Marianna Jamadi is one of those intrepid souls that inspires wanderlust through all of her creative endeavours. She is a professional photographer, travel blogger, and co-founder of boutique tour company El Camino Travel. For our first ‘Wild Spin with’ interview, we’ve checked in with Marianna to explore her approach to living and capturing the adventurous life…
You travelled the world documenting your adventures through the blog Nomadic Habit – what were some of the most memorable moments of that journey for you?
I will never forget my first horse ride which just happened to be in the middle of Mongolia with a nomad. I had to keep pinching myself. Neither of us spoke a common language and he was effortlessly riding his horse while smoking a cigarette while I was hanging on for dear life. The next thing I knew, I wasn’t just riding horses, I was herding his livestock. Here I was, in Central Mongolia with a nomad, on a horse, herding sheep with nothing but land in my view. It was something out of a dream.
I also will never forget the cremation ghats in Varanasi, India. Western society is so far removed from death and to see bodies being carried in a constant stream throughout the city to be cremated on the river as a final crossover to salvation was definitely an experience that challenged everything I thought or knew about my relationship with death.
How did this trip inspire you to want to continue working and creating in the travel space?
While I’ve always loved traveling, the trip made me realize that travel is a given in my life. It’s as routine as brushing my teeth. Upon finishing my trip, I knew my life was different. Or maybe it wasn’t that it was different, maybe it was just that I had discovered my true life. I believe so much in the experience of travel that I knew I needed to somehow make it my life’s work.
Can you tell us a bit about your travel company El Camino?
El Camino Travel is a boutique travel company that specializes in authentic and curated trips to off the beaten path destinations. We also bring a professional photographer along to document the entire adventure so that travelers can truly live in the moment and experience the world. We give a percentage of our profits to a local social entrepreneur in the country we are visiting and in exchange they lead an intimate dinner or workshop to give our travelers an inspiring perspective on the local community.
What drew you to the destinations of Nicaragua and Colombia to start the El Camino tours?
Nicaragua was our first destination, which is a great alternative to the very well traveled neighbor, Costa Rica. We loved how wild Nicaragua still is and wanted to explore the culture and communities since it is a less popular destination. Colombia has battled over the years travel fears in terms of safety, but recently became top of mind to some travelers. There is so much rich culture in Colombia that we felt it was a perfect fit for El Camino and a great way to calm fears people have about safety.
In the realm of photography, what inspires you the most?
Stories and faces. Everyone has a story to tell and sometimes you can read it all on someone’s face. I love shooting people in their every day life and I love hearing their life stories. It is through their stories that I find my own.
Which new destination you are itching to explore?
I would love to get my camera to Iceland. Everyone keeps telling me how much I would love it. I’m sure it won’t disappoint.
All 2015 El Camino tours are now sold out, but 2016 dates have been announced, so click the above link for details…you know you want to!
Katie – I had the pleasure of interviewing Marianna in the Bondi Beach Radio studio late last year – just before Marianna and co-founder Katalina Mayorga undertook their first El Camino tour – take a listen below.