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  Posted: May 18, 2012 4:06 AM FEED
11 Hudson

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My mom got married in Hawaii and everything was perfect and beautiful, just as it should be.
I photographed Alice just after I told her how beautiful she is, and how adorable her child was. My photo essay from my trip to Peru with @contiki has been published, and I’d love it if you checked it out (link in my bio.) It turns out it’s very easy to bring smiles and happiness to strangers, by simply being kind. I couldn’t be more thankful for the experience I had over those 11 days abroad. #TheTravelProject #sponsored
I traveled to @peru with one mission: be kind, talk with the locals, and make people smile. It was an extremely rewarding trip for me, and I was able to write about my experience with @contiki. Check out the link in my profile to see more portraits like this one, just before and after I told her how beautiful she was. Hopefully it encourages you to step out of your comfort zone - to make strangers happy, AND get the best photos. 💛 #TheTravelProject #sponsored
I popped into the bar for the aesthetic, stayed for the Pisco Sours with a smiley face on top, and will forever remember it because of Joycie & Marie’s infectious giggles. 💛
Sebastian has been making handwoven textiles since he was just a little boy. On Taquile Island, it is only the men who knit for trade, and are known for some of the highest quality handicrafts in Peru.
Puno is the largest city located on Lake Titicaca.
The people of Peru are so kind and often shy, but are gorgeous and come alive in front of the camera. Drosa taught us about the technique of making and dying Peru’s famous alpaca wool.
The best part about hiking the Inca Trail was I had to opportunity to see Machu Picchu twice on this trip. Once at the end of our long day, and then again for sunrise the next morning. This, as a photographer, is a dream come true. Watching the light and weather change around this stunning monument - I got to see the best I could hope for. After our long day of hiking I wanted nothing more than to just sit and admire it. We found a place, tucked away from some of the other tourists, and just stared in awe. The next morning was gray, but as the sun broke through, and the clouds lifted, it was truly better than any postcard I had ever seen. No matter how many pictures you see of a place, to be standing there in front of it for yourself, always exceeds your expectations.
Hiking the Inca Trail in @peru, through the Sun Gate and down into Machu Picchu will for sure be the highlight of this trip. The views were breathtaking, and well worth every step of the 9 mile (14.5km) day hike. It was challenging, but when we wanted to rest we did so amongst the ruins or along the edge of beautifully lush valleys and mountains. After completing the hike it actually made me interested in someday doing the entire 4 day trek, I really felt like I wanted more! There might still be some views left on my story if you’re interested, because I was pretty much left in awe and without the words to describe it.
The place I’ve been most looking forward to visit while in @peru were the floating islands of Uros. One of these things you kind of have to see to believe, or even understand really. An entire civilization of people have made a home, life, and culture on top of islands made of woven reeds. They welcomed us with smiling faces, actual open arms, and taught us about their history and way of life.
My week working with @contiki is quickly coming to an end, but the best is yet to come. This trip has really made an impression on me, and I’m so thankful to be able to have this experience. Visit, where you can share your stories about how travel has shaped who you are today, or made a positive impact on your life too. #TheTravelProject #contiki #sponsored
Every day Peru shows me something new, and I am left in awe. The people of Taquile Island, deep in Lake Titicaca, are a society based on collectivism, with a population of about 2,000 people. Everything they eat, wear, and make is produced on this island. They do not export their beautiful hand-crafted goods, instead they are sustained by tourism and sell only to people who come to the island. I feel so lucky to have visited such a unique and incredible place. A woman and her daughter cooked us one of the best lunches I’ve experienced, all with fresh and organic ingredients from their home. Moments and places like this are why I travel.
As we left the bigger cities, the conversations with people became a bit more difficult for me. I’ve put the little bit of Spanish I know to work, but found that often sharing smiles is just as effective as conversation. Here I tried chatting with this little girl, her mother understood me, and kept insisting she answer me directly when I asked her how she was doing, and what her name was. Instead she was a bit shy, as I’ve learned a lot of Peruvians can be - but as soon as I picked up my camera she was hamming it up and striking poses like a pro.
My connection to Wi-Fi and service has been spotty, but if you want to follow along with my adventures working with @contiki this week, check out my stories for a better glimpse. I have just been in awe of this beautiful country and incredible people. #TheTravelProject #contiki
I walked by Caesar playing this instrument, which I learned is called a zampoña, and asked to take his picture. As soon as I did, Augustin came over and started singing and jamming along. Both are friends in Lima, and said they’ve never had pictures of themselves playing but always wanted some (for Facebook 😂). They were so thrilled when I told them I’d send them the photos later, I was so thrilled they were so friendly and talented.
If you’re interested in contributing to @contiki, getting published, and potentially earning travel check out their six-two community program at #sponsored
With all that is going on in the world, I’m really happy to be working with @contiki this week as I step out of my comfort zone a bit and try to make some people smile. In an act to spread a little kindness I’ll be traveling around the beautiful country of Peru, talking to the locals and paying them compliments. Like Manuel here - although he was already smiling ear-to-ear when I sat down to lunch, we broke through the language barrier to find out where each other are from, make each other laugh, and enjoy simply connecting. The world needs more people like him. #TheTravelProject
Just been livin’ and workin’ so here’s another photo from the vacation I went on a month ago. @globaleclipsegathering #oregonstarfest