This is a first for Fellow Wayfarers — I’m profiling one of the teachers from my high school. I unfortunately never had the chance of being taught by Ms. Bloomfield (it still feels wrong to call her by her first name, despite being out of high school for ten years), but I’ve always known about her travels.
She shared a few travel anecdotes with me back then, but in the decade that’s passed since my graduation, her collection of stories and countries visited has grown quite impressively.
To top it off, Ms. Bloomfield is a photographer. She let me browse through her collection of photos on her Facebook page in order to gather a set for this post. I ended up picking over twenty but had to scale down the number, they’re that good. She has an eye for portraits and focussing on the pops of colour she finds in landscapes and scenery. My personal favourites are the rooftops in France and the girls at night with their lanterns. If I had more room on my apartment walls I’d hang huge poster-sized copies of these.
Check out her stunning collection of travel photos at Tania Bloomfield Photography.
What countries have you visited? Being a teacher, I have the privilege of having summers off. So every year I pick a country, grab my camera, and travel solo around it for a full month.
I’ve been to Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Turkey, Tanzania, Zanzibar, France, Italy, England, Germany, Sweden, Greece, the Netherlands, Jamaica, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico and of course, Canada and the US.
What is your favourite place to visit? Hands down, France. This summer will be trip number five. I just meander around the country, submerging myself completely in the art, the culture, the nature, the food and the language (I’m bilingual). Since I was a very young child, I have always been a Francophile. It all started when at the age of four, my mother bought me a book called The Red Balloon. The book was set in Paris and was illustrated throughout with photographs of the city as a backdrop for the story. I felt an instant and deep connection with Paris from the moment I first got the book.
France is a country I just “get”. It feels like home.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from your travels? My entire education in photography has evolved over the span of different countries I’ve visited. This is because travel has taught me to completely rethink what “beauty” is. The more you see of the world, the more open you become. And then everything becomes beautiful, because everything is different — everything is new. So when I’m shooting, I’m able to find beauty in the most unlikely places.
What’s one thing you must always bring with you on a trip? My Nikon!
What are the top three destinations on your travel bucket list? India, Morocco and Argentina.
What’s the craziest thing to have happened to you on a trip?
I’ve been in a hot air balloon, 4000 feet in the air, over the mountains of central Turkey.
I was attacked by two different people in my first 15 minutes in Naples. The first guy fought me for my money in a café (which he didn’t get) and the second guy tried to get my knapsack minutes later on the street, and ended up dragging me, clutching my knapsack, for 10 metres. He didn’t get my stuff either, because the strap broke off, leaving me on the ground with my bag, and him with a strap. Lost a lot of skin and a lot of blood.
I was swallowed hundreds of meters from shore by a huge, violent wave while snorkeling off the coast of Corsica, France. Water went into my pipe, I couldn’t breathe, and I was smashed against a rock, enduring more than 70 sea urchin needles on my hand and foot. But that rock saved my life, as by hitting it, I was able to push myself up above water for air.
A local woman in a Jamaican village pulled a knife on me for talking to her husband.
I lay in the arms of a tiger in Thailand.
I was alone in a cage with a giant black bear (also in Thailand).
I snorkeled with sharks and sting rays in the barrier reef of Belize.
A monkey scrambled up my back and onto my head in Indonesia. He was huge and heavy, but would not get off my head. He just lay there, arms and legs dangling down. When I bent over to urge him off, he locked his jaw onto my head. I pulled him from the back of the neck to get off, and he proceeded to bite my hand to the point of bleeding. AND by sheer fluke, I got the whole thing on video!!!