After almost nine months into a year of travel through Europe and Asia, I’ve found greater clarity when it comes to why I take a photo. There are the photos I take for the purposes of documentation and then there are the photos that I take to capture a specific moment in time, a feeling, a rush of movement or stillness. Some places transcend being captured in a single photo but I try anyway because they are so awe inspiring I want to remember a sliver of the feeling I had when I saw it with my own two eyes. That’s how I felt about the hike I took this summer in the Accursed Mountains of Northern Albania (Bjeshkët e Namuna; also known as the Albanian Alps).
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The travel mentality is a beautiful, opportunity opening way to walk through life. It’s also a perspective that I struggle to maintain when not traveling. What do I mean? I’m talking about the natural curiosity that comes from stepping into a place for the first time, having the luxury of time to follow your curiosity wherever it leads, to engage in conversation with strangers, to really see your surroundings instead of tuning them out on the way from point A to point B. The travel mentality is a beautiful metaphor for life: we may have a destination in mind, but if we leave ourselves open to the unknown along that journey, we may discover a more enriching path that we may not have even considered or known existed before setting out.