Life as a travel photographer is fun and I’m sure no one will argue that. Being on the open road and discovering places is sensational but people forget that I often work alone. I travel alone and I hike alone and the unbelievable things I see, I see alone.
There are times, especially when I was first starting out, when I found being alone hard. Not just because it would be great to have someone else read the map or share in the chores but just to have someone else to experience the moment with me. It used to be that I missed being able to turn to someone and say “Wow, look at that!” I don’t know when the transition occurred but now I find myself saying “Wow, look at that. I am so lucky to be here”.
I remember traveling in northern British Columbia along the Dease Lake Highway. I had been driving since dawn and I hadn’t seen a soul- not a car, a person or an animal. I rounded a bend and came upon a beautiful scene. I stopped the car and got out. A vast valley of green lay before me, stretching out as far as I could see. It was absolutely silent. The most quiet that I’ve ever experienced.
Standing there with the wind softly blowing over me and the grey clouds above me I was struck by how absolutely alone I was. What struck me more was that I was glad to be alone. I was very moved at that moment: all that beauty, all the peacefulness, the silence, the solitude. I stood there a long time.
That was one of the first but I’ve had many moments in my travels like that. Solitude allows you to take a moment and just breathe. It is a time to sit and reflect with no distractions. Everyone needs moments like this- it does us good. So I ask you: when was your last moment of solitude?