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18 August 2011
Take a break at the virtual Photo Art Café!

Today’s guest post is by fellow traveler Petra Schultze, who just started up a new project combining travel and photography: Photo Art Café.
 
El Drugstore in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay 
El Drugstore in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
 
One of my favorite student travel memories was a monthlong train trip through France. I’ll never forget the simple youth hostel above the small town of Cassis. From the train station you hiked uphill on a trail in the dry heat. But once you arrived you had a glorious view from the cliff top site over the Mediterranean. The other reward was sitting at long tables with humorous Brits sharing bottles of cheap red wine late into the night. The Brits’ humor was guaranteed entertainment that beats any TV comedy channel.
 
Since I attended university in Freiburg im Breisgau in southern Germany for 5 years, traveling in Europe meant just hoping on a train with a discounted youth ticket. But as a small city next to the Black Forest and sunniest spot in Germany, Freiburg itself was a worthwhile destination. One of the key practical features I remember from student days was the “Dampfross” – a bar less than 100 feet from the main lecture hall – beer aplenty and large plates of garlic “Pommes” or “Fritten” (fries) at a frugal price. Tip: if you’re in a generally expensive travel region – go where students go!
 
Of course a camera is one of the essentials on any packing list. My first camera as a kid was a small Vivitar point-and-shoot camera that used 110 film cartridges. Does anyone even remember those 110 film? I guess that places me in a generation that wasn’t exactly born holding an iPhone. For a trip down memory lane, this is what the film looked like.
 
After college when I had a bit more disposable cash I bought a manual Nikon film camera (the FM model), which I brought along on trips in the US, Canada, Caribbean, and Europe. At some point several years ago I transitioned to taking more pictures with a digital camera – currently the Kodak EasyShare Z740. The biggest decision for anyone who enjoys photography as much as travel seems to be: how much photo gear do I bring? My definite preference is for traveling light, so I am currently exploring some of the Panasonic Lumix models – known for good quality without being too bulky.
 
In those “too long” breaks between trips I find myself still dreaming about my next adventure. Some of the time I’m planning my next trip. But several years ago I decided to poke my traveling toes into the business side of photography – at least on a small scale. I began to make photo greeting cards and framed some enlargements – and attended a couple of local craft fairs in Virginia. And now I finally have opened my Photo Art Café on etsy!
 
Having grown up in DC and having lived in this area since after college, I’ve also traveled around the US quite a bit. For natural scenic beauty, the national and state parks can’t be beat: Acadia National Park in Maine, Northern California Parks that boast both redwoods and rocky coastlines, and the fantastically unspoiled Oregon – with 363 miles of public coastline which is sprinkled with numerous parks. I’ve been to this region twice now in the past few years and for anyone who wants to get active when they are no longer parked in an office chair, I recommend the book “Day Hiking the Oregon Coast” by Bonnie Henderson for lots of fantastic trail tips!
 
Of course overseas destinations continue to call my name. In the summer of 2009 I went on a 1-week “fair trade” reality tour to Guatemala. The trip was led by California-based Global Exchange together with the organization Rights Action. Our group of seven traveled in a van led by our fearless Canadian guide Karin and our Guatemalan driver Martin. In talks by in-country experts we learned a ton about Guatemalan history, economics and international trade. We visited weaving and sewing craft cooperatives, as well as two coffee cooperatives, and the indigenous Mayan communities near the Marlin Gold Mine.
 
Community House and Dorm at Santa Anita de Union cooperative
Community House and Dorm at Santa Anita de Union cooperative
 
At Santa Anita de Union fair trade coffee cooperative our visit included spending the night in the colorful community house dorm. We heard a history talk from a Guatemalan ex-guerilla combatant, toured the coffee plantation, and went on a waterfall hike. To read more about this cooperative, check out their website in English.
 
This is where your morning cup of coffee starts!
This is where your morning cup of coffee starts!
 
So take a break, grab a cup of fair trade coffee, and stop by my virtual Photo Art Café and stroll through the gallery while you brainstorm your next travel plans!



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