Stories from the Road is a collection of stories about my own photographic adventures in South Asia. Sometimes the stories are exciting and sometimes mundane and at times emotional. This section deals with vernacular photography and the way we all experience the photographs we see. What they meant when we took them and what they mean over time.
The Story of Traveling with My Mother in Istanbul, Turkey
I am writing this post just a week before it will post. I am very excited because Meropi and I leave for Delhi on the evening train. Meropi and I are picking my mom up at the airport and then the three of us are headed to Tamil Nadu! Tamil Nadu is the southernmost state on the east side of the country. It will be my first time to go to South India! I have decided to dedicate this post to my mom. As some of you may have read, my mom and I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey and Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2015. It was my mom’s first trip off the North American continent. It was a big deal.
The photograph above is the only one I have from the trip of my mother and me. I took it with my cell phone our first evening in Istanbul. (Yes, I am moving out of South Asia briefly.) The photograph of us was taken at Sultanahmet Square. We are standing near and ancient Egyptian Obelisk. The photograph is dark and grainy and only half of our faces are in the photograph. However, it does not matter. It documents the journey of my mother and me.
My mother and I have been traveling together since I was a child. We traveled as a family when I was young. When I was a pre-teen my parents divorced and I traveled with my parents separately as a teenager. After I finished high school my mom moved to Portland, Oregon. When I would visit her, we traveled the region. So, she has been my longest and most consistent travel companion.
The trip to Istanbul and Dhaka was significant for several reasons. First, it was my mom’s first journey off the North American convenient. Two, we were traveling to Muslim countries and everyone had an opinion about that. Since I had been to India twice I was not worried but my mom had some reservations. In the end, she traveled like a champ and wants to visit both places again.
The trip is a real testament to getting out of one’s comfort zone and seeing what the world really has to offer. We encountered a few potential scammers and some amazing people. For me, when I look at the photograph I am reminded of the strong woman my mom has always been. She has always been able to overcome adversity in her life. I love that my mom was 59 when she started traveling Internationally. (Well, she had been to Mexico and Canada.) Now she has been to Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Bangladesh, Thailand, Italy, France and the Dominican Republic. Soon she will add India to her list.
I am excited our new adventure under way! To my mother with love!
Be sure to check out Facebook and Instagram to see photos from our trip to Tamil Nadu!