A walk through Old Delhi on my way to visit the Jama Masjid mosque at the end of the road. The most densely populated neighborhood I have ever been to, the street is constantly filled with any and all kinds of transportation. Bike rickshaws are commonly used, and in cities like Kolkata, men pull rickshaws on foot…often barefoot.
A rickshaw ride through Varanasi, India in March of 2016. To me, this photo includes so many quintessential aspects of India. First off, the man zipping by on a motorcycle. The woman sitting in her bright orange sari on a bike rickshaw looking for cash to pay the driver for her ride. The lively storefront written in Hindi displaying colorful clothing. To the old roadside cobbler sitting on the side of the busy street chatting to a customer. This photo displays and describes India in one shot.
Kolkata, 2008. I was an awkward 13 year old girl with braces. My mom and I were at a school she supported deep within the craziness of the city. This school was a safe haven surrounded by pure madness. We spent a lot of time staring out of the school’s windows, which were gateways into what is Kolkata. Homeless families lived outside the school’s walls, some of which had children who attended the school. Coconut stands, cows, yellow taxis, and sugarcane- there was much to observe. These men starred at us out of their window and into ours. Our admiration seemed reciprocated.
May of 2018 on a trip to the state of Tamil Nadu in south India, I was driving from a hilltop Hindu temple down to the valley of Mettupalayam with some of my volunteer friends and Indian friends. We passed this group of young children and I immediately hopped out of the car to go meet their baby cow. The kids smiled so genuinely at us. They were so happy that we were interested in their livestock. I hate the whole idea of white tourists going to foreign “exotic” countries to meet locals who have never met white people before. But according to our Indian friends we were with who spoke the Tamil language, these kids had really never seen white people in person. Personally, this was one of the more profound experiences I have ever had, and I am sure it was for the kids as well.
Big Milly’s Backyard hostel in Kokrobite, Ghana. My Semester at Sea trip stopped in West Africa in April of 2016 where my friends and I frolicked along the beach and spent endless hours at Dizzy Lizzy’s beach bar. Thousands of locals partied on the beach for Easter Monday, and we were literally the only foreigners there. This friend I made was excited to share the Ghanaian way of life with us. Living simply and happily, he smiled constantly and his positive attitude stuck out to me. Definitely a man of good luck.
Siem Reap, Cambodia. I visited a girl’s high school with a Semester at Sea travel program. We spent the afternoon helping dig up trees, moving dirt and gravel, and interacting with the young women. At the end of our work, music started playing and the kids started hitting piñata-like objects filled with white powder. Next thing you know, it escalated quickly and white powder was being thrown absolutely everywhere. I met this girl throughout the madness. She spoke very little English, but we developed a sudden bond. She held my hand and smiled at me for the entire game.
All power to him. Fort Baker beach in San Fransisco is a designated nude beach, right next to the Golden Gate Bridge. Being my first time there I hadn’t known that naked men and women (mostly men though) were going to be there, but it was definitely an entertaining experience. Most of them lurked near the rocks at one end of the beach, but a few walked the perimeter of the ocean and did not give a damn who saw them. Priceless photo as this man walked casually butt naked down the beach. Nude with a view for sureee
78 million people are homeless in India. I’ve seen many people living on the street throughout the country, however this man stands out to me as the most shocking. He sat barefoot on the curb with his rusted walker in Madurai. His skin was literally black from the sun. I have never seen someone with skin so dark in India before.
I met these sassy little schoolgirls at a temple in the Bhaktapur District of Kathmandu, Nepal. They posed without hesitation. The goat behind them is a holy goat who lives permanently at this Hindu temple.
On my drive to Coimbatore, India I noticed this man with his cows out of the car window. If it isn’t already clear, I am obsessed with cows. I jumped out of the car and walked up to him as he began milking one.
After meeting their cows, the farming children we met took us next door to one of their houses. Her family had hundreds of goats. Big goats, baby goats, mean goats, disabled goats- a damn good variety. This is our friend’s daughter who took us to the Hindu temple. She picked up almost every small goat in the pen before handing them to me.
On my drive up to Gulmarg Ski Resort in Kashmir, India, we seemed to sort have escaped the mayhem as we drove into the mountains. Pine trees and grazing animals brought my mind back into nature for the first time in a while. This young woman was at the tail end of her family’s herd of horses. Although life would not be easy as a Muslim woman in Kashmir, being part of a shepherd family in the mountains seems somewhat peaceful to me.
Street vendors on the sidewalks of Madurai form mini markets each day, selling their select fruits and vegetables. These women appealed to me as they sat gossiping next to their tomatoes and beans. The conversation quickly stopped when I walked up to them. I asked to photograph them and they unemotionally nodded yes.
Outside of one of the project locations I worked at in Palluruthy, India, I walked past this cute roadside cobbler one day sitting on the side of a busy road. Cobblers are everywhere on street corners in India. Almost as common as chai and chat (streetfood) stands, cobblers sit along roads and fix shoes all day long. I never once saw a man working in a chair. Always sitting on the ground working with both their hands and feet.
Zipping through the tight streets of Mysore, India, my friend Maddie and I sat squeezed into an auto rickshaw looking out on the world. We drove through a Muslim neighborhood at sunset where we saw mothers with their children walking to or from the market. I admired how each mother held her child close. I would do the same if I had a kid in the swarming city of Mysore.
Tea is a major crop in southern India. Plantations cover the hills of the Western Ghats mountain range. I stopped to meet this group of tea harvesters who waved welcomingly at me. They were carrying drinking water in big jars on their heads up to their house for the night. Many smiles were exchanged during this simple little interaction.
A big family in Jaipur, India in the middle of the City Palace complex had quite the grouping of goats outside their home. The children welcomed us in once they saw our interest in their family and introduced us to each person and each goat. This little girl ran up to me, grabbed my arm and brought me to this goat sitting on a ledge. “Goat”.
Walking down the street in Udaipur, India, I was immediately drawn to this woman’s bright yellow. This yellow is my favorite color, and looking at her standing next to her fruit and veggie stand I thought it was a very aesthetically pleasing moment. As she looked at me, I noticed her massive gold nose ring. Her dark skin really makes the gold and yellow pop.
This selfless and loving woman is Mania. She has devoted her life to feeding the stray cats on the island of Mykonos, Greece. She explained to me that she accepts donations in a bowl each day and uses the money to buy food to feed the homeless population of cats. I ran into her a few times in town, and each time she walked with a paparazzi of cats trailing behind her. A legend indeed.
On an overnight train from Rishikesh to Amritsar, India, I noticed this cute old man sleeping on a top bunk. He immediately reminded me of my grandpa who turned 100 in the fall of 2017. When the sun rose he carefully climbed down and looked out the train window as we traveled through the Punjabi countryside. Such presence in the moment.
In Mexico City, Mexico, I visited a supposedly iconic mariachi bar with my boyfriend and parents. We were swarmed by a band of chubby happy men in matching uniforms. I loved this musician smirking at me with his harp.
Elderly adults practiced tai chi in a park in Shanghai, China. It was below 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, but that didn’t stop them. The man in the grey sweater is 85 years old and comes out multiple times a week to do tai chi in the park with other old people. He told me that his practice sharpens his mind and keeps him motivated and involved.
I met this Tibetan refugee at the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu. She walked up to me and stood with me for nearly 20 minutes. She had severe dementia. She spoke to herself quietly, rubbed her prayer beads nonstop, and circled the Buddhist stupa in a clockwise rotation all day long. Many refugees like her do a similar thing- endlessly circle the stupa. Who knows why they do, but it may be a way for these lost people to have a purpose.
This is Brian, one of the happiest people I know. I took this photo of him at lunch one day in Mexico City. To me, Brian is described by his smile and the wrinkles that surround it. Happiness is everything to him, and I admire and learn from his constant positive outlook on life.
I spotted this woman on a train in Mumbai and was immediately attracted to her massive bindi, long stacks of bangles, and yellow sari shirt. She stood so casually checking her phone next to the open doors of the train. Just another day for her, and then there’s me holding on to the ceiling handle for dear life on the most rickety ride of all time.
In Bagan, Myanmar of 2016 I met this boy working a banana stand. He was selling fat, stubby, delicious bananas. After selling me a few he quickly went back to his phone.
Caught in a tourist trap in Bagan, I quickly started to question the authenticity of everything. Women weaved big looms and smiled as they cooked lunch. However, this “authentic village tour” was complete crap. I did meet this little girl though who displayed the only realness I had seen all day. She sat alone and patiently pet this stray dog so nicely on the head. A true glimpse of something real.
This is Gwen. An American student studying abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand. She took me on a walk to
This is Sultan the goat, introduced to me by the family I met in Jaipur. After the kids began showing us around, their dad came out and proudly brought us over to meet Sultan, his goat. I have never seen someone so genuinely proud of his animal, even in America. His smile and the gentile way he held Sultan’s head was absolutely priceless. Such care and admiration.
When my mom visited me in Kochi while I was working for Global Vision International, we insisted on buying fresh jasmine every day. We are both obsessed with the smell, there is truly no other flower like it. We ran into this woman selling jasmine in a little roadside shop and expressed so much happiness that she had heaps of it. She couldn’t help but smile at the excitement on our hot sweaty faces.