Buy a van. Recruit your friends. Travel through South America. Aidan Lynn-Klimenko’s impending trip sounds, at first pass, similar to many post-graduates’. Only, when he takes pictures of the locals, he’ll be giving them right back.
Lynn-Klimenko, along with his girlfriend Madison Perrins, and friends Parker Hilton and Joel Martin — all professional photographers and filmmakers — are embarking on a journey through Mexico and South America this June, piling into a 1985 VW Wolfsburg Vanagon Westfalia outfitted with a Subaru engine, basic amenities, and a colour printer. Why? The group hopes to use their photography to break down the barriers that exist naturally between local and tourist by printing and returning the photos they take for their subjects to enjoy. It’s bonding through imagery when no common language exists.
“People are used to having their photos taken and that being the end of it, but I’ve always felt that to be a little one-sided,” explains Lynn-Klimenko. “I’m looking forward to being able to give those photos back to people, creating a connection that way.”
Traveling by van means the group — dubbed the Vanajeros, a play on the Spanish word for “traveler” — can travel through Ecuador, Argentina, Buenos Aires and new locales without being bound to return flights or bus schedules.
“I know that for me, I’m most looking forward to letting go and slowing down,” Lynn-Klimenko says. “To have time to enjoy things like reading, exploring, trying new foods, getting dirty, and not knowing where we’ll be tomorrow.”