Luke (@atlasapples) — Now ➡️ South Africa
Recent ➡️ Darien Gap in Colombia & Panama 🤫🇵🇦🇨🇴🌴
Afterwards ➡ ❓
Recent ➡️ Darien Gap in Colombia & Panama 🤫🇵🇦🇨🇴🌴
Afterwards ➡ ❓
The Crocodile Hunter (Escudo series) 🐊 "'Ey man! you want to go find some crocodiles?" The light was already beginning to fade as François jumped back into the sea with his spear gun for the last time that evening. An hour later and we were filling our bellies with the catch: a few fish, a couple of crabs and a big ol' octopus all washed down with a bottle of rum. 🥃 I certainly felt like a pirate. "So yeah man, how about that crocodile hunt?" "Yo Ho let's do it!" Dressed in my spear fishing gear and armed with a spear we struck off in search of the crocodiles of Escudo de Veraguas. Really we just wanted to see them, maybe say hello, shake their hands and give them a bite to eat. We had no intention of using the spear for anything more than a nudge on an overly friendly croc. Pro tip: if you want to actually see anything at night in the jungle, don't wear the flashlight on your head like I am in this picture. You want to hold it from behind your eyes. You'll be amazed what you can see. The jungle comes alive. Red eyes big and small become illuminated. There's something totally cool about walking through the swamp in the pitch dark in the pouring rain watching the slowly drifting eyes of a crocodile watching you. It was the first time François and I saw crocodiles together but certainly not the last. This is the first of a few posts about Escudo de Veraguas, a tiny mostly uninhabited island off the east coast of Panama. You may have seen footage of it from Planet Earth 2 in the islands episode, as it's the only place in the world you can find the three toed pygmy sloth. ❔❓❔ What's an animal you really want to see in the person? I went to Escudo primarily to hang out with sloths and ended up chasing crocodiles and getting my pirate on. Yo Ho Yo Ho a pirate's life for me! 🏴☠️🦜 ⚓
Mangrove Mansion 🌿 It's pouring down, you walk outside, the rain stops. Running late for a meeting and the lights line up green. Need some cash, win lotto. Occasionally everything just clicks. The travel life can be an unwieldy beast to tame. On the one hand it's undeniably incredible to go where you want when you want and do what you want. You get to see the most amazing places in world, receive daily inspiration and connect with people and cultures you didn't even know existed. On the other hand, what makes life worth living? At the moment, it's all of the above. Others, plenty of my closest friends included, wouldn't trade places for a nomadic lifestyle even if you paid them handsomely. For them stability, a home and most importantly, being close to the people you love is far more important. At times I feel like the rope in a tug of war being pulled on one side by the new and on the other by the people I hold dearest. All of the wonders of the world cannot replace my best friends and family and when another Christmas rolls by or when I can only hang out with my friends on a Friday night through muffled voices at the end of the wire it really hits home how much I'm giving up, how much I have already given up to lead the life I do. Loneliness. I arrived in Panama, lonely and without much of a plan, on a boat with 250 other nomads and the bulk of us made our way up to Bocas Del Toro... and on this occasion, everything. just. clicked. 11 of us nomads rented an amazing house built on top of the water and spent the month island-hopping, co-working, building businesses, becoming friends and of course, jumping into the Caribbean underneath the best sunsets I've ever seen in my life. For the first time I felt I'd found a group of nomadic friends and that loneliness, while not disappearing entirely, certainly got turned down a couple of notches. Just want to give some love to the Mangrove Mansion crew ❤️ ❓❔❓What are the main struggles you face as a traveller?
Straya 🇦🇺🐨🦘 *I really don't want to go to Australia. It's basically just a massive, less interesting New Zealand* When you think of travel, what immediately fills your imagination? If you're from New York, I bet it isn't New Jersey. If you're from Liverpool I'd gamble a dream vacay in Manchester wouldn't get your heart racing. I'd wager if you're from Riyadh a trip to Aqaba wouldn't be at the top of your bucket list. I spent most of my childhood growing up in Auckland. The idea of spending any significant time in Australia got me as excited as a teetotaler in a gin bar. Of course when I arrived I discovered that it wasn't the same at all. Other than the fact that English is spoken, we fought a couple of wars together and for some reason still have a queen from a distant island, Australia and NZ are vastly different. NZ is basically a bird sanctuary with a bunch of imported creatures. Australia on the other hand is full of crazy wildlife. Highlights from my time in Aus include hanging with a massive goanna, holding a baby saltwater crocodile, playing with possums on my way home each night, getting attacked by a kooky kookaburra and of course, chilling with kool kangaroos. That's just scratching the surface. I still need to explore the country itself. NZ may have Australia beat for jam packed breath taking landscape but I'm sure there's a lot to discover in Aus. ❓❔❓ What do I need to check out when I get back to Australia?
Expectations I was prepared for Machu Picchu ⛰️ to be a huge meh moment. The main reason I was there wasn't actually to see Machu Picchu but to complete the Salkantay trek (more on that soon). Arriving was simply going to be the cherry on the top. I love setting low, or even better, no expectations. You can only be pleasantly surprised when you expect nothing. That goes for everything in life but it tends to come out a lot during travel. Flying across the globe only to find that the Mona Lisa is tiny and you can only see it through a jungle of arms and flashing phones would be awful if you expected to have the world's most famous painting to yourself. After living in China and finding out the section of the Great Wall I visited had really just been constructed in the 60's I was a little let down and decided to allow magic to find me rather than building the magic up in my head. Machu Picchu was and is magical. This is probably the classic picture of the ruins and for good reason. When you get here all you want to do is sit down and marvel at area. What you don't see here is the panorama. There are just mountains everywhere and this is simply one tiny dot in the mountain range. Salkantay was an incredible trek but if Machu Picchu is the 🍒 on top then it's one of the tastiest treats you're ever likely to experience. ❓❔❓ What's your favourite wonder of the world?
Escaping Bali 🏃 Honestly Bali for me was not all that it was cracked up to be. Kuta is basically the 6th largest Australian city and Ubud is full of tour buses blocking the streets and with no sidewalks getting around can be a hassle. But wow, all of that just disappears when you get above the clouds. Bali has a few incredible mountains and as soon as you go north and leave the bars and cafes serving nothing but baked beans and Vegemite you emerge into the true beauty Bali has to offer. This was taken at dawn just as the sun said hello in the early hours at the top of My Agung. Across the sea of clouds and indeed the sea itself you can see Mt Rinjani poking its head up on the island of Lombok. Unfortunately I only saw glimpses of Bali and I really feel that I need to give it another chance. I'm one of only a handful of people I have met who didn't really connect to Bali so I'm definitely in the minority. ❓❔❓So my question to you is this: what is one place you have travelled to that surprised you either positively or negatively? ✔️🌎❌ Also, for those of you who love Bali, what captivated you and which parts should I check out?
Hanging In Rio 🇧🇷⛰️🤟 *This is going to suck but I can't not do it...* I went into hang gliding with the same trepidation paragliding left me with. I fully expected to feel that similar poke of impending doom. I thought I would feel stuck up there just waiting for my feet to touch down on the beach. I certainly didn't think I would want to immediately go again as I had when I'd been skydiving. You're going to die! I didn't... Your harness will slip! It didn't... You're going to have a crap, nerve wracking time! Fuck that, it was the best! The pained grimace plastered to my face during my paragliding trip was replaced by the stoked, joyful smile you see in this picture. Now I just need to go bungee jumping when I get back to New Zealand to complete the skydive, paraglide, absail, hangglide combo. ❓❔❓ What should I do next? wingsuits look amazing. 👍🤟 Protip: if you're going to hangglide in Rio you'll have 10% more fun if you go in pink and blue hotpants.
Don't Look Down 😨🙏 Well that's what I kept telling myself anyway. Didn't work at all of course. Right now you're looking at Medellin and two legs attached to a very scared human. I thought it would be a piece of cake. Hanging out parachuting around for a while? pfft I've jumped out of a plane and lived to tell the tale. This is nothing compared to that. Ha!! Moron! I spent the next 30 minutes shitting myself. Jump out of a plane and there is only one way to go: down. Paragliding is totally different. It starts simply enough. Run as quickly as possible and hope the wind catches your chute before gravity catches you. running somehow instantly turns to floating and there I am thinking that it's not so bad after all. Only problem is the hill quickly drops away and we don't go with it. All of a sudden we're a few thousand metres above Medellin and the dude flying with me makes the logical decision to begin diving and twisting around trying to win the daily 'freak out your passenger' contest. aero-acrobatics were relatively chill compared to the really scary part. *Any second now something is going to happen to this parachute. The wind going to drop. The chute itself will simply crumple and collapse. The instructor has a death wish and desires a second sacrifice to reach paraglider Valhalla.* Those weren't even the craziest things that went through my head as I sat there suspended above oblivion. The worst part was just sitting there. Waiting for the inexorable arrival of disaster. I wish I could say there was a moment of catharsis. A point where I realised everything would be fine. There wasn't. No great ahah! where my fear disappeared. Out of control for a few minutes, all good. Half an hour? No way. I'll definitely do it again when I can zen out but until then I'll smash my fear of heights with other methods. ❓❔❓ What are some of your fear facing failures??
☁️Breaking Promises ☁️ Why would anyone go skydiving? It's a gamble that just isn't worth the payoff. I'm terrified of heights, planes and especially falling from great heights from planes. There is no way I'm ever going skydiving. "I really want to go skydiving" my significant other told me one day in Sydney. People's birthdays can be difficult to plan, especially when you travel and don't want to accumulate things. Experiences become the go to gifts. Skydiving was right at the top of a certain lady's wishlist and being a fool I went ahead and booked it. Then it sunk in. I couldn't just send her off to jump alone. I had to do it with her. Half the experience is having someone to relate to about it and I couldn't deprive her of that. I hit the book button and imagined all of the terrible ways my existence was soon to be abruptly terminated. The day arrived "Oh mate it's chop city out there today!" my instructor laughed as he watched the parachutes float to earth. "chop city?" "chopping is where a parachute fails and you have to use your back up. Today everyone's chopping. Man I'd love to chop." *this fucking guy...* "So what happens if the second chute fails? You chop that as well?" "Mate there's just about one thing you can do when you chop twice. You take your legs in your hands, bend over as far as you can..." "And then...?" I asked in earnest. "Oh yeah mate, then you kiss your ass goodbye." The instructors cracked up laughing as my heart sank. Twenty nerve wracking minutes later at 16,000 feet above Sydney I prepared to kiss my ass goodbye, perched on the edge of the plane and was forced out by my instructor. Fear disappeared. Elation took its place. That first moment of free fall was one of the best moments of my life. One minute of magic later and the parachutes did its job and prevented a couple of human pancakes. I'm so happy I broke that promise to myself. ❓❔❓What's something you've done that you never though you'd do?
Fear 😨😱 We all have fears. I certainly have them. One of my biggest fears has always been heights. Not the most interesting fear. Could have picked a better one, like an irrational fear fear of seeing tongues stuck to cold metal. Where was I? Ah yes, my fear of heights. A while ago I decided to face my fears and the next few posts are going to be about the ways in which I chose to conquer heights once and for all. I took this picture during a stint working as a rope access technician. That's a fancy term to describe the action of hanging off buildings, occasionally doing something while hanging off buildings and periodically receiving money for hanging off buildings while doing things. All it takes is a one week long rope course and a heightened proclivity for danger and death. When I learnt of the possibility of making money by letting my life hang by a literal thread I was honestly terrified. My second day on the job I was hanging from one of Sydney's tallest buildings 175 metres above downtown pavement. I wanted to quit. Vertigo spun my head and the first moment hooking my legs over the side took what felt like and hour. But I stuck with it and like anything, eventually you do something enough and you get used to it. Do it longer still and you can take your attention away from the building, turn around and pose for a sweet photo without a care in the world. 🤟 This is my favourite picture from my time in Sydney. Cheers Alex for hanging out with me 🙃. Next up we take to the air. Shit gets real. ❓❔❓ What is your biggest fear and how did you overcome it?
How To Live Forever 👽 Just one of my happy places. A few days before this was taken I was trekking through dense jungle 🌴🌲🌳 and was just as happy there. The city 🏙️ stop in between? Yup. Just as happy. Variety is what fuels me. It's why I travel so often. In the last two years I've been moving every two to three weeks. I'm happy everywhere as long as I'm learning and experiencing something new. Time slows down. Routines are broken. As we are constantly forced to adapt and analyse new environments and conditions perception of time slows down and life just feels fuller and longer. This is at least how I experience it. On this tropical paradise of an island I got into a chat with @liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii about living forever. Both of us think it would be amazing. Travel slows time down. It extends how we perceive time. It won't make you live forever but it's going to make you feel like your life has been longer and more lived. It's one of the many things I love about travel. So, my questions to you if you have read this far are these: 1. Where is your happy place? 2. What do you love about travel? 3. If you could live forever, would you? If yes how would you keep life interesting across the centuries? Answer in the comments. ⬇️⬇️ Genuinely interested. Go go go!!!
White (beach) Christmas 🏖️🎄 Meet my awesome friend Lea. She's a travel writer writer and photographer. When she's not roping me into photos for articles for Hungarian publications I'll never be able to pronounce, she's off learning Spanish from Argentinian truckers or doing backflips into the Caribbean. One of the greatest things about nomading around with nomad mates is that you don't have to go home to see them. To date I've hung out with Lea in Hungary, Spain, Aruba, Curacao, St Kitts, Panama, Cabo Verde and most recently, Brazil. Right now she's working on a book about her greatest adventure of all: hitchhiking solo on a the thinnest of shoe strings across South America for the better part of a year, sleeping in a tent. Do you like hearing stories about the cool interesting people like Lea i meet on my travels? I’m thinking of sharing more like this. Comment 🐒 below if you’d like to hear more stories about badass travellers 😁 And give @leadaranyi a follow while you're at it.
Heights ⛰️ Rio is a crazy city. Never before have I been in a place where the haves and have nots are so clearly and closely separated. From up high on dois irmãos above the increasingly gentrified community of Vidigal, the difference is stark. Hundreds of metres below my dangling legs lies the famous sprawling favela of Rocinha where people are packed in and having electricity means hooking up a clandestine cable to the main line. To my left sits the beautiful beach of São Conrado where every day people pay a couple of hundred dollars to land their hang gliders and return to million dollar homes. Still though. It's fuckin' Rio. Can't think of any cities more that combine everything in such a perfect way. Tropics 🏝️ Beaches 🏖️ Mountains ⛰️ Jungle 🌲🌳🌴 City 🏙️ Seriously can't think of anywhere. If you can think of a city with a better combo, please let me know.
How Do You Travel? 🌏🚅🚌🚗🚲⛵✈️🚢 With nomadic friends all over the globe I'm surprised it took me this long to hang with one of my amazing #vanlife friends. Britt rocked up in Lisbon and was kind enough to invite the four of us for a fantastic reunion by the beach. The rain kept us indoors but none of us were complaining. If you have followed my travels at all you'll know I love to grab my bicycle and just set off in one direction for unknown lengths of time. This got me thinking how cool it would be to just drive the boring bits. On a long bike trip there are plenty. Throw your bike on the back of a camper though and far more interesting mini adventures could be combined into a whole van/bike Odyssey. What do you think? I challenge you to inspire me to travel as you do. Even better if you can give me a cool story. ❤️
A Not At All Staged Photo @julimanchan was my occasionally reluctant model but was more than a good sport as I asked him to slowly cycle in front of the su... **Cough* caught him as he rode majestically in front of the sun* This was an amazing day. I caught Julz in the modeling mood because we'd just had an enormous descent in the late afternoon down into the valley in which Prizren sits. On a long distance bike trip, a dope descent makes the maudlin merry.
New Friends A quarter of the way into my last bike trip with @julimanchan and @renesz123 we took a detour into Belarus to check out and amazing national park. While it did indeed live up to expectations, I crossed back into Poland feeling uneasy. The reason? Bears stuck in tiny cages so clearly bored out of their minds. Skansen was a different tale. While it still seems fucked to keep animals in captivity, at least here the dudes can roam around, fishing for apples in a relatively huge area. This was an altogether happier looking bear, mid fish, hanging out with his (her?) other bear buddies. If you're ever in Stockholm don't miss out on a trip to Skansen. Pro Tip: hang out by the almond guy and wait for the squirrels to come say hi. I've never seen them approach humans without a hint of trepidation. Sweet, out for now. ❤️
Spot Apt name for my morning beach buddy. I'm currently on Lesvos with @refugee4refugees and @julimanchan. It's such a privilege to meet Omar again and participate in the incredible work he and his team are doing. That brings me back to the beach. Rubber boats equipped with shoddy engines arrive sporadically from the Turkish mainland, 18 kilometres to the east. The coastguard is tasked with picking these people up but boats slip through the cracks all the time. Dedicated teams guide these boats safely to shore, provide emergency blankets, warm socks and calm scared people who are often in shock. The importance of their work cannot be overstated. Spot and I spent the better part of an hour together on the shore after a night of spotting from 1am until 9am. It's an exhausting gig and one that gets done 7 days a week, 365 days a year, rain or shine, through the summer and the biting-cold winter. I'll leave a link here so you can support their efforts. Check it out and if you are able, give a little help a lot: https://refugee4refugees.org/donate/ ❤️
Have a bit o' Turkey Mardin is just over the border from Syria in Southeast Turkey. From the old city high up on a hill overlooking the newly built city below, tiny alleys filled with shops, cobblestones and musicians lead up to the fort at the top. Cool town. 👍