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A Personal Project: Trashy

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Occasionally, I wonder if I’m contributing to false notions about travel and visiting natural landscapes. I’ve created so many photos, GIFS and cinemagraphs of waterfalls and coastlines that appear completely pristine. These pop on Pinterest and Tumblr for travel inspiration to “raw and untouched landscapes”. The truth is more complicated. Yes, many of the places I’ve visited are beautiful and do look pristine but I’ve also seen reckless hikers barge past signs about ecologically sensitive areas, yoga girls drag rocks around to build the perfect platform for their pose photos and photographers throwing rocks at glacier pools to get that “make a splash” image. 

Last week, when Eli and I got to California, we beelined for Half Moon Bay. As soon as we got down to the water, we spotted a pod of dolphins. We counted 4, then 6, then 8! Coming from the midwest, seeing dolphins in the wild always feels magical. Later as we headed back towards the car, I went grab a quick photo of some ice plants. As I got closer, I realized that someone had tucked a beer can into the plants. My elation from seeing the dolphins burst. There were trash cans a short walk away. 

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