The question of what to do after one graduates from university is for many of us an open one which does not have a very clear answer. Weather to start working straight after, do a post graduate study or go travelling are some alternatives. I decided to do the latter.
After graduating in December 2002 I bought a one way ticket to London and flew in January 2003 not knowing what to expect and with the only support of one of my sisters who was living in Peckham, South London at that time. The only clear idea that I had in mind was that I needed to fly back to Mexico after one year abroad.
With me I took my recently purchased Canon Elan 7 reflex camera, around twenty five rolls of T-Max 400 film and a black and white developing tank with its reels. I remember being hold at the baggage control at the Mexico airport, where I had to explain that this was a developing tank not a home-made bomb.
This has been one of the most challenging years but also on of the most gratifying ones for me. I first worked for two months as kitchen porter and then as bartender at a restaurant in Marylebone, central London. During the first two months as kitchen porter I lost around 6 kg of weight washing dishes, cleaning after the chefs and mopping floors with almost no time to relax on the 9-hour shift. The bartender time was a much more enjoyable one. This experience made me realize how hard life can be when you start from zero in a unknown place once you are taken out of your comfort zone.
During my free time I could go exploring the streets, visiting the great museums I carried my camera with me almost all the time. Some partying was also involved. After saving some money in the first months I could afford to make some trips to Edinburgh, Bath, Brighton, Oxford and Canterbury but my main goal during of this year abroad was to go backpacking for two months somewhere in Europe.
I purchased the Lonely Planet guide “Europe on a Shoestring” and with it I planned my trip to some Mediterranean countries from September to November 2003. The photos of this trip are posted in the “Travel Album No 4 – Mediterranean” blog entry. Once back in London I continued working at the same restaurant and was able to save some more for trips to Belgium and Holland.
With minus six kilos and with thirty developed negative rolls I flew back to Mexico in January of 2004.
The answer to the original question was somehow clearer for me: after this year abroad I wanted to begin my professional carrier. By April 2004 I started my contract by the company where I got the opportunity to work abroad in Australia and in the USA, time in which I took the photographs of six of the nine Travel Albums of this series.
The majority of the black and white photos in this “Travel Album No. 3 – Central Europe” are from my time in Europe during 2003. The rest are from a subsequent travel in 2010.