For me, there are two different types of trips around the globe when I am away from home. The first type is work- or project-related trips like my three-week trip to Mauritius in March this year.
We had travelled there for a swimwear shoot and never left the hotel complex once. This was because we simply didn't have time to explore the small island in the Indian Ocean - this tiny piece of land surrounded by water with its wonderful landscapes, coasts and small towns.
Port Louis is supposed to be a beautiful city, but we didn't see anything of it except the airport. Without a doubt, such trips are very nice to experience; it's great to be paid to be in places that others dream of. And: I feel privileged to be offered these opportunities.
But they can't give me the satisfaction of real travel: the moment when you start thinking about a certain place, planning the trip, packing the car or just putting as much as you can in your backpack and then starting the journey until you finally arrive.
Being able to decide freely and spontaneously is what I love most about travelling, the lack of stress, no deadlines, just me and my friends, a new place to explore. It's not just about being away from home, away from obligations, it's about something beyond, something deeper. I think the real benefit of travelling is that it develops you - not just geographically, but in the sense that you develop your personality and discover what life is all about. Every kilometre I travel, every city, every campsite I visit, every photo I take does something to me.
Today I am convinced that this would not be the case if I moved from one cosy hotel to another. If you really want to experience the adventure, the whole, unadulterated feeling of travelling, you have to stay in between. I love to just get in the car, stop at any place, pitch my tent, pull out my camera and absorb the moment in that place. That's what it's all about for me, and I can keep going when and where I want.
In case you still have no idea what all the fuss is about, let me give you an example. Last year I had to find a project for my Bachelor's thesis. So I went on the internet and came across something as special as it was strange. In the Spanish desert there is a western village, a former setting for films like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", "Once upon a Time in the West" or "Lawrence of Arabia". This town is a hodgepodge of washed-out actors, remnants of film sets and generally a reminder of caducity. But a very interesting photo spot nonetheless. So I rented a car, drove 1500 miles to the Spanish desert and spent three weeks there sleeping in a car or a tent, wandering around in the middle of nowhere and talking to people from all over the world. Then I returned - with photos on my hard drive - enough for a book, exhibitions and great stories.
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