One of Atlanta’s most creative citizens, Liz Johnson, doesn’t spend all of her time in the city. She’s busy traveling the world (and thankfully, leaving us with so much detail through her writing and photography that it’s as if we’re on these journeys with her). To chronicle one of her recent trips, she started a photojournalism blog, and we’re here to spread the word!
She tells you up front what she is—a buleh (pronounced boo-lay). A buleh is a word native of Indonesia meaning an unsuspecting person, Caucasian, easily manipulated into overpaying, constantly confused, unable to effectively bargain and always lost.
Johnson, the buleh in question, shows that cultural connection isn’t as painful as pulling teeth–by traveling with a humanitarian aid organization and teaching English, she can connect with the locals and get the shots not seen in a tourist stop. In the faraway island of Timor, there are gorgeous waterfalls, abandoned palaces, an alien geography of beaches and priests that look “straight out of a kung fu movie.” While submerged in the local culture, Johnson and others do as the Romans (or in this case, Indonesians) do. They are up early in the morning (bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from their cold showers) and partake in native and local foods which may involve eating off of a leaf from time to time.
This is travel photojournalism done right: eat the food and use the amenities that are available without complaint, and learn to see it as an experience rather than an inconvenience. Liz Johnson’s accounts and photography are online at her blog.
by Elaina L./ CommonCreativ