It's much overdue but I've finally managed to catch up with Elles Saturday Showcase nomination – Fidel from Scene With a Hart…
So Fidel – first off…spill the beans on your love hate relationship with Elle, she seems to like you rather a lot…Im intrigued!
Well I definitely hope to meet Elle one day. She is an awesome, funny, gorgeous gal. We definitely have a love to flirt relationship. She has grown up in a Navy town (Jacksonville) so I am sure she knows a lot more about me being a Sailor than I let on in my blogs. I love her because she takes the time to give feedback, she replies to all her comments and she always has a smile.
Right, down to business! Who the hell are you and what do you blog about?!
Hello world, my name is Fidel. I’m a Sailor (I work in public affairs) in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Japan. Since I joined the Navy three years, I developed a love affair with traveling and photography. I blog about my experiences while traveling, which could be the foods I eat, places and people I party with, beautiful girls I fall for or seeing the monuments I never thought I’d see with my own eyes.
Your currently Japan based – hows that?
I live in Yokosuka which is within an hour train ride of Tokyo metro, and 20 minutes from Yokohama and Kamakura. Every weekend that I am off work, I’ll find myself in one of those cities. I enjoy exploring this beautiful country. There is a wealth of history, culture, art, nightlife and cuisine here. I think for the average American, it would take about a year to adjust to life here, especially if you do not speak the language. My life here became much more enjoyable when I began making local friends.
One of the best things about Japan is that you can reach just about anywhere by train and the public transportation system is very easy to follow.
How's she coping in the aftermath of everything that's swung her way lately?
When the earthquake/tsunami struck in March, I was with my ship in Singapore. We had just arrived in port there, people were beginning to leave the ship and enjoy the town when word got to us that a large earthquake had struck near Tokyo. Within an hour of hearing that, the decision had been made to recall all the Sailors and leave for Japan the following day. Our efforts to assist the people in Japan were tremendous. ‘Operation Tomodachi’ or Operation Friendship, was our part in the relief efforts. The Japanese people appreciate not only what we did but what the entire world did. People here are still giving thanks.
We finally returned to mainland Japan at the end of April and things slowly were getting back to normalcy. I would say that at least in the areas I’ve been to, things are back to normal. Earthquakes are a part of life here. The Japanese people are resilient and throughout history have shown that they recover and rebuild when disaster strikes.
Where did you hit up on your way there?
On my way to Japan? Well this is where I live. To better answer your question, I’ll tell you about my travels while I live here.
Typically, my ship deploys for half the year. I’m usually gone from Japan during early Spring and the entire Summer. Being based in Asia/Pacific, we’ll travel to places like Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Palau, Singapore and Vietnam. When we reach a port, we’ll typically have 4-5 days to enjoy ourselves. My favorite places to port with on the ship have been Sydney; Cairns, Australia; Kuala Lumpur; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Singapore; and Hong Kong.
Shameless plug – what's your have post, and what's the reason behind it?
This may sound egotistical but since you asked, my “must read” post would be my ‘About Me’ page.
I wanted to give people a clear understanding about myself, my philosophy and how humble I am. I started the blog so that family members and friends can follow my travels, see my photographs. Although I haven’t had the time to expand it and develop it like I want, it has become a great tool for me to meet with other travels, network and actually make new friends.
So far what has been your favourite experience on the road?
My favorite experience was going to Hanoi. Since I was young, I’ve been a self taught student of the Vietnam War. I tried to understand the conflict from both sides. Going to Hanoi was a humbling experience. I was able to see how Vietnam has recovered from that conflict and also see a part of the country that many Americans never saw. Our images of Vietnam, even to this day, are of children running from napalm bombs, people getting shot in the streets, villages being burned. Hollywood shaped how Americans see Vietnam and it is only now that Americans are seeing a country with a beautiful coastline, happy citizens, growing industries and one of the most picturesque and pristine countrysides in the world.
I had an amazing experience eating pho on the street, visiting Halong Bay, watching a water puppet show and drinking Bia Hanoi on the beer corner. I’ll always have a fondness for Hanoi.
….and the worst?
Knock on wood, I haven’t had a worse experience compared to the horror stories I hear from friends. If I have to choose a travel experience that I had to learn from, it would be from June 2010 while I was touring Italy.
It was Summer and the mosquitoes lit my arse up. I’ve never been attacked that way before. In Rome- a city with some of the world’s beautiful fountains- I couldn’t go near the water without getting eaten alive. I learned there that mosquito repellent is a must-have travel accessory.
Out of all your travel snaps – and being a fellow pap – undertake the hard task of picking your favourite – what's the story behind it?
Actually it wasn't that hard to choose! My favorite travel picture is the self-portrait I took standing in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Growing up, when friends travel with their families, they always talk about going to Europe. In movies, people always want to see Paris. It seemed like Paris has forever been the must-see place. So, in 2009 when I had a window of opportunity to go, I went to Paris. Standing in front of the Eiffel Tower was my, "I have arrived" moment. That's when I made the decision that travel would be a part of my life forever.
Whats your top tip for taking travel pics?
My tip is to learn as much as you can about photography. I'm constantly learning and improving. Whether it's learning about leading lines, rule of thirds, framing, cropping, focal points, etc., the more you know, the better your images will become. Another tip is to take pictures but don't let the pictures define your travel experience. A rainy day may not be what you want your pictures to show but it doesn't have to ruin your travel day.
Time to nominate the next showcase – who are you passing the torch too and why?
I am passing the torch to G and Kieu over at GQ Trippin. I admire them for being a traveling couple. They are both very talented, goal driven and inspiring.