How Did I Get Here?

Exploring the power of travel to shape perception and identity

When I began traveling internationally, I became fascinated with lifestyles and the inherent differences and similarities between us: something standard in one place is absent elsewhere, a pursuit here is forbidden there, rituals in one culture are performed differently in another, and some circumstances have no frame of reference whatsoever. I learned a lot from talking with people, seeing how they lived, walking their streets. Looking at a collection of photographs and journals from places I’ve traveled over 20 years, and seeing them together as a single journey rather than individual trips, got me thinking—how does travel shape someone’s outlook on life, perception, and even identity?

How powerful are the people you meet, places and experiences that are so different from what you know, things that happen along the way?

This project explores the relationship between foreign travel and identity. The analog, digital, and archival nature of my collection made it ripe for a transmedia piece and the photographs and stories serve as a starting point for communication. On a podcast series, conversations with people who are from some of the countries I’ve visited reveal personal truths; a new narrative being created on Instagram (@EverywhereCyndie) adds visual context; in the ICP student exhibition, a floor to ceiling “wall” of images suggests the cumulative effect of travel; and on the website, people can submit stories and memories through a short form.

The ultimate goal is to create a bigger conversation that becomes a catalyst for connection, inquisitiveness, and more understanding between people everywhere. This project is a first step.