Around the world with Eweliyi

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Today, we have another great story to tell. Eweliyi, Flickr member since 2008, just recently came back from a trip to meet her Flickr friends across the globe, and she was eager to tell us about it. This is Eweliyi’s story:

What I love the most about Flickr are the people that I meet here.

Over the years I found myself surrounded not just by great photographers, but great people who became real friends. From this realization it was just a matter of time, before I decided to do a trip around the world to meet them.

I am a Czech who lives in Malaysia; most of my contacts are from Europe and North America. I love to travel and so I started planning for my trip: First, I had to secure some long holiday from work. I would have needed about half a year to meet all my contacts, but that was simply not possible. The next best thing was getting six weeks off.

Getting all ducks in a row

Next, I had to plan where to go to allow me to meet as many people as possible in the given time, so I chose the UK and the USA. I wanted to go to Canada as well, but visa constraints were just too limiting there.

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It took me about two months to plan the whole thing, juggle all the different schedules and figure out the best routes during the actual trip. So after this detailed and careful master piece of planning, what could go wrong?

As it turns out, a lot of things: First of all I got really sick. Then my rental car got broken into for an umbrella. My knee-high chucks had zipper disintegration, and this was only on day five – 32 more to go… The trip was off to a legendary start. ;) In the following days another pair of shoes would die on me becoming part of an art installation of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit, and – worst of all – I would actually miss one of the people I came to visit. :(

The adventure commences

On my first day I got off work at 7 am right after night shift to go directly to the airport. I jumped on my 13 hour flight to the UK, which was a fantastic decision, as I was able to sleep the first seven hours, and I arrived in London at 4 pm, rested and ready for my adventure.

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Tyla, who took me under her roof, organized a photowalk with some of my beloved Flickerites on both of the next two days. I met Jim, Matt, John and Sharon. It was a bliss, and my companions were so much fun, caring and witty and everything. I adore the hell out of them all! After this I went down to Kent to visit Luke, who is just as cool as they come. Lives life to the fullest and is stupid enough to bet me about butt slap in Rock, Paper, Scissors. He of course lost and I’m pretty sure his cheeks still burn… ;)

rock paper scissors

My time in the UK was up and my next stop was Ireland where a tonsillitis intermission hit me. In Ireland I stayed with my non-Flickr friend and spent half of my time in bed with a fever. The weather change between tropical Malaysia and rainy cold Ireland didn’t give me any chance. Thankfully I recovered before going to the US.

Onwards to the USA

At immigration the amount of stamp marks in my passport caused a few raised eyebrows and tons of questions. Well, I travel a lot and have been to 23 countries, apparently that is very suspicious. Either way, they finally let me in.

My dear fluffies I'm coming to see youThe amazing, dog loving Lee picked me up from the airport and welcomed me to his house. I was given my own room, and his wife cooked for me… hmmm! Come to think of it, maybe I should have moved in with them.

M-C at Lombardi's PizzaThen I had the honor to spend my first full day in New York with Flickr and NY icon M-C. This brilliant girl brought me hand-made presents and then took me to fun filled walks around NY. We were in Chinatown and bought scarves without even knowing we wanted them – the Chinese saleslady was brilliant.

On my second day, Spencer took me to Brooklyn – and both swept me off my feet. Who knew optometrists are so artsy and Brooklyn so funny, or was it the other way around?

Where else you can meet witty WASPs than in the library of the MET!? Ross is my dear friend and conversationalist, and converse we did, when we didn’t ride bears that is.

The bear tamers

Boston here I come!

My New York time was up. I hit the road to visit my nerdy friend Nur in Boston he picked me up at the bus terminal with sonic screw driver by his side (and you will get the reference only if you love Dr. Who). Nur is a really sweet and cool guy that I was glad to finally meet. Even though he used to live in Malaysia we always missed each other when he was visiting Kuala Lumpur, or when I was visiting Penang. So I finally stalked him down in Boston… timelords are hard to catch. :)

Overnight from Boston to Detroit

The overnight bus to Detroit is quite a cinematic experience. I’m pretty sure the guy sitting next to me clutching his big duffle bag to his chest had a body in it, and I was praying the whole way that he didn’t have an empty slot for another head in there. But of course, in the end I arrived safely.

The debris hunters

The photo walk around Detroit’s most decayed beauty of Packard Plant with Vic, Dianne, Erron, Jeannine where we met tons of other photographers was stunning, but we topped it with little trespassing to another building in the heart of the city. When we got past the eye-watering stench of the first floor, we were awarded by great exploration of the building and roof view from it.
In the evening, after evicting one child from his room to give me bed to sleep, Vic and his wife Rachel took me to her uncle’s birthday party. The uncle is living Rock and Roll and the party was awesome!

Jumping in Salt Lake City, hitting a worker in Utah, and living the life in Naples

If you go to Salt Lake City you have to jump, or at least that is what I was told by Rick, so I obeyed and jumped, about 98 times, there are pictures to prove it! [You should also check out Rick's other jumping shots.] I was awarded for my hard work with a lunch in Red Iguana, totally worth it!
In the afternoon I’ve met Jack and Donna with whom I hit the road to to the national parks of Utah the next day after an evening of fun chat and great food.

Tiny among big rocks

Hit a Worker and Suck it!While driving to Capitol Reef Park I saw this sign. I either drove too fast or read to slow, but what I saw was "HIT A WORKER $10 000" … Sure! Where is one!? ;) It felt like I’m in a video game with hints what to do to gain a bigger score. Why do they write these in an imperative tone?
 

After few days between mighty rocks and red sand I was ready to hit the beach, luckily I knew just the right girl for it. Zee Anna! is living the life in Naples, Florida, and invited me to spend a weekend with her, her boyfriend, and her ferrets – they are cuddly and funny, all of them :) There was beach, there was Hooters, there was photo props, what more can one want?! :D

Chicago is calling

Chicago was calling, but first I spent a few days in one of Illinois’ tiny towns with Stacie… oh wait, Stacie, who’s screen name is Stacie was here…, really wasn’t there… family matters happened and she had to go to Kentucky while I was staying alone in her house with her cats. So I ate all her chips and chocolate pudding – that’ll teach her!

sun rises in the bean

Cynthia showed me Chicago. We woke up at 5 am to get there around sunrise to see the bean and the Marilyn statue when nobody else is around. We also met with Mike and went up the Willis Tower and to the Navy Pier. Next day was about older parts of Chicago and climbing on old bridges. Cyn let me in her house and stole my heart. She is simply great!

Next I was visiting non-Flickr friends in Colorado and explored Arizona a little bit, before my last 3 days in San Francisco where I’ve met Eliza who was a great and fun companion showing me the beauty of different neighborhoods in the City.

The trip was amazing and confirmed that Flickr is full of fabulous people

My whole trip was an amazing experience and confirmed that Flickr is full of fabulous people. I’m definitely going to do this again! I have more places to go and more people to meet. So till next time, be safe and thanks for reading!

Thank you Eweliyi for sharing your trip with us!

Photos from eweliyi.

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Kay is a Community Manager for Flickr and passionate about extraordinary photography. As an editor on Flickr Blog he loves to showcase the beauty and diversity of Flickr in his posts. When he's not blogging or making Flickr more awesome (in front of and behind the scenes), you can find him taking pictures with his beloved Nikon and iPhone, listening to Hans Zimmer's music or playing board games. | On Flickr you can find him at https://flic.kr/quicksilver