Will 2022 be the year for scratching our travel itch internationally? Backcountry Journeys has high hopes that it will indeed be a bounceback year, and is positioning ourselves for a year full of wonderment and curiosity towards new people, places, cultures, customs, and critters. And, being photographers driven by a desire to connect with the natural world, our cameras will be what takes us where we want to go!
Since the spring of 2020, the idea of traveling to the wide-open spaces of the world outside of the U.S. has not been much of a consideration. The pandemic changed a number of things that will never fully change back. But as we as a collective have learned, adapted, and vaccinations have become available, the idea of international travel is once again a reality.
In 2022, Backcountry Journeys is looking to rekindle our travel romance with the international world, are you ready to do the same? But first…what draws us in? What is it that makes traveling to new and foreign places so romantic, what do we get from it all?
Our adventures offer us a chance to write our story with more complete chapters. To see the world, to experience its differences. To draw closer, and to create memories that add to the richness of who we are and how we translate what we learn into how we feel. Our cameras can take us there. Traveling abroad can teach us about ourselves as we broaden our horizons by learning about others. It is a chance to reflect on what truly matters. Our hearts will buy the ticket. Travel is a reset button, a life-list checked off place by place, experience by experience. It’s an opportunity to have those tiny hairs on your arms and neck stand at attention because of something you’re seeing for the first time, in person. You may have seen it on TV, or in a postcard, or someone else’s photography, but that’s not the same thing.
Where will your arm and neck hairs freeze at attention?
It could be while watching the setting sun over a waterfall in Iceland at the end of a long day that took you past rolling green landscapes dotted by sheep and Icelandic horses, lava fields, black sand beaches with sea ice.
It might be spotting a Scarlett Macaw pass through the jungle canopy as the White-faced Capuchin monkey poses for your lens on a tree branch in Costa Rica. Coming to realize the love the people of Costa Rica have for their land and the natural riches and beauty they choose to protect.
A visit to Africa might open your heart to precisely what it feels like to spend a day cruising the Chobe River and Okavango Delta, getting amazingly close to herds of elephants, Impala, buffalo, and other wildlife as they appear on the banks. Camping under deeply dark African night skies, with the camaraderie of others.
Life-changing is the best way to describe getting up close and personal with the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda. A visit to see these majestic creatures can leave one’s life changed forever. Understanding them as only one can after looking into their eyes, you’d be convinced of their humanity. You’ll learn of their struggle to survive, and how important conservation efforts, including tourism, are to their continuation as a wild species.
Our planet’s largest living cat, Tigers, can instill an appreciation and a deep sense of respect and awe. A visit to India offers a chance to witness a tiger appear from the brush, which is an incredible experience unlike any other. India is home to 70% of the world’s tiger population, which is approximately 2400 of the 3800 remaining wild tigers in the world.
There is no doubt that through our experiences we grow as humans. What we know, see, and learn leads to a greater understanding. As nature photographers, our quest to tell the greater story of our world through our lens, and our vision as artists can take us as far as our imaginations will allow. The larger question, then, is ‘where on this great big wide planet shall you go?’ It’s a tough question to answer, yet, a fun one to ponder once again, isn’t it? Just having the option to spin that desk globe, point a finger, and let fate decide, is a nice change in the right direction. Where will your camera take you in 2022?
Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers, and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens, to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.