Best Travel Photos I Have Taken on My Journeys 52

Sharing is caring!

I don’t think these are particularly any of my best photos, but I’m in a particularly melancholy mood today, so instead of just trying to show you my best work, I thought I’d try to show how photos can tell a story — even if their technical brilliance is lacking.

1. A photo that takes my breath away

african elephant at watering hole namibia

Africa is the most amazing and interesting continent on the planet. In my eyes, there is simply not even a worthwhile discussion to be had on the topic.

The entire continent takes my breath away, and although I’ve not even remotely covered enough of it to say I have “done it,” I have seen enough to know it will always draw me. It is awe inspiring that there are still these massive animals there — animals that have very little reason to have survived evolution for this period of time, especially against the onslaught of humanity.

You regularly will just be riding in a bus or looking out your train window and see a herd of giraffe or elephants, though you might not even be in a national park. And the animals are just one part of the wonder — the people, the landscapes, and more. It is unlike any place on Earth.

2. A photo that makes me laugh or smile

african kids playing on beach in zanzibar

Go ahead.

I dare you not to smile. I dare you.

3. A photo that makes me dream

television on beach at cabo polonio uruguay

Right now, I dream of peace and quiet, with a good bottle of wine, a book, and no internet.

I’m not really looking for any sympathy out there — I am quite content that I am living life as I want to and enjoying it immensely — but right now, as I write this, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed.

I have taken on too many projects. One of those projects is currently sucking down three to five hours every day, in an effort to get a really great system set up that will benefit hundreds of my fellow travel bloggers. It is slowly sucking the life out of me and I can’t wait until we hit the finish line.

When I cross that line in a few weeks, I want a week on this beach. Cabo Polonio, Uruguay. No electricity. No internet. But they do have beer and wine. Right now, I spend eight to twelve hours a day in front of this computer, doing the various things I need to do in order to keep traveling.

I want a break — just for a little while.

4. A photo that makes me think

manchu picchu from above

What were they thinking?

Seriously, what the hell were they thinking? The most impressive and lasting memory I have of Manchupicchu, which I firmly believe should be on every traveler’s list of places to see in their lifetime, was…. what the hell was going through their minds when they said, “yep, let’s build a city of stone, up there.”

5. A photo that makes my mouth water

grapes on the vine in winery napa

I am not a food photographer. I have friends that take lovely food photos and I appreciate their work, but those photos don’t make me want to take my camera out. I could have posted a photo here of the spices in the Damascus souk, which is about as close as I get to food photography, but given what is going on in Syria right now, I try not to think too much of the pain that is happening in that wonderful place.

So instead, I will tell you what makes my mouth water — a really nice wine. I love good food as much as the next person, but it is far easier to find a good meal at a reasonable price than it is to find a good bottle of wine at a reasonable price, save for many parts of Europe.

6. A photo that tells a story

photo of a man dragging crops home in Guane, Colombia

An honest day’s work.

7. A photo that I am most proud of

michael hodson with guide summit Kilimanjaro

I am under no illusion that I am a great photographer. My skills are fine, and hopefully improving, but I am not going to ever get a National Geographic cover or other such plumb photo “get.”  And frankly, that’s fine by me. It never really has been a goal and I’m happy that some people like my photos and find them a pleasing addition to me writing.

So why this photo for this question?

It’s not a great photo. Hell, I didn’t even take it. Some random other hiker at the top of Kilimanjaro offered to take this photo of me and my amazing guide, Eyan, at the top of Africa.

I am most proud of this photo, of any that I own, because of what it represents. Climbing Kilimanjaro was the single best, and single most difficult, thing I have ever done in my life. I am actually shedding a tear right now thinking about it. I have not yet even been able to write about the experience, and I doubt I ever will on this website.

I have a tattoo to remember the experience and on some of those days when I drink alone, with the sun shining on my face as I listen to some of the music that I listened to on that hike up, I smile at the memory of it all.

So, that is the photo I am most proud of.


In my view, photos serve two distinct purposes. For those of you viewing my photos that weren’t with me when I took them, I hope they help give just a small glimpse into a place or a moment. In that respect they are wonderful tools.

But far more important, and selfishly, photos are my instant memory injectors. I can scroll up through any of these photos above, or the 50,000 or so I have taken in the last three years traveling, and vividly and viscerally remember every aspect of that moment.

Every single thing. I can remember who I was with. The weather. My mood. Where I stood. What I saw that wasn’t in the frame of the camera. The smell. Whether I was hungry or content. Everything.

So while I hope everyone enjoys my photos here and elsewhere, all I can say is that it is a lot more rewarding to get out there and take your own. Get on it. And report back to me. I can’t wait to see them.

Sharing is caring!

About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.

52 thoughts on “Best Travel Photos I Have Taken on My Journeys

  • Emily in Chile

    Ditto the previous comment – you definitely made me smile with #2, and #1 is just the kind of scene that I dream of seeing for myself someday.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Thanks. I had a good bit of fun going through some of my older shots for this.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Maybe I need to write more about my emotions. Then again, maybe not. 😉

  • Amanda

    Nice collection of shots, Michael. You were right about the photo of the kids – I couldn’t help but smile at that one!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I should make it my background pic on my computer, so I always have a smile on my face.

  • Caitlin Travels

    These are fantastic! I really love the photograph of the children smiling on the beach, it’s perfect.

    Additionally, the photo of you and your guide on Kilimanjaro is incredibly inspiring!

  • Skott

    I can actually feel the sombre tone of your post…that being said, you’ve picked some great shots….looking forward to seeing what it is u are working on… grab a glass of wine and try to cheer up…all the best!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      If I ever get around to writing the book, it will be in it. But then again, I’d then need an agent and publisher for it to see the light of day…

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Awwww, that’s nice of you, but I doubt any of my shots are close to NatGeo worthy.

  • Bryan @ BudgetYourTrip

    Great pictures. I know what you mean about a photo bringing back memories like you said with your trip up Kilimanjaro. I have a lot of photos in my collection, too, that aren’t the best photos per say. But they have a special meaning to me. I also liked the one of the TV on the beach.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I have only recently realized that photos for me are mostly just good memory reminders. I might need to do a post about that at some point.

  • Christy

    Wow! Great photos! I especially love #2! I already tried to tag Ayngelina a while back. Maybe you’ll be able to get her to do it though. 😉

  • Mary @ Green Global Travel

    After reading your post, I’m so glad that you included a link to your tattoo to satisfy my curiosity. I often wondered what it would take for me to ink my body- what would be so important and memorable to be worth the pain and permanence. I think you made a good choice with Kilimanjaro!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I never thought I’d be a tattoo person, but got 4 on my trip and am going to get 2 more (1 per continent I have been to).

  • Bob R

    2 & 3 I particularly enjoyed this morning. Funny, I don’t have too many photos of food per se either, but LOTS of grapes and vines.

  • Michael

    I’ve always liked the photo with the three dancing children; I particularly like the girls’ light colored dresses and their headgarb. I also like the picture you took of the spice market, though I can’t remember where that was taken.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Appreciate it, Michael. The spice market shots I have used the most are from Damascus, but I’ve got some other ones I need to get up soon.

  • Tom

    Haha, I love the one from Uruguay with the TV on the beach – it really does make you dream. Although I am sorry to hear you’re getting your life sucked away – I’m sure whatever you’re working on will be worth it though 🙂

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I shouldn’t bitch so much. My life is pretty damn great. Didn’t mean to make it sound otherwise, just feeling a little overworked lately.

  • Deb

    Great shots Michael, I really love that elephant. I love your choice for photo you are most proud of. I doesn’t have to one you have taken, it is a photo that you are proud of and climbing Kili is a great achievement. Congrats.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Many thanks. I wish I could go back and reshoot all my photos from my RTW trip, now that I have my skill level about half of where I want it to be. Back then, I’m not sure it was 10% of where I’d want it to be.

  • Marina K. Villatoro

    The elephant picture is without a doubt incredible!

    Not sure if the grapes make my mouth water or feel a sour flavor 🙂

    I have way too many pictures to even begin this task of figuring out which is which! So I can’t imagine how you narrowed it down from 50k!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I am so disorganized with my photos. It is a huge failing of mine. I just thought of a few that seemed to fit what they were asking and went with it. LOL.

  • Vicky

    Amazing photos, I’ve actually made number 3 my screensaver in the hope that one day I’ll get to visit sans electricity and Wi-Fi, just for a week, for a bit of a break. Love the first one too, great shots.

Comments are closed.