Most Insta-grammable Spots In Lithuania

When I travel somewhere new, I do always want to shoot my first impression images – what stands out and “gets” me in new surroundings.  But saying that, I also don’t want to miss out on anything so I do my research prior to visiting.  And that’s what I’m sharing here with you.  This was my first visit to Lithuania and wow, I was totally blow away. From the history, to the gorgeous laneways to the old town.  It’s incredible.  If you’re going for the first time, these are some of the places that I would suggest you don’t miss out.  Oh and a little tip, the “old town” is not too large to be seen on foot, where you see the best of hidden laneways, derelict buildings and hidden gems.  

Start in the Town Square, day or night there’s lots of activity and beautiful buildings

Town Square at night

The Vilnius University has a great old chapel as well as beautiful buildings and corridors to explore

Vilnius University Grounds

The corridors of Lithuania University

The laneways of Vilnius are some of my favourite in the whole Baltic region.  Lots of colourful old doors, cobble stone streets and interesting windows.

Back street laneway in Old Town Vilnius
Cobble Stone Streets in Old Town Vilnius
Interesting Wall Art in the Back Streets
Old Town Vilnius

There are actually 40 churches in the old town of Vilnius. What is interesting though is, as you visit them, they are more of a tourist attraction than a place of worship so don’t worry if you’re not religious.  A guide is always a good idea as there are some really interesting historical stories

One of the many churches
More Churches

Vilnius Cathedral

Vilnius Cathedral
Inside Vilnius Cathedral

Vilnius Library founded in 1570 it is the oldest library in the Baltic States with with over 5 million documents. Relocated to a modern new building in 2013 which is well worth the wander through

The Library
Interesting art display in the library

Cant miss the bohemian district of Uzupis – just outside the Old Town. They have their own tongue in cheek “constitution” and if you can talk with the locals, a great historical story. 

Uzupis District
Bohemian Streets of Uzupis

Trakai is a famous town about 20 minutes drive from Vilnius with the legendary Trakai Castle, originally built in 1408 and then rebuilt in the 20thcentury. It’s a weekend escape for Vilnius locals with plenty of lakes for locals to swim in.  Also great local Kibinai traditional foods to try at local eating houses.

Trakai Castle
Exploring the old Walls of Trakai Castle

If you’re on a driving tour of Lithuania, the resort town of Anykscia is recommend on a lot of tourist websites.  To be honest, I could take it or leave it.  It was a nice relaxing rest after all the walking and tourist activities of the few days before, so I’ll leave it up to you.  There is the Laju Takas park with tree top walk.

Tree top walk
Tree Top walk

We stayed at the Spa Vilnius Anyksciai which did have a lovely day spa, indoor pool and plenty of forest area to relax and explore around it.

Collecting pine cones in the forest

It’s Ok Not Being InstaFamous

I met my husband as a teenager, fell madly in love and gave up all my career aspirations to follow him around the world chasing his dream job, followed by having children.  There just wasn’t time for me to think about investing myself in a career oriented future.  Don’t get me wrong, it was 100% my choice and I wouldn’t give up the life I have had for anything.  But now, my husband’s career is self sufficient, my children are teenagers who think I’m an irrelevant and I’m often left with too much time to ponder. Particularly in today’s modern world, there is so much emphasis (and pressure) on women to be everything.  Be the perfect mother, the Stepford wife, the master chef and as if that’s not enough, now we have to be entrepreneur career successes as well.  

There definitely came a time where I was getting bored.  I had to jump back in the saddle and work, not for money, luckily financially we are good, but this gave me the perfect opportunity to work for love.  Go back to photography.  Being the wife of a successful athlete, mediocre wasn’t in my vocabulary so I wanted to be the best.  I researched, went to seminars, studied, and pretty much worked my butt off. I was the quintessential definition of the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time I spent forging my revived career was time wasted.  

I listened to all the podcasts and read all the books from these inspirational successful mums who changed their lives and became a massive success.  In fairness, none ever profess that it was over night.  They all say it was hard work with a lot of knock backs and I admire the hell out of these ladies.  They are doing it all and winning.

But I recently had an epiphany.  Here I was trying to change the world, be someone successful, follow every piece of advice from every other successful woman I admired and still, I was getting nowhere.  But then I realised, I don’t want to change the world, I don’t want to have a huge social media following or people know my name.  I just want  to do the job I love, do it well and make my small little stamp in my corner of the universe.  Leave behind a few images that inspire others.

It’s okay to be alone.  There have been times where I have been in a room full of people, but felt my loneliest.  I can get more value out of a quiet corner and a great book, than having to be at every social function and coffee morning.  Less is more.  Surround yourself with fewer people but make them the right people.  If someone doesn’t make you feel good about yourself or happy, if you feel like you are always trying to compete or live up to their expectations, firstly, this is your problem and they probably don’t care, but they’re not your tribe.  You need to step back and focus on what and who it is you want to be.

The one thing I have discovered in my travels and research, there are lots of other ladies out there like me.  Sure, I’m confident travelling, solo, with groups, men anyone really, any excuse.  But I have found that there are women a bit older, financially stable, but not venturing out because they don’t have the confidence.  They want to explore, get out of their comfort zone, stretch their boundaries, but how to do it?  As a seasoned traveller, I came up with the bright idea of “Women’s only” luxury tours in conjunction with a National Travel Agency.  Nothing huge.  Our recent tours have been discovering Tasmania, and they’ve been incredible. A small group of women, road tripping – think Thelma and Louise meets Eat, Pray Love, and we’ve giving women the confidence to not rule the world, but just start to embrace their own corner of the world.  

Sadly, in today’s overly politically correct society, there has been some backlash.  On some recent advertising of the upcoming trips, there have been messages about “if men did this”, “it’s discrimination, why can’t men attend” etc.  So I’m at a loss.  How do we build confidence in women with responses like this?  I only hope it encourages more women to take the leap and ignore the haters – after all, there’s always going to be a few.  

What would happen to the world if, god forbid, Instagram shut down, or the internet shut down?  Ok so based on probability, that’s never going to happen but these people that have built their life on their online world, what do they really have?  Where do all those “fans” go if the platform goes away?  Are we turning out back on our real life for this instant gratification? I know I have been guilty of it in the past.  And that’s where I am trying to refocus my priorities.  

I guess what I am really trying to say here is, we are on a planet of billions of people.  There is room for all of us.  If your goal is thousands of social media follows, Insta glory, then go for it. There’s a big business out there for you and it’s happening for loads of people.   But for the rest of us, it’s okay too.  There’s plenty of avenues to pursue and plenty of work.  Think outside the square, but most importantly, whatever you do, do it with passion and honesty, at least that way, no matter what, you have always won!

The Great Instagram Scam

Instagram. It’s the pocket app that we all know and love. With over 600 million active users it’s growing faster than Facebook and Twitter combined. People are making careers out of it as “Social Media Influencers” and just about every teenager on the planet has a dream of being “Insta Famous”

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2016 Top Eight Travels

At the start of 2016, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to put everything into my photography for one year and see where it led me.  Up until this point, I had been playing around, having fun but was at the stage where I pretty much had all the camera equipment I really required, so wanted to get out and travel and shoot as much as I could – around our own business and family commitments.

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Choice Hotels Next Top Instagrammer

As the wife of a retired race driver (Russell Ingall), I’ve led a really busy life, travelling and meeting the demands of a professional athlete’s schedule and children as well. So when my husband retired from full time driving a couple of years ago, suddenly I had all this time on my hands. It was the perfect excuse for me to rekindle my love of photography and continue travelling, trying to break into the extremely popular and very tough, Destination Marketing industry.

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From WAG to Photographer

Since I was 17, I have lived in this crazy world as WAG to race-car driver, Russell Ingall. It’s a fast paced lifestyle, full of fast cars, glitzy parties and glamorous people. We have travelled Australia and the world. Done some crazy fun things and met some incredible people. Sure there have been downsides as well, but when I look back over the last 25 years, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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