Two weeks before I set out on the biggest adventure I’ve ever undertaken, a friend I was planning to go to North America with regrettably had to cancel their trip. This left me in an interesting position to re-plan my entire journey and have another think about how I was going to manage as a 19 year old on a 4 month trip in a foreign country.
Through the nerves and the fear of the unknown came a new sense of adventure and excitement for what was to come, suddenly I had no responsibility besides myself, I could do whatever and go wherever I solely wanted to, opening the door for an incredible opportunity for myself and the trip ahead.
32 coaches, 19 trains, 15 cities, 2 countries and 1 1997 cheep Cherokee later, it was the best experience of my life and I could not recommend traveling solo to anyone higher. The experiences I was privileged to undertake will stay with me for the rest of my life as will the connections and moments shared with people met along the way. People often have one free ticket or one free seat but adding more people to that equation becomes more difficult, the opportunities I got to experience as a solo traveller where a once in a lifetime. From hitchhikers in the Oregon countryside to airline preachers there was no shortage of stories and experiences to share through photos, here are a few of those moments.
ADVENTURING: (Hollywood Hills, LA) Until you get to LA, you don’t realize how much of a concrete jungle the place really is. With terrible traffic, public transport and very expensive accommodation as a backpacker it was a short-lived visit in the city of angels. I was fortunate enough to meet up with a childhood friend while in the city and as we quickly toured the main sites over an afternoon into the evening we seriously misjudged the available accommodation in LA. Going to a hostel would have been a sensible decision, but instead, we decided to head into the Hollywood hills and camp out for the night, with the rolling hills in sight and the city lights far off in the distance that was our 12-hour experience of LA. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
BAPTISM: (Penticton, Okanagan Valley BC) I was fortunate enough to experience an adult baptism nestled between the mountains and rivers of the Okanagan Valley in British Colombia Canada. I was staying with a friend who I had met in Australia a few years previous who had decided to have a baptism, the whole experience was a very spiritual interesting moment, lots of emotions were expressed in such a scenic location. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
BENZ: (Sunset District, Bay area SF) The streets of San Francisco are a photographers dream, brightly painted pastel houses and vintage cars line the streets, creating a very pleasing canvas. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
DINOSAUR PARK: (Drum Hiller, Alberta) When you get asked if you want to go to a place that has some of the highest concentrations of dinosaur fossils and bones, it’s a hard opportunity to turn down. With rolling hoodoo mounds and brightly painted rock formations, Drum Hiller is one of the more unique places on my journey. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
HOCKEY EH: (Penticton, Okanagan Valley BC) Hockey is a massive part of Canadian culture, similar to the emphasis Australians hold on AFL. Poutine and gravy is a must. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
HOLLYWOOD HILLS: (Hollywood Hills, LA) The view from the morning campsite. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
HORSESHOE: (Somewhere in the Arizona desert) If you’re a poor traveller and can’t afford the forced “guided tour” of antelope canyon, have no fear its brother Horseshoe bend down the road has your back. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
LOOK UP: (Seattle, Washington state) Seattle is the New York of the Pacific North West, the space needle is very sweet and can be much better viewed from the hotel adjacent. Same height as the needle, but will save you $80. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
LOOKING FORWARDS: (Manhattan, NYC) Brooklyn bridge doubles as a method of transportation and a free skyline lookout to the Manhattan urban sprawl of downtown. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
MORNING COMMUTE: (Brooklyn, NYC) The usual 6am crowd, Brooklyn NYC. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
OFF THE GRID: (Slab City, California) The slab city Christian centre is probably the most normal building in the whole place, this photo was taken moments before the offer of desert magic mushrooms became available. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
PALM SUNDAYS: (Palm Springs, California) Palm Springs is a very photogenic place, the architecture lends itself to a very retro 80’s style and character. Not a lot going on in this town most of the year, but still very worth venturing to for the unique architecture. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
POSTAL POLICE: (Midtown Manhattan, NYC) Off-duty postal police, mid-town NYC. (Don’t worry, I don’t know what the postal police do either) | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
PUSHING ON: (Sunset District, San Francisco) I met Baylen in the Sunset District of San Francisco, he was a very chill dude and a very sick skater. The local spot was old abandoned world war 2 gun turret platform, flat concrete with a view. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
SAIL ALONG (Bay Area, SF) Once the fog escapes back into the forests and the oceans, SF bay opens up and becomes a mariners dream. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
SHADOWS (Brooklyn, NYC) View along the subway line, Brooklyn. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
SLAB CITY (Saviour Mountain, Slab City CA) A shrine to love, tolerance and god. A beautiful sentiment by a devoted man, equipped only with straw, paint and a commitment to his love for God and the world around him. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
SMILE (San Diego, CA) This girl was standing on the island of a 10-lane highway, smiling and waving to every car that drove past. She appeared to be doing it for no other reason than to brighten peoples day which certainly worked on me. I cut across 3 lanes of traffic and asked if I could take her photo, her reply “Only if you share it with the world”. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
SUNSET DISTRICT: (Sunset District, SF) Jaguar, possibly E type? | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
UTAH YEHAW: (Monument Valley, Utah) It’s easy to understand why this was the movie set of nearly every western movie of the past 80 years, the landscape lends itself to a very cowboy free country style. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
VALLEY VIEW (Yosemite, CA) There are not many more overwhelming places I experienced than Yosemite Valley, but with that incredible view comes hordes of tourists all year long. Myself and another Australian I was with at the time drastically underestimated the business of the campsites and how you apparently had to book 6 months ahead of time, having made the decision to go 3 days earlier we improvised by playing the clueless Aussie card and ended up snagging a campsite big enough for only one tent, this only further encouraged our 5 am wake-up and the anticipation for the sunrise view at this spot. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
VICTORIA (Vic, BC) There are two people that live on Victoria island, old people and students. I was lucky enough to live in a student share house while on the Island and there was no shortage of parties or incredible coastal locations to experience. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
WATCH OUT FOR JAGUARS (Okanagan Valley, BC) | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
I met a very fun and interesting family while in Penticton, one day I was driven up on a quad bike to the top of a mountain overlooking the town. The brother who brought me up here Austin left to get more camping supplies and left me the gun in the photo, saying “Watch out for Jaguars”.
WILD WILD WEST: (Monument Valley, Utah) True cowboy country, a man, and his horse. Monument Valley, Utah USA. | Photo - Michael Tartaglia @michael_tartaglia
Michael has an exhibition at the Bird Bar in William Street, Northbridge, Western Australia
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