Why do we travel? Why do we feel the need for adventure? the need to explore? The need to be ‘anywhere but here’?
Wether the journey is within or without, traveling is a very personal experience and we all live it differently. The idea to go somewhere where everyone is a stranger and everything is new though, it’s intriguing to every single one of us.
I think we travel to find novelty, something different, something we can’t find in the ordinarity of our lives back home, no matter how extraordinary they might be. Some of us want to find Happiness, some Freedom, some Peace. Some of us just want to find a place untouched by human bullshit. Some of us travel to find Beauty. Some to find themselves.
I do it for all of the above!
Travel is my drug!
It’s something I need, something I crave so strongly that not getting it affects my mood, my life, my happiness.
I’ve been hooked since I was a kid[and lucky enough to get to experience it!]. When I was 6 my parents brought me on a long camper trip all over France, seeing beautiful places I never saw before triggered something in me.
In the years following my mom brought me to Tunisia, Singapore and Malaysia; that changed me forever! For the first time in my life i saw a completely different reality from the one I knew. Different food, different landscapes, different looking people. I saw poverty, i saw kids my age bagging for food, I saw villages where people didn’t have electricity nor roads. It changed my perception of the world and it made me realize two things: a) How lucky I was to have the life I had and b) How much more world I wanted to see. These countries left something in me that would have never been able to be removed.
THE WAY I TRAVEL
There is no right way to travel, wether you’re a luxurious jetsetter or a broke angry runaway teenager hitchhiking across the States, the best way to travel is the one that feels right to you.
My way to travel is a bit different from most people as I’m a photographer currently working on a personal Quest so my mindset and what i look for on these trips is quite different from the average Joe. That said,
-I travel alone. There are countless advantages in solo traveling: you don’t have to wait for anyone; you do things at your own terms; you get a lot more time to think, write, process and philosophize on what you’re experiencing; you grow; you become stronger; you start connecting the dots; you connect to who you really are and—my favorite thing of all—you connect to people you meet along
the way in a much deeper and more meaningful way, humanly, honestly, purely. On most of my trips I find such profound human connection with people, that kind of connections that we are all, way too often, missing in our everyday life back home [ And guys, I live in NYC, I know what I’m talking about! lol].
-Comfort & luxury are not really on my mind. I don’t travel to relax (although I would really need that sometime) I’m there to take portraits, to get a little piece of somebodies soul on a digital file. I move around a lot, I don’t sleep much, I’m often exhausted, it’s challenging and sometimes a bit dangerous but I don’t care about that, I care to learn. To live experiences and moments I will never forget. I travel to see something beautiful and to soak it all in into my soul. I want to see how the people live, I wanna eat what they eat, do what they do, listen to their stories and life philosophies. I want to understand.
-I don’t plan. By now i mastered the art of winging it. I have a general idea of places i wanna see and things i want to do[and shoot], a plane ticket in&out of the country, a room booked for the first 2 days and a short list of emails and phone numbers of people to meet. That’s as far as I allow myself to plan these days. I found out that by letting things unfold the way they are meant to unfold, magic is much more likely to happen!
-I keep an open mind, always!
Obviously there are some not so good sides of traveling alone (and only guided by instinct in my case!):
Safety it’s always on the back of my head; being a girl traveling alone is MUCH different than being a guy traveling alone!
It might be slightly lonely at times (I’m an artist though so I can use that loneliness for creation purposes!)
and yeah, well, sometimes you won’t have nice pictures of yourself to put on instagram cause there’s no one there to take it! [FYI I refuse to use a fucking selfie-stick!].
WHAT TRAVEL TEACHES US
On a more serious note, traveling can seem scary. Going somewhere we never been means we’re leaping towards the unknown, and the unknown scares the shit out of most people! And the outcome of that is that those people will try to scare the shit out of you! Before I left for a recent trip to Morocco people were insanely negative and terrifying: I’ve been told “I was crazy to go alone, that I would be raped or maybe even kidnapped or killed!” And off course nothing happened—well, beside a small episode where a guy on a scooter tried to snitch my camera, i hit him in the face with a book and he moved along, but that could have happened anywhere!—I had a great trip, I met some amazing people! Don’t ever listen to people! I’m serious! if your heart tells you you should go you pack your bags and go! Fear will always travel with you on any kind of journey. It is only up to you to not let her take over.The very second after I book a (solo) plane ticket to a country I’ve never been this is exactly the monologue that goes on for a solid 5 minutes in my head:
” WTF did you just do? Are you insane? Do you realize you don’t know anyone or anything there? Why are you throwing yourself into that sort of ordeal again? Do you know how sleep deprived you’re gonna be? What are you doing?!” and then another voice comes in: “Oh wait…you did it a million times already! You’ll be fine!”
We fear the unknown because we know it might be uncomfortable; but, as i said a million times before, comfort is a bad place! We don’t evolve from being comfortable! By putting ourself in uncomfortable places and situations we push our limits further, we ask ourselves questions, and we become better human beings.
On my trips by seeing different ways of living I learn different ways of being.
By connecting to the people I meet I learn how to be a better person, I learn that equality makes more sense than anything and that we should see people as a spectrum, as Humanity not as races and genders and looks.
By witnessing the Beauty the world has to give us, I learn how tiny we are in the Universe and how much more there is to learn, to see and to discover and how limited our time to do that is. I realize how much I don’t know shit! None of us know shit! Formalities, titles and hierarchies are all egos, man-made bs inventions and they are so laughable when you look at them from the peak of a mountain or a beautiful remote island or from the middle of the Jungle!
So why do I travel?
I travel to grow; To Learn ,to be more human, more humble. To feel more lost than ever in the streets of an unfamiliar city and then find myself all over again. To feel alive, free, scared, excited, stunned, amazed, moved, touched. To FEEL anything at all. To find Beauty. To find Magic!
And guys, I find it every single time! I found it walking in the narrow alleys of the souks in Marrakech; I found it on an old tiny boat cruising across Halong bay’s islands in the dark night; I found it sitting on a rooftop in the oldest part of Hong Kong talking life with a new friend;
I found it in a summer night in a deserted Picadilly Circus listening to a lonely sax player’s serenade. I found it driving around the beautiful French countryside in a Camper when I was 6 years old.
Every country I travel to leaves a deep eternal mark in my soul, so deep it hurts when I’m back sleeping in my bed.
Travel Changes me, it makes me better.
That’s why I travel!
I’ll forever be a wanderer!