Life on the road was always something I craved. As a child, I got my first taste of adventure road-tripping through the Carpathian Mountains with my grandparents, camping on the banks of the Dnieper River during the summer holidays and going on overnight train journeys to visit family friends and relatives living some distance away. Even though I loved being out and on the move, at the time I did not think beyond my immediate surroundings. I did not realize that we were living in the biggest country in the world – a country that no longer exists today – and the occasional summer vacation at the beaches of Crimea or the Sea of Azov was a long haul trip in my books. Until one day, when my parents told me that the reason they hired a tutor to teach me Spanish was not so much for the general development of my teenage mind, but rather because we were moving to Spain. It was the first time I had traveled internationally and the palpable excitement I felt getting off the plane in Barcelona has not left me since.
In the years that followed, I liked to imagine how one day I would pack up and take off, maybe even without a specific destination in mind. Experience everything the world has to offer and be a vagabond for a while, or possibly forever. I still get lost in these youthful dreams every once in a while, but for better or worse my fondness for the comfortable lodgings combined with a hankering for life's creature comforts that only come with a steady income, has so far prevented me from running away into the unknown. Instead, I got a permanent address in Canada, finished university, embarked on a career path and married my best friend, who luckily understands my adventurous spirit better than anyone and happily accompanies me to even the most obscure spots on the map. Although far from being full-time wanderers, we've explored cities and towns, beaches and mountains, forests and deserts, jungles and prairies in over 40 countries so far.
Somewhere along the way I realized that I have precious few photos from my travels back home as a child, my years in Europe as a teenager, or even my first few years living in Canada. Tucked away inside a box in my closet is just a handful of old pictures that are witness to more than twenty years worth of adventures, both small and big. The rest were lost during moves, destroyed for sentimental reasons or just plain nonexistent because either the roll never got developed or no one bothered to take any photos in the first place. So as we hit the road more and more often, I finally learned my way around a proper camera and over the past eight years it became my constant travel companion during the precious moments when I set my inner vagabond free. A blessing and a curse, as while it preserves our life's memories, they end up buried deep on an obscure hard drive not to be seen for years. Well, years have passed and I've decided that it's time to give these memories a good home. Over the past few months I've been digging through thousands of travel photos: early mornings, late nights, long drives, great hikes, sometimes lazy days, occasionally strange food and always amazing scenery. Each place a new reminder of how amazing our planet is and how much there is to discover when we make time to look up from our daily routines and take a break from the familiar. Each image a souvenir from my vagabond self to my everyday self, to be unwrapped later like a gift. This is a work-in-progress on a collection of memories made away from everyday.