Learn from Peter Herzog: What stories do your travels tell?
Peter Herzog is an adventurer and photographer. He’s also deeply passionate about telling the stories of people who the world might otherwise forget. Herzog captures their rituals, daily lives, and surroundings through his lens. Simultaneously, he seeks to experience the world through their eyes.
Herzog is just like other adventurers who have recorded personal stories of their travels, dating back to ancient times.
For instance, Greek geographer Pausanias created the oldest, most detailed volume of travel writing. He spent more than 20 years traveling, researching, and completing Description of Greece in the second century. It’s invaluable to travelers even today.
Another example is Muhammad Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan scholar. He voyaged throughout the medieval world for decades. Ibn Battuta explored Islamic lands, as well as Africa and Asia, logging some 75,000 miles. He dictated his experiences in A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling.
Similar to Pausanias and Ibn Battuta, Herzog wrote a book, which, together with my creative team, I designed and published with him. In Enlightenment, his words and photos provide a first-person account of life along the mighty Mekong River:
“While the Mekong is incredibly rich as a river, it flows through one of the poorest regions of the world. As the Captain guides our long boat to shore, small faces emerge from the shadows of the jungle. Children who are cautious yet excited to share their world greet us as we approach. Disembarking we notice the sweltering heat and humidity as we continue forward, entering their invisible world nestled behind dense foliage lining the river. Here families exist with no running water or electricity and houses appear to be made from tin and scrap wood. Their expressions are a mixture, some of stress and worry, with others showing simple joy. They survive by growing a garden, chopping wood, hunting and fishing. They make scarves on old wooden looms hoping for a sale to the few that visit. I can’t imagine they ever move far from this place. It is not an easy life, but they get by.”
Herzog well understands the transformative power of travel. So did Ibn Battuta. In fact, he said, “It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” How about you? What personal stories do your travels tell?