3 Years & 30 Photographs
This collection of captured memories — the photographs and memories from my time out on the road — was created for my not-so photogenic memory. I wanted a place to see all of my photograph memories in one place for my struggling eidetic memory.
The more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve caught a desire to capture all the life around me in various countries all over the world. My photography preference has developed from capturing the biggest monuments, cathedrals, and the best landscapes into capturing still-life as it is; whether that be through something as simple as couples out for coffee, children at play, or everyday exchanges that we don’t even think about as they’re happening. I believe this type of photography is boundless. All of the photos in this post are symbolic for one reason or another and I will try to convey the importance of each one to me.
I’m still developing my skill set with a camera, but I’ve taken the liberty to put my 30 favorite photographs from the past three years of world travel in one place. They are all in this collection for particular reasons. I’ve been moving around almost consistently for over 1,000 days now. I just cannot believe it.
Check them out below! I will constantly rotate pictures in and out of this post to keep it updated with my latest favorites. They are in no particular order.
The orange groves of Sorrento. I took a day trip to this Amalfi Coast town at the beginning of the year. I went with two people I’d only met a matter of hours before in a hostel in Naples. For me, this place represents spontaneity and openness to strangers — something I’ve picked up while traveling and have no problem overcoming now. There used to be a time when I was very shy. I’m sure some people still remember me like that. Now, I like to say that I’m not shy, just reserved.
Southern California — at least the idea of it — is what started my desire to see the road over five years ago. I remember sitting in my college dorm watching documentaries of people living in their vans thinking it was the coolest thing to do. Prior to that year, I never had a sense for anything so dramatic. Southern California never ended up being a place for me, but this photo still reminds me of that dream at the start of my wanderlust.
This experience — Wow! It all happened so fast, but you can read about it in depth here.
This is a photo of my friend, Lily, who I met in Belgrade in May of 2018. It’ll always be the trip I associate with getting banned from Europe, so in that regard, it’s a bit of a downer. However, we managed our own fun and I picked up a new style of editing I really enjoy.
I was visiting one of my best friends in Europe, Ben, during this stop in Salzburg. It’s remarkable how much a good friend can make you feel comfortable and at home in a completely foreign town. This was a stop during my two months backpacking around Europe for the first time in 2016.
I’ll never forget this period of my life in Malta. A new sense of creativity had overcome me — thanks to the inspiration from a few of my best friends in this photo. One of them, Lola, took this photo. This was the beginning of a new stage in my life that I’m still feeling out.
This photo represents complete freedom and loneliness at the same time for me. Freedom because I had finally made it out on the road. A multi-year dream was finally coming to fruition and this was my first stop all the way from Kansas City. I was sleeping in my car and feeling the freeness. Loneliness, because here I was — as free as could be, but it was my first time traveling alone and for the first few days I had to accept that there was no one with me to share it all. Eventually, I overcame it and developed a preference for traveling alone.
The birth of my street photography phase. I’m still not very good at it — or photography in general, but I enjoy looking at scenes of places I travel differently. I, especially, enjoy capturing locals in the moment. Here, the neighborhood gossip was taking place across the alley between two Italian neighbors. I still find it beautiful to listen to a conversation I can’t understand in most languages I hear.
One of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had. For about ten days, I got the opportunity to live in a small African village and befriend a handful of the children there. What I experienced, I never expected. Read about the whole story a part of my novel here.
Another photo by Lola in the capital city of our home in Malta; a place that marked me in so many ways. Here, I’m glad she captured a huge part of why Malta was so special to me — my artistic limits were stretched (as shown by my holding a camera as well as my best friend, Samy, and his guitar on our way to busk in the streets).
Very few times does the opportunity to capture such a lonely street ever present itself in Europe. I captured this couple hand-in-hand, a good representation of the city of Lisbon which I thought was one of the most romantic cities I’d ever visited. I de-saturated the photo while editing, which I ended up keeping.
This was an absolutely perfect day in Paris — a city I never thought I could enjoy so thoroughly. I walked around the entire day with a camera in my hands. Of course, that walk eventually led me to the most iconic architectural symbol in Europe. I was glad to capture this couple walking hand-in-hand in the City of Love — another good representation.
My first time in New York City — another city I didn’t know I’d enjoy so much. Usually, the big cities are not my cup of tea, but New York ended up representing something else for me; diversity in America –something I’d never experienced in Kansas. I loved its character and so I decided to spice up the sky a little bit extra in this picture, much like the city has a little extra spice.
Faroe Islands, the most beautiful place I’d ever traveled, and the first time I’d ever traveled long-term with anyone. Kim and I hiked and camped in the wild for about a month, getting drenched by rain and drastically underprepared for the conditions. However, after all was said and done, I think it may have been one of my favorite trips ever. We literally had as far as our eyes could see to ourselves 95% of the time here.
Believe it or not, these giants kept marching toward us until I was forced to make a split-decision. Read the entire story about my day in Kruger National Park.
My love for capturing life as it happens kept going in Sorrento. As I was traveling with two new friends, I expressed this newfound adoration to them and I believe they became interested in it, too, as the day went on. Here is Italian social hour at the docks in Sorrento — a beautiful fishing town along the Amalfi Coast.
Look at the kid’s faces! Here’s my Grandad showing all the kids in the village in Turkeyfontein a magic trick he used to do for me when I was a kid. They’d never seen anything like it. For the rest of the week, they kept begging Mkhulu (local language for “elder”) to see the magic again. This was all a part of a two-month trip my 76-year-old Grandad and I took together through southern Africa. Check out another excerpt from my memoir here.
This is me at my most wild. Perhaps the best part of my trip to Faroe Islands was the freedom it gave me. No trails, no campsites, no people! It was just Kim, I, and the land. I spent a majority of the month barefoot and drinking from creeks. It was beautiful. Here’s another story from Faroe.
Want to know how to move a 2,000-pound object without effort? I’m proud of this shot which I consider my best wildlife capture to-date.
After a couple of rather disappointing trips to Southern African National Parks (at least, from a wildlife viewing front), my Grandad and I were extremely glad to be confronted with this beast as the first animal we saw in the world-renown Kruger National Park in South Africa just after sunrise. His larger brother was just behind him blocking the road. Grandad kept begging me to pull closer, but fifteen-feet away was a close enough distance for me.
These girls, Rachel and Brianne, were the first people I ever met out on the road. I was astonished they invited me to hike Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park with me. It ended up being my favorite hike I’ve ever done to-date. I even went back the following summer to hike it again. I’ll never forget when one of the girls guessed that I was a Midwest native because they said I was “too nice to be from anywhere else”.
Night photography is the next chapter of my progression as a photographer. I still have not got it down, but I was happy with how this turned out (when compared to other photos I took that night). This was on a night when I arrived in New York City in the middle of the night and rather than getting a hotel for a few hours, I elected to walk around the city in solitude chasing down my favorite writer, Jack Kerouac’s, footsteps some seven decades before me. I didn’t regret it when I turned the corner and had Time’s Square to myself at four o’clock in the morning. What an experience.
For months, this was my favorite photo I had ever captured. Perhaps, it still is. This photo represents everything the Lyon and France is to me. A beautiful courtyard full of contrasting colors, beautiful architecture, art, artists, and a serene environment. France was romantic and beautiful and everything you’d expect in-between.
Though I didn’t capture this photo myself, I am very proud of it. In it, I see a Me I never would have been had it not been for my decision to travel three years ago. Dancing, communicating in the local language, trying new traditions I would never have; it all makes me incredibly happy to be doing what I’m doing. At the time of this photo, I was in the middle of my summer in Algeria; the first Muslim country I ever traveled to and it was such a sweet and near experience to my heart.
Getting north of the border to Banff was sort-of a dream come true to me. This was my second consecutive summer living in my car and the goal from the very beginning was Banff. It was the furthest north I had ever got in my beat-up 1998 Nissan Altima. Here, I parked my car on a back-mountain-road and spent a week exploring the area. I bathed in rivers, had a close encounter with a Canadian grizzly bear, and truly lived at the heart of exploration.
This spot, known as ‘Shipwreck’, in Zakynthos (a tiny Greek island) was largely the reason I traveled abroad in the first place. I had plenty of U.S. travel under my belt at that point and never even fathomed the beauty across the world. Two years after coming abroad, I finally got the chance to see this beauty and it didn’t let me down. I didn’t get to bungee jump from this spot like I’d hoped, however. Next time!
This was my first day I had an overall ‘good shoot’ while walking around with a camera. By that, I mean I saw things in a different way. I took pictures of unspectacular places and made them look better. It was the first time I saw the potential of photography as an art and was the first time I took pictures to have fun rather than to document.
This bridge, made famous by several Instagram photographers, caught my attention prior to leaving for my first summer on the road alone. Unfortunately, that summer, I ran out of energy for the trip across the border. It was my first summer alone and I was craving my friends and family back home. Luckily, a year later, I had built up the mentality to stay out on the road longer and spend more time on my own. I finally got to see it in my second summer in the car in 2016.
This couple of newlyweds had just rented out the entirety of this beautiful lake in Alberta so that they could enjoy it in solitude. . . along with the other five dozen people taking pictures of them and the empty lake on the shore next to me. The next morning, I awoke in my car before sunrise and hiked out here for an early morning swim in solitude of my own. It was freezing but a kind of peace you couldn’t imagine.
This collection of memories wouldn’t be complete without my favorite memory of them all. My two flatmates, Samy and Lola, my best friends in our favorite home, Malta. I met many people in Malta and throughout my travels who all had their own impact on me in a way, but none had the opportunity to impact me the way these two did. I owe them everything.
This collection will always be changing. If you like a photo, feel free to Pin It!