We are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.
– Carson McCullers
Photographer, creative consultant, and travel expert Carley Rudd has made a career out of her wanderlust and curiosity to capture the beauty around the world. Over the past three years, she has lived and worked in Bali, Portugal, Los Angeles, Italy, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, NYC and countless other destinations.
Her editorial and commercial photography work spans the travel, hospitality, and design sectors and include clients like Airbnb, Madewell, Land Rover, Swiss Air, Four Season’s Hotels & Resorts, and more. She contributes regularly to leading travel and design publications including Conde Nast Traveler, Afar, Suitcase Magazine, and Design Milk. Carley was also named one of the top travel Instagram accounts to follow by CN Traveller.
Her unique photographic style evokes a feeling of blissful escapism and has garnered her a large and growing social media following. She has developed her own globally-inspired fine art photography collection and her prints can be found online.
How has your approach to travel changed over the years?
Travel has always been an important part of my life. With every new experience and adventure that pushed me out of my comfort zone, I saw myself grow so much as an individual. My approach and goal with travel have always been to broaden my mind and see the vast beauty of our world.
Now, more than ever I have been learning about and finding ways to support sustainable travel. This means visiting more off-the-beaten-path destinations, looking for hotels that take sustainability seriously, lowering your carbon footprint by choosing train or boat travel over air and car, and finding ways to support local artisans and eco-friendly tour operators during your trip.
A great sustainable travel company I support is Regenerative Travel and I love their philosophy, “By encouraging sustainable travel around the world, we can harness our collective power to live more purposefully in our everyday lives.”
Do you experience challenges that arise with living a nomadic lifestyle, and if so how do you manage them?
I am coming up on my third year anniversary of leaving my apartment in Los Angeles to pursue full-time travel photography and a nomadic lifestyle. Over the past three years, I have lived and worked in Bali, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua and countless other countries and destinations. Existing outside the normal structures of society and choosing where and how to work has been extremely freeing, but doesn’t come without its challenges.
There are often times when I feel completely ungrounded. Without a real sense of home or any sort of constant routine, things can feel out of balance and I’ve had to constantly check in with myself and find ways to create that balance. For example, little things I can do from anywhere like adding meditation to my morning ritual help a lot.
I have also missed out on friend’s birthdays, building a local community, and creating a sacred space to come back to in between travel to decompress. But I do my best to keep in touch with friends and family through FaceTime calls, have worked on building my digital community through Instagram, and collected little treasures along my travels that will someday all live in a place I call home.
What is one travel memory that immediately brings a smile to your face?
My husband and I wound up in Sri Lanka at the end of a three-month backpacking trip through South East Asia. We were staying in a remote beach village and taking a walk along the shore when we came across the “Friendship Bar”. Imagine a few wooden stools and a handmade bar in the sand under a palm tree with a guitar hanging under a sign that read "Play me". There was not a soul in sight except one friendly local who ended up being the owner of the bar. He invited us over and after hearing we came from California picked up the guitar and started playing Hotel California. Several songs and Ceylon Arracks (a traditional Sri Lankan coconut spirit) later and we had a new best friend in Sri Lanka. ■