A life well travelled: Cristina Mittermeier

Multiple award-winning photographer, marine biologist, passionate environmentalist and author of new book, Amaze

 

Travelling is an opportunity to step into ‘other’ worlds. You leave what’s familiar and enter what’s mysterious and new. Even though I travel for work and I find the bustle of airports and cities very challenging, the reward is to arrive at a place where nature and the ancient rhythms of our planet remain undisturbed. Having the opportunity to bear witness and to speak on behalf of those places, is what makes travel worthwhile.

I just came back from the island of Pico in the Azores, where I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of swimming with blue whales Freediving to a place where you can meet the largest resident of our planet, on its terms, is the most amazing travel experience I have ever had.

I usually follow recommendations from friends, scientists and fellow photographers. Once you have traversed the destinations on the beaten path, it requires a lot of determination to find a path to those places where tourism has not yet arrived.

On my deathbed, I will not be thinking about a single experience, but about the countless remote villages and hamlets where I have been gifted great kindness and humanity. When I have been cold, I have been invited to the fire. When I have been tired, lonely, or sad, people whose language I did not speak and whose culture I did not understand, have offered me sympathy and companionship.

Being part of a global tribe has been the greatest revelation of my life as a traveller.I love going back to villages that I have visited over and over again. Being greeted like family and watching children grow into young people, warriors become elders, and the ebb and flow of village life happening in a time scale foreign to urban dwellers, is what I love most.

I have a long bucket list.I would like to journey on a motorbike through the coastal communities of Southeast Asia, traverse the Australian Outback, explore the Mongolian steppes, travel by camel with the Touareg, see the coast of Africa by car…the list is endless and there is still so much to see.

I really enjoy meeting people and making friends. When I am back home, I often think about the small boats, the rickshaws, the swampy trails that have taken me to amazing destinations.I also think about the generosity, the smiling faces, the kindness of people, who although very different to me, have shown me nothing but humanity.

Amaze by Cristina Mittermeier, is out now, published by teNeues