If you’re curious about how this site works, visit my getting started page, or just read on to learn more about Alla!
My name is Alla Ponomareva and I’m addicted. My addiction to photography and traveling is the reasoning for this site, where you can find my photo essays and travel advice. The budget part comes from being an EFL teacher in South Korea, which doesn’t provide for a glamorous lifestyle, but a lifestyle I wouldn’t trade for a six figure pay check.
I was born in Odessa, Ukraine and grew up in Delaware, USA. For the past six years I’ve lived and worked in Daejeon, South Korea, which is conveniently located near my other favorite travel destinations.
For me, photography started when I was very young, helping my father develop film in our bathroom, aka the darkroom. Later in life, my mother has also pursued photography, requiring me to be her model and assistant. About six years ago I began living and traveling abroad, which has encouraged me to capture foreign cultures and experiences in a way that would make both of my parents proud.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to share my photography in various exhibitions around Korea. I have also been published in various newspapers, magazines and newsletters. I’m a current member and contributor of Daejeon Artist Collective. I’m also currently studying at the New York International Photography School online, which has been a leader in photography education for over 100 years.
I probably wouldn’t have stayed in Korea for as long as I did, if it wasn’t for meeting and marrying my fantastic husband, Garrett. Mentioning him and not mentioning beer would probably be a sin, because he is a homebrewer of 13+ years of experience. We even spent one summer making this and this. Visit his page to learn more about Garrett’s delicious obsession.
Why do I travel?
Working at a university in Korea, we have pretty long summer and winter vacations. Are summer and winter months miserable in Korea? Sure! So one of my reasons for traveling is like a bird, who is looking for warmer pastures. Another – photography! Getting stuck in familiar surroundings, after a while, dulls the creative eye, and only through traveling do we rekindle this passion. Also, traveling is fun and exciting – such as meeting foreign people, trying out new dish/food or experiencing a foreign festival/event. Don’t forget about testing your patience, resilience, strength as a traveler, it’s not as easy as it sounds. For example sleeping on a bench in Fukuoka taught me to listen to my inner voice and not visit certain places during very popular festivals (and also to bring warmer clothes next time). Getting my toe nail ripped off in Phu Quoc showed me the kindness of strangers (and not to trip over random things). Visiting Glacier National Park in Montana, USA reminded me to always have my camera on the ready, because wild animals will appear out of nowhere. Finally the insane amounts of research and preparation which are usually done before a trip are typically never enough, something unexpected and unplanned is bound to happen. And when it does, you have to just take it, like an autumn leaf – the sunshine, the rain, hail, storm, change of seasons – because it’ll all make you a better person!
What about languages?
I’m fluent in English and Russian, some Ukrainian and survival Korean.
Where have I been?
Better question is where do I want to go? EVERYWHERE!
How will this website help you?
Through my travels and experience of living abroad, I hope to inspire and motive you to step out of your comfort zone. Maybe you’re not ready to leave it all and start working and living abroad, that’s fine! Not ready to travel to a foreign country, either? No problem! Let’s take it slow, read about a place or two. Check out some places to see or food to try, next thing you know you’ll be Pinterest-ing or saving clips of your favorite destinations. Who knows, maybe you’ll hear about a foreign culture fair or festival near you that you might want to check out, or a new restaurant, or a even a friend. Next thing you know you are saving up for vacation, packing your bags and drinking craft brews on the airplane.
Over the past seven years I’ve accumulated a lot of stories, tips and ideas about traveling in Southeast Asia and I’ll be gladly sharing them with you. For Budget Travel Tips, Photo Essays, Travel Destinations, Food and Budget Accommodation check out my weekly posts.
My LOVE Project was created in order to find, photograph and spread the LOVE that lives all around us. I hope it will also encourage and inspire you to value, grow and spread the LOVE in your life.
If you’re also a teacher, always on the lookout for fresh resources and real-life imagery for your classrooms, stop on over here!
If you like what you see, you can do a number of things:
- Follow me on any one of my social media networks (in the upper right corner of the page)
- Sign up for my mailing list in order to get new updates straight to your mailbox
- If you are interested to have a photography session with me, get in touch via my Contact Form.
- Support this photographer by visiting her cool online store, where you can purchase totes, wall art, pillows and more!