What’s it like to hit the road alone? Photographer Laura Austin shares her reflections on her solo excursions, where the only company she seeks is through a lens.
Photography and Words by Laura Austin
After my first solo road trip over New Years back in 2013, I decided to make it a tradition and ventured out from Los Angeles making one big loop to Colorado, taking my time as I came back through Utah. For the most part it was just me, my camera, a tripod, a remote, and some podcasts passing the time and miles.
It’s funny how many people seem to be surprised by the fact that I that I have the desire or ability to go out on a road trip by myself. I guess it is a little unusual for someone, especially a young female, to willingly and happily drive thousands of miles on her own. But for me, it is when I am by myself that things seem to impact me the most. I’m not waking up at 4am, driving through the snow, and hiking an hour in the dark, freezing cold to catch the sun rise through a rock arch overlooking a vast system of vein-like canyons because someone talked me into it. I’m doing it for myself, because I know it will make me happy. That may sound a bit selfish, but there’s something about it that makes watching that sun come up that much more special.
These trips are necessary for me in the midst of all the commercial photography I do on a regular basis. It strips away the art directors, the creative briefs, and the budgets and reconnects me with why I became interested in photography in the first place – to document the things around me that I found beautiful and interesting. My hope is that through these trips I inspire people to take a step back and find whatever it is that truly makes THEM happy, and not do it for the money, the attention, or anyone else’s expectations of you. Because it is only then that you will do your best work and start to feel alive.