Wednesday, 4 March 2015

#ExploreTheElements Thomas Cook Travel Challenge

I'm not usually one for entering competitions on my blog, but when I saw this on Angie's I suddenly found a load of ideas popping into my head. The idea of this competition is to present four photos that represent the four elements. The photos I ended up going with don't take the themes too literally, but I really enjoyed reminiscing and writing about them.

Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism.

Apparently, in part due to origins in greek mythology, the jellyfish is associated with the idea of feminine wrath. Being feminine myself, I can definitely say I can be defensive and emotional, but more importantly I can be adaptable. When I was looking for a photo to represent the element of water, I found myself inundated with pictures I had taken of various beaches (I love a wave shot) and waterfalls, rivers and lakes, but then I came across this one and it struck me as the perfect accompaniment to water element because the focus is on the jellyfish, rather than the water, one of the most flexible and supple creatures there is, along with the connotations mentioned above. Although needing it to survive, a jellyfish will also of course use the water for its own purpose, moving smoothly (and dangerously!) around it at its own will without a care in the world. [Disclaimer: I don't actually know if jellyfish have many cares, but I suspect if they do they're quite minimal.] Jellyfish have that combination of being beautiful to look at but risky (!) to touch, and I think they symbolise this element perfectly.
Picture taken in the Monterey Aquarium, California, USA.

Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit.

What represents fire better than a massive, flaming ball of it? Everyone loves a sunset picture, but what I love about this picture - taken in Dubai - is that it captures all the elements of the city that make it what it is. What first stands out in the background of this picture are the outlines of all the super-yachts, however there are also some smaller fishing and tourist boats there - showing the contradictions Dubai represents. On the one hand you have the huge global businesses occupied by ex-pats, and on the other you have the smaller businesses of the local population. What they both have in common though is their motivation and desire to thrive and succeed in a place that has changed so much in the last 50 years it is almost beyond comprehension. When we talk about energy and moving things in a travel sense, the history and legacy of a place like Dubai must be included in that conversation. While it's definitely not for everyone, it's definitely a sight to behold.
Picture taken in Dubai, UAE.

Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement. Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom.

This picture was taken in Jemaa el Fna in Marrakech. We'd visited the square earlier that same day when it is pretty much just an empty space (minus the tourists) and returned that evening to see the spectacle of it once it had grown into the enormity that it is at night. There are so many things I love about the pictures I took that night - the steam in the air from the heat of all the people and smoke of the cooking food; the blue lights in the left of the picture in the crowd that aren't smartphones but locals selling light up toys to tourists; the sheer amount of people moving freely, and the fact that you can only really appreciate everything that's going on when you're sitting above it all looking down. I think this picture is a great one to symbolise air, as you can tell by looking at it that the air is thick with smoke, steam, heat and anticipation. Marrakech was somewhere I felt really out of my comfort zone, but at the same time felt like it was somewhere really important to see. The market really highlighted these parallels to me - understanding and feeling compassion for the people working there, at the same time as being an elusive and different world to my own.
Picture taken in Marrakech, Morocco.

Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth. Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness , physicality and gravity.

My final picture in this series was actually not taken too far from my own home, but to me this is what makes it the perfect picture to represent earth. To me, the earth element means being grounded in knowing who you are and where you come from - after all, it's only when you know these things that you can really start to think about where you want to go. Home is where I feel most together, there is a physicality to knowing your place that is hard to find elsewhere. In this picture we are cycling from our own village to the next, riding through country lanes and woods - the hard, solid parts of the earth that I always associate with being close to home. It is this part of the world that I truly feel I can connect to the stubbornness, collectiveness, physicality and gravity of the earth.
Picture taken in Kent, UK.

As part of the competition, I have to now tag five other bloggers in to complete this themselves.
Unica & Tigris

If you want to enter, you need to…

1) Publish an Explore the Elements post on your blog with an image for each element
2) Spread the word and nominate five of your fellow bloggers to take part
3) Let Thomas Cook know you've entered by tweeting @ThomasCookUK
4) Keep an eye on the Thomas Cook twitter account to see who's won!


  1. Thanks so much for tagging me in this post! I LOVE the jellyfish pic (y) Unfortunately I'm not able to participate in this challenge as I'm in the middle of my exams :( Hopefully it won't affect your outcome. Good luck!

    1. Thanks - I love it too and as I took it a few years ago now I had pretty much forgotten about its existence! Good luck with your exams xx