Bring your curiosity: Peter’s life-changing trip to Ethiopia

30th July 2018
“None of it was real until I was at the doctor’s getting my vaccinations,” says Peter of his first overseas trip out of Australia. “Opportunity of a lifetime” has to be one of the most overused phrases in the English language, but it’s hard to avoid in the case of Peter, a 27-year-old Australian who spends most of his time caring for his father and grandmother.

Peter was given the chance to open up his world by Canon, with camera in hand he was taken to Ethiopia to reignite his curiosity, with profound results.

Portrait image of Peter

Peter lives in Ryde, a suburb in the north west of Sydney with his brother, father and elderly grandmother. A passionate hip hop artist, Peter’s travel aspirations have been limited due to his caring duties. “My obligations I do out of love, but they are somewhat of a hindrance to me spreading my wings.” When asked how Ethiopia became the destination of choice, Peter explains that, “I said to Canon that music’s the most important thing in my life, and off we went.”

Addis Abada, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital, would be a daunting arrival destination for a seasoned traveller, let alone a first timer, but Peter relished the anonymity. “I stepped right off the plane and onto the street,” he says.

“I remember thinking, ‘I could shout as loud as I could here and no one could hear me.’ No one I knew anyway.”   

From there, they headed out into the wilderness to spend time with some of Ethiopia’s more traditional tribes. “We met three tribes and stayed with them for the majority of the time,” he explains. “The Hamar tribe, the Caro tribe and the Dasaanach tribe. It was incredible, man.”

Portrait image of Peter getting painted

Portrait image of Ethiopian

Apart from visiting another continent for the first time, the photographic element of the trip is what Peter most fondly remembers because it helped him unbox his insecurities “I used the camera to shield my shyness at first… But it became a magnet,” Peter says, describing how the kids in particular wanted to grab his camera and fire off as many images as possible. “The camera helped me to connect with people and allowed me to open up, I started to get more comfortable the more we travelled, allowing me to really learn from the tribe, tasting their local coffee brews or dancing with them and just letting go of any inhibitions.”

Landscape image of children

Peter speaks fondly about learning all about aperture and how to focus manually, and describes how photogenic the country was—people, landscape and animals included.

“By the end, I felt pretty proud of the photos that I took,” he said. When it came to his favourite shot of the trip, as is often the case, it one of his “happy accidents” that ended up being the most special. “There was this endless field of corn that we were flying past close to 100km,” says Peter. “As I pressed click, a curving dirt road came in sight. When I looked back at the photos the road curves in and draws the eye into the rest of the photo. Having the camera there and ready at all times is the definitely the way to get good shots.”

Landscape image of corn field

Reflection is often what reveals the most about a trip, and upon returning to Australia, the magic of Peter’s experience has really hit home for the young Sydneysider. “I’ve got so much respect for the tribes,” he says in hindsight. “The kids want to grow up fast and contribute to the tribe, and it made me realise how easy we have it here. If you want to become a millionaire here you can work your arse off and it’s possible, but they’re doing it for the love and longevity of their people.”

Landscape image of fire at night

When asked what’s changed in his life since returning, his reply sums up why getting out of our comfort zones and experiencing new things has been so enriching for so many of us. “Since coming back I’m noticing I’m listening more, slowing down to hear someone else,” he says.

“When I was out there under the stars, it came to me that I was just a speck of dust in this world. And it didn’t belittle me, it humbled me. Which is a good thing.”   

Landscape image of sunrise

Take this curiosity challenge:

Curiosity Tip

Run down an alleyway. Look behind that corner.
Be a tourist in your own suburb, and explore a place you’ve never discovered.
Share the story behind your image. #BRINGYOURCURIOSITY
Landscape image of salt lake
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