The art of connecting with strangers. Be Open. Be Intrepid.


For Nigerian-born travel photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström, the most powerful aspect of travel is making connections with strangers – looking into their eyes, exchanging a smile, learning a little of their story. Lola’s philosophy is about one of respect: when you take someone’s portrait you are invited into their space, and the interaction becomes less about you and all about what that person is willing to give of themselves. When she travelled to Uzbekistan on a small group tour with Intrepid Travel, Lola had ample opportunity to connect with the welcoming locals – whether in the buzzy Silk Road city of Tashkent, a traditional yurt camp in the Kyzylkum Desert or a tiny village in the remote Nuratau Mountains. Having her local leader Zafar to translate across language barriers meant she was able to have real conversations with people and learn about their lives, and being able to share the experience with a small group of fellow travellers made the trip – for Lola – all the richer.

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