Philippines, Thailand, Australia

Getting out of your day to day routine is essential for personal growth. Travel is something that keeps me sane while giving me the opportunity to gain an abundance of knowledge about the world around me. Solo backpacking has made me the person I am today and I’ll forever be grateful for my past solo adventures. But the time had come to pass all of what I have learned onto someone who means the world to me and deserved to see my world beyond the constraints of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. After a long year without my partner in crime, my best friend, my Toma we embarked on a two-month backpacking trek across my home away from home in the Philippines and Thailand. Stopping at a few fantastic places here in Oz as well. 

Upon Em’s arrival, we picked up right where we left off. A year without your best friend is one of the hardest things I have ever done. But we have both grown so much being apart, and we’re to grow even more these next two months traveling together. We began our journey in Byron Bay, Byron holds a special place in my heart as it did for Em as well. This small town has every vibe a traveler could desire. 

Little time was wasted at home in Brisbane and before we knew it we were in the Philippines. After some fun with family and friends in Manila, we headed to La Union. La Union is a small surf town in the Northern Provenance of the Philippines. Was an interesting experience for both Em and I as I had never been. We met Lazlo one of our best friends of the trip who would be joining us in my secret oasis El Nido, Palawan to spend Christmas with our new travel family, as well my Dad and Sister Courtney. 

A year without your best friend is hard but a year without your big sister is equally as hard. It was Court’s first time backpacking as well her first time in Asia, needless to say, she fell in love with the Philippines just as fast as I had back in 2014. Christmas Day was spent island hopping around surround islands of El Nido where I was gifted a Christmas miracle from the travel gods my new Vanlife buddy Elske. More adventures stories to follow with this one. 

Was nice to share the holidays amongst my family and friends old and new. The rest of the Philippines whizzed by with a beautiful stay in San Vicente, and crazy New Years celebrations in Boracay. Court’s travels were short but sweet as she headed back to Canada Em and I were off to Thailand!

Though I have no family in Thailand, growing up in a Thai home, eating Thai food every day I have always felt like Thai culture has been a major part of my life. 

We started off at the half moon party in Koh Phangan that was amazing, the fiends made there even more so. After the sun came up we headed to Koh Tao. Koh Tao was my favorite spot last time I was in Thailand so I knew we had to go back. The staff and accommodations at The Dearly hostel were just absolutely superb. 

After Koh Tao we headed for some vibes in the hippy communes of Tonsai, Next to the luxuries of Koh Lipe, wow I had never been to Koh Lipe before but it was probably both Em and I’s favorite spot. The island is new, developed, and beautiful. The diving was amazing and vibes were real. We met Ane and Dirk our new Belgium besties and carried on to our last stop in Koh Lanta. Lanta was a trip! So many memories made that will last a lifetime. 

We spent our last days in Thailand exploring Bangkok with my dear family friend and wedding photography partner Pam who gave us the VIP local guide of the city. Was fantastic. 

It was back to Manila for one last shebang with. We departed back to Oz. Where a quick Sydney adventure happened! Lovely Kenna delighted our world there and headed back to Brisbane! 

One last stop to my favorite place North Stradbroke Island was a perfect way to end a perfect trip with my beautiful best friend. 

Thank you to everyone that made this journey so special for Em and I. There are so many more amazing travelers met that we will be in contact with you all forever.

As I always say it’s never a goodbye... always an until next time. 

Happy Birthday Toma ❤️

Indonesia 2017

I departed Indonesia at the beginning of November to complete another amazing travel experience with my Sister Brittany, Brother-In-Law Tyler, and my Dad, Gary. Indonesia was quite different than many of the other Asian countries I have traveled to. I found it quite a bit more expensive due to the prevalence of the high Australian tourism culture that inhabits this majestic and serene island of Bali.  

The journey started in Kuta  (Luckily, we missed the volcanic eruption of Mount Agung just days after our trip) being reunited with my sister, brother, and father after nearly over a year was so delightful and comforting. We spent the day relaxing alongside Bali’s more touristic destination, Drinking Bintang beer and watching the sunset while catching few waves. I assure you no time was wasted and we headed straight for Gilli Islands.

I have been to a lot of Islands in my life, but the Gili Trwawangan offered for myself the perfect balance of peace, party and above all one of the coolest dive communites I have ever come across. The family of Gilli Divers became a quick home for me and I would recommend anyone stopping by to please say hello. The highlight was a night dive where we headed into the sea with the only source of light being a single torch. Near the end of the dive, we shut off the light and entire sea became illuminated by bioluminescent plankton as you moved. It was like being an avatar underwater, just unbelievable.

We departed the Gillis and were off to the island of Flores. In the direction of Labuan Bajo (Komodo National Park), we were in search of more amazing dive adventures packed full of Manta Rays, Sharks, as well the infamous Komodo Dragons. The diving in Komodo is one of the world's best place to see the big stuff. Boy, did we ever see some amazing underwater creatures. My favorite would have to be the massive Bamboo Shark I saw on my last dive. We were joined on one of the dive days by a local a non-profit organization called Manta Watch. It was amazing to learn more about this majestic specimen, please click the link to learn more.

While on the Island, I met my dearest new Dutch friend Sacha, we embarked on an amazing day-long trip to Komodo National Park, with stops on Prada Island, Pink Beach, and Komodo Island. Komodo Island isn’t what’s it’s all cracked up to be, personally the state of the island was not the most beautiful and the Dragons were not living amongst the healthiest conditions. Keep in mind if you’re going to base your trip here off of the dragons, your best is to see some at your local zoo, or wildlife center.

Our last stop of the trip would be back in Bali in Ubud. Which is home of the world-renowned Sacred Monkey Forest. This, on the other hand, I would recommend to any traveler, as it is a world-class facility and magical experience. We took an amazing Balinese cooking class, highlighted with a trip to the local market. The last days were spent chasing waterfalls and the rice terraces that Bali is very well known for.

All and all, the trip was amazing, I wish I could have seen some of the more remote parts of Indonesia that I will definitely go back for. Thank you to Britt and Ty for coming across the world for me and letting me follow you on this unforgettable adventure. Spending quality time with the ones you love most isn’t always the easiest while traveling abroad far away from home, but the lessons learned in Indo helped me so much in thinking as a team and become a stronger, non-independent traveler.

All my Love and Laughs.

XOXO

D

Individual Project 2 - Eternal Element

Eternal Element is an exploration of artistic visions to embody the four Classical Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water through creative photographic practices. Combining the use of experiential ultraviolet visual techniques to enhance each underlying individual aesthetic, this body of work questions human existence and becomes enriched by and essence of an astrological presence. 

For my final major Individual Project 2 - Creative Advertising graduation course at Griffith University, Queensland College of Art (QCA) I decided to take an approach based on a photographic art practice I have been evolving with my High School Photography Teacher and the Night Photography Students of Ross Sheppard High School over the last several years. 

In a combination of working with amazing creative individuals, superb gear, precision, development and refinement of techniques envolving fluorescent reactant mediums, a team of new friends as model's helped me within  inspiration towards bringing these portraits to life. I approached my year-long Individual project with confidence and fell short of receiving the letter grade I would have hoped... But you win some, and you lose some in life. In doing so, I earned my University's most distinguished Graduation Photographic recognition the 2017 SUNSTUDIOS Award: Presented to the student whose work best demonstrates, technical excellence and conceptual depth within any of the three photography majors.

Throughout my last year in Australia I have challenged myself, personally, emotionally, intellectually, and creatively just name a few of many.

I have had difficulty finding time for myself, my studies, and my passion behind the camera more challenging than ever. Attending an academic Fine Art University studying a Bachelor of Photography Degree has been entirely different than that of my previous technical hands-on Photographic Technology Diploma back home at NAIT. Converting my learning style has been the biggest challenge for myself. Ttime spent behind the computer screen has become devoted to endless Art Theory related essays, reading analysis', and in-depth research into everything I could think of besides my actual art of photography. In doing so, I have learned about Art as a whole. Walking through the History of Western Art, and the Musings Of Modern Art, I now find myself embracing everything and everyone that comes along with the mindset of a true Artist. QCA has inspired me in more ways than one to create and recognize, that real beauty of an artist can lay deep beneath the frame of an artwork, or in my case a photograph. In doing so I have devoted this past year to become an passionate artist that I had never imagined I could be,

This whole experience has been a whirlwind of emotions and excitement, and I look forward to sharing more of my experiences with you all shortly. 

I hope you enjoy this body of work.

xoxox

D

 

 

 

 

Philippines 2017

Here is a look at my journey to the Philippines!  It was here where my adventure would start for one month before I headed down under to begin my new Aussie life. This whole experience from start to finish was incredibly powerful and completely wonderful. The people I connected with is truly what made it so special. Here I found some old familiar faces from my prior month spent in 2015, as well many new and loving individuals whom I had the ultimate pillage crossing paths with to explore this unique and diverse country deeper than before. It's crazy how far away from home you can be in country nothing like your own yet feel so at home. That's the Philippines for me. 

 

My journey started back in at my Dad's in Manila nthe booming Country's Capital. This busy city's energy is exuberant and exciting. Being able to reconnect with my old local m friends was just fantastic. Little time was wasted in the City and started my travels just a few days later. 

 

This collection of photos starts off in Bohol, home of the famous Chocolate Hills, alongside my new Spanish soulmates I met at my hostel.  We traveled together for a week around Bohol. We saw Tarsiers (Little Cute Monkeys) and breath takingbeaches with mouth watering food. A ferry to Siquijour came next where we lounged aside our beach cottages, and explored waterfalls and the mysterious Island for a few days.

 

We then all linked up with my local friends and spent the week in Dumaguete diving and exploring the abundance of life on Apo Island, enjoying hot springs and some more additional delicious cuisine. During the time here I completed my Advanced SCUBA certificate which allows me to now to do deeper and more challenging dives. While partaking in this course I had the  pleasure to explore the world of underwater photography with some of the Philippines most successful underwater photographers. (Think I have found my calling in life). 

 

After Dumaguete I joined my new Canadian crew I met in Siargao for some wicked sun and surf. Siargao was something completely different for me, and more that I could have ever expected. The local vibe is deeply connected with travellers and the entire lifestyle on the Island is what I can't wait to return to in December. We spent a week here island hoping, surfing and letting loose. The souls captured of these individuals are some of my favourite photos I have ever taken. 

 

I ended my journey returning to Palawan my very favourite destination last visit. El Nido was my one happy place I had to return to. Though the diving was completely fantastic the unfortunate results of over commercialization dude to El Nido being nominated one of the worlds most beautiful islands. This has inhabited this one quaint and peaceful place into a money hungry tourist trap. Though still once of my favourite places in the world. I escaped the crowds and ended my trip worth some insane wreck diving in Coron linking back up my local bestie and my new Colombian brother! The weather was amazing the diving ever better. The unique landscape of Palawan has me hooked and will for sure head back one day soon. 

 

Leaving the Philippines I had no clue what the future would hold for me in Australia. But was I sure ever ready for whatever it was that would come next after having this exuberant and eye-opening adventure.... Many more to soon follow. 

England 2017

For my last family holiday before making my big move to Australia, the Repchuk family headed to The United Kingdom to celebrate the Christmas season. Once we arrived we were graciously welcomed back to my favorite Repchuk Eastbourne house with my beloved Auntie, Uncle & cousins. After laying low for my first week down in Eastbourne exploring the vast horizons of the English channel, and the Seven Sisters Cliffs. I headed up to London for an additional week to reconnect and celebrate the New Year with my amazing Hackney, and Brick Lane family. There is something that is so alive in this city for me here... I definitely do feel as if London is calling. We shall see what she has in store in the future for me. 

Wanderlust

Every journey ends where it began.

Photographic Thesis is a 2nd year course in which NAIT Photographic Technology students such as I choose a topic based on strong personal interest or area of specialty.  I spent months brainstorming several different ideas for thesis topics. In the end I knew that the photographs I love capturing involve people and landscapes. Thus Wanderlust was born.

Each Thesis had to consists of a pre-determined 15-20 photographs based on a specific topic or theme. The inspiration behind my Thesis topic was derived from the definition of the word "Wanderlust" (n.) A strong desire or urge to wander or travel and explore the world. My story takes place on my two month solo backing adventure around Europe last summer. Highlighting on breathtaking vast landscapes, combined with powerful portraits captured of lone travellers. 

This journey would not have been possible from the love and support of both family and and friends who helped me out along the way. This project helped me dive deeper into understanding not only myself, but more so other people and places around me. If my story helps share anything to the world I wish it to encourage at least one person to drop everything, strap on a backpack and just go...

I hope you enjoy.

100 Acre Woods - Eastbourne, United Kindgom

Red Telephone Box - Eastbourne, United Kingdom

Seven Sisters - Eastbourne, United Kingdom

London Minute - London, United Kingdom

London Overground - London, United Kingdom

Red Light District - Amsterdam, Netherlands

National Museum - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Fly - Berlin, Germany

East Side Gallery - Berlin, Germany

Sunset Spliff - Berlin, Germany

Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe - Berlin, Germany

Tremptower Park - Berlin, Germany

Seaside Scarlet - Dugio Otok Island, Croatia

Long Way Up - Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Falls - Plitvice Lakes Natioal Park, Croatia

 Island Sunset - Vis Island, Croatia

Sorrow Sunrise - Vis Island, Croatia

Island Sunrise - Vis Island, Croatia

Long Way Home - Vis Island Croatia