Monday, December 31st, 2012

  • It’s New Years eve in Auckland, New Zealand, and spirits are hight as a crowd of revellers dance and clap on the street to the drum beats and chants of Hare Krishna’s. The city is among the first places in the world to welcome the new year and for many the celebrations will continue well into the small hours.

    This, therefore, is the final picture of 2012, and the one that brings this ‘visual journey’ to a close. It’s been an amazing year of travel for me, following little more than whims and vague notions to 19 countries around the world. Back in January I had no idea that I was about to embark on such an adventure, or that come the end of the year I would still be on that adventure.

    This project has been an immensely rewarding undertaking, and as I look back on the pictures I am reminded of the back-stories behind them, as well as the many pictures and stories that weren’t published. Those early photographs from New Zealand seem like a lifetime ago now, but at the same time they also feel like they were just yesterday.

    With the task of publishing a daily picture, I spent the year constantly looking for things to photograph and stories to tell. Someone asked me if doing this made me live my life behind the lens as opposed to in the moment, but in fact, while that sounds like a plausible downside, quite the opposite was true.

    Doing ‘366’ challenged me to go out and engage each day in a way that I’m quite sure I would not have done so otherwise. I would talk to strangers, seek out alternative travel routes, and take time to look at things that I might ordinarily pass by with little more than a glance. Making this change in my daily life had a profound impact. It’s as if I somehow crammed more ‘life’ into my days, and more time into my year.

    Of course, there were challenges along the way. Practical issues like living life out of one bag, and keeping that bag below 20 kg (44 lbs). Then there were language barriers and currency exchange rates to deal with, rip off taxi drivers, and the repetition of the same conversation with new people over and over again. Yes, at times I wished for my own bath tub, drawers to put my clothes in, and the comforts that I chose to do without in order to add such color to my life. But those moments pass, and I’d take the color over the familiar any day.

    So tomorrow is 2013, and as much as this is an ending, this isn’t the end. I’ll still be living out of that one bag for a while yet, still taking pictures and seeking out the stories. I’ll continue to look out of the window on trams, trains, buses and planes, and I’ll still be taking the long way home whenever I can, to wherever ‘home’ may be. It’s been a extraordinary journey and I am looking forward to tomorrow.

    Thank you for all your comments and interest, for tuning in and coming along for the ride. Take care and have a fantastic year.

    Simon Jones

    What was your favorite picture?
    I’m really curious to know if you had a favorite picture from 366. If you did then why not leave me a comment and let me know.

    How about a little something extra?
    Would you like to see some of the pictures that didn’t get chosen? If so then please let me know leaving a comment or sending an email. I might run a short series of ‘extras’ in February.

    The journey continues over at BEFORE i FORGET
    Next year I will still be taking pictures and posting stories on my blog at (just not every day). I hope you’ll come over and visit me there too! You can subscribe to my email list, just like here. Check out BEFORE i FORGET, and subscribe to the BEFORE i FORGET email list.