If You Ever Lose Hope...
About the Illustrations
The illustrations are collages made from my travel photos. I chose elements that I liked in various photos from different countries. Via computer, I erased the backgrounds, recolored the elements, and resized them. I also filled the inside of shapes with parts of photos. Then I layered all the elements and shapes on top of each other one by one. Here’s a picture of one of my leaf element files:
As to why I used travel photos in a story about hope: It's because travel makes me feel hopeful, most especially in a world where nationality often supersedes humanity.
Travel, as I view it, isn’t about taking pictures at monuments or buying souvenirs. And it’s not about ticking experiences off a bucket list. Travel is about arriving at a place where you know no one and leaving it with a friend. Travel is about learning to see in the person you were taught to hate, something so fragile, so gentle, so beautiful, that your eyes beg your tongue, “Explain to everyone how to see this.” Travel is about a pledge to the earth: I will keep my mind and heart as you keep your fields and forests: open.
Things that are sometimes quiet at home get loud when you travel: your voice, questions that you are afraid to ask, injustices beyond your own experiences. It is not travel’s intention to let them retreat back into silence. On the contrary, travel equips them with a megaphone. “Hear me!” “Ask me!” “Do something about me!”
For those who don’t fit in, travel offers an exquisite gift: the knowledge that “normal” is subjective. For those seeking their place in the world, travel offers the road, companions to walk with, and the footprints that past wanderers left behind as proof of their words, “I traversed this path too. You are not alone.”
Travel is about understanding how much you can share even when you don’t share the same language. Kindness needs no translation.
At core, travel is about replacing fear with love.