How I Made Friends While Traveling Might Seem Strange, But It Was Worth It

"People can forget what you say and do, but they can never forget how you made them feel."

When I was on my traveling sabbatical, I wanted to do a conceptual photography project of sorts. I wanted to focus on happiness. After all, I travelled to follow my bliss.

I travelled in Indonesia, India and Nepal for a year and a half and explored regions that are quite remote to modern technology. Whenever I took photos of people living in the mountains, they requested I send the photos to them via snail mail because they do not have access to Internet. When I showed them the photos that I took, they'd have these very happy looks on their faces and it's that raw emotion I wanted to capture. 



As much as I wanted to mail the photos to them, traveling here and there made getting the photos developed and mailed quite a feat.

It dawned upon me that in this modern time, there are many ways to bridge gaps, even without using the Internet. I came up with the kind of crazy idea of carrying a mobile printer during a trek that I was planning in the Himalayan border of Tibet and Nepal. Being handed a photograph minutes after it was taken thousands of feet in the Himalayas would be very surprising. 

I bought a printer in Kathmandu and carried it with me during the two week trek. It was a really a struggle in the beginning because I had to bear the additional weight. However, it did feel more than worthwhile to carry the printer around when I started my project of handing photos to the people. 

The very happy emotions that were evoked by the very surprising gesture of receiving a photo of themselves minutes after it was taken in the high levels of the Himalayas was something that was very memorable to me. The joy that they felt, the surprise on their faces, the times when they would call out their neighbors and relatives to share in the surprise, the gesture of inviting me to their homes to get to know them better while sharing a meal or cups of tea - these were moments very special to me. They really overwhelmed me more than I had ever expected. 

Here are more of the photos that I took:

A little boy with water in Nepal.

A grandmother with the most beautiful smile.

Tiny warrior.

At a local store.

Dressed to impress.

He's growing bigger by the day.

Adorable siblings.

He loves to dote on his kids.

Bonding time.

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