My name is Michael George and I am a freelance travel and portrait photographer living and working in Brooklyn, New York. In my work I am always searching to tell people-driven stories that breakdown barriers of understanding. I love that travel somehow allows us to experience places that are incredibly unfamiliar; while at the same time we discover how similar humans are regardless of race and culture. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are incredibly safe to visit. However, it was strange to be told to avoid certain cities and borders as I traveled outside of those safe havens. Travel advice was often ended with “You know, just in case.” Despite all of this conflict and history, the Israeli people were the most passionate and hospitable I have ever encountered. When I arrived in Jerusalem I knew no one and by that night I was having Shabbat dinner inside a local family’s home.
My name is Christian Hounsounou and I’m from Benin, a small country of West Africa. I work as a medical doctor and I live between Dakar where I am studying and Paris where I am currently working. What always comes to my mind when I talk about Senegal is its wise mixture between traditional and modernity. Everywhere in the country, the Muslim brotherhood is present and absolutely inevitable in the daily cultural, economic and socio-political life. According to me, they constitute a real base for the development and the dynamism of the young dynamic class. The balance is not necessarily constant but that is what makes the beauty of Senegal. This is one more thing I haven’t found anywhere else and which makes me feel so good. Otherwise, everything is not yet perfect but it moves in all fields: roads, education, and above all the new technologies. To have travelled in a lot of countries within the region, I can clearly say that the numeric economy in Senegal is without any doubt among the most dynamic in West Africa.
Hello! My name is Kierra Yvonne Fields and I’m a poet/open minded creative with interests in culture, nature, spirituality, and the relationship between all three. I hadn’t seriously considered traveling through Africa until I was offered the opportunity to travel the continent and write a poetry collection inspired by my experiences. I traveled by myself and focused exclusively on sub-Saharan Africa. I began in Uganda, visiting Kampala, Jinja, and the Sipi region. Next up was Tanzania, where I spent most of my time traveling around Zanzibar with a brief stop in Dar es Salaam. In Mozambique I stayed on an island called Vilankulo. Then to South Africa, where I stayed in Cape Town for over a month. Something about that Table Mountain…I found it magnetic and grounding. Next was a tour through Namibia with stops in Windhoek, Swakopmund, and then I went on a solo road trip through the south stopping at Fish River Canyon, Aus Lüderitz, Sossusvlei, and Deadvlei. From Namibia I went to the only country of West Africa that I visited—Ghana, which is as amazing as many say. I fully intend to see more of West Africa.
Hello! My name is Abby Beard, and I currently live in Kona, Hawaii! I get the absolute privilege to travel all over the world, hear people’s stories, and then document them through photography! Papua New Guinea is unlike any other country I’ve been to. It was so different, but yet it had little aspects of other places within it as well. When you google photos of PNG, you always see some really cool portraits of people dressed in traditional clothing with amazing face paint – it’s beautiful. I had heard we shouldn’t expect seeing that, and that was more accurate. They only dress up in their traditional clothing about once or twice a year during festivals, which unfortunately didn’t happen while I was there.
My name is Chandi and I recently returned to the U.S. after living in Qatar for the past three years. I had lived in a few other countries such as India, Italy and Switzerland and had traveled extensively through Europe and Asia in earlier years, but living in Qatar as a single, independent woman from California, was certainly the most unusual of my international experiences. I am so thankful that my job allowed me to interact with locals, and not just any locals but with the up-and-coming generation of Qataris who are finding themselves in a totally different world than that of their parents. In the past twenty years, since my students were young children, Qatar has become a modern country. My students have one foot in the traditional world of their parents and grandparents and one foot in the modern world with their iPhones and their exposure via the internet and movies to other beliefs and ways of life around the world
Nepal actually ended up being a trip we tucked in between plans in a very loose itinerary. We spent time in the capital city Kathmandu, relaxed in lakeside Pokhara, trekked to Poon Hill in the Annapurna region of the Himalayas, and journeyed a bit further out to explore the jungle of Chitwan National Park. And even though it was a short trip, I loved getting to know the country and demystifying it a bit, although it remains a very spiritually interesting place for me. We didn’t plan too much too far in advance. I believe it was low season, so we were able to make a lot of our decisions on the fly. Nepal has a fairly robust bus system as far as getting between main sites goes but I do feel that it’s worth noting that bus rides in Nepal are not for the faint of heart.
We travelled over 4,000 kilometers on buses, mini buses, bodas, bicycles, boats and hitch hiking in cars for over 153 hours of total transit time! Luckily, I didn’t do it alone: I travelled with Zach, a photographer I met at an Instagram meet up a year ago, and Sam, a photographer from Dar es Salaam I also met on Instagram. Zach was the mastermind behind the route, and we asked friends for tips on previous trips they had taken. As photographers, Zach, Sam and I aimed to use visual storytelling to highlight the stories of innovative and resilient learners and leaders, and to influence others to celebrate and share stories of educators in their own lives. This matters because we want to become part of a broad and participatory movement to respect educators as well as challenge stereotypes of “helpless Africans”.
My name is Raquel, I’m 24 years old and I live in Barcelona. When traveling I love the feeling that you’re learning something new each second. Photography makes me look at any given place with a renewed perspective. I slow down to care for the details and pay more attention to everything that happens around me. I guess it’s safe to say that when I’m traveling, my sensations are endless.When I saw a picture of Chefchaouen, I knew it was love at first sight because of the blue washed walls and the old stacked houses. It is also the perfect city to spend 2 or 3 days. You’ll get lost many of the times, which is the funniest thing, but at the end, most of the streets and doors will look familiar (and the people as well). My recommendation is to wander with no direction and if you like hiking there’s a route to incredible waterfalls which is a perfect spot to take a bath on warm days.
Well hi! I’m Thichakorn Plengpanich. known as Thicha short. My trip to Oman was a random one. I’ve always wanted to go to Yemen but the civil war going on right now doesn’t allow me to do so. So when a friend of mine recently shared a photo of Wadi Shab, I looked it up on a map and found out it’s near Yemen. Oman it is. That was it. I did a little research and I started with just an email address an air hostess friend gave me of her driver while she was there. I googled and googled and read every blog, tracked down every Instagram account that had anything to do with Oman then decided to do a road trip. My friends and I were most worried about the driving, whether the road would be bad, signs being hard to read or people are crazy on the road. But then we figured, if we can drive in Bangkok we could drive anywhere.