Self Indulged Online Travel Magazine
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  • February5th

    Well…it has been A LONG time between posts and for those of you following the mag and FB page you’ll know we’re just about settled back at home. I’ve been waiting for something big to spark the blog again and here it is. I am thrilled to announce that I have been shortlisted in the Landscape category of the 2013 Sony World Photo Awards along with 6 other Aussies in the competition.  The series ‘El Chalten Enchantment’ was taken in Argentine Patagonia earlier this year. We camped on the trail and awoke to a blanket of snow on the trail up to the wonderful but illusive Mt Fitzroy and passed these striking trees on the way. This series and will make up just some of the images that will form part of an exhibition I will be holding at the end of this year. Big changes are afoot, including a new website, new travel photography workshop and plenty of new images!

    Good luck to all of the finalists.

  • March31st

    Torresdelpaine sandra herd

    We’ve just returned from 10 days camping in the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia and this is one of my favourite captures from the trip…ironically it was taken on the first day. We initially intended to just do the popular ‘W’ trek but somewhere along the line Dave convinced me that we should do the ‘O’. It was certainly a challenge on the ‘O’ circuit lugging our gear around…camera equipment, tent, sleeping bags and food (Dave did most of the lugging – bless him) but we made it around and finally got to the ‘W’ section which was pretty busy in comparison to the deserted back section – I’m not sure if it has occurred to anyone else but the ‘O’ trail combined with the ‘W’ trail produces the ‘OW’ trek…yep, my blisters had blisters and I think Dave could possibly need a knee reconstruction from the downhill pounding. We came away with a stack load of images and a wonderful sense of achievement. 

    We’ve been hanging out at the Erratic Rock for the past few days for a period of recovery, taking our cue from Bonnie & Clyde, the lazy resident cats.

    At this stage I anticipate the next issue of the mag to be out around the 14th of April as we’re going to be offline again for a while when we head over to Argentina for more trekking at El Calafate and then to El Chalten in search of more spectacular granite spires.

    I’ve called this image ‘After the Flames’ in commemoration of the fire that swept through the park in December last year.  For those who have been enquiring, prints will be available for sale when we return to Australia…I intend to put an exhibition together on our return, if you’d like to be on the mailing list then SUBSCRIBE here for free. Also, there have been a number of emails about the one day course…again, when I return to Perth,  I will update the schedules and resume the courses.

  • March16th

    Feng Huang

    - ARCHIVE: Extracted from Issue 4 of Self Indulged. Check out Issue 4 HERE

    When I told friends at home I would be travelling through China as a backpacker, staying in hostels and yes, carrying a backpack, the most common response was something between horror and pity.

    Backpacking? At your age? Really? Can’t you afford to stay in hotels?

    The truth is, here in China, I wouldn’t want to.

    The hostel network has grown here immensely over the past six years. I was in Beijing in 2005 in a double room with a leaky ‘s’ bend. When we complained about the fact the toilet was leaking all over the floor, the manager kindly fixed it with a plastic bag and a roll of tape….but things have changed a lot and not just in Beijing.

    I’ve now graduated to a ‘flashpacker’(a term I don’t often use but one I seem to have been labelled with) and the hostels in China (as a general rule) have grown to meet the needs of backpackers and flashpackers alike.

    The difference?

    According to the reliable backpacker’s fountain of knowledge, Wikipedia;

    “Flashpacking is a neologism used to refer to an affluent backpacker. Whereas backpacking is traditionally associated with budget travel and destinations that are relatively cheap, flashpacking has an association of more disposable income while traveling and has been defined simply as backpacking with a bigger budget.”

    Flashpackers also tend to be older (in my mid-thirties I definitely fall into that category), carry lots of electrical stuff and lots of chargers to go with that stuff. iPods, iPads, Cameras, laptops the whole kit and caboodle. I carry my camera gear and lots of chargers too. I check into a private room with an ensuite (with the added luxury of a Western toilet – there are some sacrifices I just won’t make), pay between 80 to 200 Yuan for a double room (about $10- $30 Aussie dollars, depending on the province) and spend the money I’m saving on accommodation on all the other great experiences that China has to offer.

    But it’s more than just the savings.

    It’s about meeting other travellers, swapping stories at the bar and learning the best way of getting to a destination/which train to catch/how to get a visa quickly/which restaurant has the best hotpot/how to pronounce Zhangjiajie (ok – I haven’t actually mastered that one yet), all this information is imparted freely and without the bias of a hotel concierge. What’s more, in China, there’s no guarantee that the hotel concierge even speaks English.

    So here in China, luxury may be craved – a hot bath, a roast dinner – but for the next 2 months the benefits of the hostel environment win out over the luxuries I’ve left behind everytime. Besides…the beers are cheaper in the hostels :-)

  • February29th


    You can be forgiven for thinking we’d fallen off the face of the planet, it has been a long time between posts. But, as always, we’ve been travelling, shooting and planning the next leg of the trip.  We just recently completed a one week whirlwind tour of Ireland. We caught the ferry with the car (GBP215) from Pembroke to Rosslare on the Emerald Isle then drove via Galway to the wonderfully windswept Achill Island. This was a bit of a pilgrimage for me as my Great Aunts family was from there and she once told me that her father had said that there was only a paper wall separating it from hell! With a description like that we couldn’t resist popping in. In the one day we spent there we endured gale force winds, rain, hail, snow and brilliant sunshine. It really was an experience of four seasons in one day…OK maybe not…the sun wasn’t that hot, summer was definitely missing.  From the wild west coast we headed North East to the highlight of the trip for me, the Giants Causeway. The landscape here is epic and we weren’t disappointed. We were lucky enough to get a break in the grey weather for a spectacular sunset.  As a rule I don’t tend to shoot much HDR but I think, in this instance, the scene warrants the treatment.

    We leave today for South America…a new episode begins.

  • January21st

    The publishing site ISSUU has recently released a mobile app for Android users (Apple users will have to wait a little longer I’m afraid) which means that now you can read Self Indulged at will. How exciting is that! Just type in your mobile phone browser and follow the prompts to download the app for free. Once you have the app search for Selfindulged (all one word) and you can download all of the issues to your mobile phone to read anytime, anyplace without having to be online. Double click on the text to bring it up on your phone for easy reading.
    Next time you’re waiting for a bus or on the train to work, Self Indulged will keep you company…and what’s even better is it’s all for free! 
  • December31st


    It’s New Year in Australia! Here in Latvia, 2011 is still lingering and we’re having a quiet beer before we head out to Freedom Square to celebrate with the locals.

    2011 has been a great year for Self Indulged Online Magazine. The magazine has been read by over 130,000 people, we’ve accumulated close to 7000 followers on Twitter along with over 3000 Facebook fans and subscribers and we’ve enjoyed the sponsorship support of some of the best in the photographic and travel business.

    Special thanks to Lonely Planet, Manfrotto, Kata Bags, 1Cover Travel Insurance and Visit Finland for coming along for the ride now…and into 2012. And a huge personal thanks to everyone who has commented, read, subscribed, liked and followed in 2011.

    Travel highlights of 2011 include:

    Australia Day on the True North – will miss that in 2012!

    Swimming in the Beijing Olympic Water Cube (the image above is the waterpark inside)

    Shooting the Northern Lights in Northern Norway

    Floating on an inner tube down the Li River in Yangshou, China – being careful to avoid the poop of water buffalo cooling off in the shallows (I know I haven’t written about that yet…I’m guessing this will be eagerly awaited?)

    Trying out our trusty tent for the first time in Outer Mongolia.

    Shooting pink lightening!

    Eating rancid fish in Sweden…well, it wasn’t really a highlight, more of a ‘mission accomplished’.

    Reaching the Golden Summit after climbing 68,000 steps in Mt Emei, China.

    Driving through 4 countries in 2 days. UK to The Netherlands (UK-France-Belgium-The Netherlands) OK, we caught the ferry for the UK to France bit…but it still counts.

    Catching up with family and friends in London after being away for 6 years.

    Seeing snow in Lapland…and cross-country skiing – we were rubbish at it!

    Sleeping in a glass igloo.

    Bobsledding in Latvia…my spine is still recovering from the G-forces!

    Surviving the Chinese high speed rail system.

    Surviving the Chinese rail system in general!!

    Visiting Pandora. (Zhangjiajie National Park in China)

    Camping at Tintagel.

    The transiberian train ride from Beijing to Ulaan Bataar….stuck in customs for 4 hours. We were locked inside while the train was taken away to have the undercarriage changed. We were however allowed to drink beer while we waited. I challenge you to tell me where else in the world customs officials will allow you to drink openly while being ‘processed’.

    Tianmenshan Mountain – everything about it was a ‘highlight’

    Experiencing a local Nadaam celebration in Mongolia.

    Eating cheap street food in Beijing with a crazy Canadian.

    Always enjoying the company of other travellers, particularly in Chengdu where our RTW journey began. Especially the company of Bec & Zac who braved the Sichuan hot pot with us and Gernot who has been involved in his own EPIC adventure.

    Swimming in the slimy algal waters of Qingdao…and not getting sick!

    Enjoying Amsterdam for everything ‘other than’ it’s infamous coffee shops.

    Swimming in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea – Langkawi

    24 hours in Feng Huang

    Patting a reindeer – it was real, not stuffed.

    We’re hoping that 2012 will bring many more travel adventures…and hopefully some great images. We leave for Lithuania in the new year. The Hill of Crosses is first on the agenda…I can see it being on the list of 2012 highlights already. Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2012…hoping you stick around for the ride.

    Issue 6 will be out on the 14th of January 2012, subscribe HERE to join us….until then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  • December24th

    Tallinn St Johns by Sandra Herd

    Two nights ago we saw the biggest gingerbread church in the world.

    We watched as the church was decorated with yellow and blue icing…and then we watched in delight as huge ‘bites’ were taken out of it.

    We were witnessing an unusual light display put together by video mapping artist, Taavi Varm. His canvas was St John’s Church in Tallinn’s Freedom Square. For nearly twenty minutes the church morphed from one spectacular light display to another as images and lights projected onto the church facade delighted us, and the thousands of others who had come to watch the closing display to celebrate Tallinn as European Capital of Culture 2011.

    The light show was accompanied by ten churches around the city filling the Old Town with the sound of their bells, ringing in harmony and complimenting the light show.

    The ‘grand finale’ was the setting alight of a huge 2011 ‘sculpture’ which you can see in the foreground, creatively called, ‘2011’. Unfortunately there was only one can of lighter fluid and one man with a match! By the time the ‘1’s were alight the 2 and the 0 were nearly extinguished which made us giggle. The highlight though was the fantastic work of Taavi Varm, it was a beautiful display and a real treat for us as we’d only heard about it the day before. By the time we arrived for the show there were thousands of people already in the square. Luckily I found a spot on the hill to position the tripod and get some shots off. The shot above is, of course, the gingerbread church.


  • December3rd

    Norway Sandra Herd

    The has car died.

    Last night we should have been watching the Northern Lights through the dome of a glass igloo at the wonderfully picturesque Hotel Kakslauttanen. Right now we should be on a date with a reindeer, sliding through the snow on an open sleigh…on my way to Santa’s resort with a good meal and log fire awaiting my return. Instead, we are stranded in a hotel in the dark days at Lakselv, Norway.

    Where, you ask? Exactly.

    I’ve been wanting to get to these glass igloos for months. We re-scheduled because of our emergency rush home to Oz and had the dates locked in for this weekend. We were driving to Finland from Honningsvag down the E6 when we lost power to the wheels. Engine still running – car going nowhere. Thankfully we were only about 40kms north of Lakselv. We called the emergency breakdown service (who have been fantastic) 5 hours, two episodes of Stargate (on the laptop) and one tuna and sweet corn sandwich later, we were picked up by the tow-truck and our injured team member was towed to a cold and lonely carpark to await a diagnosis. It will be a long wait… the repair shop is closed over the weekend.

    And so we are stuck…not in the middle of nowhere but close to it. Yes, we’re lucky the car didn’t conk out on the mountain pass a few days ago (pictured above) where the outside temperature was -16o and yes, we’re happy to be safe and well but we’re so, so sad to be missing out, once again, on the great plans we had at Hotel Kakslauttanen.

    Dear Santa,

    Please arrange for our car to be OK…or send us a new Jeep!


    Sandy x

  • November27th


    We haven’t had much sleep over the past two nights….we’ve been hunting. Chasing the light. And we found it.

    On Friday night we drove for 2 hours out of Tromso chasing a glimmer of the illusive aurora borealis.  We did get a glimmer but only a small one, at midnight we gave up and drove through the sleet and rain for another 2 hours back to Tromso. Last night was wonderfully clear. We drove 20km out of town and were treated to a striking sky show from about 11pm to 1am. Granted, it’s the not the greatest aurora photo of all time but it’s hopefully the first of many while we’re in the arctic circle.  It’s also the shot that means I can put a BIG TICK next to #2 on my bucket list – “See & shoot the aurora borealis”


  • November20th


    The good news…Dave’s Mum has made a full recovery.

    More good news…we’re BACK on the road again.

    The bad news?

    It was -2◦c when we landed in Sweden.

    We spent the week with our friends Nic and Jess who deserve a huge thank-you for allowing us to dump our stuff (and the car) when we had to rush back to Perth over two months ago. We kitted out the car with ‘winter’ tyres (got a good deal on some second hand tyres and had them fitted a day later), anti-freeze and an ice scraper for good measure. Dave also managed to pick up a Star Wars advent calendar while he was shopping for car products???

    ‘Dibs’ on Yoda dressed as Santa, I have put.

    Anyway. Enough of this. Back to the story at hand….

    We’d been threatened during our stay with a traditional Swedish dish of Surströmming which, translated, means ‘soured herring’ which, to you and me, means rancid fish! On our last night in Stockholm Nic and Jess (well, mostly Nic actually, Jess couldn’t stand the smell and waited safely in the corner of the garden) very kindly –ahem – made a traditional meal for us of rancid fish served with tunnbröd (thin bread) boiled potatoes, raw onion and whipped cream.

    The fermented fish bubbled and sprayed from the can as Nic opened it up outside. And then the smell hit. Luckily ten weeks through China had prepared us and, although we’d smelled worse things in China we’d never actually had to eat the source of the smell. Apparently a Japanese study has shown that the smell of a newly opened can of surströmming is the most putrid smell of food in the world. Mmmm-m.

    To be fair, if you can get past the wiff, the fish isn’t too bad at all but you do need a big blob of the whipped cream to help tone down the rancid saltiness. Of course, once it’s washed down with a bottle of schnapps and a few beers you forget the whole thing ever happened.

    Until you wake up the next day with a stonking hangover and get a fresh wiff of leftover rancid fish.

    Want to know more about Surströmming? I can’t imagine why but you can find out HERE 

    Pick up a tin at your local Ikea Smile

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