We feature some of the brightest Instagram storytellers in the Passion Passport community through our Instagram Spotlight series. This week, Marcus Danielsson (@danielssonphotography) explains how photography enriched his travels around Asia. 

Nepal

I dream about returning to Nepal every day. When I first visited in 2012, I obtained a three-month visa — just in case it would live up to my expectations. I planned two months of traveling around Nepal, in addition to a few shorter treks, and decided the Annapurna Circuit would be my big adventure. Spending 17 days trekking around the world’s tenth highest mountain is one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had.

My trip to Nepal was a turning point: I realized I loved photography, and I remember feeling that I had to show my family back home what I was experiencing. What better way than by capturing it through my photos?

Though the mountainous parts of the country are very beautiful, traveling in Nepal is not just about the amazing peaks and landscapes.

The Nepalese people are make the country great. They’re kind and helpful; there’s so much to learn from their culture and attitude of happiness. Nepal is my favorite country for portrait photography for this very reason.

The people are welcoming, open-hearted, and love to share their stories. Even if the language presents a barrier, we always find ways to communicate with each other.

India

India has always been on my bucket list and, by the end of 2016, I decided it was time to see it with my own eyes. I didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped for, but planned to use my three and a half weeks  to visit Rajasthan and Varanasi. Only weeks before I took off, I learned about India’s biggest camel fair, held every year in Pushkar, where camel herders from all over Rajasthan gather to buy and sell their camels. It’s quite the sight.

I have never felt so excited as I was when I headed toward Varanasi, though I had to take a 26-hour train from Rajasthan in the cheapest part of the train.

When I finally arrived, my goal was to meet as many holy people as I could.

I was interested in trading stories and life experiences with them and, luckily, I met Baba Vejayanand on my second day in town. He willingly showed me around the city and introduced me to a lot of other holy hindus.

Myanmar

I first visited Myanmar in 2012, soon after the country opened its borders to tourists. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with both the country and its people. My travel partner, William, and I each got a 28-day visa and decided to stay as long as we could. We were both interested in the Burmese people and their culture, since Myanmar was a formerly a very closed country it made it all the more interesting to talk to the local people we met along the way.

It quickly became clear to us that the country was not used to tourism, and we struggled with double-booked rooms, lack of internet connection, and an absence of international phone service.

But after my first month-long visit to Myanmar, I knew I needed to come back and see it all again.

I returned in December 2016 with my girlfriend, as I couldn’t resist showing her all the beautiful things I got to experience there. We started our trip with a three day hike from Kalaw through the mountains and chili fields toward the popular Inle Lake, which is well known for its fishermen who still fish in a traditional style.

We traveled to Bagan, which is a must-see in Myanmar, in an attempt to recreate the experience of seeing the most beautiful sunrise over the fields of ancient temples.

We chased the sunrise every morning and, on our third day, we saw a scene similar to the one I’d witnessed  back in 2012. Waking up at 4:30 a.m. every morning in hopes of catching the beautiful sunrise of Bagan paid off.

Related:  Passport to Asia: Delhi Reflections
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Marcus Danielsson
Marcus discovered his passion for photography in 2012 after visiting Myanmar and Nepal. Photography became a way for him to meet local people in every country that he visited and improve upon his portrait photography. He's based in Sweden, but hopes to be living fulltime in Asia in the near future.

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