What have you done over the course of your last trip?... Did you ever plan to help and give back to the local communities once on destination?... Did you show or teach something useful to the local kids?...
John Lynch has a very different and unique perspective on travelling. In is last documentary “ABROAD”, Lynch digs deeper to explore how standard tourism can transcend into life altering experiences. Shot single-handedly by Lynch over the course of a several weeks stint in Indonesia, the film chronicles the evolution of his journey.
Lynch’s travel for the film was funded in equal part by PENTAX and Waterways Travel. On the surface, this was a routine expedition to test out a new camera and ride beautiful waves. However, Lynch felt something more complex was occurring. He reflects, “I left the States with a general question lingering in my mind:
"When does the tourist become a traveler?"
After listlessly island hopping for a few weeks, Lynch landed in a remote village in Sumatra, an area ravaged by a 2010 tsunami. There he met a couple travelers who helped him answer his question. With their influence, the trip transformed into a quest to bring backpacks and rudimentary desks to the 40 students of the village.
A unique facet of this film is that Lynch shot the entire piece with no crew. Despite this, he managed to make it appear as though a cameraman walked behind him during much of the film. This clever technique was made possible by a PENTAX wide angle camera lens and a bit of calculated positioning in how he held the camera.
Discussing the message of his new film, Lynch states, “It’s about how meeting fellow travelers can open up your world. I hope this movie encourages others to get off the tourist trail, throw away their itineraries, and get involved with something out of their comfort zone; stepping in to make a difference is much more rewarding than just being an observant tourist.”
WE ASKED JOHN FOR 5 TIPS FOR RESPONSIBLE TRAVELS:
- Start practical by not packing the kitchen sink. Be a minimalist by regulating yourself in what you know you really need and not everything you want to bring.
- If you happen to have been born into privilege - very well and blessings to you, however, keep that note on the low down. Flaunting social status in a place of gnarly crisis or around people struggling for basic resources is a sign of bad taste and unawareness. Leave the flashy jewelry and elitist attitudes with your butler back home.
- Be open minded, and when I say that I mean it from a deeper place of understanding. For instance; somehow in someway your quiver of three brand new Timmy Patterson's have been stolen. You saved all summer for that small quiver. Yes, it sucks, it's a gut wrench and it could happen. So, the test has begun. You either freak out and it ruins your trip - or you choose to know it's a reality of bringing your belongings on the road. Oh my, look at the surf! It's absolutely pumping. Crazy enough, it all works out: you meet a sympathetic local who loans you a beater and you end up having the session of your life while forging a connection with the locals.
- Don't be ambivalent or oblivious to your VISA and/or immigration status. Be aware of your time in and out of a country. Hop over to a nearby country for a day or three to renew a VISA. Most importantly, be flexible and keep your itinerary realistic. One of the greatest aspects of world travel is when you meet new and interesting people that help create the time of your life. Go with that flow when you can.
- When you finally score that surf session - after all the life force it took to achieve this session - just try and breath, relax. Be in the moment. Slow down long enough to let it sink in. [I'm still working on this discipline] I've discovered those sessions happen when you least expect it. Just know that if it sinks in and you really appreciate it - the bond of that memory will stick even deeper and that's what it's all about anyways, right?
John's last words:
" It's human nature to help other humans in distress. A little bit of effort to help someone enriches our personal lives while at the same time goes farther than we realize. We don't have to quit our jobs, sell everything we own and walk barefoot off into the sunset to help people. Small and sometimes effortless offers of assistance can help people more than we realize. I don't feel like neo-colonialism is a problem when helping people - as long as there is no hidden agendas underlining the effort, like ultimatums to join religions or give up resources.”