be so completely smitten from a completely unsustainable distance. My heart is aching and breaking and swelling up to the size of the sun all at once.
They have inspired me – asked me about my passions and what makes me tick. Helped me to realise my own potential and re-focus my aim and put myself first. Their dedication to their own passion was inspiring. Their philosophy on life was the most incredible aphrodisiac and their morals just beautiful.
When we first met I originally thought – way out of my league but was quickly slapped across the face by my best friend who said there’s no one out of my league ( but she would say that because she loves me).
What feels so ridiculous about this whole situation is that we really didn’t spent that much time together in the scheme of things. But I guess we always remember the how people make us feel and especially those that make us believe in our own worth.
So thank you – I endeavor to inspire others the way that you’ve inspired me.
Recently my whole world has been turned upside down. Everything I knew is suddenly gone. it’s been tough – very tough. But through this I’ve learnt that I am stronger than I thought – more resilient – and I deserve happiness.
Some of it shocked me – I had no idea it was coming. Some of it I instigated myself – and it was long overdue. But knowing that something is ending doesn’t ever make it easier to deal with. We have these ideas about who we are and what we are – and those are challenged and criticised not only by the people around us but by ourselves. We can be our own harshest critics – I know I certainly am.
Change can be painful and uncomfortable – the fear of the unknown can be paralysing – what to do next? Where do I go from here? With change – comes opportunity. You can reinvent yourself – find new meaning in the chaos of it all – dream new dreams – chase those dreams – become inspired and motivated all over again.
This has been one of the hardest and most daunting times of my life – but I am grateful. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow – to move forward and to take charge of what I lost control of. I have learnt to put myself first – that fear is normal – that people are not always as good as you hope they are – that I trust myself – and above all else I deserve to be happy.
This period of change certainly isn’t comparable to a holiday at the moment – but I’m sure i’ll look back on this time in my life and see all that has come from it.
Sending love wanderlusters – you’ll be hearing from me again soon. Until then you can tweet me @JessicasWander.
Breathe deep – let all the air out of your lungs and think of all the wonderful things you already have to be grateful for.
Last night I was lucky enough to attend the first Express Your Gratitude Workshop in Clapham North. Put together by two beautiful and inspiring women – yoga teacher Adrianna Zaccardi of Infinite Beings and Emily Riggs of The Gratitude Journals.
The 2.5 hour session started with a sitting meditation where each person was asked to focus on just one ting they were grateful for that day – we continued to focus on our breath and hold on to that feeling of gratitude. This really helped me relax and let go of all that had been worrying me before entering in to the studio that day. I was lost in the rhythm of my breath and the gratitude in my heart.
We began to move – all the while focusing our breath and Adrianna reminded us to focus on what we are grateful for. It was a truly wonderful class – physically challenging and giggle educing. Adrianna has an incredible ability to describe how to get in to each of the poses correctly – allowing us to focus inwardly and on our breath. It was time for shavasana – I closed my eyes and surrended my body to the mat. Adrianna came and covered us in blankets and talked us though a guided meditation focusing on each part of the body and what we could be grateful for. We finished by chanting Om three times – feeling the energy vibrate through us almost bought tears to my eyes.
We all sat cross legged in a circle – enjoying some home made healthy snacks and herbal teas while Emily introduced us all to the wonderful world of gratitude. Craft supplies were passed around and soon we were each making our own personal gratitude journals – complete with gratitude mandalas. It took me back to the craft days I remember having at my aunties house as a child.
After the class I walked home – full of appreciation and child-like enthusiasm – ready to use my new gratitude journal for the first time.
I can’t wait to see what their next workshop will bring.
Big love wanderlusters – I am grateful to each and every one of you x
We live in a world of excessive consumption, unnecessary production, that is completely full of man-made waste. Currently we are taking more resources from the earth each year than she is able to reproduce which means that sustainability has never been so important as is it right now.
So what does sustainability really mean?
The dictionary defines sustainability as the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed. In environmental science sustainability refers to the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
It’s currently estimated that 50,000 different plant and animal species will become extinct in the next decade – the destruction is so relentless that 60,000 plant species could be lost by 2025! Just to put that into perspective for you that is 25% of the worlds total plant life. Just imagine the effect that will have on the individual and interlinking ecosystems around the world. Not to mention the erosion, pollution, lack of food, quality of water… I could go on.
I believe we all have a responsibility to act in a sustainable way – take sustainability into consideration every day of our lives – because it affects our lives in every way – think about it when you eat – when you drink – when you travel to work – when you take a holiday – when you shop… because I know I want future generations to be able to enjoy the beauty of this world – the diversity – the people – even the food and unless we all start to shift towards living more sustainable lifestyles that just isn’t going to be possible.
I’d love to speak with you about sustainability and hear your thoughts – so please leave a comment below or tweet with me @JessicasWander.
Peace and love wanderlusters x
Sometimes you just have to go with it.
Enjoy the moment…
I don’t think there is a person on earth that doesn’t look up to the night sky in awe. It’s just one of those things. It’s beautiful, haunting, unreachable, enchanting and mind boggling. I know I’ve often spent hours and hours just staring up at the stars and thinking just how mind-boggling it is.
We are on a tiny little planet rotating around what is comparatively a tiny ball of burning gas suspended in nothingness. We look out to billions upon billions of other stars – some of which have their own planets and moons rotating around them. We do live in a very small world. We can travel it all quite easily and see the world at our leisure. We’re all connected by this modern technology and it’s as easy for me to contact someone in Semporna as it is for me to contact someone in Australia. There are people who view my blog that are from countries I’ve never heard of before – but somehow we are all connected. That much I can grasp in my mind – but when we look to the stars we realise just how small this world is.
When we look to the stars and think of the hugeness of the universe it makes me think of the earth as a whole – no countries, no boundaries, no races or religion. We’re just one.
Chew on that thought for a while Wanderlusters. x