Apart from occasional days on a pontoon or ski boat, I had never spent substantial time on the water. But 3 days boating around Indonesian islands did give me a tiny glimpse into that world. It was an amazing experience for a few different reasons. First, the physical surroundings had obviously changed dramatically; lots of water and occasional land, which was just fun and new for me. Also, cell reception was very spotty, so I spent very little time on my phone, which always feels like an inconvenience at first, then ends up feeling like medicine that I didn't know I needed. In addition, being so physically remote and isolated from most of civilization felt super healing and necessary. But what struck me the most is how the world, and life, just felt a little bit simpler after being on a boat for a while. Like, at the end of the day, most things in modern life, while nice, aren't really that important to me.
"At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much."
-Robin Lee Graham
This photo was taken on the very first morning of the photography workshop (I'm sure you recognize this man) and it was such an incredible start to the trip. Looking back, an aspect of this experience that I really enjoyed was when we would encounter locals that didn't mind our group photographing them (sometimes for quite a while) and in addition to repaying their patience with massive amounts of gratitude and respect, we would also repay them with money. Which, even though it was never a gigantic amount of money in terms of US Dollars, it amounted to a fairly substantial amount in their local currency. I found it to be a really fun way to create a win-win exchange; we got to take some really amazing photographs and they were rewarded with financial gain and our profound appreciation. And by doing so, I like to think we represented photographers and tourists in general, in a really positive light. This is something I look forward to continuing in the future; spreading art, wealth and kindness throughout the world.
"Money is but one venue for generosity. Kindness is an even more valuable currency."
I mentioned previously that after the workshop in Bali, a few of us planned a trip to the Indonesian island of Flores for a few days. We wanted to experience a different island and culture, and were especially eager to hike an incredible volcano, Kelimutu. Unfortunately (and we didn't realize this until after we had already purchased our flights), there was a massive conference taking place on the island at the same time, and all of the hotels had already been claimed. We had our flights but nowhere to stay. Fortunately, this area is very popular for short cruises around the hundreds of islands in the area, and what started as a disappointment for not having a hotel, ended with 4 of us chartering a private boat, with a captain, crew and guide. For 3 days they took us from amazing location to amazing location, filled with hiking various islands, tons of snorkeling, amazing food on board, and the opportunity to experience scenes and landscapes that I don't normally get to photograph from land. Living on the water for a few days was incredibly peaceful and therapeutic. While sailing from island to island, all there was to do was to sit and think and breath and observe the world around us. And it was really lovely. I'll be sharing more about this experience in the future.
"You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things."
After the photography workshop in Bali, a few of us from the group decided to do some traveling together and caught a flight to the Indonesian island of Flores. From there we hopped on a boat and cruised from island to island for a couple days. It was amazing, and there were many highlights; one of which was seeing, and photographing, the notorious Komodo dragons. I had heard about these giant lizards my entire life and it was cool to finally see them in person. It was fairly warm when we visited and most of the dragons were just napping in the shade, preserving their energy, but a few came out to put on a little show for us. Including this one which wandered into some pretty ideal lighting.
"The Komodo dragon is the largest living lizard in the world. These wild dragons typically weigh about 154 pounds (70 kilograms), but the largest verified specimen reached a length of 10.3 feet (3.13 meters) and weighed 366 pounds (166 kilograms)."
-Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute