What is it that stays with us on our travels? For travel photographer, vanlifer and friend of Passenger Linus Bergman, it’s all about the people we meet along the way. Sometimes, a fleeting one-off chat with a stranger miles from home can change everything…
What inspires you to seek adventure?
For every trip it’s something different. Sometimes I just feel the urge to escape the city and sleep under a clear night sky. Sometimes I get the urge to roam from a book about exploration, or maybe just some new music. My inspiration moves and changes over time...
Where is the wildest place you have found yourself?
Lately, I’ve been embarking on smaller-scale adventures closer to home. Mostly by re-visiting the country where I grew up with fresh perspectives. In Sweden we have so much wild nature to explore, it’s a vast and humbling place.
Norrland (the northern part of Sweden) have these long empty roads where you can drive for hours without seeing a soul. Bears, reindeers, and moose roam free there. It’s one of the wildest places I know and one of the most beautiful. It can get cold though, when we roamed through last winter it was around -36 C.
What are you searching for?
For one, to figure out my place on this earth. To soak up sunrises, sunsets or maybe to encounter a pleasant talk with another human being on some isolated road that changes your whole perspective. I do prefer traveling in less touristy places where I feel closer and more connected with nature. Travel is my drug for sure, it’s the thing that makes my heart beat faster. For me, to be totally honest – it’s scarier to settle down in one place rather than pointing at a random place on a map and just go, but maybe one day I’ll settle somewhere.
What have you learned about yourself?
We are all the sum of our experiences, so everything really. All good and all bad stems from my travels.
It is said that travel broadens the mind and I couldn’t agree more. The unknown can be scary sometimes for sure. But, by challenging yourself and by going out in the world having conversations with strangers, it makes us all a little more open.
So I’d say, that is one of the things travel has helped me with the most - Accepting and embracing differences. Letting the guard down towards people and another way of doing and thinking. I always want my cup to be a bit on the empty side. Every trip helps me with that.
When you go wandering, what do you leave behind, and what do you bring back?
This is something I’ve asked myself a lot lately. When I started to explore it was about seeing as much as possible in a short amount of time. As I get older, I’ve realized I prefer slow travel. I prefer to be in a country for a couple of months to a year really getting to know the locals and their culture. Leaving is always challenging, of course.
My family lives in the same city back in Sweden. Since I started travelling my brothers have had children too, so seeing them growing up is something I miss when on the road. I’m always taking new found knowledge and stories back home. If I can take one or two photographs that give the place justice too then I’m more than happy.
What music is a regular for road trips?
I have a soft spot for old classics like Canned heat, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and so on. But I always find myself reaching for a staple of Jose Gonzales, Tallest man on earth, Fleet foxes, Bon Iver and The National on road trips. Lately I’ve started digging African Folk, Jazz and laid back instrumental sounds too, when the time is right.
If you could relive one moment from your travels, what would that be?
Many years ago after a few weeks of traveling, we were on the hills of the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. On the evening after hiking around in the beautiful mountainside I sat at an Internet cafe and uploaded some of the images I’ve taken (it was my first camera). A French man walked by and stopped ”Wow, are you a travel photographer?” he asked. I told him no, that I only did it for fun but he wouldn’t leave it there. The conversation lasted just a minute or two but it has been on my mind since then. His words gave me confidence in myself as a “photographer” and a clarity of the path I wanted to take. This moment was when my journey and exploration of photography really started. It also taught me not to hold back with compliments or kindness. Spreading positivity and saying what comes to your mind can help people around you more than you think.
I’ve been living a full time vanlife for the last year and a half or so. It’s become really comfortable for me so I’ve decided to shake things up a bit. I’m currently preparing to cycle from Sweden to Scotland (maybe down to Portugal after). I’m really looking forward to seeing the road in a different light, and to take the time to learn about long-distance biking. I also see this as an opportunity to meet more people. So if you read this and want to ditch work for a while to join, hit me up.