Photographer: Martin started backpacking at around 18 years old to escape the cold winters of Montreal

19 April 2023

Follow Martin Raymond on his Instagram.

Tell us about yourself

Started backpacking at around 18 years old to escape the cold winters of Montreal, and never stopped. Added photography to the mix quite early on, and began searching the world for pretty, unique, unusual, and fascinating places (and people) to photograph.

Why do you travel and photograph your journeys?

I compare traveling as a photographer to a treasure hunt, for beautiful pictures. Also, every photographer has a different take of the same location, so it’s fun to head somewhere expecting a particular shot, only to end up with something different and unique in the end. And the road to a destination is such a thrill. I come to realize that sometimes you’ll end up taking a plane, a boat, a moped, sleeping outdoors, or hiking a mountain just for a single shot to add to your collection. Add on top of that the people you’ll meet along the way, and I’d say it makes for quite an exciting life of adventure!

What is your favourite thing or item to photograph?

Anything unique, random, unusual, or weird, will drive me. Something that tells a story in one frame or that takes my breath away. Especially when I’m not expecting it.

What’s your go-to travel hack?

I started traveling as a young “dirty backpacker”, for months and months with barely any change of clothes, so I think not being flashy is a good way not to attract trouble, thieves, etc, and also to connect with the locals more. My expensive gear is always basically thrown in a random small backpack that doesn’t shout: expensive stuff! Not getting too attached to your gear helps a lot also, and makes it less stressful.

Got any gear you can’t travel without?

Small flashlight? Some entertainment? A book, movies or games, anything to pass the time in those long distance travels. And water, always.

What destination are you eager to go back to?

Southeast Asia is a favorite of mine. Philippines or other tropical islands with amazing people and a lot to see/do.

How do you stay safe when you’re travelling?

Look poor! Or at least, don’t look flashy… Carry everything of value in a small bag you never let go of, keeping it to a minimum, like a passport, camera, cards (extra contact lenses!), and all the rest in a bag that you don’t mind losing (clothes and such). Don’t get stupid drunk and stay alert, avoid conflict.

What’s the best way to experience a destination like a local one?

Go somewhere with little tourists, I guess. My best experiences with locals are in places where they don’t really expect tourists and are happy to see you show interest in their home, town, or area. Be generous, don’t be too greedy or cheap. You are most likely richer than the people you are visiting and I think it’s fair to trade money (that they need) in exchange for a guide (to something you want to see). Once the initial deal/transaction is made, you can often end up hanging out, without money being involved anymore since trust has been established. Avoid tour groups, stay in hostels, and do their tours, which are more often led by a local, young guide, happy to show you around.

What’s your favourite word in another language?

Pura Vida

When and where are you next travelling?

Europe in the spring, before the summer crowds, is always an amazing time. Turkey/Greek islands probably this year!

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