What it's like to travel in Pakistan: I'll admit, it's not the easiest. Especially traveling there for work as a photographer, the visa process is long and the security briefings can take even longer and can be somewhat alarming. Not sleeping for a few days for the sake of getting in and out of an area as quickly as possible while packing in as much photography as you physically can, not staying too long in one location, never committing to a time to be somewhere, being cautious about tagging your location on social media until well after you've left - it can definitely get inside your head. And not without reason, it's not always a safe place to travel for anyone. But...
Just look at how BEAUTIFUL it is!
Of course it is important to travel with a lot of caution, but I felt safe the entire time I was there, safer than I have felt in countries where there is no travel advisory warning. The people are nothing but friendly, I didn't get stared at like I have been in other countries, and I had no problems with taking pictures at any time.
On my previous visit to Pakistan I only stayed in Lahore, and seeing as my only prior understanding of the country was what I had heard on the news, I was shocked by how progressive it was! My flight landed close to 4am, and being a bit delirious with jetlag, I thought for a second that I could almost have been driving down a highway in Canada. So I was a little annoyed at myself for forming opinions of a country I hadn't visited before.
Now when I think of Pakistan, I think of incredibly kind people, stunning natural beauty, mountains, and an incredible culture so rich in tradition that evidence of it is absolutely everywhere.
And sure there are frustrations. I mean, wearing a head scarf in 100% humidity is a challenge, and having to be accompanied everywhere (even to the bathroom) is a peculiar feeling. But when you have the opportunity to visit places that you won't often find in a guide book, you kind of don't give these things a second thought. And being respectful to another culture's customs is so important, especially when what you are asking for in return is complete access to the lives of others to photograph their every move.
Compared to my other work travels, this one was definitely the most difficult - I'll get into why in my next post. But on the other hand, it was by far one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.