Weekend Inspiration: Sarah Winward

I was going to post this tomorrow, but I had some unexpected extra time this afternoon and thought why not just post it today!!

I cant remember how I found the blog 'David + Sarah' but I was instantly drawn to the pictures.  I've seen a lot of blogs and a lot of pictures on internet -and and the number 1 thing that makes me personally want to stay is the photographs.   Sarah Winward's pictures are absolutely gorgeous plus David and Sarah share a love of travel like I do.  So I was hooked.

I should clarify that they aren't expats though (who have been featured in interviews recently).  I don't really think you need to live abroad to have a sense of adventure.  I wanted to throw in a few inspiring people into my interview series who share my values....thus this interview.

1- You recently returned from traveling several months around the Middle East and India. What brought you there?

I am currently on my last semester of studying the Middle East in school. For my major I have to spend three months abroad, and write a paper about it. It is a pretty general requirement, and we thought we would take advantage of that. So we planned our trip to start in North Africa doing an internship at Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech, Morocco. Then we would move to the Middle East and knock out a few of the places we have always wanted to visit. We ended up spending longer than we planned in a few places so we didn’t make it to others….but we still feel good about it. India was a spur of the moment decision. We had been to India together in 2007, this is actually where we were engaged. We saw how cheap flights to India were from Dubai and we jumped at the chance.

2- It wasn't your first time abroad as you've been to Iceland before. Do you think traveling is in your blood now?

Absolutely, yes. It is in our blood like an incurable disease. I have always had a bad case of wanderlust that I rarely attempt to describe to anyone but David. John Steinbeck suffered from it too, he describes it in the book Travels With Charley:

“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me,
I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch.
When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age.
In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever, and now that I am
fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job.
Nothing has worked.  

Four hoarse blasts of a ship's whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to
tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod
hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye,
the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage.
In other words, I don't improve; in further words, once a bum always a bum.
I fear the disease is incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to
inform myself.

When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of
a wayward man, and the road away from Here seems broad and straight and sweet,
the victim must first find in himself a good and sufficient reason for going.
This to the practical bum is not difficult. 

He has a built-in garden of reasons to choose from. Next he must plan his trip in time and space, choose a direction and a destination. And last he must implement the journey. How to go, what to take, how long to stay. This part of the process is invariable and immortal. I set it down only so that newcomers to bumdom, like teen-agers in
new-hatched sin, will not think they invented it. 

Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to
wreckages on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the
blown-in-the-glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the
frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to
be wrong is to think you control it. I feel better now, having said this,
although only those who have experienced it will understand it. 

3- Do you feel like traveling has changed you and David? if so How?

Absolutely. It has changed the way we view the world, and ourselves in it. I think traveling is as essential to a person’s well being as eating, and as important in their education as addition and subtraction. Every time we visit somewhere, a new and different understanding of the world is learned; and each one changes us.

4- Your pictures are GORGEOUS! What's in your camera bag?

I have a Canon 7d with a canon 17-85 mm lens.

I have no idea how to use it, I just push buttons until I get the look I want to achieve. Taking a class to learn how to use is it was at the top of my list of things to do before we left, but I didn’t make it. The panoramic pictures from trip were taken with a little Sony Cybershot…its really only good for the panoramic feature.

5- You are quite a talented floral designer. Do you think studying design has helped you take better pictures?

Thank you! I never actually studied floral design….I was a bucket scrubber at flower shops for years and then I just taught myself. I think that my appreciation for beauty and pleasing aesthetics helps in anything creative I undertake, photography included.

6- What would you recommend to those who may be afraid to visit countries like India, Israel, Egypt, etc? What were the people like? Did you have any expectations beforehand?

If someone is afraid to visit these parts of the world because of fears that have been instilled in their heads (most likely by the media…) I say that the only cure for it is to visit these places themselves.

Culture shock is….shocking. But it is good for you.
India is possibly my favorite place in the world so far. But-India is not for the weak of heart. I heard an acronym for I.N.D.I.A. “I’ll Never Do It Again”. This is mostly funny to me because it could not be further from the way I feel…..but like I said, it is not for everybody.

I had an earth shattering experience the first time we went to India in 2007. I was young and so very naïve. We had to fly through several countries in the Middle East on the way home, and I thought I was going to be flying through a war zone the whole way. All I knew about the Middle East was that the US had invaded Iraq, and I had naively allowed myself to think that terrorism and war was all that there was to the Middle East. I was shocked by how gorgeous and serene the landscapes were, how pristine the airports were and how incredibly kind the people were. However, we just had layovers so it only peaked my interest in the region. I came home and signed up for an Arabic class shortly thereafter. This is how I began to study, and fall in love with the Middle East, an area that I had only negative thoughts about before seeing first hand. The further I got into my education the more I loved the rich historical, cultural, and political history of the region.

When we arrived in the Middle East we were constantly amazed by the kindness of the people, and the beauty of the land. On several occasions people we had just met offered to take us in for a meal or show us around for the day. Being invited to someone’s home for a meal is something that no trip to the Middle East should go without. These experiences are some of our favorites from the trip. In these afternoons in conversation over home cooked food we learned so much about life, and the goodness that is in people’s hearts. We left each of these experiences with clear heads and vows to live our lives differently.

We ran into political upheaval just about everywhere we went on our trip. We found ourselves in some delicate situations. It was in these moments however, that locals took our comfort and safety into their own hands. They made sure that we were out of harms way. Each person wanted to make sure that we knew that they loved Americans, and want us to continue to visit their countries and learn about the real Middle East. My plea to anyone who has fears of visiting sensitive regions is to make sure that you are choosing your media sources well. Balance your media diet, and never take anything you hear from just one source as fact. There are of course things to be aware of, but do not let this stop you from missing out on what their cultures have to offer.

7- What inspires you?

To put it simply, people, nature, literature, food, and travel (!).

8- Tell us one tip that you've learned along the way that would improve a photo.

I am no good for technical advice about shooting pictures, I need
to learn that myself. But I think that the way you frame your picture is the most important. I have specific angles that I like, and I think are more interesting than what you usually see. Sometimes my pictures may not be the most accurate representation of what I am photographing because they are blurry or only show part of a building, I think they catch the emotion that I want to provoke.

9- Do you think traveling changed your photography?

Yes. Even just because it means I have taken more pictures, and through that I have found the look I like.

10- So what's next for you and David?

When we are not traveling we live a fairly normal life at home. David has a 9-5 (albeit flexible when we go on vacations), and I am finishing up school. We have been remodeling our home for a few years, and we usually do yard work all weekend. David crochets abstract art in his spare time, and I am building my floral business. We keep a hive of bees, in our vegetable garden, and enjoy outdoor activity.

We plan on taking a lot of short camping trips locally this summer, and then we will be heading to New Zealand this fall for the rugby world cup :)

All pictures featured in this post were taken by Sarah Winward and have been used with permission.  


lucie said...

thank you for this interview. I love Sarah's blog, especially the posts she made about Middle East!

Christina said...

this is one of the most beautiful interviews, i have ever read.