Inside Denmark’s giant LEGO house

Get ready to embrace your inner child at Denmark’s new LEGO House — a 12,000-square meter house of fun, filled with 25 million iconic colorful building blocks.

Designed for the young and the young at heart, the building — located in LEGO’s hometown of Billund, Denmark — is the culmination of four years of hard work and imagination.

“With LEGO bricks, you can express yourself creatively and make anything imaginable. The possibilities are endless, and nowhere else in the world can you experience it in the same way as in LEGO House,” says third-generation LEGO owner, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, in a statement.

Colorful creativity

Designed by the architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) — the striking LEGO House is composed of 21 huge “bricks” stacked on one another — evoking the toy building blocks.

Inside, it’s a treasure trove of experiences and exhibitions.

There are two exhibition areas and four play areas — plus each zone is based on four different colors — and each color has a different theme.

Red is for creative skills, blue is for cognitive skills, green is for social skills and yellow is for emotional skills.

“All activities in the house are related to our LEGO philosophy that learning through play promotes innovation and creativity,” says Jesper Vilstrup, LEGO House CEO.

The House showcases LEGO creations by fans — and encourages visitors to create their own.

Royal seal of approval

The opening of the House was attended by Danish royalty — Prince Frederik and Princess Mary helped usher in the fun.

Also home to restaurants and outdoor play spaces — the LEGO House promises to become a highlight of the Danish tourism scene.

Billund is also home to the original LEGOland themepark — first opened in 1968.

Tourists arriving by air to the Danish town will now witness eight light beams radiating from the LEGO keystone brick on top of the LEGO House.

Fans keen to experience the LEGO magic for themselves can buy tickets for the LEGO House online now. Adults (13+) and children aged 3-12 enter for 199DK (roughly $30). Toddlers (0-2) go free.

Meet the photographer traveling the world for free

We all dream of abandoning the 9-5 and traveling the world. We might even start packing our bags, only to come across that inevitable stumbling block: lack of cash.

But recent college graduate Richard Tilney-Bassett found a way to travel the world without paying for accommodation, travel or food.

The freelance photographer offers up his camera skills to clients across the world — in exchange for lodging, sustenance and a plane ticket.

The only rule? No exchange of money involved.

From its humble beginnings in Tilney-Bassett’s native UK, the project, dubbed The Glass Passport, has gone global — with the photographer covering everything from the Uganda International Marathon to yoga classes in Germany.

Escaping the everyday

Post-university, Tilney-Bassett was working in an office job, feeling unfulfilled.

“I had gone through the ‘I’m not sure what I’m doing with myself’ process that I think many people go through,” he tells CNN Travel. An aspiring photographer, Tilney-Bassett felt certain there was more to life than his monotonous routine.

By coincidence, he stumbled across the work of Australian photographer Shantanu Starick. Starick was in the midst of a global odyssey he called The Pixel Trade — traveling to all seven continents, trading his services along the way.

The concept stuck with Tilney-Bassett. When he eventually left his job in 2016, he decided to follow in Starick’s footsteps. “My own version from the the other side of the world,” Tilney-Bassett calls it.

“I didn’t know how to be a photographer or to support myself as a photographer,” he says. “But this was a concept that allowed me to pursue it full time, and travel and work for myself.”

Honing skills

In the beginning, Tilney-Bassett had very little photography experience: “I didn’t have a portfolio or a network,” he remembers.

His first jobs came from word of mouth, through friends and friends of friends.

Trade number three found the photographer traversing the Highlands of Scotland, journeying over the sea to the island of Skye to photograph for tour company Highland Explorer Tours.

He captured mist-ridden shots of Skye’s moody mountains and sweeping views of glens. “We listened to our guide Tony account the histories of the country as he weaved the bus through the Highlands,” recalls Tilney-Bassett.

The early UK-based projects allowed Tilney-Bassett to build up a reputation:

“It’s given me the opportunity to build my confidence and ability,” he says. “Which has helped scale the project up from the UK to bouncing around Europe to other continents.”

The European jobs were varied and diverse.

“You’ll switch from a wedding to portraits to food photography and being creative,” says Tilney-Bassett. “I think that variation certainly helps massively.”

“I’ve been honing my personal style and learning to adapt it to what the person I’m trading with requires and what would help them.”

Tilney-Bassett name checks time in Berlin spent photographing an improv comedy group, documenting the lives of yoga instructors in Nuremberg, Germany and collaborating with footwear brand Keen in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Trading spaces

The terms of the trade stipulate that Tilney-Bassett provides photographs in exchange for accommodation and travel and food. The photographer says the system has so far been successful.

“There’s no hard and set rules as to how we make it happen, as long as it’s not coming out of my pocket,” says Tilney-Bassett. “There’s trust involved that’s not created any problems yet.”

Tilney-Bassett says staying at people’s homes is mostly enjoyable — and many of the collaborations have lead to lasting friendships.

“More often that not the very nature of them being interested in the project means that I get on well with them,” he says.

The finished photographs are as varied as they are striking.

In Geneva, Switzerland, Tilney-Bassett photographed Manuela Consoli salsa dancing under the Jet d’Eau fountain.

The atmospheric shots captures the spontaneity of Tilney-Bassett’s project.

Meanwhile in Uganda, the photographer covered the Uganda International Marathon, which was particularly memorable.

“Using my rucksack to strap myself to the motorcycle driver, I bounced around the course to photograph the mix of local and international runners that took to the red roads of Uganda,” he says.

Materialism versus minimalism

Does Tilney-Bassett’s quest represent the supposed millennial preference for experiences over material things?

Certainly the project is grounded in Tilney-Bassett’s desire to travel. Earning money or buying a house is not on his radar.

“The priorities were getting out in the world and doing more and more of the work I wanted to do,” he says. “I realized that earning lots of money wasn’t really an essential part of that.”

While the rules stipulate that Tilney-Bassett can still spend money, he says his needs and his desire for material goods have vastly decreased over the past year.

“I started the project with the camera stuff I had, the suitcase I had — it’s now been a year moving around, not really being in the position where I’m shopping for anything — and not needing to,” he adds.

Future goals

The photographer shows no sign of slowing down — his project is gaining more exposure. He’ll be heading to New York in September as the Glass Passport visits the United States for the first time.

“The broader goal is to see if I can reach every continent,” Tilney-Bassett says. “I’m very much carrying it on and going further afield with it as well. There’s much more to come.”

Interested in trading with Richard Tilney-Bassett? Contact the photographer at

The world’s most popular locations on Instagram Stories

The world’s most tagged cities are New York, London — and Jakarta?

The capital of Indonesia is having a moment: It’s home to millions of people from across the globe, plus it’s a foodie paradise renowned for its nightlife and architecture. Now Instagram has revealed that Jakarta is the most tagged location on the app’s popular Instagram Stories feature.

It’s the one-year anniversary of this 24-hours-only disappearing image tool premiering on the photo app.

In celebration, Instagram has released a list of the top five most geo-tagged cities, with Jakarta taking the lead, followed by Brazil’s Sao Paulo at No. 2. New York, London and Madrid follow behind at Nos. 3, 4 and 5.

MORE: 40 Indonesian foods we can’t live without

Indonesia on Instagram

Jakarta’s must-visit attractions include the Museum Nasional and Galeri Nasional — not to mention the rooftop bars with their stunning views of the metropolis below.

The city has plenty of highly Instagrammable sights and sounds, but its No. 1 spot might owe a lot to the popularity of the social network in Indonesia. Tech Wire Asia reports that the country is the largest market for the photo-sharing app in the Asia Pacific. Some 45 million Indonesians use Instagram, and they use the story feature twice as much as the average user.

Popular tagged locations in Jakarta include the city’s restaurants and high-rise architecture.

Interestingly, the second-most tagged city is Sao Paulo: another thriving, vibrant metropolis — and foodie haven. Like Jakarta, it’s a teeming city full of people — many of whom are Instagram users. Sao Paulo is renowned for its cultural scene, from its famous Museu de Arte to its Teatro Municipal.

MORE: World’s top 10 influential people in travel

Instagram travel trends

As Instagram continues to grow, its hold over our leisure habits shows no sign of decreasing.The app has more than 250 million daily users, who can’t help being swayed by the hashtags and geotags appearing on their feed.

Many of us will have headed to a foodie hot spot we first spotted on social media or trekked to a remote location for that perfect shot for Instagram.

The popularity of Instagram Stories suggests users want authentic, immediate experiences — and vibrant capital cities offer just that.