Have you ever talked yourself out of a trip because of your limitations? Perhaps it’s your health or physical restrictions? Or maybe more mental side of things? Maybe you are a traveller at heart but the life gave you a few horrible experiences and convinced you the world isn’t really safe at all nor really worth seeing. Do you spend time fantasizing about taking trips but then thinking about all the complications that could arise, quitting on it before you even give the idea a chance? Well, this was me. From physical restrictions to mental restrictions, for a while life gave me a taste of how bitter and tough it can really be. But the wonderful thing about travelling, is that once you’re out there once you make the first step out of your comfort zone– none of that stuff really matters. Because you start to focus on ‘’THE NOW’’. Yes, trips won’t always be ideal and stress free. But if you plan well, according to how much you can physically do- you’d surprise yourself at how much more you’re capable of. You’d surprise yourself at how amazing and healing a single trip can be for your mind, your body and soul. Travel gives life a perspective, opens our eyes to the world and lives of other people beyond our comfort bubble. It’s a fuel for mind, soul and body. And having that said….
Welcome to my travel blog. Since it’s the first post I thought it’s only suitable to introduce myself, my name is Marta Esperanza and I will be sharing my travel adventures with you. Being a photographer, I will share my photos with you along the way … maybe even some videos. I will be showing you lessons I learned among the way, share my thoughts/advice and show you that not every trip is ‘’ideal’’ but is ultimately worth taking. The path that led me to making a decision about starting my own blog, is a weird one (ahh the ironies of life sometimes…). But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
Ever since I was a toddler I had a strong fascination with photography and the world. My parents would sit me on the ground with a bunch of family photos and travel books as to their surprise, I’d just watch them and be entertained for hours. When I was 6, I started reading those travel books, taking me around the world. I’d admire landscapes, the history, people and mysterious places. You’d think that all this book reading would make me grow up smarter. Newsflash- I didn’t. But I did grow up to be super creative and passionate about seeing the world.
I always wanted to be outdoors and on the go. As a baby/ toddler- my parents would settle my tantrums and fussiness with car rides around the neighbourhood. Growing up in a place surrounded by forests, it became a usual occurrence for my parents to venture out with me, for forest walks or to nearby lakes. I was also surrounded by the historical artefacts from WW2, some of which me and my grandad would find in our back yard. With all that, I grew up wanting to be an archaeologist- getting payed to travel the world and discovering lost artefacts of history.
Fast forward to 13 and a different country of living, Christmas rolls around and I get a new 10 mpx compact camera. I started snapping my first photos at 13 years old and discovered the thrill of freezing the moment forever, of telling a story, expressing myself through imagery. I would go out every day with a camera and capture photos of my surroundings. Then I started dressing up my sister (I mean I bet a lot of people with siblings will relate to this activity) and began doing photo shoots. I didn’t think this little fun hobby would ever turn into my career path. At 16 I had my first professional model photo shoot and was hired for my first wedding photography. By 23, I had my work published in magazines, won photography awards, worked with countless clients, produced a photography book, worked alongside and had my work reviewed by the biggest photographers in the industry. Even went off to get a degree in visual communication specialising in photography. (I blame my parents for this… they got me my first camera hehe). For a long time, I focused solely on portraits professionally. I was however, taking travel photos of my trips and nature regularly. I just liked keeping them to myself.
Then bit by bit, my passions, the fire and drive I had for my goals and dreams started being stripped apart. Have you ever had a bad day, that started with one event that put you on edge and then the rest of events that followed were like a domino of misfortune? Well that was my life for 3 damn years. Adult life hit me hard.
First was my knee injury, which caused an unbearable amount of pain and physical restrictions… I was very adamant in getting better, though I couldn’t travel like I used to anymore. Even going to pick up groceries was a challenge. After surgery, I was told that my knee will never get better and I will most likely end up in a wheelchair by 40. (Come again?!). That sent me into a spiral of negativity and looking for treatments to aid my condition. I was met by lack of care, negligence and then an assault from a medical professional. The thing about an injury though, is that it starts as this specific thing that later chips away at your entire body. Before I knew, I had serious hip and back issues from shifted gait. And severe stomach issues from medication I was taking. And don’t even get me started with my mental health post assault.
Despite that I tried to prove to myself that I can still travel and take photos as long as I adjust myself accordingly. Later that year I crossed two items off on my bucket list, ‘’climbing on top of an active volcano’’ which I did, for literally 5 steps as the coach took me to a peak making it much easier. I sat on the volcano warming my butt and I thought to myself ‘’I can do this, as long as I slightly adjust items on my bucket list’’. Another was to try snowboarding, and that I did also- I trained my knee for it continuously for 3 months and during the experience I had several people helping me to go down a small hill. Despite the embarrassment of 6 year olds speeding past me with no help, I felt incredible achievement and gratitude. I felt ALIVE -travelling always made me a better person.
Those experiences were so precious, but it never crossed my mind that they will bring joy to other people. After some convincing from my dear friends, I took a dive and shared my first short travel post and photos on social media. The response was so positive it overwhelmed me. I never wrote any blogs, and never showed my travel photos off before, yet people loved the posts I put out there. I started writing and getting even more excited about up-coming trips. I didn’t realise how much more joyous my trips and adventures can be, knowing I’ll be sharing them with other people. Slowly I started seeing a development in my travel photography style, I wanted to translate all the magical, mystical atmosphere I was experiencing and the beauty I was witnessing. I even got myself a little travel hat, which later became a little bit of a signature in my photos.
Remember about that domino effect I mentioned earlier though? Well my creative and adventurous life came to a full stop for a while. One more traumatic incident was one too much. My body and mind gave up, at last. I lost it all, the progress I made after the initial injury and the work I have done. And more tragic than anything I experienced; I lost a will to live. I officially hit rock bottom. The world suddenly became a completely dark place, not worth seeing. (we’re getting a bit heavy here but don’t worry it gets better). I locked myself indoors for months on end, scared to go out and interact with people, scared to experience anything. I stopped photography and travelling, and it would take a year before I would even attempt to try those passions of mine again. My health spiralled out of control and kept bringing me new issues to deal with on a daily. I suppose when your mind gives up, your body acts accordingly. I could go on about my mental and physical health isssues, but this could easily turn into a novel. And you get the gist of it. However, with time I proved to myself than I AM MORE THAN WHAT HAPPENED TO ME. Now, this is where we are getting to the good stuff (literally and figuratively). Get this- my own blogs I wrote the years prior, helped me reconnect with those aspects of my travel and photography passions that I lost. It was my own words and photos that reminded me of the way I saw the world and how beautiful it can be. It was weird, like reading words of complete stranger. I wanted all those positive views on travel and the world back.
I started taking short trips, despite my mental/ health issues. Then I started taking photos and writing again. Focusing on my health, working on my body to get it in best shape it can be. Seeing specialists to help aid with my health problems and chronic conditions. I took on hobbies like Brazillian jiu-jitsu to aid my confidence in feeling safer and allowed faith to help heal the mental wounds. And every day I am working on myself, because to be honest, the work on yourself never ends. It took me a bit of time, but I realised that whatever you experience in life, whatever setbacks and struggles you face- you can still travel. Yes, being super healthy makes things so much easier, but having chronic conditions, physical restrictions or other issues just can prove you’re stronger and a better planner.
I wanted to talk about some of the hardships to shed some light onto my biggest inspiration for starting this travel blog. Which is realising the inspiring and healing power that the travel blogs can have. It was this that solidified the decision to start my own travel blog and hopefully help others feel less afraid of seeing the world. With the lesson that despite your difficulties – anything can be done as long as you want it badly enough and as long as you plan it according to your abilities. Maybe one day I will share some more insight into the dark experiences I had and the detailed process of healing, maybe it will help someone. Life is complicated, but I believe we can help each other through the experiences we lived and the lessons we learned from them.
For now though- will you join me in my travel adventures? Will you walk with me from forests to the seas? From mountains to villages to cities? Seeing the nature in all its beauty, the modern city landscapes or abandoned places? I am here to share those wonderful experiences with you, the crazy adventures and mystical places. I will start by sharing some of my first blogs in the past and work my way to present, so stay tuned because there is a lot of content coming.
Thank you for reading, Be brave & travel! Cheers, Marta x