Friends, Your sphere of influence is enormous. In fact, I am convinced that nearly every decision made is in some way influenced (for better or worse) by others. A few examples from my personal life include decisions to travel, show compassion, share my art, learn spanish, tell bad jokes, and eat spinach. It sounds silly but these choices have been influenced by someone a little older, smarter, or simply more stylish than myself. I put value on what they were about and boom they tweaked the course of my life.
One of these people was Mr. Herman Hall. A few of you reading this might know him. Herman was the younger hip teacher that travelled to Costa Rica in the winters and taught surf lessons on the side. During one of our lectures he told us the story of a hike that took travelers from the French Pyrenees mountains all the way to the west coast of Spain. The Camino de Santiago de Compostela crossed 500 miles of terrain taking travelers through vineyards, mountains, and beaches. The hike was about letting go and finding truth. It was about self discovery and releasing burdens. I was enchanted. That day I made a promise to my fifteen-year-old self I would hike the Camino and bring my camera to document it.
This dream stayed packed away for four years (a short time in the life of dreams) until the night I met Lindsay Thompson. We were at the local ice cream dive with a group of mutual friends. Were both loved Jesus and were into art. A week later we ran into each other and at some point in our conversation realized we shared a dream. Travel Light Film was born. This was a little over two years ago. Today our dreams are coming true.
Travel Light has been a long time in the making. Not just ideologically but also in our own training. As a fifteen-year-old spanish student I knew little more about making a documentary than basic camera function. Slowly, I began putting my photos in shows and selling them for a little more than pocket lint at local cafes. When I was sixteen I did my first commission piece and at eighteen my first wedding. I worked under photographer David Alan Harvey who is known for his work with National Geographic and Burn Magazines as well as the prestigious Magnum photo society. Needless to say, I was in over my head but David was a patient mentor. As a college freshman I spent time in Port-au-Prince in the month following the 2010 earthquake. I volunteered in a medical clinic. A photo of the Haitian capital building was my first magazine cover shot. The next year I spent five months between Argentina and Chile landing a feature in La Noche arts and literary magazine. That fall I landed my first commissioned essay and a job under photographer Ken Bennett, a former contributor to the New York Times and Washington Post. I spent the summer of 2012 in Boulder, CO hiking, climbing, and working for the photography department at Backpacker Magazine.
Before taking off on the Camino this summer I will graduate from Wake Forest University where I have spent the time between my photos working towards degrees in Politics and International Affairs and Studio Art with concentrations in Latin American Studies and photography. Throughout my studies and travels I have kept a portfolio and blog at Lauren-Martinez.com. Travel Light is a culmination of my art and studies thus far. It’s a dream we share with each other and with centuries of pilgrims in both directions from today. I pray our Camino is just the beginning of many journeys to come. Until then, please join us on our way, your support means the whole world. Buen camino to you my friend. May your way be filled with goodness and truth.