“Paths emerge by walking them.”
I started to travel remote places extensively at 22, when I spent half a year in Australia, mostly in the Tasmanian wilderness. Intense times in the North American Rockies and the ranges of Central Asia followed soon after. This way of traveling has changed my life in a very profound way.
Once I met a shepherd in the Kyrgyz mountains who asked me: “Why are you doing this? Why are you walking for months through these mountains?” Back then I didn’t know what to say. I realized, that this is actually a very complex question. It’s about getting up with the sunrise in the morning and falling asleep as the last light disappears behind a horizon of snow-capped peaks. Spending the days putting one foot in front of the other, for weeks, for months. Over and over. It’s a training to strip off unnecessary wants. It creates a world that is focused on the very basic, confined to oneself, to ones’ human and animal companions, deprived of most aspects of modern civilization. Learning to be simple and flexible. It evolved to be the way I want to live my life.
When I seriously picked up a camera for the first time in 2011 and got enchanted by photography, it became an important part of my personal development. For me taking pictures is like practicing to be a human animal. I learned to be patient and wait, for hours, maybe days. All senses sharpened and tuned into the world, observing the present in a high state of awareness. Waiting for the “right” circumstances to emerge, without expecting anything – since often enough, the conditions don’t fall into place. For me photography is a way to be in the present, to become more intuitive and deepen my feelings for the world, rather than thinking about it.
I have always been drawn to the mountains, most likely because I grew up in a very mountainous region in Austria. During the 6 years of my studies in Vienna I understood how important they are to me. It’s like having good friends around, marveling at their magnitude. Through this passion for mountains I got interested in the glacial melt and climate change. Having the scientific background as a trained physicist, this growing global catastrophe became a major part of my perspective. I am passionate about creating awareness for this huge problem. Although – if you look at the numbers – the 21st century will become rather disastrous, we should never stop working towards a brighter future. It is still in our hands. In order to do so, we have to climb out of our old boxes and walk new emerging paths. This means shifting context, challenging hard-wired perspectives and leaving comfort-zones.
Looking back, my travels made me step out of boxes. I sit in a different one right now, but it feels as if it is much larger and richer, than the one I was in before I started to roam the world.
“The real voyage of discovery
consists not in searching new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.”