When it comes to traveling I’m an expert at running away. I’m the hopeless romantic everyone strives to be; not by choice, of course. There’s something beautiful about just putting your life on pause and going away to somewhere far from home. I do this once a month or once every two months. While many might be “jealous” or “envious” the truth is there’s nothing fascinating with looking for somewhere to belong to. People don’t read into each other that deep; we all constantly judge and get judged by our surface level selves.
Text and photos by Zhamathecat
I was asked to write a travel piece, but if you know me I like being sad and I thoroughly enjoy speaking of melancholy. I am who I am because of all the pain that’s been introduced to me in my life.
In April I flew away to Tokyo after a big fight with someone I loved. I cried in the airport, on the plane, the bus ride to the city and the short walk to my Airbnb door steps. I looked at myself in the mirror and pitied the black bags underneath my eyes. Japan is beautiful during Sakura season; everything is pink, the weather is wonderful, and it all seems like a really heart-wrenching anime series. What I saw in Tokyo felt like a fantasy world: people were nice, food was delicious, everything was clean, and the city is so alive and colorful. Night-time is a whole other world. The twinkling lights were unforgettable like the bazaar scene from Spirited Away.
I spent a lot of time sitting in front of places with available/free wifi looking for the direction I was heading for all the whilst eating an ice cream cone. Another fun fact if you know me personally you are also aware that I will literal die for ice cream.
As much as Tokyo was beautiful and dreamy I was sad and wanted to spend my time in bed crying. I met a lot of great people that taught me new things and I walked for hours on top of hours to the point that my legs felt like noodles. I found myself smiling a lot by the end of it which gave me hope for myself and how the universe works.
After Tokyo, I spent some time in Miami that introduced to me to an exciting new person in my life who showed me new ways of doing things along with things I had not yet discovered. She taught me how to take photos in the same house over and over again without getting bored or losing inspiration. She also taught me sitting on your bed crying all day will not make a filmmaker out of you; which is what I aspire to be. Miami is hot and humid and especially in June, it should be illegal to walk outside. The city itself is very low-key and behind on global trends which are a great place for young artists to thrive and make a name out of themselves.
I flew to New York after some time to see my best friend. New York has always had a very special place in my heart. We all know the city never sleeps and its full of life and inspiration on every corner. I could definitely see myself living in NYC one day: big studio with lots of natural light, my plants hanging from the high ceiling, and of course a cute little Bengal kitten. I’d spend all my time shooting and working in the studio, which would result in my ass staying home forever. All I ever want to do, to be honest, is to shoot freely and not worry about bills. A lot of people don’t like the busy-ness of NYC, but being a city girl I’ve always enjoyed being surrounded by noise and people and the high-stress environment. I like being busy and running around all day to drag my dead body to my bed at the end of the night. New York was also hot as hell, but at this point, I had given up on fighting the heat. I caught up with some old friends and lurked lots of skate parks to scope cute skater boys.
At the beginning of July, I flew to Tehran, the capital city of Iran. I’m originally from Tehran and I love visiting when I can. My friends never expect me to have fun over there, but I actually have the most fun in that city. The heat is a little overwhelming in the summer time. Tehran reminds me of NYC a lot; the crazy busy streets, the over crowded side walks, and lots of crazy people yelling and making a scene. The food is great as well as the nature that resides there. One thing I love about Iran is that being healthy is very cheap compared to North America. You can drink 4 large smoothies a day for about 3 bucks each. I visited some monumental spots in some other cities and had mini road trips with my family and friends.
It’s hard to write about traveling without just summarizing the experience. I love seeing new places and meeting new people. It’s super important to me to find new friends because it just leads me to photograph new people. Traveling also opens your mind and helps you mature. It’s good to get out of your comfort bubble in your city and see what other humans are getting up to around you. It seems scary at times, but it’s all worth the risk at the end to put yourself in new surroundings to see how you would react to them.
I hope this helps you step outside your city one day.