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My Top Ten Favorite Images of 2019

My Top Ten Favorite Images of 2019

My Top Ten Favorite Images of 2019

Another year passed means another year lived. 

 

T​his year was no exception. In fact, I lived my life so absolutely for the last year and a half, sometimes I get mixed up on what actually happened this year.

 

Last year I took the leap of faith and flew to the other side of the world. With nothing but my Camera and my back pack. I have pretty much been traveling since.

 

The best part of my new life of travel, is the pictures. So, without further ado, here are my top ten images of my life in 2019.

 

 

1​0. The sheep of Castlepoint, New Zealand.

T​his Castlepoint, became my favorite place visited in New Zealand, where the mountains meet the sea the lighthouse will guide the way. I loved exploring all the different hikes in this little spot, but the sheep were what made New Zealand so special.

 

This shot is my New Zealand experience in every way, dark and cloudy, green beautiful landscapes dotted with so white sheep.

 

 

9​.Castlepoint Sunrise Hike. New Zealand.

 

Since this was such an incredible place, another gorgeous image came out of it.

 

G​ettingup before the sunrise to hike up the side of the steep mountain was such a rewarding experience. The hike was the perfect length, and we were able to do it in the dawn light.

 

At the top we could watch the clouds roll in over the mountains. For this specific image I set up a tripod and was actually able to snap it within the ten-minute window of actual sunlight, which made it all the more special.

 

 

 

8​.My beautiful cousin and her fiance.

 

S​ometimes beautiful photographs and memories don’t have to come from far away places. I am now spending a two-month stint at home with my family. I was lucky enough to get the chance to photography my cousins engagement shoot at the beginning of my stay.

 

T​his photo makes the top ten not only because of my emotional and familial ties, but also because I was able to experiment a little more with them and as a result we got this as a result!

 

 

 

7​.Brian.

T​o be honest, I took this photo today. I found the bow tie in my moms drawer and knew it was photo shoot time. Brian of course, put his big smile on and was the perfect puppy model for me.

 

The reason I am including it in the top ten, is because something special has happened to me during my time at home. I have fallen in love with this amazing creature right here. This photograph is one of many and many more to come.

 

 

 

6​.Rochelle and Bryl’s Elopement. Te Mata Peak, New Zealand.

 

H​aving the privilege to photograph such a gorgeous elopement was a highlight of my year. Everything around this photo fell into place perfectly and who could ask for a better location?

 

The photo says it all.

 

 

 

5​.Sunflower fields. Australia.

 

T​his is a big fat check on my bucket list. I have always dreamed of running through the sunflower fields with the happy flowers towering over me.

 

Surprisingly enough I got to fulfill that dream in Australia, making this photo that much more special. Sunflowers ended up becoming a theme while I was in Australia and have become a symbol of my life to remind me to be happy and always strive to stay on the bright side of life.

 

 

 

4​.The mountains of Hawaii, USA.

 

I​ never would have guessed I’d make it to Hawaii on this trip. It was one of those instances where everything worked out so perfectly it’s as if it were always meant to happen. That’s the best part about traveling with flexibility. The universe always has a way of lining up just right to give you experiences far greater than anything you could have planned up yourself.

 

T​his photo is a product of that awesomeness, also I may be slightly obsessed with cloudy Oahu mountains.

 

 

 

3​.The Manta. Yasawa, Fiji.

 

F​iji was not my first run in with mantas but it wasone of the most memorable. Fiji’s crystal clear waters made me want to spend the majority of my trip below the surface, and for the most part, I did.

 

The day I got to follow this guy around the bay and then out into open water right on his tail, was unforgettable. It was like we were gliding through the water together just him and I.

 

 

2​.The field of lights. Uluru, Australia.

 

So many emotions that surround this photograph. Not only is it a beautifully crafted photograph of the field of lights with the early dawn stars still in the sky and Uluru in the background, but it’s also a photograph that speaks a million words to me.

 

I​t tells the story of love, photography, and one of the best 24 hours of my year.

 

 

 

1​.The Tree. Coonabarabran, Australia.

 

In 2019, I​ spent the majority of my year in Australia, so it’s only fitting for my number one favorite image of this year to have been taken there. This photograph is by far one of my best night sky shots, (besides the one above of course) but that is not the only reason it’s number one.

 

T​he tree is why this picture is my absolute favorite. This tree was discovered on the last trip I took in Australia and was enjoyed with one of my favorite people that I’ve met on the road. It’s one of the most amazing experiences when you can enjoy nature with another person in the way that we enjoyed this beautiful night in the middle of nowhere in NSW. Now you can enjoy it too!

 

P​hotographs are moments frozen in time. They are memories and stories that we relive every time we see them. These photographs are my life, my story, and they are what make up this big world. I can’t wait to see what beautiful memories I create in 2020!

About Me


Born and raised in Florida, I love the ocean, but I hate the sand. Adventure and the possibility of new opportunity fuels my fire, but I have to return home from time to time to visit the fam and get big cuddles from our dog Easton!
-Emilie Becker

Things To Do In Langkawi Malaysia On A Budget

Things To Do In Langkawi Malaysia On A Budget

Things To Do In Langkawi Malaysia On A Budget
When I decided to visit the island of Langkawi Malaysia, I started doing my research trying to figure out if there were actually things there that I wanted to do and see. I was surprised to find that most of the things listed to do on the island were extremely touristy, not to mention way out of my budget. The activities I found included jet skiing, parasailing the cable car and other obscenely overpriced activities that weren’t worth it to me since they weren’t much different than the activities offered in my home town.
If you have the money to splurge on things like this than by all means go for it, but these activities don’t work if your trying to experience Langkawi on a budget. Luckily when I arrived, I met a local that was staying in my hostel. He took to being our tour guide as he led some friends and I to some amazingly beautiful places that did not break the budget! In fact most of it was completely free!

Over the few days of my stay we went to 3 waterfalls and 3 beaches, all with unique characteristics and totally worth the trip. If your looking for fun and beautiful ways to spend your time while in Langkawi, be sure to check out these spots!

Waterfall Demurun

This was the biggest of the three waterfalls we visited and definitely one of the most spectacular. We rented scooters and drove ourselves to each location but you can also pay a taxi to take you. If you have a group of people the taxi would probably be more cost effective, but as a solo traveler, (if you’re able to drive a scooter) it’s the way to go! Once we arrived at the entrance, it was just a short hike up some makeshift stairs to get to the main pool.

The hike takes you along the river offering beautiful scenery with multiple layers of the waterfall, which makes for some really cool photo opportunities! Once you’re at the top you can swim in the pool, jump from the rocks and stick your head under the thundering pressure of the falls. It can be refreshing on a hot day but is also beautiful to look at.

Skull beach

After the waterfall we went to a beach with the sole purpose of swimming in some saltwater. The water was a beautiful Blue green and there were some cool rocks with some sea life lurking about off to the side. It was a quiet beach with just a few people scattered about which made it feel like our own private paradise.

Beringin Waterfall

 The second waterfall we visited was slightly less impressive as a major fall than the first one but it still had its qualities. This one involved another short hike up along the river that offered some great views, as well as some stopping off points that would be great for a picnic. Once at the top, we had to hike down the rocks to get to the actual pool, which was mostly a sandy bottom. The fall is a massive amount of water pouring over the rock, which made a fun challenge to swim up under it. My favorite part however, was the little side stream feeding into the main pool. It made for a great photo spot and was also very relaxing to just sit in and watch the others.

7 Wells Waterfall

 This was by far the most famous of the three falls we visited, apparent by the infrastructure around it, such as public restrooms and well built stairs. You do have to pay for parking, but it was only one or two MYR which is petty change and totally worth it. The hike up for this one is slightly more challenging, as it is a lot more stairs. To get to the very top it takes about 15 minutes to walk up all the steps, but you can also stop off to the other areas that are marked along the trail. I opted to go strait to the top in order to try and beat the rain, which, unfortunately I failed at and ended up having to wait it out anyway.

Once the rain stopped, I ventured out to the different pools. The top is just that, the very top of the waterfall where it pools up in different spots as it slides towards its inevitable fall from the cliff. There is also a part where you can slide down from one pool to another. However, use caution with this as it tosses you at the bottom from the pressure and could be easy to hit your head on the rocks. The best pool is the one overlooking the valley below as well as the rest of the falls. It truly is nature’s infinity pool. Be aware of the danger of this pool however, and do not go in when it is raining, because you never know when a wall of water could come from above and knock you from the cliff!

Tanjung rhu (Sunset Beach)

 After visiting one of the falls during the day, be sure to check out this beach for the best sunset. The cliffs on the horizon line make for a great addition to the colors and the sea. If your here during low tide, there is a sandbar that becomes exposed from the shore and seemingly runs all the way to the cliff. It gives the illusion of walking on water or a bridge from the shore to the cliff. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I live by the sea, so it was quite a sight!

Kok Beach

If you want some picture perfect palm trees head over to this beach. It is also a pretty calm beach and if you cross a little sand river to the right you’ll come across a picturesque palm tree forest. We didn’t get to spend too much time at this beach, as it was more of just a stop off. I meant to come back, but unfortunately, I never got the chance.

 

Whether you prefer jet skiing and parasailing or exploring natural wonders, you should check out Langkawi, Malaysia. It is a little known treasure when it comes to the popular travel destinations in SE Asia, but is worth the visit!

When I decided to visit the island of Langkawi Malaysia, I started doing my research trying to figure out if there were actually things there that I wanted to do and see. I was surprised to find that most of the things listed to do on the island were extremely touristy, not to mention way out of my budget. The activities I found included jet skiing, parasailing the cable car and other obscenely overpriced activities that weren’t worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, if that’s your style then by all means, go for it. But since a lot of these activities are the things tourists do back in my hometown, I wasn’t interested. Luckily when I arrived, I met a local that was staying in my hostel. He took to being our tour guide as he led some friends and I to some amazingly beautiful places that did not break the budget! In fact most of it was completely free!

Over the few days of my stay we went to 3 waterfalls and 3 beaches, all with unique characteristics and totally worth the trip. If your looking for fun and beautiful ways to spend your time while in Langkawi, be sure to check out these spots!

Waterfall Demurun

This was the biggest of the three waterfalls we visited and definitely one of the most spectacular. We rented scooters and drove ourselves to each location but you can also pay a taxi to take you. If you have a group of people the taxi would probably be more cost effective, but as a solo traveler, (if you’re able to drive a scooter) it’s the way to go! Once we arrived at the entrance, it was just a short hike up some makeshift stairs to get to the main pool.

The hike takes you along the river offering beautiful scenery with multiple layers of the waterfall, which makes for some really cool photo opportunities! Once you’re at the top you can swim in the pool, jump from the rocks and stick your head under the thundering pressure of the falls. It can be refreshing on a hot day but is also beautiful to look at.

Skull beach

After the waterfall we went to a beach with the sole purpose of swimming in some saltwater. The water was a beautiful Blue green and there were some cool rocks with some sea life lurking about off to the side. It was a quiet beach with just a few people scattered about which made it feel like our own private paradise.

Beringin Waterfall

 The second waterfall we visited was slightly less impressive as a major fall than the first one but it still had its qualities. This one involved another short hike up along the river that offered some great views, as well as some stopping off points that would be great for a picnic. Once at the top, we had to hike down the rocks to get to the actual pool, which was mostly a sandy bottom. The fall is a massive amount of water pouring over the rock, which made a fun challenge to swim up under it. My favorite part however, was the little side stream feeding into the main pool. It made for a great photo spot and was also very relaxing to just sit in and watch the others.

7 Wells Waterfall

 This was by far the most famous of the three falls we visited, apparent by the infrastructure around it, such as public restrooms and well built stairs. You do have to pay for parking, but it was only one or two MYR which is petty change and totally worth it. The hike up for this one is slightly more challenging, as it is a lot more stairs. To get to the very top it takes about 15 minutes to walk up all the steps, but you can also stop off to the other areas that are marked along the trail. I opted to go strait to the top in order to try and beat the rain, which, unfortunately I failed at and ended up having to wait it out anyway.

Once the rain stopped, I ventured out to the different pools. The top is just that, the very top of the waterfall where it pools up in different spots as it slides towards its inevitable fall from the cliff. There is also a part where you can slide down from one pool to another. However, use caution with this as it tosses you at the bottom from the pressure and could be easy to hit your head on the rocks. The best pool is the one overlooking the valley below as well as the rest of the falls. It truly is nature’s infinity pool. Be aware of the danger of this pool however, and do not go in when it is raining, because you never know when a wall of water could come from above and knock you from the cliff!

Tanjung rhu (Sunset Beach)

 After visiting one of the falls during the day, be sure to check out this beach for the best sunset. The cliffs on the horizon line make for a great addition to the colors and the sea. If your here during low tide, there is a sandbar that becomes exposed from the shore and seemingly runs all the way to the cliff. It gives the illusion of walking on water or a bridge from the shore to the cliff. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I live by the sea, so it was quite a sight!

Kok Beach

If you want some picture perfect palm trees head over to this beach. It is also a pretty calm beach and if you cross a little sand river to the right you’ll come across a picturesque palm tree forest. We didn’t get to spend too much time at this beach, as it was more of just a stop off. I meant to come back, but unfortunately, I never got the chance.

Whether you prefer jet skiing and parasailing or exploring natural wonders, you should check out Langkawi, Malaysia. It is a little known treasure when it comes to the popular travel destinations in SE Asia, but is worth the visit!

My First Workaway Experience in Kuala Lumpur

My First Workaway Experience in Kuala Lumpur

My First Workaway Experience in Kuala Lumpur
As a budget traveler I am always looking for ways to save money. One of the ways I have decided to do so is by volunteering. Using platforms such as Workaway, Worldpackers and Helpx, I can work in exchange for a place to stay and sometimes some food. I am happy to say I have just completed my first Workaway experience in Kuala Lumpur, and it was definitely worth it.

Let me just say one thing first, I never planned on going to Malaysia, I am also not the biggest city girl. So the decision to spend 2 weeks in Kuala Lumpur made me a little apprehensive at first. However, I’m glad I did it. I searched for a while to find right place to volunteer using all three of the platforms above, finally settling on a guesthouse called “Birdnest Collective” in Kuala Lumpur. It wasn’t my first choice, but decided it was best in order to have a new debit card shipped to me, since my ditzy self left both of them in the ATMs in Bali… but that’s besides the point. Fate brought me to The Birdnest, but I quickly fell in love with the entire experience and was happy to stay.

When I first arrived I met Willie, the owner of the guesthouse. He is from Malaysia and was very welcoming, making me feel right at home. He explained the type of work I would be doing, and the ways the place was operated while giving me a tour. He showed me to my room, which was a shared dorm with 4 other girls who were also volunteering. The room was small with bunk beds crammed in but this didn’t bother me, as I was mostly working or on the beautiful rooftop. This is by far the best part about the place. It is a rooftop garden complete with iguanas named Bella and Silly. There are plenty of places to lounge and read a book, hang out with friends or get some work done.    
The next day was my first day working. We had a schedule that was broken into three shifts. We each worked one of the three shifts, 5 days a week with two days off to do whatever we pleased. During every shift I was responsible for check-ins and checkouts. The morning shift entailed making breakfast for the guests and afterwards cleaning the rooms of the people who had checked out. This was the busiest shift, as I would be working the entire time, but it went by fast.  
The mid shift was usually the slowest as I would do the laundry and sometimes be tasked with cleaning while I waited in between loads. My favorite and most worked shift however, was the night shift because I got to socialize. My main task was making sure I took care of the guests if they wanted a beer or a soft drink. While I was there, I picked up the skill of playing the ukulele, so most of my nights were spent playing for the guests and Willie, who loved to hear me play.

The shifts were 5 hours each, sometimes getting done a little early on the morning shift if all the work was done. In my free time I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. 

Some of the other volunteers would go out and explore, but I enjoyed working on my laptop in local coffee shops or on the rooftop. Sometimes I’d go to this fancy rooftop pool with other volunteers, once I even went to the lap pool to swim laps. However, being the only girl made me a subject of attention and in return made me feel slightly uncomfortable, so I didn’t end up going back. There were also HUGE malls in KL that we’re fun to go browse mainly just for books, which was something else I rediscovered. My love of books, I read about 5 in my short time there.  
Everything I did was more just for day-to-day pleasure and productivity. I acted more like someone that lived in KL than someone there to travel it, and this was exactly what I had wanted to experience. I came to travel to see places through the eyes of someone who lived there not those of someone passing through. Doing a work exchange definitely allowed me to do that, without me even realizing it.
 

As always, what made the experience the most worthwhile, were the people I met. Not just Willie and the guests but also the other volunteers. They became my day-to-day life. It was like having live in co-workers. They were my roommates and my colleagues and my friends, all in one! We’d go get cheese naan together, work and drink coffee at a local coffee shop, or peruse the isles of books. I also got slightly attached to Jack the fat cat, or Jackie for short. I don’t even like cats, but I was slightly sentimental when it came time to leave the little cropped tailed, fatty behind.  

Overall, my Workaway experience was an extremely positive one and I will definitely do it again. I also recommend it to anyone that is looking to experience a city or place in a slower more authentic way, while also saving some money! And if you ever find yourself in Kuala Lumpur, have yourself a good stay at Birdnest Collective and tell Willie I say hi!
As a budget traveler I am always looking for ways to save money. One of the ways I have decided to do so is by volunteering. Using platforms such as Workaway, Worldpackers and Helpx, I can work in exchange for a place to stay and sometimes some food. I am happy to say I have just completed my first Workaway experience in Kuala Lumpur, and it was definitely worth it.

Let me just say one thing first, I never planned on going to Malaysia, I am also not the biggest city girl. So the decision to spend 2 weeks in Kuala Lumpur made me a little apprehensive at first. However, I’m glad I did it. I searched for a while to find right place to volunteer using all three of the platforms above, finally settling on a guesthouse called “Birdnest Collective” in Kuala Lumpur. It wasn’t my first choice, but decided it was best in order to have a new debit card shipped to me, since my ditzy self left both of them in the ATMs in Bali… but that’s besides the point. Fate brought me to The Birdnest, but I quickly fell in love with the entire experience and was happy to stay.

When I first arrived I met Willie, the owner of the guesthouse. He is from Malaysia and was very welcoming, making me feel right at home. He explained the type of work I would be doing, and the ways the place was operated while giving me a tour. He showed me to my room, which was a shared dorm with 4 other girls who were also volunteering. The room was small with bunk beds crammed in but this didn’t bother me, as I was mostly working or on the beautiful rooftop. This is by far the best part about the place. It is a rooftop garden complete with iguanas named Bella and Silly. There are plenty of places to lounge and read a book, hang out with friends or get some work done.    
The next day was my first day working. We had a schedule that was broken into three shifts. We each worked one of the three shifts, 5 days a week with two days off to do whatever we pleased. During every shift I was responsible for check-ins and checkouts. The morning shift entailed making breakfast for the guests and afterwards cleaning the rooms of the people who had checked out. This was the busiest shift, as I would be working the entire time, but it went by fast.  
The mid shift was usually the slowest as I would do the laundry and sometimes be tasked with cleaning while I waited in between loads. My favorite and most worked shift however, was the night shift because I got to socialize. My main task was making sure I took care of the guests if they wanted a beer or a soft drink. While I was there, I picked up the skill of playing the ukulele, so most of my nights were spent playing for the guests and Willie, who loved to hear me play.
The shifts were 5 hours each, sometimes getting done a little early on the morning shift if all the work was done. In my free time I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. 
Some of the other volunteers would go out and explore, but I enjoyed working on my laptop in local coffee shops or on the rooftop. Sometimes I’d go to this fancy rooftop pool with other volunteers, once I even went to the lap pool to swim laps. However, being the only girl made me a subject of attention and in return made me feel slightly uncomfortable, so I didn’t end up going back. There were also HUGE malls in KL that we’re fun to go browse mainly just for books, which was something else I rediscovered. My love of books, I read about 5 in my short time there.  
Everything I did was more just for day-to-day pleasure and productivity. I acted more like someone that lived in KL than someone there to travel it, and this was exactly what I had wanted to experience. I came to travel to see places through the eyes of someone who lived there not those of someone passing through. Doing a work exchange definitely allowed me to do that, without me even realizing it.
 

As always, what made the experience the most worthwhile, were the people I met. Not just Willie and the guests but also the other volunteers. They became my day-to-day life. It was like having live in co-workers. They were my roommates and my colleagues and my friends, all in one! We’d go get cheese naan together, work and drink coffee at a local coffee shop, or peruse the isles of books. I also got slightly attached to Jack the fat cat, or Jackie for short. I don’t even like cats, but I was slightly sentimental when it came time to leave the little cropped tailed, fatty behind.  

Overall, my Workaway experience was an extremely positive one and I will definitely do it again. I also recommend it to anyone that is looking to experience a city or place in a slower more authentic way, while also saving some money! And if you ever find yourself in Kuala Lumpur, have yourself a good stay at Birdnest Collective and tell Willie I say hi!