One of the perks of being a travel photographer is the opportunity of being offered interesting and exciting projects. Micah Wright is a freelance photographer for Lonely Planet and Getty Images and was offered, what most of us travel writers and photographers would consider a dream assignment.
Spaceships Campervans set out a brief for Micah and his team to show case how incredible road tripping throughout Europe can be. To explore how fun & easy camper vanning/freedom camping is and to photograph the story as they go along. With no real plan and the freedom to explore, the possibilities were endless. Micah wanted to share this incredible journey with our readers and the team at BTM were more than happy to oblige. Hope you enjoy this incredible snapshot of their 2015 Euro-Trip for Spaceships, as much as we did!
MICAH’S TRAVEL STYLE
Wandering aimlessly with an open mind, ready to explore and embrace any opportunity that presents itself.
Starting from May 5th to June 6th 2015. One month of intensive travelling (as we were on a strict deadline from Spaceships Campervans).
Micah Wright, Alex Collins, Emma Cox, Stephen Clough, Simon Westwood and Robyn Hannah.
THE ORIGINAL BRIEF
With no real plans or direction, a team of 6 will be wandering (and I stress wandering) around Europe in two vans. We anticipate getting hopelessly lost on a daily basis; relying on our good luck and on the information of locals that we meet along the way; in order to find those hidden European gems off the normal tourist path.
From past experiences the majority of wrong turns end up becoming the most brilliant surprises. I’m betting my luck will hold. We will wake up each morning and wander, until we find the perfect spot to have a beer and sleep (hidden) for the evening. Our aim is to avoid paying for any sort of accommodation as much as possible. With 6 people sleeping in two vans, it will be very cosy. The six models come out from Australia, Canada, UK, and USA. Here is how we go…
In the afternoon we picked up our two vehicles courtesy of Spaceships UK from central London. Four of us headed out and on our way to pick up two more members of our team. Central London is not the kindest place to bust your chops getting used to driving on the other side of the road, and reverse roundabouts didn’t help the matter. Heading out into the English countryside, I was blown away by the spectacular yellows blanketing the scenery. The Rapeseed plants were in full bloom as we drove through the beautiful English countryside, passing through Bourton-on-the-water, and driving on towards the picturesque Cotswolds.
We were on a mission for castles today. After a quiet night, we were up early and got really lucky, as we were actually able to score different castles grounds to ourselves and get some shots before being swarmed with tourists or being chased off by grounds staff. We then decided to look for one of the most famous driving roads in Europe, located in a Welsh national park.
Unfortunately, with poor weather, we called that venture off. Instead we headed into a Welsh town and wandered around looking for a place to stay the night. When a few rogue animals blocked our path, we decided to pull off the road to stay and chat with some locals.
As the weather would not let up, we grudgingly went straight to the nearest pub and mingled. We found some handy info about where we could free camp for the night and went for it. It was a stunning spot right near a lake where we were not disturbed by even one car. After another great meal shared inside our roomy van’s living room, we called it a night.
We woke up in Wales to stunning scenery. We had slept aside the Talybont Reservoir and woke find a few sheep checking us out. Sadly it was still grey and raining or I would have attempted a shower/swim in the lake. We decided to try to ditch the rain and head south, searching for more castles. We continued heading south all day chasing after patches of blue sky here and there. We drove all of the way down to the English coastline to the southwestern most tip of England, looking for a sunset in Penzance.
Sadly thwarted, we found more blankets of grey. We set up camp and enjoyed the fleeting moments of another long day. As night descended, we could hear the sounds of live Jazz music being carried to us in the wind. The famous outdoor music venue, the Minack Theater was only a short walk down the coast from us. Listening to the soothing melodies in the wind somewhat eased the doubts about such a long journey south. We will get our photos tomorrow.
After an early night, we were up very early in the morning. The roads down here were so narrow – barely 1 way so we wanted the lanes to shoot for ourselves. Easy for an Englander, nerve-racking for me. We ended up at the Minack Theatre shortly after sunrise. The Minack is a world famous outdoor venue on the southern coast. It could have come straight from a Greek island. On a sunny day, you might as well be in Greece listening to Shakespeare. It was stunning. Luckily this early in the morning we took a bit of initiative and did a little exploring as the door was left unlocked and open. We had this national treasure to ourselves. Of course we were kindly escorted out a short while later, but it was fun while it lasted.
We carried back up the coast with our sights on getting to Europe. We were a long way off though. We headed up the Cornwall peninsula and stopped a few stunning ocean side ports (St. Ives and Newlyn) to play around at. We still were followed by a heavy grey cloud nonetheless. We carried on through the Dartmoor National Park (which would have been stunning had we seen the sun) and carried on to the New Forest when we could drive no further.
Plus we found herds of wild horses roaming the forest. We couldn’t understand why all of the other cars were shaking their heads at us as they drove by. Guess we missed more signs saying not to feed the horses… Simon fed them Aussie style, mouth to mouth. We slept in the land if wild horses this evening… hoping to wake up with some curious Ceballos in out camp the next morning.
We slept dreaming of being surrounded by wild horses, but instead found ourselves having coffee in the midst of a heard of wild deer. The using our drone sounded like a good idea at this time. We sent it up and chased the deer around the fields, much to the dismay of the local landowner. We were properly chastised and quickly went on our way. A ferry ride to Europe was on the radar… we were ready to step this trip up a level. This day brought us from the New Forest, England to the white cliffs of Dover and a ferry ride to Calais, France. Then into Bruges, Belgium. We got in late and decided to call it a night.
We pulled into the city center of old town and started considering the idea of camping right there. We had no idea what the parking signs said, but we could see something about 6am to 9pm. We figured it might be free after 9pm and went for it. The town cleared out and we were left virtually alone amidst these historical buildings. We pulled out some drinks, called the castles our home and toasted to having the best accommodation in Belgium. The city was ours for the night. We owned Bruges…this was our home. I can’t imagine a better place to spend the night in Belgium. It turned into a pretty wild night for the crew. Getting up at 6am to move the cars would not be an easy task.
Our dilemma though…do you drink enough so that they can’t lawfully ask you to move the car, or be sober enough to move the car if they ask.
Also check out Freedom Camping in Europe – Part 2
His portfolio can be found at www.mwrightgallery.com
As photography for top tier magazines, television, and film production companies in the world, Micah has traveled extensively through 50+ countries with an eye for tourism trends.
Micah’s impact on the photography world can be seen in over numerous Lonely Planet guidebooks from the past 12 years. Micah’s work is represented by companies such as Getty Images, Lonely Planet, Corbis, Firstlight, and a variety of other libraries.