September, 2015 Newsletter
In This Issue

Reed takes a few licks from a new friend in Africa
Featured Traveler: 
Reed, from NYC
Reed is an incredibly talented and accomplished photographer, and we were so fortunate to have him on our tour of Southern Africa. Especially since this is our special photography edition, he was the perfect person to interview this month.

Zoom:  Why did you want to go to South Africa?

Reed: Africa has always been a dream destination that I have fantasized about traveling to since I was a child. I was already interested in South Africa because we had an exchange student that lived with our family, who went to high school with me during the year of 1984. I also felt it was the most familiar cultural destination for me to enter the continent since I have traveled extensively in Europe.

Zoom: Did being on safari live up to your expectations?

Reed: Safari was much more impactful on me than I though it would be. I was amazed, and I enjoyed the whole adventure of it.

Zoom: Cape Town is one of our favorite cities to introduce to our travelers. What did you think of it?

Reed: Cape Town was wonderful. I throughly enjoyed the tours, the Cape Malay meal, and the spectacular Meerlust wine tasting! I especially enjoyed experiencing the culinary history of the city. The Cape of Good Hope, Penguins, and Botanical Gardens were all super informative and interesting. I could have spent even more time there, to explore the city by foot and understand how it would feel to hang out there.

Zoom: What was your favorite photography day on the tour?

Reed:  I photographed every day of the tour! I took over 15,000 images and I really enjoyed all the scenery, but the safari was probably most exciting.

Zoom: What would you say the key is to taking great travel photos?

Reed: Having a camera you understand and are comfortable with. Even if you are only using your phone-simply taking the images is the key, so I would buy something easy to use and make sure you feel comfortable using it. And shoot shoot shoot shoot!

Zoom: Are you planning on framing or doing anything special with any of the photos you took?

Reed: Yes, lots of Ideas! You will have to wait and see.

Zoom: How did you like traveling as part of a gay group? Would you do it again?

Reed: I was hesitant at first, but once I was on the tour I understood the benefits, and it helped me to relax, be myself, and feel comfortable within the group. It was something I noticed when I joined some mainstream day tours during the trip, and where I met up with straight travelers, there was nothing inherently bad about them but we had to always first go through the formality of "Is your wife traveling with you?" In the gay group we already had a certain level of understanding about each other and it helped us to make connections with each other instantly. I didn't find anything "gay" about the tour, well, except for the brunch on safari in the bush. That was pretty over the top and gay. And definitely fun.

Zoom: Where do you want to go next?

Reed: Gosh, I am now excited to explore other countries in Africa. I also now feel the courage to explore South America, China, and India.

See more of Reed's photos:

Enjoy this month's newsletter! Be sure to check out our Club Zoom travel offers and promotions. 
The Taj Mahal, at night
Bucket List Destinations: The Lonely Planet's Top 20 Travel List

Lonely planet just came out with their top 20 Bucket List of Destinations, and Zoom Vacations offers tours to the TOP 5!

2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia (not on our website, but available)
We are not surprised that the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia made it to first place.  It is hard to decide what is more impressive, the structures themselves, the elaborate carvings, the beauty, or the sheer magnitude of the complex. 
Machu Picchu is a no brainer, and if you haven't been, well, why??  We will tell you this right now: Machu Picchu does not disappoint.

Having recently returned from our last tour to China, it is fresh on our minds, and extremely evident why this made the list.  On June 5th, 2012, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage announced that the official length of the Great Wall is 21,196.18 km (13,170.7 mi).  That is 13 thousand miles of wall, all created by hand.

As for the Taj Mahal, well, our tour is next month, and seeing the Taj Mahal is always the biggest highlight. It is so stunning in photos, and when you see it in person, you are amazed to discover that photos do not do it justice.

One of Reed's captivating photos
Zoom Vacations Southern Africa Photos

Planes, trains, and automobiles.... Lions, rhinos, and elephants.... City, safari, and mighty falls. Zoom Vacations' tour of southern Africa could have many titles, and it is a trip that is a childhood dream, made reality for so many of our travelers.  There is a lot of "wow" on this trip, such as driving into Cape Town for the first time and seeing the clouds roll over Table Mountain, watching the waves crash agains the cliff at the Cape of Good Hope, seeing (fill in the blank of virtually any of the exotic animals) while on safari, walking into your luxurious safari chalet, and of course, feeling the mist of magnificent Victoria Falls.  

Our featured traveler, Reed, took thousands of photos during the trip, and narrowed it down to under 20!

Zoom's Bryan Herb Selected as Global Correspondent

Zoom Vacations co-owner, Bryan Herb was recently selected a Global Correspondent for ManAboutWorld, the first gay travel magazine created specifically for the iPads, Android tablets, iPhones and Android phones. It's a beautiful 10-issue/per year magazine with lush, high-resolution images; well-researched and written text; slideshows of images; and beautiful videos.  

Re-envisioning travel editorial for a new era, ManAboutWorld has been recognized as the premier provider of travel information and inspiration for gay travelers. If you haven't seen it yet you can get a FREE three-month subscription here.
Filming an episode of the TV show, Bump! in Peru
Photo Etiquette and Tips While Traveling

Certainly one of the joys of traveling is taking photos of the experience.  Digital makes it so much more fun and carefree, the fact that our phones take great photos make it so accessible and available, and selfie wands, well, they allow those who travel alone the ability to get great photos of themselves virtually anywhere.

However, sometimes the taking of photos can "take over" your vacation, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of seeing everything through your camera lens, or even worse, offending those around you.

The following are some rules of thumb to keep in mind while embarking on your own photo safari. 

Zooming with Joel
Enjoying a book we made of last year's Zoom South Africa tour
Photo books and lasting memories...

Since this is our special photography edition of our e-newsletter, I wanted to share something my boyfriend, Matt and I have started doing with our travel photos: making coffee table books. He is really into it, and has now got me into it too.  I used to take a ton of photos and they kind of wouldn't go anywhere, I would download them to my computer and there they would sit.  Well, then came our trip to San Miguel Allende in Mexico, and after the trip, Matt surprised me with a beautiful book full of photos of different moments from our vacation.  This particular trip was over a year ago, yet the book is still on my coffee table, and I still look through it at least once a month.

When company comes over they always want to see it too, and it becomes this great conversation piece. Sometimes when I have had a long day or just need a pick-me-up, I pick up the book and start thumbing through these wonderful  photos of us so happy on our trip, and it always lifts my spirits.  Plus, the pictures are beautiful and even a bit inspirational.  San Miguel is such a charming, historic, stylish town, and it comes through in photos.

Once you get good at it, making these books with Apple, Shutterfly, or whatever service you prefer is relatively easy and not that expensive.  For under $50 you can get a hard-bound book of 20 pages or more. Plus, I have notice that Groupon often has deals on these books.  This modern take on scrapbooking has really made me cherish even more, the memories of my travels.
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