We travel around the world for so many different reasons. Whether it’s to see family, for business, to get away from daily routines, to explore, or just to wander, each of these trips has a different motive that fuels it. Often times, it’s about losing oneself or finding oneself; finding one’s purpose, one’s place in the world in the grand scheme of things. And, other times, one must be lost in order to find their inner self and reconnect with the world. Cuba, for me, was a combination of everything. I didn’t know it would be this way as I was boarding the flight at JFK – heck, I didn’t even know if I would be allowed to enter the country. But, lo and behold, it all worked out in my favor and I was able to immerse myself within the beauties of the city of Havana. The 20 days I spent here have been revelatory, eye opening and grounding in ways that I didn’t expect – the city gave me everything. It gave me shade when I needed to be protected, it splashed the salty seawater in my face when I needed to be woken up, it supported me when I was down, and sometimes, it snatched the ground from underneath me to make me stronger. All in all, it allowed me to develop a new lens through which I view travel – as a means by which one can unwind and disconnect from the world, but also to learn about our place in society and the grand scheme of things.
This series of images, which I named “O”, provides a somewhat accurate description of my experiences over the 20 days. You may not get to see as much of Havana in its glory as you had hoped, but my hope is that you’ll be able to see the lens through which I began to see the world. Wormholes turned into the world and the eye of the concord turned into the precise rays of the sun that spread light through my hand. Despite the wonderful experiences I’ve had here sipping piña coladas at O’Reilly’s Bar, inventing my own cocktail (KanDied) with my professor at the beach, and having meaningful conversations with my friends and classmates till 4 a.m, I’m ready to go back. No doubt, I’ll miss this place. But it’s given me a new life that I’m waiting to unleash. It’s given me hope, motivation, taught me values and sparked within me realizations of the important relationships and experiences I will always hold dear to my heart. I’ve learned to live, and hopefully, through the photos, you will be able to plunge into the vortex with me.