My lifelong goal is to travel to every country in the world. I began taking photos as a way to capture cultures and preserve memories as I explored the world, which inspired me to share these moments on an Instagram account, Travel with Rosh. These photographs later allowed me to escape reality at the start of lockdown, and now, as I get ready to graduate, I’ve been looking back at all the memories I made along the way.
Travel with Rosh: Seeing the world through locals and their histories
Immersion and photography are the best ways to learn about the traditions and daily lives of the people who call the places you visit home.
May 2, 2023
My mom enjoys photographing nature and telling me to “stand there” a million times. Watching her take photos on a disposable film camera as a kid inspired my interest in camerawork. This was my first attempt at street photography.
Belur and Channapatna, Karnataka, and Bengaluru, India (2019)
Reading the morning newspaper with my grandfather and shopping with my grandmother defined my childhood during the brief period where I forgot English and became bilingual in Kannada. Bengaluru, Karnataka, is home, but stepping outside to Belur and Channapatna taught me how rich our local histories are. The footprint of the places you visit and people you meet always find you months or years later — as a first-year visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I instantly recognized the architecture in its Asian art collection.
Bangkok, Thailand (2019). The Grand Palace of Thailand materializing with the pixelated skyscraper King Power Mahanakhon behind it.
In the Grand Palace of Thailand, an unsolved tragedy struck in 1946, when King Rama VIII, 20-year-old Ananda Mahidol, was shot and killed. At the steps of Wat Traimit — home to the Golden Buddha, the world’s largest solid gold structure — my local friend Joe looked around and whispered to me an open secret: Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who was crowned King Rama X in 2019, resides in and rules from Germany.
After visiting the palace, skip the tourist traps and take Joe’s recommendation to eat local at Riverside Cafe, located on the Chao Phraya River near Tha Tian Market, and watch the sun set behind the Wat Arun, a grandiose temple that draws millions of tourists each year. There’s nothing better than exploring Thailand with the fruit market’s array of bananas, mangosteen and lychee in hand.
My first time in Europe had come full circle to my childhood birthdays spent at the local Olive Garden. I’m only half kidding. The CAS Presidential Honors Scholars program took us to Florence my first year at NYU. My friends and I called ourselves the Florence Fettuccine Gang, until our waiter Giuseppe told us fettuccine alfredo is, simply put, not Italian.
Airports are my best friend. It’s a lawless land, where time comes to a standstill. I spent this layover testing out my new camera – a Sony α6400.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2021). The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Fate would have it that after two failed study away attempts due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other unrelated course scheduling conflicts, I would find myself living in the United Arab Emirates again at NYU Abu Dhabi. With sand on our clothes and feet in the water of the Louvre, my friends and I reflected on how fate brought us to the right place at the right time and listened to the crashing of waves long past midnight.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2021)
Most people think of Dubai as a city of luxury, but I see Dubai through the stories of migrants.
This shopkeeper told me the story of how he immigrated from Afghanistan, posing for me inside the elevator as he went to get an abaya, a long cloak that wraps around the body. A tanoura dancer brought so much energy with his smile, and then put his all into a fire show.
A spontaneous trip to Ras Al Khaimah, one of the UAE’s smaller emirates, took me by surprise. This pink lake in the middle of the desert is caused by red algae. There are so many places around the world where nature will have you second guessing if you’re still on planet Earth.
Wizz Air, the Ryanair-like budget airline, made this international flight cheaper than my megabus tickets from New York to home in Pennsylvania. From standing in awe of Oman’s breathtaking architecture in the mosques and souqs to seeing people spend time with loved ones at the Mutrah Corniche, this trip inspired me to live life in the present.
I’ll always cherish the global experiences I had at NYU and beyond. New York City can be a blessing, with both shops and restaurants that bring the world together. Whether I indulge in a Ricciarelli or Panforte di Siena at an Italian trattoria like II Corallo Trattoria, or go to Moustache Pitza in the West Village for a proper Arabic mezze, I find comfort in knowing I’ll be back to these countries and more soon enough.