The People We Encounter

by Brenna Holeman


Siblings, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Japan 2

Otaku, Osaka, Japan


Musicians, Havana, Cuba


Neighbours, Paris, France


Smoker, Siem Reap, Cambodia


Baker, The Great Ocean Road, Australia


Soldiers in Beijing

Soldiers, Beijing, China


Child, Rangoon, Burma


Guide, Sahara, Morocco


Worshippers, Nara, Japan


Student, Jaisalmer, India


Talkers, Cartagena, Colombia


Travellers, Bucharest, Romania


Marketgoer, Tarabuco, Bolivia

The thing I love most about travel, undoubtedly, is the chance to interact with people I may have never gotten the opportunity to see or meet or talk to had I never left my hometown. Just as I love interacting with fellow Canadians, I love meeting people all over the world.

And, though it’s been said a thousand times, what strikes me most is that the more I travel, the more I realise we’re all the same. We have different religions and skin colours and customs, different diets and habitats and languages, different governments and professions and standards of living – but still we all laugh, still we all cry, still we all love and eat and breathe and die.

I’ve met so many people on my travels, some who have made no impression at all, some who I can recall like old friends. There have been shy children and outspoken men. There have been kind vendors, rude waiters, groups of teenagers who tentatively glance my way. I have shaken a thousand hands, had a million conversations, and still, every single day, I am enchanted by those around me.

I have spent nearly a week in the small city of Sucre, Bolivia, and I’ve gotten to know its streets well; after Spanish classes I walk around for a bit, perhaps buy a coffee and sit in the main square, watch young couples flirt with their hands and their eyes, children playing with balloons, women selling fresh juice and cigarettes. And for all the downfalls of travelling – the illnesses, the late buses, the scams, the constant movement and upheaval – of this I never tire.

I travel, essentially, to people-watch.

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Jay October 25, 2012 - 8:26 am

I just read “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats” which took place in Rangoon – that photo made me smile.

Christine loves to Travel October 25, 2012 - 2:43 pm

That’s also my favourite thing to do when I travel and take pictures 😉

Lauren Heineck October 25, 2012 - 4:07 pm

I discovered your site and am very glad, as it will be a useful resource for my trip to SE Asia in November. I loved the people watching photo essay, beautiful pics and words. Although my favorite is of the Japanese girl, the camera is drawn to her, she seems focused while the rest of the world goes whizzing by.

Vicki October 25, 2012 - 5:49 pm

love this one! your writing is just fantastic and i couldn’t agree with you more about the people watching. gathering stories and learning about people is just the most beautiful thing about our human interactions.

This Battered Suitcase October 26, 2012 - 8:18 pm

Jay – Nice! I will have to look that book up.

Christine – Isn’t it the best??

Lauren – Oh great, thank you! You will have an amazing time in SE Asia…

Vicki – wow, thank you very much! Your last sentence is spot-on.


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