You know that moment when people ask you where you are from ? I have to confess that I'm never quite sure how to respond. I think when I was younger I used to just tell people that I was from Florida because it seemed like the easiest thing to say. However over the last few years that response started to seem really weird. I think it must have happened when I was in grad school. During all those moments of wondering if I had made the right choice to leave my cushy corporate job to follow this crazy photography dream, I began to question other things .... mostly related to identity and roots. It was the first time in my life I really sort of began wonder about the place my parents had left behind when the emigrated to the United States all those years ago. I knew it was time to finally make a trip back to Colombia.
It took a couple of years to actually make the trip happen but this past January I finally went "home" for the first time in 36 years. I traveled for 6 weeks why my family, by myself and friends I met along the way. The trip was truly life changing. There were relatives that I hadn't seen since I was 12 and there were ones I had never met. There were things that I never knew about our family ; my grandfather had been a coffee farmer, my 80 year old uncle still has a ranch and rides horses everyday, my mom and her sisters used to get in trouble for playing in piles of coffee beans! My aunt Amanda (who I lovingly call the midget because she is a very tiny woman) is 70 years old and an unstoppable force of nature who wears heals no matter where she goes (even on hikes up a mountain). She was my tour guide for the majority of my family time and she left very few stones unturned in an effort to show me every corner of Colombia.
I returned with close to 5000 images (and that was after some initial editing!) I wasn't quite sure where to start with editing so I turned to Wonderful Machine and together we came up with the Down South gallery. The gallery contains images from all over Colombia including Medellin, Cartagena, Villa de Leyva, Santa Fe de Antiquioa, Cali, Salento and the remote desert region of La Guajira (one of my personal favorites... check out the blog entry specifically about that part of the adventure)
My trip with unforgettable! I really wish I could pack all my friends on a plane and take everyone together. In the meantime, I will have to share the good ole fashioned way... photographs!