Wanderlust: My Constant Craving

Breathtaking view from a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

Breathtaking view from a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

In modern times, the term “Wanderlust” is defined as “A strong desire to travel”. Most people experience this feeling at some point in their lives. For me, it’s been a constant craving since I was old enough to watch the travel channel on TV. Like the K.D Lang song (Constant Craving) suggests, “Maybe a great magnet pulls all souls to what’s true…”

Hukou (Kettle's mouth) Waterfall in the Yellow River Valley, Shanxi-Shaanxi Section, China

Hukou (Kettle’s mouth) Waterfall in the Yellow River Valley, Shanxi-Shaanxi Section, China

Perhaps there’s some truth in this. Perhaps we are all united in some way, by this great longing that pulls us out of our ordinary lives and into the beauty of a world beyond our understanding.

What could be more true or real than the feeling of a cold, turquoise ocean gliding across your skin, or the feeling of stones and tree bark under your bare feet? What could be more soothing to the mind and heart than the sounds of authentic African drums, chanting monks and the constant crashing of a crystalline waterfall? Or the allure of ancient cities – living art just waiting to be explored?

Italy – “Lo Stivale” (The Boot)

The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

Italy was the first to captivate me, with its romanticized streets of rivers in Venice, Florentine Renaissance art and architecture, as well as the magical hills and villas throughout Tuscany & Rome. I longed to walk those cobblestone streets in sandals and a little white flowing dress, taking in its rich artistic beauty.

Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy

Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy

I have yet to experience the magnificence of “La Dolce Vita” or “The sweet life” that Italy is so well known for, but I wish to someday remove this beautiful country from my bucket list!

Venice Waterway by Larry Augsbury

Venice Waterway by Larry Augsbury

Cobblestone Street with flowers, by Deanna Keahey

Cobblestone Street with flowers, by Deanna Keahey

Japan – “Nippon” (Land of the Rising Sun)

Gion, The famous Geisha District. Photo by Charles Tomas Marti on Flickr

A traditional Japanese Tea House in Tokyo

Japan, a chain of 6,852 islands is rich in forests, mountains, biodiversity, technology, art and culture.

View of Mount Fuji

View of Mount Fuji

Only about 430 of these islands are inhibited, with Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu being the four main Islands of this island country. With an abundance of sights, sounds and tastes to delight you on your journey through Japan, who wouldn’t love to trade their mundane meetings and fax machines for sushi and a traditional ryokan?

A traditional Japanese Ryokan

A traditional Japanese Ryokan

I certainly would! I plan to do just that sometime in the near future. On my list of places/things to experience in Japan are:

The Naruto Whirling Waves in Tokushima

The Naruto Whirling Waves below the 1629 m long Onaruto Bridge in Tokushima.jpg

The Naruto Whirling Waves below the 1629 m long Onaruto Bridge in Tokushima.jpg

The Akiyoshido Cave in Yamaguchi

The Akiyoshido Cave in Yamaguchi

The Akiyoshido Cave in Yamaguchi

The night view of Nagasaki from Inasa-yama

Night view of Nagasaki from Inasa-yama

Night view of Nagasaki from Inasa-yama

Unkai (Cloud Sea) Terrace in Hokkaido

Unkai (Cloud Sea) Terrace in Hokkaido

Unkai (Cloud Sea) Terrace in Hokkaido

Yoshigaura Onsen Yado (Hot spring hotel) in Ishikawa

Yoshigaura Onsen Lamp no Yado (Hot spring hotel) in Ishikawa. Open-air baths and cave baths facing the beach.

Yoshigaura Onsen Lamp no Yado (Hot spring hotel) in Ishikawa. Open-air baths and cave baths facing the beach.

The suspension bridges of Sumatakyo at the Ooma Dam Lake in Shizuoka

The suspension bridges of Sumatakyo at the Ooma Dam Lake in Shizuoka

The suspension bridges of Sumatakyo at the Ooma Dam Lake in Shizuoka

Private karaoke booths

Private karaoke booths

Private karaoke booths in Japan

Tokyo’s Ginza District

The infamous Ginza District in Tokyo

The infamous Ginza District in Tokyo

Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa

Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa, Japan

Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa, Japan

Gion (The Geisha district)

Gion, The famous Geisha District. Photo by Charles Tomas Marti on Flickr

Gion, The famous Geisha District. Photo by Charles Tomas Marti on Flickr

A traditional Japanese Geisha in Kyoto

A traditional Japanese Geisha in Kyoto

The Winter light Display in Tokyo

Light Tunnel- Winter light display in Japan

Light Tunnel- Winter light display in Japan

Firefly squid at the coast in Toyama

Firefly squid at the coast in Toyama

Firefly squid at the coast in Toyama

Nishiyama onsen keiunkan is a hot spring hotel in Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.

Nishiyama onsen keiunkan is a hot spring hotel in Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. Founded in 705AD, it is the oldest hotel and oldest company still in operation according to the Guinness World Records.

Nishiyama onsen keiunkan is a hot spring hotel in Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. Founded in 705AD, it is the oldest hotel and oldest company still in operation according to the Guinness World Records.

Mount Fuji in Japan during the Flower Festival

Mount Fuji in Japan at Flower Festival

Mount Fuji in Japan at Flower Festival

Pink Wisteria tree- Japan

Pink Wisteria tree- Japan

Kyoto in Autumn- Japan

Kyoto in Autumn- Japan

Summer festival in Yutenji, Tokyo

Summer festival in Yutenji, Tokyo - By Christina Wong

Summer festival in Yutenji, Tokyo – By Christina Wong

The 150 year old Iwaso Ryokan on Miyajima Island

The 150 year old Iwaso Ryokan on Miyajima Island

The 150 year old Iwaso Ryokan on Miyajima Island

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Another Earth

Close encounters with the beauty of the ocean

Close encounters with the beauty of the ocean

It was writer and undersea explorer, Arthur C. Clarke that said, “How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.” I agree with him. About 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of the Earth’s water content. More than 95% of this underwater world remains unexplored, with countless species co-existing in this vast abyss.

Earth: The water planet

Earth: The water planet

There is an entire world right below the surface of our oceans. A world that exists completely independent of our technology, our politics, our religion, even our mere existence. Science fiction has taught us that the truth is out there, but what about the truth that’s down there? Down below, in the darkest corners of our deep blue seas? I’ll give you a clue. It looks something like this.

Fangtooth fish

Fangtooth fish

Deepsea Hatchet Fish

Deepsea Hatchet Fish

Underwater Arthropods

Underwater Arthropods

Gotta love the neighbors!

Okay, so maybe our neighbors would be far too happy if we joined them down there in the great blue beyond, preferably for dinner, I’d assume. But a weekend away at the bottom of The Mariana Trench (approx. 11 Km deep) would be detrimental to us humans, since we are only capable of diving up to 700 m below the sea’s surface in a fully kitted diving suit.

Besides the creepy creatures lurking in the dark, cold abyss, there are hundreds of thousands of species that exist in our oceans today. Many of which are beautiful, unique and captivatingly interesting. No need to fret. You can still get a glimpse of life under water, without having to worry about being eaten alive, running out of air or being crushed by that pesky oceanic water pressure. An amazing source of images (and information) on underwater wildlife is the Seaphotos website (see link at the bottom of this page) which showcases breathtaking images captured by the acclaimed photographer, author and naturalist, David J. Hall.

Beneath Cold Seas

Beneath Cold Seas

His most recently published book, the National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA) winning, Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific North West, features elegantly shot images as captured by Hall, as well as an introduction by marine biologist Sarika Cullis-Suzuki.

Specifically focusing on cold water marine life, this book aims to refute the widespread belief that these creatures are dull and uninteresting. Here’s a look at some of the stunning images you will find in this truly fascinating and inspirational book.

Jelly fish swarm with surface debris

Jelly fish swarm with surface debris

opalescent nudibranchs and ascidians

opalescent nudibranchs and ascidians

Sea Pens

Sea Pens

Nudibranch

Nudibranch

Seals

Seals

Candy Stripe Shrimp

Candy Stripe Shrimp

Moon Jelly Fish and Cross Jellies

Moon Jelly Fish and Cross Jellies

Salmon headed upstream

Salmon headed upstream

Ochre Sea Stars (Pisaster ochraceus) are most common in the intertidal zone and are often seen in tidepools and clinging to rocks above water, at low tide. Several of these stars appear to be feeding on mussels. Also seen in the photograph made just beneath the surface, are white plumose and green surf anemones. Browning Pass, British Columbia

Ochre Sea Stars (Pisaster ochraceus) are most common in the intertidal zone and are often seen in tidepools and clinging to rocks above water, at low tide. Several of these stars appear to be feeding on mussels. Also seen in the photograph made just beneath the surface, are white plumose and green surf anemones.
Browning Pass, British Columbia

The ocean is a truly amazing and vital part of our planet. Love Planet Ocean and support biodiversity so that our future generations won’t have to marvel at images like these whilst wondering why life in the ocean became extinct.

For more information and pictures from the depths below, you can visit the following links:

http://www.seaphotos.com/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/why-no-one-should-mess-with-the-ocean#1u2jp63

http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/oceanography_how_deep.html

http://marinebio.org/

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/what_you_can_do/