There’s that feeling again – a surge of energy and excitement running through my body as I stepped off the plane in Costa Rica. Feeling the wonderment of being in a “foreign” land and the unknown possibilities that awaited me. I love that feeling – I live for that feeling, even after more than 30 years of traveling the globe –I get that same “surge” that I felt the first time I left the comfort of my “norm”, all those years ago.
My journey to Costa Rica was a short one – too short because of life’s other commitments but nevertheless worth all the hassles that one must endure when flying these days. I actually don’t mind the hassles and the hours of waiting in airports or train stations, because it’s my time to just let my imagination run wild and I choose instead to focus on the rewards that come with traveling.
The insatiable desire to “explore” is what led me to become a photographer. My camera has been my “eyes” on the world and all it has to offer whenever I’ve needed to get outside of myself. But oddly enough this time, I didn’t feel compelled to let photography or video drive the experience. In fact there were several times during the trip that I made a conscious choice not to shoot something but rather to see things through my own eyes and immerse myself in the experience instead of just through the viewfinder. Those moments weren’t recorded for others to see in print or on the web, but nonetheless were indelibly carved in my memory – listening to an off key singer in a surfer bar performing a Bob Marley tune, watching hot lava rocks tumbling down an active volcano from my hotel room, laughing at the monkeys in the rain forest and feeling the freshness of the rain in an afternoon’s downpour – all etched in the recesses of my mind.
When I was a young girl, I remember walking home from a friend’s house on a cold winter’s evening. It was that magical time of day when there was still a bit of light left in the sky, yet dark enough that you could start to see inside people’s houses. The big picture windows were like movie screens to me and I remember wondering to myself about what went on inside those walls. As much as I felt a certain warmth while peering through those windows, I also felt a bit of loneliness in being “on the outside and looking in”.
Years later while hitching a ride in Romania, I was picked up by a man who was headed up the road to attend a wedding. When we arrived at his destination, he asked if I would like to go with him to the wedding. I was in no particular hurry and didn’t really have a place that I needed to get to so I took a chance and said yes. That “wedding” turned into a three-day event and one of those magical times where I became part of the “inside”. At the end of the long weekend and when I knew that it was time for me to go, my new “friends” and I exchanged addresses and made promises to see each other again. We all knew that a reunion would most likely never happen and that the “magic” could never be repeated but I’m certain that I am not alone with the memories from that weekend etched in my head.
My camera has always been my “tool” that has enabled me to live my dream. But at the same time, a lot of the magic and wonderment has happened when I’ve taken my eye away from the viewfinder and found my way “inside”.