Travelers

In May of 2015 I began spending a few days each week camped out in the corner of a little cafe called “Space Out” in the village of Dharamkot, India, photographing travelers who happened to walk by on the footpath.

Using my makeshift studio (a piece of black cloth hung between two planks of wood, a tripod), and with a side window as my only light source, I spent a month photographing whomever I managed to summon inside through the window. After agreeing to the portrait, I had them remain as they were, in the exact clothes they were wearing when I interrupted them. I wanted them frozen exactly as they were, on that day, so far away from home, so full of new ideas and experiences, each a hero on their own unique journey. They were all so different, yet all so similar, as travelers tend to be.

Dharamkot, I should note, is a small village in the northern Himalayan region of India, consisting mostly of footpaths, homestays, yoga studios, cafes and wheat terraces farmed by the few dozen villagers who call the area home. It is mostly dormant during the winter, but springs alive during the summer months with wanderers from around the world.

After summoning the travelers inside, before I took their portrait, I asked them the questions included below, hoping their short responses might serve as keys to unlock their enigmatic stares. More often than not, however their responses usually deepened rather than dispelled the mystery.

001 Nick, Cambridge-1

 

Nick, from Cambridge, England.

1) Briefly explain who you are: 48-year-old recently resigned secondary school teacher who knows there’s another way.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 4 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 2 months.
4) What brought you to India? See question 1.
5) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Worse. Decrease in overall levels of kindness and compassion.
6) What’s next for you? Personal efforts with my partner, and others, to do more about the answer to question 5.

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002 Nicole, Rotterdam-1

 

Nicole, from Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Dreamer, drifter, wanderer, traveler
2) How long how you been traveling India? 4 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? My visa expires in a month, but I will continue traveling
4) What brought you to India? Spirituality. Buddhism. Meditation. Yoga.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Freedom
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Neither. It depends on your perspective.
6) What’s next for you? The unknown.

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003 Adolf Maria Woodlouse, from Freising-1

 

Adolf Maria Woodlouse, from Freising, Bavaria, Germany.

1) Briefly explain who you are: The photo says it better
2) How long how you been traveling India? 3 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 1 week..
4) What brought you to India? My poverty and a hunger for adventure
5) In one word, why do you travel? I can.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? It takes a weak heart to judge. Good? Bad? It is changing and will keep changing.
6) What’s next for you? Home.

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004 Vega, from Buenos Aires, Argentina-1

 

Vega, from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1) Briefly explain who you are: No one.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 4 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 1 week..
4) What brought you to India? Love
5) In one word, why do you travel? Experience
6) What’s next for you? Now.

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005 Daisy, from Paris, France-1

 

Daisy, from Paris, France.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Who am I? Great question…
2) How long how you been traveling India? Been here 5 times. This time only 2 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 2 months.
4) What brought you to India? India is my home.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Connection with nature, to spend
time with local people, maybe a beautiful project with local people.
And sharing.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Better
7) What’s next for you? I don’t know. I live in the present 🙂

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006 Jacob, from Haparanda, Norrbotten, Sweden-1

 

Jacob, from Haparanda, Norrbotten, Sweden.

1) Briefly explain who you are: My name is Jacob and I am my own God.
2) How long how you been traveling India? Something like 45 days?
3) How long before your trip is finished? My trip will never finish.
But I have to leave India in about 45 days.
4) What brought you to India? My heart.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Knowledge.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? I think we will
destroy the world with our self-destructive ways.
7) What’s next for you? You will take my photograph.

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007 Ouriel, from Israel-1

 

Ouriel, from Israel.

1) Briefly explain who you are: I’m 24 years old from Israel. I work at a bar. I finished the army four years ago.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 2 weeks.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 4 months.
4) What brought you to India? The views and the people.
5) In one word, why do you travel? To see more of the world, to learn more.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? [Blank]
7) What’s next for you? [Blank]

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008 Fleur, from Amsterdam, Holland-1

 

Fleur, from Amsterdam, Holland.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Post-graduate art student of art
history, currently doing my masters in history of architecture. I’m not so interested in architecture itself… I’m more interested in the bigger picture: cities, their development, art, life and especially food. I go nuts about food in every possible way. Furthermore, I’m a romantic, a dreamer, but also realistic and hard and serious (for myself and others) at the same time. I’m very honest and open and love to seek beauty and passion in every possible way and anywhere I go.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 3.5 weeks.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 3.5 weeks.
4) What brought you to India? Yoga, food, the people, finding the
essence of life.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Breaking with the flow.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Sometimes I don’t want to look.
7) What’s next for you? Hopefully New York.

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009 Max, from Nantes, France-1

 

Max, from Nantes, France.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Just a happy guy trying to make his life better through travel, spiritual work and animals.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 1 month.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 5 months.
4) What brought you to India? I was in a supermarket, not knowing what to do with my life. Then I saw a lot of Indian people in the super market and I said: there is no way I can go to India. And then the music in the supermarket changed to “Let it Go!” really loud, and I said: OK! Let’s go to India!
5) In one word, why do you travel? To live.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Both -> Ying et Yang. We see a lot of good things and good people, but also the most horrible things (monsanto, government, lobby, health).
7) What’s next for you? Nepal. I also want to learn some healing
stuff to become a healer.

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010 Anja, from Ljubliana, Slovenia-1

 

Anja, from Ljubliana, Slovenia.

1) Briefly explain who you are: 34-year-old girl working in film
production who like to travel as much as she can.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 4 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 2 weeks.
4) What brought you to India? Beautiful nature, diverse people,
different cultures, colors, spirituality.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Freedom
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Worse. Individuality and money are making people worse.
7) What’s next for you? Find a job.

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013 Noa, from Israel-1

 

Noa, from Israel.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Dreamer, drifter, wanderer, traveler
2) How long how you been traveling India? 1 month
3) How long before your trip is finished? 1 month.
4) What brought you to India? Culture. Freedom
5) In one word, why do you travel? Independence.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Worse. People are becoming more material.
6) What’s next for you? Home. Israel. Work. Study.

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015 Sapir, from Israel-1

 

Sapir, from Israel.

1) Briefly explain who you are: 22 years old, lived in a few places around the world but my home is in Israel. Just finished my time serving in the army, now it’s me time.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 4 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 2 months.
4) What brought you to India? I wanted to feel freedom.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Growth.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Better. There’s no way I could really know, but I like to think positive
7) What’s next for you? Many ideas, but impossible to know.

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018 Ayala, from Maccabim, Israel-1

 

Ayala, from Maccabim, Israel.

1) Briefly explain who you are: 31-year-old young lady who’s standing in front of a big change in her life.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 1.5 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 1.5 months.
4) What brought you to India? Finding my dharma, my purpose in life.
5) In one word, why do you travel? To search.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? It stays the same, but I change because I’m growing.
7) What’s next for you? Happiness.

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024 Lilian, from San Francisco, United States-1

Lilian, from San Francisco, United States.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Visual artist, circus theatre
performer, teacher.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 9 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 2 months.
4) What brought you to India? Ladakh. I volunteered. Nepal. I
studied Tibetan thangka painting. Volunteered with a circus called
performers without borders to bring circus and theatre to vulnerable children in high-risk areas.
5) In one word, why do you travel? To change.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Better. Be the change you want to see in the world.
7) What’s next for you? Going on tour with the circus in England as a clown.

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.026 Arjan, from the Netherlands-1

 

Arjan, from the Netherlands.

1) Briefly explain who you are: An open-minded person living life to the full.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 6 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 2 months.
4) What brought you to India? Experience, learning.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Same as above.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Better. You can feel it when you travel: there is a (slow) shift in consciousness.
7) What’s next for you? Back to the Netherlands after 3.5 years.

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027 Annete, from Grass Valley, California-1

 

Annete, from Grass Valley, California.

1) Briefly explain who you are: I’m a lover of music, nature and the arts. My heart is in the ocean and in the mountains — I’ve never lived far away from either. I am a healer and am forever seeking deeper understanding of the mind-body connection. I believe through understanding cultural differences between people, we are lead to understand similarities between the people of the world, and together we are bound through this.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 8 days.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 6 months.
4) What brought you to India? It wasn’t my plan. I was in Kathmandu during the earthquake. The city was chaos. In order to save resources and assure safety the Indian government offered emergency visas for India. I quickly fell in love.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Soul.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? I believe the dark
side is growing, but the light and the awareness of the people is also growing. I believe in the light.
7) What’s next for you? Now that I am unexpectedly in India, I will
take my time in the north, exploring healing modalities, study yoga and Ayurveda, then continue traveling until I run out of funds.

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030 Omer, from Israel

 

Omer, from Israel.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Just a guy looking for his freedom
and happiness, and trying to get rid of all his fears. Seeking to use my full potential to that myself and others can benifit.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 4 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? I never know.
4) What brought you to India? Answer #3.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Happiness.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? It depends who you ask. Everyone has their own world. Mine is getting better.
7) What’s next for you? The next moment.

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031 Kabir, from Richmond, London, England

 

Kabir, from Richmond, London, England.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Recently graduated university in the UK. Undergraduate in the school of life, currently exploring planet earth.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 1 month this trip, but I’ve been here many times.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 3 days.
4) What brought you to India? This time I came for a friends wedding in Jaipur and ended up in Dharamkot.
5) In one word, why do you travel? To learn.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? I can’t say. However, our human world is fast consuming itself.
7) What’s next for you? A cup of tea.

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033 Michelle, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

 

Michelle, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Full time yogi, part-time optometrist.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 9 months, over 3 years.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 18 days.
4) What brought you to India? Yoga.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Experience.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? In a lot of cases, worse, especially in the West, but I see many ways it is getting better on a personal level and people’s awareness.
7) What’s next for you? Go back to the UK and plan my return.

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037 Jesh, from Tamil Nadu, India

 

Jesh, from Tamil Nadu, India.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Writer, filmmaker, nomad.
2) How long how you been traveling India? A very long time.
3) How long before your trip is finished? No idea.
4) What brought you to India? I’m a son of the soil.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Opening.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Both. In some ways we have come far, like gender rights, race issues, healthcare, etc. But in other ways we are worse, such as with the environment, living in shrinking bubbles, healthcare, etc. So…
7) What’s next for you? Write more. Drink more tea. Do more yoga. Make a film. Fall hopelessly in love. Or find glorious solitude. Stay open to whatever the universe offers me and always strive to be the best version of myself.

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039 Q, from Munich, Bavaria, Germany

 

Q, from Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Passionate traveler who also has a passion for sports, cooking, music and meeting people. I like to produce things by hand, especially in wood.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 6 weeks until now. 3 months total.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 7 weeks.
4) What brought you to India? Fascination from stories, pictures and movies. I wanted to explore it.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Culture.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Due to globalism, I think many important things in the world, such as what makes a place particular, are getting lost. That makes the world worse. But the world grows together, which is also good.
7) What’s next for you? Focus on the people in my area, and try to do good there. Give help to people who need it.

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040 Laura, from Thiene, Vicenza, Italy

 

Laura, from Thiene, Vicenza, Italy.

1) Briefly explain who you are: A girl, born in Italy, who is still seeking who she is.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 6 weeks.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 7 weeks.
4) What brought you to India? I was lacking inspiration from our Western countries. I was losing the possibility of living my life as I feel to do.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Curiousity.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Regression is going on in the world now, unfortunately. Everyone thinks we are progressing. I see that we are instead losing focus on what is really important for us.
7) What’s next for you? Good question! I ask myself every day. I still don’t know it… I will follow the flow and my intuition.

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041 Ashley, from Buffalo, New York

 

Ashley, from Buffalo, New York.

1) Briefly explain who you are: I’m a student, a teacher, a dancer, a dreamer, a healer, a friend, and a soul searching for the truth.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 7 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? However long India keeps giving me new visas.
4) What brought you to India? Ayurveda.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Learning.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Better, because I see people, young people, growing in knowledge and interest in themselves, studying themselves, introverting, questioning, connecting and becoming more aware.
7) What’s next for you? Studying with my teachers and growing in my teaching practice.

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042 Yanir, from Kfar-Saba, Israel

 

Yanir, from Kfar-Saba, Israel.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Just finished the army. I work as a waiter. I play the drums and guitar. Currently I’m traveling for one year before I become a student.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 4 weeks.
3) How long before your trip is finished? A few months.
4) What brought you to India? Its cheap and my friends are here.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Curiousity.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Neither.
7) What’s next for you? Good question. It changes every day.

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044 Hanna, from Sweden

 

Hanna, from Sweden.

1) Briefly explain who you are: I’m having a hard time identifying myself, every day has looked so different over the last four years. I’m always on the move, just a person exploring the world.
2) How long how you been traveling India? India? Just three months…
3) How long before your trip is finished? This trip has been going for years and I see no end to it.
4) What brought you to India? A wish for more color and action.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Curiousity.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Better. There is so much creativity and independent thought making the world change.
7) What’s next for you? I go buy a flight to see my family.

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045 Nadia, from Napoli, Italy

 

Nadia, from Napoli, Italy.

1) Briefly explain who you are: A traveler looking to solve some issues and spread smiles.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 6 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? Don’t know.
4) What brought you to India? Same as above.
5) In one word, why do you travel? To breath.
6) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? From my point of view, better, just because I am becoming more aware. But I believe in the law of nature -> everything changes. Everything arises and passes away, so it might become worse again.
7) What’s next for you? Who knows?

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049 Shachar, from Jerusalem, Israel

 

Shachar, from Jerusalem, Israel.

1) Briefly explain who you are: Vegan. Political activist.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 6 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 3 months.
4) What brought you to India? The freedom, the culture, the landscape.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Meet.
5) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Better. I think we are all learning all the time about wrong and right and sharing the knowledge with one another.
6) What’s next for you? Trekking in Kyrgyzstan, then retuning home for university.

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052 Krishna, from France

 

Krishna, from France.

1) Briefly explain who you are: God.
2) How long how you been traveling India? 2 months.
3) How long before your trip is finished? 3 months.
4) What brought you to India? A calling from mother earth.
5) In one word, why do you travel? Enjoyment.
5) Is the world becoming better or worse? Why? Karma – all is good.
6) What’s next for you? Don’t know.

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6 thoughts on “Travelers

  1. Brilliant post and portraits. I traveled in India for four months 20 years ago and your post has been an excellent point of reflection for me I think how I would’ve answered your questions then and how those answers might sound now. Thank you for this post.

  2. Eternity glimmering through our eyes since always for always reconnecting…at home back to the primordial .
    Thank you David for these beautiful shots and bits of momentum continuous .
    Carmen

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