Some of my favourite travel moments have been witnessing rural communities at the start of a day or in the early evening – particularly when the light is just right and you are armed with a camera. It is when a place bears its soul.
I remember decades on, and long after I have misfiled the photograph, the glimpse of a man shaving as I walked through the little village of Deogarh in rural Rajasthan. I can still recall the early-morning tea, shared with a school teacher on a doorstep of his classroom in Sikkim, as we watched his smartly uniformed pupils drift like rivulets from different hillside houses into the lowland. On reflection, in fact, most of these morning memories have been in Asia and many in the mountains.
Likewise, still with me are the calls of welcome in the early evening as family members get home at the end of a working day; and the gentle, domestic sounds as dinner is prepared, the heat falls away and the light fades. They are reminders of how unchanged life can be. Two such evenings come to mind – one in Peru’s Colca Valley about 20 years ago and the other on the island of Kyushu in Japan. I remember them both like yesterday.