Showing the photo I just took him

FAQs

FAQs

1 Travelling costs a fortune, how do you do it?
2 How much money do you spend travelling?
3 When did you start travelling and how many countries have you visited?
Why are you calling your project “The Road Provides”?
5 What is your project about?
6 Where are you from / where do you live?
7 What are your favourite countries?
8 Which countries would you visit again?
9 Why do you travel alone? Don’t you feel lonely?
10 Have you feared for your life? Did ever something bad happening to you?
11 What have you learned in your travels?
12 Did you study photography? What did you study?
13 Why do you like photography so much? Since when?
14 Is photography your job? Are you photographer?
15 What camera do you use?
16 Do you use Photoshop or Instagram filters to edit your photos?
17 How do you approach people? They never told you get the fuck out of here?
18 Why this love for humanity?

 

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1 Travelling costs a fortune, how do you do it?

When I finished university I worked for 5 years in Spain and then I moved to China, where I worked also for 1 full year and part of the other. The only trick to be able to travel a lot is saving as much as you can when you work, and expend as less as you can when you travel. There are no other secrets. I am aware not everybody is in the position to do the first part, as unfortunately not in every part of the world salaries are high enough. For intance, in China I was earning some $20 USD per hour of teaching English, being able to save enough money to travel for months afterwards.

Moreover, I don’t have a car, I don’t have a house, I don’t have a family to maintain, I don’t expend money unnecessarily on new clothes if the old ones are still fine, and if I have to buy something won’t be of well known and expensive brands. I don’t care about jewellery, new models of smartphones or any other expensive or luxurious things. I don’t smoke and I don’t party much, but, if I do, I just drink 1 or 2 beers. Every cent counts! I just have a cheap laptop, my normal professional camera (which I bought second hand and is not by far the best model in the market) and a cheap tablet that I use as a phone and computer when I travel. Recently I also got a smartphone: not a $800 USD Apple but just a $200 USD Samsung. To say it with other words: all I own is my cheap travelling equipment and not much more. To give you an example, I have travelled for 6 years with the same pants and the same t-shirt (I had to change the other 3 or 4 t-shirts and the other pant I carry when travelling because the old ones were robbed in 2014 together with my backpack).

Moreover, when in 2015 and 2016 I studied my Master’s in Spain, I was selected for two paid internships: the first one in Guatemala for 2 months and the second in Panama for 4 months. That way I was able to live there without using my savings, and I was even able to save a bit to travel around those countries. Likewise, living in China was a good way to travel around there without having to expend much money on expensive flights. As for now, after much trying and applying for many scholarships, I got one of the Taiwanese Government to study my PhD in Taiwan. During the next years I will be paid to study in Taiwan and hopefully I will be able to travel a bit around there too.

All this being said, the personal, professional and economical sacrifices needed for a normal person to save enough money to travel so much as I did, are a lot. However, I don’t regret a bit and I will do the same again. You also have to take the risk of finding yourself with no money at all in the future, are your ready to face that fear?

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2 How much money do you spend travelling?

With the time and the age I have changed little by little the way I travel. When I was in my twenties I could do whatever to save money, from walking 10km instead of taking a taxi to use Couchsurfing for weeks on a row. But now I need some more comfort and sometimes I take a bus instead of walking for 1 hour, or I ask for a private room if it is $2 or $3 USD more expensive than a shared dorm. On average, and depending on the prices of the country, the amount of transports taken (these are a big percentage of the total expenditure: is not the same to spend one month in the same city than changing of city every two or three days), nowadays I am expending something between $600-$900 USD per month.

In that budget I don’t include the cost of the flights to the destination. Flights are often expensive and you miss a lot when you are on the air, so normally I arrive to one place and then I move by land during months, avoiding taking more flights until it is time to go back home or to the next part of the world that claims me.

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3 When did you start travelling and how many countries have you visited?

I started travelling when I was around 25, with some friends in Europe. In 2010 I visited India, Dubai and Pakistan because of my previous job, and since the moment I put my feet on Asia I knew I wanted to keep moving. In 2011 I quit my job, moved to China and lived there for two years. In total, I have visited 80+ nations so far, most of them since 2010.

These are my statistics by September 2017:

-Nations visited: 85
-Number of months travelled since I quit my job in 2011: 29 (2,4 years out of 6)
-Number of months abroad (travelling or just living): 47 (3,9 years out of 6)

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4 Why are you calling your project “The Road Provides”?

“The Road Provides” is a motto that came to my mind unconsciously, I wasn’t looking for a name or anything like that. It happened in 2011 when I started my first solo trip in Iceland and the US. I faced many difficulties, like getting lost or not having a place to sleep for the day, or being in troublesome situations of all kind when I didn’t have much experience in travelling and even less alone. But in the end, there was always something happening, or somebody helping, and the problems were all solved. Since then, I always say that the road provides: call it a solution, new friends, new experiences, new lessons. Bad things happen, sure, but as long as you can go on, everything is fine and the road will provide the things you need.

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5 What is your project about?

The more I travelled, the more I noticed how wrong our ideas are. We don’t know much about the rest of the world when we look at it from the comfort of our bubble at home. We really need to go out there and see with our own eyes to get real knowledge about other societies and cultures. And no, reading books or watching movies is not always a substitute, as many times these are created by people with the same prejudices as you. Therefore, with my project I try to transmit the knowledge I got out there in a very authentic way, fighting my own stereotypes and trying to create documentary works that challenge those stereotypes, prejudices, xenophobia and racism.

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6 Where are you from / where do you live?

I am from Spain and my family lives there, but right now I can not say I live in Spain because I spend more time abroad than in Spain. Once in a while I went back to Spain to rest for a while, visit family and friends, but mainly to study my Master’s between 2014 and 2015, and also to do some paperwork which led me to get a scholarship to study in Taiwan from September 2017 forth. So, since then I can say I live in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

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7 What are your favourite countries?

It is very difficult to choose among countries when you have left a small part of your heart in so many places. Moreover, every part of the world has a different feel and different interesting things. Comparing among countries is like comparing among cars and appeles: no way to assess. It also depends on what do you like more. For instance, when I miss amazing nature, I miss Iceland, Tajikistan, Tibet, Uganda, Guatemala, Brazil, Georgia… When I miss people and culture: Iran, China, Colombia, Egypt, Nicaragua, Myanmar… But I just said some examples, there are much more and it is difficult to decide.

Now well, if you insist, I can tell you one or two favorite countries per region of the world. It could be something like this in order of visit:

-Western Europe: Italy
-East Asia: China
-South East Asia: Myanmar
-Central Asia: Tayikistan
-Middle East: Iran
-Central America: Nicaragua
-South America: Colombia
-Balkans: Albania
-East Africa: Uganda and Kenya
-Nothern Africa: Egypt and Morocco

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8 Which countries would you visit again?

As long as there are places I have not visited yet, it is not easy to repeat a country I already know a bit. The lust for getting to know new spots is huge! However, I want to go back to Iran to visit some parts I didn’t have tim  to; Iceland because I didn’t see enough of it either; China because I miss it too… Egypt, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Brazil, Palestine, Colombia too. But I am not sure when that can happen.

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9 Why do you travel alone? Don’t you feel lonely?

I travel alone because I can not depend on other people to be able to travel. You can organize your friends to travel for a weekend or a short holiday, but it is not easy to do it for months. Not everybody has the same amount of time, money or responsibilities in life (like family, debts, health issues). So better to travel alone than don’t do it at all, right? However, between 2012 and 2014 I travelled sometimes alone and sometimes with a few times with a good friend of mine.

And anyway, you can also feel lonely at home, don’t you? It is a common feeling once in a while for most human beings (if not all), but everybody needs to get used to it, as it is a part of life. I learned to be ok with myself alone and, anyway, when you travel you normaly meet a lot of cool people. Sometimes you meet locals, and sometimes you meet fellow travellers with the same interests as you, which is great because in your home country you don’t find this kind of people so easily.

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10 Have you feared for your life? Did ever something bad happening to you?

I have never really feared for my life. I have been scared a few times, but many of them were just wrong fears. I was robbed in French Guyana in 2014, I lost everything I had, including my passport and all my money, so I had to beg people for food and a place to sleep until I was able to return to my country. I have escaped from gunpoint assaults that affected friends of mine for just a few seconds or minutes (they were robbed but not me). I have been in complicated regions like the Afghan border, Mitrovica in Kosovo/Serbia, Palestine, DRCongo, Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, favelas in Brazil and many other places most people would avoid. However, nothing bad happened: all the opposite, I had very good experiences.

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11 What have you learned in your travels?

One of the greatest teachings of travelling has been to leave my fears behind. I visited many places of the world being full of fears and prejudice, but after facing them I realized it was mainly just my imagination. Television and movies had filled my head with a lot of bullshit, and I learned it is needed to leave it aside. There is good and bad people everywhere, but most of us are nice persons. Travelling sets you free, makes you grow personally, makes you feel aware of the world as it really is. It also provide happiness, the happiness for the knowledge acquired. Sometimes when people ask me why do I travel I just answer because I want to learn. Another aspect that I can notice that has changed inside of me during the last years, is how much I enjoy now all the small things that life offers: from a good dinner with friends to a hot water shower. Also, I am perfectly happy without having the last smartphone, branded clothes, a great car or a fancy home. I don’t even wish to have the best photo camera in the market! All the above, in the end, brings a huge improvement in my quality of life.

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12 Did you study photography? What did you study?

I studied the basics of photography during my Bachelor’s in Communication Science. The thing is that my father was a photography lover and we always had reflex cameras at home and many books. When I was a kid I was always reading those and taking any opportunity to shoot some photos. Since 2011, when I bought my first DSLR, I took it more seriously and I continued learned by meeting other good photographers during my trips and as a matter of practice. Also internet is a wonderful platform to learn in this times.

During 2014-2015 I studied a Master’s in cultre of peace and conflict, which opened a new path in my life. Thanks to it I did a research of 2 months in Guatemala and an internship in the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, in Panama. Moreover, currently I am going to start my PhD in Social Research and Cultural Studies in Taiwan.

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13 Why do you like photography so much?

Every day I like photography more and more for 3 main reasons.

  1. It pushes me to get closer to people. As you can see in my photographs, I like proximity, I shoot with a 24mm lens, which requires me to get very close to people. To do that I have to talk to them, create trust, spend time with them, respect and understand them. It enriches my travel experience immeasurably.
  2. As I want to take more nice photos and to have more incredible experiences with local people, I spend more hours on the field with my camera. Otherwise, I would just be at the hotel or resting at a nice restaurant. But photography pushes me to take the most of my time when I travel, enjoying more my trips. And it is for free!
  3. Memories are more realistic when you have photographs to help remember them. If I try to remember a moment or a person I met 4 or 5 years ago my mind idealizes the memories and sometimes it becomes unclear or directly wrong. When I have photos of those moments, I can mix my memories, the images and also the stories I wrote to remember more faithfully. It also helps to remember things you had already forgotten.
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14 Is photography your job? Are you a photographer?

Since 2013 photography has been almost my full time occupation. At least during the 29 months I have travelled by Sept 2017. Can I say it is my job? Well, I don’t work for any company and I don’t get money to live out of it. I didn’t even try. I just wanted to go where I wanted and take photos when I wanted. I have been lucky enough to have my savings and some scholarships, so I didn’t need to work for anybody to do what I wanted: travel and take photos.

Now I have created a nice portfolio and maybe, just maybe, eventually I can get some assigments as photographer We will see, I don’t have any pressure on that sense. I am photographer by the amount of time and interest I put on it. I am not photographer of profession, yet.

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15 What camera do you use?

Currently I have a Nikon D610 and 95% of the time I use a Nikkor 24mm 1.8G lens. Sometimes I use a 50mm and once in a while a 14mm and the 85mm. Before I shot with a Nikon D5300 and a Nikon D3100. Even if those cameras are not so good you can still see on my Instagram and also in this web some nice photos taken with those.

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16 Do you use Photoshop or filters for your photos?

I don’t use Instagram filters nor Photoshop, but Adobe Lightroom. I edited for photos for years before I got the feeling I like the most. Let’s call it my own style, my fingerprint. If you want to do well you should also get yours. Don’t try to copy anybody, just find the style you love the most and try to apply it to every photo. Of course from photo to photo you need to vary some things, but the general look should be similar.

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17 How do you approach people? They never told you get the fuck out of here?

Or course they did, and many times. But if you want to do this kind of close range photography you need to live with that and carry on. Sometimes receiving a “no” after a “no” is psycologically exhausting, but then you just keep walking and let the road provide. Some of the best photos I have taken were after horrible days of being refused by a lot of people. You have to understand that many people feel that tourists go around taking photos of everybody like in a zoo (many people told me that), so they have negative perceptions about cameras. The important thing is to talk to people, being sincere, and let them know why are you interested on them. Show respect and don’t rush to take photos: the main thing is to get to know them. Once they trust you and feel relax the photos come easy. Many times it is them who ask you to take a photo of them.

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18 Why this love for humanity?

Don’t take me wrong, but I don’t love everybody! Everywhere there are good and bad people, and I think that is exactly the key to understand what I do. I try to focus on normal and good people from every place I visit, just to show that we, human beings, are not very different from one place to another. Some people try to take advantage of a xenophobic discourse to gain popularity and power (as we have seen lately in some Western countries), but that speach, hate speach, is totally devoid of realism. That being said, I find stupid people everywhere too! I am stupid sometimes too! Nothing is perfect in this world, but it is time to start mentioning the good things that all of us have, so at least we don’t hate each other for no reason. Enough is said about bad people nowadays.

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