travel

Sunset. 4WDing. Middle East – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant.

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Sunset. 4WDing. Middle East. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Flashbacks to Dubai days… from 1999 to 2006 I lived in the Middle East working for Emirates Airline. We lived a plastic-fantastic life traveling the world with disposable income, pretty girls and 5 star hotels. The rock-star’s lifestyle without being the rock star.

This expat lifestyle and cash cash cash meant buying toys that we’d otherwise probably not buy if we were living back in our home countries. One such treat to myself with my Monopoly money and access to cheap fuel, was a blood red JEEP Wrangler Renegade. It was a beast 🙂 some of the happiest memories I have in the haze of parties and hundreds of flights across our planet was hitting the desert with friends in our 4WDs and dirt bikes, driving through sand-dunes and creeks to rock-pools out in the back-blocks of the Dubai Emirate at the base of the mountains near Hatta.

While the photo inset is actually of a 4×4 tour I took to the desert with Arabian Adventures, it evokes memories of wadi BBQs and beers in the middle of the desert with good friends, dodging boulders at speed in wet, rocky creek-beds with James Brown cranked and diving into crisp cool rock-pools like no other place on earth.

Happy 🙂

DW

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

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Hot & Delicious Group. Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet.

4x4 driving in Hatta, UAE.
4×4 driving in Hatta, UAE.

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Sunset #805 Pink Bldg. Dubai – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant

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Sunset beers. 803 Pink Building, Dubai.

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

Sunset #805 Pink Bldg. Dubai. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Sunset. My happy place. Ingrained in my daily ritual. It’s my down-time, recharge, meditation & relaxation all in one.

For me, this ritual began in Dubai days when I lived on Sheikh Zayed Road in “Emirates White Building”, an apartment building next door to the Shangri La Dubai, that can quite clearly in the spectacular ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ footage shot from the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.

Fortunately my 2nd Dubai apartment faced away from Dubai’s busiest strip of road – a 4 lane freeway on each side. My balcony faced west towards the Persian Gulf overlooking a medium-sized mosque and part of the ritual I had with 2 best mates that I shared our “Club #203” bachelor pad with (yes, I’m serious – there was carved plaque and everything! 🙂 shakes head.. ) and friends in the Pink Palace next door (Emirates Pink Building), was watching the sun go down over long chats out on one of our multiple balconies or to smash a few ice-cold pints at the start of big nights out. Our kitchen had a 2nd full-sized fridge dedicated to the slabs/cartons of beer piled next to it and chock-full of ice-cold bottles of vodka, chilled pint glasses and a vast array of spirit mixers. One serious life of excess.

This shot was captured at one such Pink Building sunset session. We got up to all sorts of mischief in Pink and White buildings. Water-bombing unsuspecting Starbucks patrons from 8 floors up, tequila & Jenga drinking games, Up the River/Down The River, scantily-clad cabin crew packing out themed apartment parties, end of night drinks ’til dawn & beyond after the Dubai bars and clubs closed at 3am.. and let’s not talk about the time the tool-bag in the pic decided to drop an empty Corona off the building straight into one of our mate’s JEEPs from 8 floors up! Damage control in more than one sense of the word!

True story. In case you haven’t been up on my Hot & Delicious Instagram yet and been bombarded with sunset magic, one of THE major factors in me choosing my current Melbourne CBD apartment is it’s stunning views of Melbourne’s Docklands, breathtaking skyporn sunsets and nightscapes.

It is truly my happy place these days and some days I float away to the Middle East. 🙂

DW

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Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Minibike Madness. Paris, France. Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant #travel #photography

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It doesn't have to be big to be cool. Paris, France. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).
It doesn’t have to be big to be cool. Paris, France. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

 

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

It doesn’t have to be big to be cool. Paris, France. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

I seriously lost my shit when I stumbled across this pimped-out dude lazing, arms draped on the tiniest of mini-bikes at the traffic lights like it was an old school chopper.

A few years back on a work trip to France, I caught up with 2 of my close friends over a few cheeky wheat beers at a cafe on Paris’ backstreets on a balmy, summer’s eve.

Next morning we woke up with dusty heads and wandered down to the local boulangerie to pick-up a clichéd bag of croissants for breakfast to be enjoyed with a kick-ass bowl of café au lait.

Upon leaving my friend’s apartment en route back to the airport I came across this guy chillin’, waiting for the lights to change and chuckled as I raised the SLR to my face. I wear a cheeky smile on my face every time I flash back to this scene and it just makes me happy 🙂

This 24 hours in Paris still brings tingles of joy and these kinds of trips were truly one of the perks of being able to travel to all my favourite destinations around the world for a living.

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring exciting, faraway places with disposable income, staying in 5-star hotels and you’re not a model, rockstar or travel blogger.. then I can highly recommend working as cabin crew for an international airline.

The world is your oyster. Go do it!

DW

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

Hansel & Gretel. Castro, Chile. Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant #travel #photography

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Hansel & Gretel. Chiloé Island, Southern Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

Hansel & Gretel. Chiloé Island, Southern Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). Chile Part II.

Following on from last week’s Blind old guitarist. Pucón, Chile post, after leaving Pucón, I trekked further south with two Canadians to the little town of Castro (via Valdivia and Puerto Montt).

Situated at the top of Patagonia in Southern Chile, Castro is a small, isolated community on the island of Chiloé, however after the hustle and bustle of jet-setting the globe with Emirates, I found this place and it’s surrounds to be a photographer’s paradise – populated by warm, proud people more than happy to take the time to pose for a photo and wait patiently as a snap-happy, Aussie back-packer struggled with his limited Spanish and green, pocket-sized phrasebook.

On one foray I stumbled across this little old lady chopping wood outside the quaintest of dusty, old houses in the countryside, that set mind alight like the scene out of a long-forgotten fairytale. My eyes shot the image before my Nikon F60 SLR did and if you look closer you can spy a little boy peeking out the window of the tiny house in curiosity. My recall of this split-second moment shot approximately 13 years ago today just makes my face and mind smile 🙂 

DW

Castro, Chile (on the island of Chiloé).
Castro, Chile (on the island of Chiloé).

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.
Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group

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Blind old guitarist. Pucón, Chile. Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant #travel #photography

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Blind old guitarist. Pucon, Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).
Blind old guitarist. Pucon, Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

Blind old guitarist. Pucón, Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). Chile Part I

Years back I jetted off from my Dubai base for a 2-3 week escape to South America… no internet, no phone, no plan… just me, my backpack, journal and an SLR. After almost 24 hours on aeroplanes, I landed into Santiago with no idea what I was going to see in Chile or where I was going to go. Daunting yes, but mannnn.. have you ever done it? So empowering! My dream is actually to rock-up to Melbourne International Airport armed with nothing but a passport, laptop, DSLR and carry-on luggage. The world’s your oyster!

Anyway, so after settling into a hostel (accom I may struggle with these days :p ), I contacted the half sister of a family friend of my family, Picque, and organized to meet her for a drink to tap into her thoughts. This blessed soul had never met me, but welcomed me into her family home, cooked me delicious meal and cracked open a fine bottle of Chilean red.

Now some may find this experience of catching up with someone you’ve never met a little strange, but who I am is completely open and passionate as a person and this openness has lead me to some wonderfully, amazing people, which the old me (shy introvert) would never have had done. This personal attitude has had a profound impact on my life and lead me to all the amazing career opportunities I’ve had so far. Sure, some people find this attitude to be a little intimidating and mistake my intensity for appearing needy, but invariably those quick-to-judge fall swiftly by the way-side and I’m left with beautiful new friends across the planet and experiences of a lifetime.

Anyway, after chatting with Picque at length about travelling north to the desert region of Arica versus south towards Patagonia, I settled on south as I was already living in the deserts of the Middle East. I thoroughly enjoyed my chats and the rest of my meal with Picque, then trotted back to the hostel to collapse in exhaustion.

Next day, I enjoyed a few vinos at world-renowned Concha Y Toro winery and explored Santiago, before prepping for the journey down south.

My train journey down south to Pucón, was broken up with a brief stop in Temuco for a traditional Chilean lunch with Picque’s sister who again, despite having never met or heard of me, picked me up from the local train station and took me back to the family home where her kids and myself enjoyed Chilean fare of whole artichokes individually plucked and then dipped in aioli. Delicious!

After the short ride on to Pucón, I checked into the hostel and strolled towards the supermarket alongs the streets of this tiny ski village situated at the base of active volcano, Villarrica. I was struck by the beauty of this desolate place and in awe of a town that could be so swiftly swept aside at any time with just one volcanic eruption. Whilst soaking up these emotions, I stumbled across this old, blind Chilean guitarist singing for his supper outside the local supermarket that I’d stopped by for supplies and captivated as if it were a pinnacle moment in time, I was compelled to capture it immediately.

DW

This snapshot of my life and image have stuck in my mind for the past 13 years. I’ll write another piece about my trek up the volcano, the people I met and my experience of Chile as a whole, but have already gone longer than what I’d like in this piece. Want to keep the stories in this series short, sharp and digestible. 

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Santiago to Pucon
Santiago to Pucon

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.
Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group

 

5 month old female lion cub. Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant #travel #photography

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5 month old lion cub. Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

5 month old female lion cub. Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

One of the most wonderful things about working for Emirates Airline as cabin crew was that even on short trips we had the opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that most people could only dream of.

On such one trip to South Africa, I ventured to renowned Lion Park situated just outside of Johannesburg in Gauteng Province.

This 5 month old female lion cub was a little grumpy that morning and it was truly wonderful to be so up close & personal. At that age, she is pretty much the oldest where park rangers will allow tourists  one-on-one interactions with these kings and queens of the African continent.

Testament to this is the Japanese tourist attacked and devoured at the Lion Park in 1993 after leaving the safety of the car whilst trying to capture pictures of a pride of lions inside one of the park’s fenced-in enclosures. Say inside the vehicle peeps!

Man was she beautiful and I still get tingles every time I see this image of her chewing on the boot of the park ranger. Once in a lifetime! ❤

DW

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.
Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

Taxi driver – Fare for Hire. Delhi, India. Horn Please!

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Taxi for Hire. Delhi, India. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

Taxi for Hire. Delhi, India. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Following on from last week’s post, Little girl’s curiosity. Jaipur, India, I shot this image as we were leaving Delhi International Airport in a taxi with this gentleman who was to be our driver and travel guide around the Golden Triangle for the next 5 days.

As I captured this moment in time, I watched our driver examine each of us closely in his rearview mirror, taking in the broad, distinct London, Dublin and Aussie accents and personalities of the 3 passengers seated in the back of his old school ride. 

And for all you out there who’ve ever travelled India by road… “Horn Please!” 😀

DW

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.
Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.