Touchdown in Lima

"The jittery nerves I'd been feeling in the days leading up to the trip just disappeared as I looked out of the plane window."

Sunday 15th July, 22:00pm, Lima

I barely know what day it is. I touched down in Lima just as the sun was setting but my timezones are all mixed up and I’m confused on the date, which day of the itinerary I’m on – on everything.

Sadly, I didn’t have a window seat on the long flight from Schiphol to Lima but I spent a lot of my time wandering to the back the plane to look out of the window. To see the sea and reflect on how I was feeling about being on my way to Peru for this trip.

Everything was so last minute and the whole time, the days leading up to this trip, I kept thinking “someone’s going to change their mind and tell me that they don’t need me anymore.”

I thought that my achey arms from getting jabs would be for nothing, that the ball of jumbled nerves and excitement in my stomach and chest would have been for nothing. But it wasn’t. I was on the flight. It was happening.

Being an adventure photographer is a fairly recent dream.

But, actually, thinking back, 10 or more years ago I wanted to be a travel writer. Not writing about resorts or packing tips or anything like that. I wanted to write about animals, the environment, the human condition. And I still want to do that. I don’t see my writing and my photography as separate entities. One doesn’t exist without the other. Telling stories, for me, doesn’t stop at the letter or the click of the shutter – it’s the entwining of both that intrigues me. 

Just before we began our descent into Lima, a golden ray of light caught my eye. I got out my middle, middle seat and made my way to the back of the plane, camera in hand.

I’ve never really had such a strong, sudden feeling of calm before. Usually when I’m feeling a little nervous it dissipates incrementally or, if it’s sudden, it’s because of some news that’s lifted a burden. This was different.

As I looked out of the window and saw the mountains – it was almost as if my chest had filled up and left no space for anything other than unbridled excitement for the trip, the job, ahead. Worries that I’d do a bad job, take terrible photos, not get along with the group – they were gone. Fully and completely gone from my head, my stomach, my chest.

I just felt ready. 

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