It has been a while since I have updated anything on my website. I went through a strange halt to all my creative processes. I was still taking photos here and there but was more hesitant to share them. I attributed it to the lack of confidence in my work. Shooting only film for a while taught me the slow down and pay attention to everything. That became the case for much more than what was only in the frame. With my life at what felt like a stand-still, something happened that literally changed everything; I was presented the opportunity to travel to Argentina. 

This trip came out of nowhere. There was no long process of planning or even seeking to travel outside the US this summer, at least on my part. A friend reached out to me to see what my plans were for the month of July. I replied that other than work, I was very much free. I thought she would offer a camping trip or just wanted to catch up. She then retorted that a trip to Argentina for REI was being planned and that she wanted me to come along.  I was stunned. I asked for the dates for the trip and she said we would leave in two weeks. Without hesitation, I started making the necessary plans to make it work. At this point, I did not have a passport, nor the days off from work. Praying for a miracle, my prayers were answered and everything fell into place. July 12th, 2016, I boarded my first international trip. 

THE PEOPLE

Adrian Anarz

Adrian is a friend who I have known for quite some time. We met through mutual friends. When I found out that he was approved to come along with us on this trip, I was beyond excited! Many of our mutual friends have done travels with Adrian and it was finally my turn. He was pretty much the dad of the trip. He has been all over the world and I am glad to watch him grow as a photographer and watch his storytelling evolve. His work is on his Instagram: www.instagram.com/anarvz

Erin Sullivan

Erin and I actually never met before this trip but had many mutual friends. She is one of the most interesting people I have met since being out here in Colorado. The places she has been and the stories she shared with me left me with a slight gape as we strolled around Bariloche. And I want to send her a special thank you for being everyone’s translator during the trip as well. I highly recommend checking out her blog: erinoutdoors.com

Melanie Lin

Melanie was a friend of Erin. Out of everyone here, we spent the most time together. We also stayed the longest in Argentina. We walked somewhere around 60,000 steps in Buenos Aires together. We rode the subway and bus around, stumbled upon a large festival in the city, and connected with a couple of street artists. She is an awesome rock climber, adopts all these cute dogs, and is secretly an accountant. 10/10 would travel with again. 

Brianna Madia

Now this trip would not have been the same without Brianna Madia. Besides her absolutely hilarious commentary during the trip, she lives a lifestyle I could not even imagine. She lives in Utah and rock climbs and delves into canyons with her two dogs. She had the entire crew smiling the duration of our trip. Brianna, I will be visiting you soon. I will even bring my green arcteryx jacket! Check out her Instagram to check out her awesome lifestyle!

https://www.instagram.com/briannamadia/

Ali Vagnini

Ali is what I like to call, the Real MVP. She is the real reason this entire trip happened. She was the photographer REI hired and then she reached out to me. We met through Topo Designs. She is an awesome photographer and an even better person. Words cannot express my level of gratitude to her. Thank you again Ali. 

http://www.ali-v.co/

Photo by Cinthia Baseler

THE TRIP

Prior to actually arriving in Argentina, I had no idea what to expect. Our destination was Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina. Even the name of this town was magical. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been to. And do not even get me started on the food! The reason for this trip was REI’s OptOutside campaign. Last year, REI started a movement for people to reconnect outdoors over the holidays. REI closed on one of the most popular shopping days of the year, Black Friday. REI also paid their 12,000+ employees for the time off! REI’s bold move gathered an incredible response. This year, they did it again and has thus brought me here. Let me remind you that these photos were taken this past July. While it was summer in Colorado, it was quite frigid in Bariloche. The following photos were taken walking around Bariloche. 

It was winter in Argentina. The cold was nothing compared to what I have experience in Colorado but it did not make it less bearable. Our project had us all over the place. REI had a production crew that scouted locations prior to our arrival. They provided us with transportation, food on location, and awesome company.  We were all over Patagonia driving in some rather sketchy conditions but they made sure we got to our destination hassle free. I wish I could show a map of where we were in Argentina but I do not know any of the places. In between shooting for the project, I had a couple of chances to shoot a roll through the Hasselblad. Here are some of the places we went!

This particular day, it probably snowed a foot or more. We were transported around Bariloche in these vans. The crew maneuvered through thick snowfall and swerved past car crashes to arrive here. We were around the corner from what looked like an entrance to ski slopes. We passed a couple of ski shuttle buses off the road who were stuck. I brought a Sony digital camera but the cold killed the batteries shortly after capturing these following images below.

When I look back on this trip, my favorite memory was at this location. REI and the production crew turned this amazing restaurant into a cabin. It overlooked the most gorgeous scenery and right behind it was a tremendous peak. We spent the entire day here shooting and enjoying each other's company. Below are some photos from my Hasselblad and Sony digital camera. 

The final day before we wrapped the project, half of the group split up to do two different projects. I was chosen to go snowshoeing outside of town to a specific refuge that was deep in the mountain range. We caught sunrise as we all set out to our destination. One hell of a view!

When we finally made it, I felt we were in a fairytale. The trees were large and covered with snow from the day before. Our guides made sure we made it to the destination, ate lunch, and I learned about the many secrets located in the mountains around us. Here are some photos from our journey in. Of course, the cold killed my batteries before we reached the destination. Lesson learned!

The hike took the majority of the day. I was absolutely dead by the time we made it back to the vans. We were informed that we were meeting up with others at a location to catch sunset for our final location for the project. We arrived, immediately embraced each other for one spectacular sunset. I did not take any pictures during this period but that is ok. The memory of everyone's excitement keeps the images fresh in my mind. REI changed my life with this opportunity. Argentina is a beautiful country and the people there made the experience for all of us from America one to remember. I made some great friends during these two weeks. I will continue to tell stories from this trip to friends and family for years to come. And for others who are just passing by, I hope you get a chance to visit Argentina.