Back in 2004, I spent about three months teaching english at a school in Bhaktapur, Nepal. I was 20 and it was my first time traveling outside the U.S. I grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and while I consider it to be a really beautiful area, it isn’t necessarily the epicenter of culture. Because of this, my first experience abroad was quite overwhelming. As I walked down the steps of the plane at Kathmandu International Airport, I was overcome by humidity and was instantly covered in sweat. I nervously followed people that looked like they knew what they were doing and figured out my way through customs. For someone that had done absolutely no research about traveling, I felt pretty good about it.
Apart from being my first time abroad, this was also the first time that I had thought about photography as more than just a hobby. After wading through the sea of taxi drivers, I walked around the city with my camera, marveling at every narrow alley, every temple. Watching people come and go with a sense of wonder. Looking back, it seems kind of ridiculous, but I also realize that’s the reason why I love photography. Being able to capture a moment that is very personal to you, and then having the opportunity to show other people, attempting to evoke the same emotions that you felt when you initially took the photograph. To me, this is why photography exists.