We first connected with Caitlin and Meredith when we hosted them for a takeover on Instagram and have fallen in love with their work since! They now live in Berlin where they are studying photography and are huge inspirations to us! We asked them some questions, read on to see what they had to say.
1.) Your favorite place in the whole wide world?
Caitlin: Iceland is my favorite place I have been so far, although the more I travel, the longer my list keeps growing. Iceland’s ever changing drastic landscapes are a photographers dream. From the Milky Way to Volcanoes, the Northern lights and glacier hikes, Iceland is utterly magical to say the least.
Meredith: That’s a tough one! So tough, in fact, I’ll have to give two answers. My favorite natural place in the world (so far) is Mürren, Switzerland. It’s a tiny village tucked away high in the Swiss Alps and is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. It can only be accessed by a series of cable cars, you literally rise above the clouds to the village, which is pretty special! My favorite city is Paris. I am endlessly enchanted every time I visit; it is a photographer’s playground to say the least!
2. The moment you realized you fell in love with travel…
Caitlin: I had just graduated college and went to work in British Columbia, Canada for three weeks at a bed and breakfast. I was 23, and it was my first time to travel by myself. I was thrown in to a house with 3 youngsters from Europe and immediately became close friends with them and was inspired to travel across the pond. Hearing their stories of travel made me yearn for more, and ever since then I had a bad case of the travel bug.
Meredith: I’ve always had an unquenchable thirst for travel, it only grows with each new city I visit and every new person I meet along the way. This is both a good and bad, the “travel bug” is definitely a real thing, y’all!
3. Who or what inspires you?
Caitlin: I’m inspired by the bravery of people who travel alone, carrying nothing but a backpack and a camera or journal. I think traveling is one of the most exhilarating yet terrifying things you can do. Saying good bye to loved ones for an indefinite amount of time, traveling to a foreign country, far away from everything you know, is humbling and more importantly empowering.
Meredith: I’m inspired by people who don’t let their dreams or doubts scare them, but instead let themselves be fueled by these feelings to accomplish things they once thought weren’t possible.
4. How has travel changed you? What growth experiences have you learned from it?
Caitlin: Travel has changed me exponentially. Once you started traveling with only a backpack, you quickly realize the lack of importance in material things. When your back and feet hurt from walking miles and miles through foreign cities, you stop caring so much about your brand name snow boots or hair dryer that’s weighing you down. Another major factor is staying curious. I’ve become infatuated with learning about history, and how differently it has been taught in other places. I left home with strong values and ideals that were quickly shattered into a million pieces when I went abroad. It’s so important to listen to others and learn to think for yourself.
Meredith: Travel has had an everlasting effect on me. It has made me irrevocably curious and itching to capture different parts of the world through my lens. It has made more more willing to take chances and make sacrifices (those that know me know I’ve always been a very cautious person, a “planner” if you will). It has made me eager to learn from other people and the way they live. It’s also turned me into quite a light packer, something that I never imagined would be possible!
5. Where has travel taken you so far? Where to next?
Caitlin: Other than the states I’ve been to British Columbia, Mexico, Peru, and Europe. Next on my list Austria and Italy.
Meredith: From sleeping in a vintage air stream trainer in Marfa Texas to falling asleep with the Pantheon a stone’s throw from my window in Rome. There is still SO many places I’m dying to visit! Next on my list is Austria.
6. What is your purpose?
Caitlin: My purpose by co-founding The Glass Passage is to inspire others to travel through my photographs. I hope to convince others to leave their comfort zone by planning a trip and pushing their limits. When I talk about “travel” I rarely mean staying in a 5 star hotel and going to nice dinners. I think that traveling should be hard. It should test you. Some of my hardest but most memorable moments where living with families in Europe, working as a maid in their homes for free accommodation and food. Staying in hostels and doing ride shares are great ways to save money but also meet fascinating people.
Meredith: When we founded The Glass Passage, we hoped our story would inspire others to just go to see new places and to know that travel is possible for them. I learn about a new place through photographing it, through “The Glass Passage” of my lens (see what we did there?), so it would be silly of me to not try and share it as widely as I can in hopes of being the nudge someone needs to book that plane ticket.
7. What does being creative mean to you?
Caitlin: Being creative to me is learning to not worry about being judged. As a photographer I am constantly trying new techniques or photographing new subjects. Learning to not worry about the audience is the first step to triggering creativity.
Meredith: Creativity to me is staying true to what you think is good and beautiful and making as much of whatever that is as possible. Learn from others and soak up new inspiration always, but don’t let it change the way you make things if you don’t truly feel it is right in your gut.
8. What are some ways in which you make travel happen?
Caitlin: The main way of making travel happen for me, as a student and freelance photographer, is cutting costs in every way possible. Staying in hostels (hostelworld.com) can be as cheap as $10 a night while car sharing organizations (blablacar.com) are much cheaper than train tickets. If you’re looking to travel for long periods of time, I would highly recommend trying work exchange programs such as helpx.net where you work in exchange for room and board. I used HelpX for 5 months in the UK and Europe working at bed and breakfasts and farms, getting to know how different cultures live on a daily basis.
Meredith: You have to save and you have to plan ahead. You’re not going o always be comfortable, it’s not always going to be easy. Choose a 12 bed hostel room over a hotel, choose a ride-sharing service over the train. Most times, cutting corners here and there is the difference between if the trip happens or not…so make the sacrifices!
9. How has exploring the world impacted your life?
Caitlin: Exploring the world has given me a purpose, a constant excitement and thirst for life. If I’m not traveling I was in Austin and now Berlin, meeting with fellow travelers from Instagram for coffee, sharing experiences and our love for wandering.
Meredith: It’s expanded my mind, fed my curiosity, made me stronger and fueled my creativity.
10. What’s your best advice for aspiring travelers?
Caitlin: Start saving now: you don’t need that expensive hand bag that could pay for a round trip flight overseas. Challenge yourself to listen more and speak less. Realizing sometimes that other people grew up thinking differently than you did and learning to accept their point of views rather than arguing them. Wanting to change and grow is the most valuable aspect of traveling, you should want to come home a different person, more open minded. Traveling is the greatest form of education you can endure.
Meredith: Plan and save! Plane and save! I can’t stress these two things enough. Know that traveling is possible for you but you’re going to have to make it work through making some sacrifices. It will not always be easy, it will not always be comfortable. It will, however, always make you a better person. Stay curious, get creative, have humility and be friendly!