This photo was actually taken by a friend of mine, I am on top of the car facing to the left. We spent the entire day on top of this van driving through some of the worst roads I have ever been on going roughly 5 mph due to so many potholes. The sun was setting and we couldn’t help but take advantage of the beautiful oranges and yellows. After the sun completely fell, we laid there on top of the van and watched as millions of stars flickered across the big, black sky. I was amazed by how many stars there could be, I remember feeling so small in such a large world. I thought about my family, my boyfriend back home, and wondered if they too were looking at the same stars. Some of my most profound memories reside in the months that I spent traveling Venezuela.
“Passion Passport is a community of storytellers, photographers, and explorers united by the transformative power of travel.”
Passion Passport currently has their quarterly Bucket List Initiative going on right now where you can enter for a chance to win the trip of your dreams. The foundation of the company is built on the idea that travel is more than just an opportunity to buy new stuff and walk around new places, it’s an opportunity to meet people different from yourself and experience the world through the eyes of others. Meeting people and making lasting connections are some of the most important aspects of travel; for what would travel be without the people who we meet along the way?
I wanted to share some of my answers to the competition with you all along with the photo that I chose as one of my favorite travel photos.
This photo was taken on one of my visits to El Mercado Principal in Mérida, Venezuela. El Mercado Principal is where everyone goes to buy gifts, hammocks, food, and everything in between. This is how many Merideños make a living, by selling goods and services to locals and tourists alike. It has become a way for them to be self-sufficient entrepreneurs, it gives them a space to safely sell their goods in a reliable location. As we were walking around I noticed these brilliantly colored paintings and this man perched on a stool working on a particular piece. I wanted so badly to buy one of his paintings, but I just didn’t have the space or ability to transport it back to the U.S. I felt inspired by the colors, the style, and this man’s tenacity for following his heart and creating beautiful art amidst trying times within his country. This photo inspires me to explore the ways people make a living and how they adapt to their environment to find ways to do what they love.
Q: Tell us about your Bucket List trip. Where, specifically, do you want to go? What is driving you to this place?
A: My Bucket List trip would be to return to Mérida, Venezuela where I studied abroad in the Spring of 2012. As many of you know, Venezuela is currently having major economic issues with rising inflation and lack of basic goods. I have many friends who I became close with over my semester abroad and yearn to return to see them. It is very unlikely that they will get the chance to come to the U.S in the near future due to visa problems and an inability to obtain U.S dollars. I don’t want to just visit them, but I want to tell their story through photography. Stories that would not otherwise be heard would be given a voice about the real situation in Venezuela that is not being talked about by many. What drives me to Venezuela is the people. The people who I met were some of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever met. Life slows down and you learn to connect with others on a real, honest level. It’s not about money, cars, or material things. It’s about making lasting connections with genuine people who care.