To be a traveller you do not need to be rich or go to different countries every month, or even go to different states. Travel is not just about the money or how many foreign countries you have been to.
Whether it be a different country or state, a tropical island, or a foreign province; before you can truly understand and appreciate that place, you must first be able to identify with your own.
I did not realize this right away.
I was always stressed about the cost of getting my career started and how strenuous it would be on my bank account. Until I decided to do my first project on putting the experience before the photograph.
It was then that I found out how diversely beautiful my home of California is.
For this project, I wanted to explore a myriad landscapes and their relation to people that try to only take from nature to collect and have souvenirs in jars at home.
I had to take six photographs to cover the requirements for the final project, and I was very much concerned about the time frame. I thought that there was no way I could figure it out and get it done in the month that was given to me.
It also crossed my mind that this idea was way too ambitious for an end-of-semester project and that it would probably take me years to get something like that done.
I had places in mind that I wanted to go, but they were hundreds of thousands of miles away, and I knew it was completely implausible.
So I sat down, and researched.
Immediately, I found places within just a few hours of my own home that I had never knew existed.
This is when it clicked for me.
Midnight spontaneous trips out to the middle of nowhere.
Technically illegal camping.
Below freezing weather.
Jumping into the ocean at 6 a.m. in the middle of winter.
No cell service.
Being surprised with hundreds of obstacles — from getting lost, to not bringing the right supplies because we did not do enough research on the place itself, or when we would choose a place at 10 that morning and get there by 2 a.m. the next day.
This project curated memories that I will never forget.
Moments that I will cherish forever.
It gave me a new meaning for travel and a better understanding for it.
Never before had I realized how diversely magnificent my home is.
California is not only sandy beaches and sunshine.
It is hot springs hidden behind two hour hikes in the high desert and a valley of trees.
It is fields of sand deposits formed thousands of years ago.
It is deserts with nothing around for miles.
It is snowy mountains and national forests and open fields and lost coasts and thousands of redwoods.
It is sandy-rocky-pebble-cliff covered-moss covered beaches where forests meet the coastline.
And that’s not even the beginning of it.
To be a traveller, you must first learn everything you can about your home.
Take the time to get to know it like the back of your hand.
Do some research and find places you have never even heard of before and go there.
Take spontaneous trips at midnight and find yourself in awe when you see what you wake up to.
Find your new favorite place and make moments you can never forget.
Believe it or not, it’s all in your own backyard.