The Worst-Case Scenario For Travelling Photographers Actually Happened To Luke Dean-Weymark

Produced in association with VISA.

Luke Dean-Weymark is a talented dude. Fact. You might remember him from a recent pinning session, he is only the proud owner of the ‘highest followed Pinterest account run by an Australian male‘, or from our 2012 Photography Awards, where his excellent photo of a Parisian sk8er boi was a finalist.


Otherwise, when he’s not smearing his talent all over the internet, he’s working as an Account Director for the male-centric PR agency Men At Work in Sydney or surfing, or riding his Ducati wherever he dang-well pleases, or just casually partaking in some extreme sports (yes, correct. He has held a land speed record). In the course of our conversations surrounding Visa’s Holiday Replay competition, where they are giving you the chance to win $20k to re-do your worst ever holiday experience, Luke offered up the tale of that time he went to Portugal in 2011 and something decidedly un-chill happened. Suffice to say there never was a story of more woe, than this of Luke and his heart being broken in two.

Setting the scene: Luke and his girlfriend Nat were making their way down the south-western coastline in a restored yellow Kombi. As Luke describes it, “The sun was shining, the water was crazy blue, the local food was amazing and the beers were cheap. In hindsight, it was no surprise that we had a good dose of reality coming our way…”

After a full day of frolicking, hopped-up on youthful exuberance, up and down the idyllic beaches they retired to their vehicle to find a camp spot for the night. As they made their way along the bumpy sandy track towards their resting ground, Luke heard a crash in the back of the van. This, dear readers, is the part that will hurt to read. Photographers be warned: graphic retelling ahead.

“I knew immediately it was my DSL camera and my heart literally broke in two. Not only had I busted the lens, but I’d also broken the screen on the back of the camera, meaning that it was completely unusable. Being a travel and photography blogger, halfway through a seven month trip across some of the most visually stunning destinations of Europe, at the time I thought this was pretty much the worst thing that could possibly happen.”

At this point Luke and Nat were pretty crushed but, you know, upbeat (!). Until the next day, when they drove into Lagos in search of a camera shop who might be able to help out with the repairs: “While closely inspecting a map and asking a local for directions, my backpack was swiped. Not only was it carrying my busted camera, but also our Macbook and 350 euros.” Those euros, all those precious euros, lost to the butttery fingers of a mystery thief 🙁

But as Luke said, “Thankfully we did have a backup point-and-shoot camera, so I didn’t miss out on too many photo opportunities!” HAPPY ENDING. We asked Luke some follow up questions to provide the cautionary part of his tale:

If you were able to do it all again, what would you change?

It all could have been avoided if I’d packed my camera away properly, instead of balancing it precariously on a kombi kitchen bench and expecting it to stay put. And, I’d never put all my eggs (or belongings) into one basket (backpack) again!

Despite all that what were some of the highlights of visiting that destination?

Besides losing a huge portion of our possessions, Portugal was one giant highlight reel. We hired a Kombi for two weeks and drove around the country, exploring the rugged coastline, surfing, eating beautiful local produce and enjoying a few Cerveja‘s (beers) along the way.

Any other tales that come in second place for worst travel experience?

There was this one time, again in Portugal (bad luck comes in waves!), that we arrived at Fez train station really early and were wondering how we were going to survive the four hours until our train departed at a tiny little station in the sun, with zero food options and two huge backpacks that prevented us from going very far. Fast-forward another four hours, we’d gotten quite involved in a card game of ‘shit head’ and we missed the train departing from the platform we were actually sitting on. You know what they say, time flies when you’re… playing cards?

From all you’ve learned on your many overseas adventures, what are your top tips for trotting the globe?

1. If you’re packing for a summer holiday, never over-pack. You’ll only end up wearing half of it anyway.

2. No matter which country you’re visiting, learning even the very basics of the spoken language will get you a lot further with the locals than knowing nothing at all.

3. Try hiring cars instead of travelling on buses and trains. More often than not, its actually cheaper, and you get to stop when and wherever you want.

We’d like to add 4. Don’t carry wads of cash. Once that local currency is gone there’s no getting it back, you can always cancel a card but you cannot unpick your pockets.

Have you ever lost your cash travelling? We know that feel bro. It hurts. It probably still hurts, but If you head here and tell us your story, you could win a chunk of the $75k up for grabs to do your holiday all over again, thanks to Visa.

To see Luke’s entry in the Visa Holiday Replay Comp, head HERE.