26-Year-Old Battles Depression by Traveling the World and Capturing Magnificent Photos

Michael Loffler is only 26 years old, but he's already been to more countries around the world than many people will in a lifetime. For the past three years, Loffler has used traveling as a way to fight his depression. Armed with little more than a camera and some personal belongings, he journeys to places like China, India, Nepal, and Peru for rich experiences that he will remember forever. These spectacular, wanderlust-worthy photos capture some of the moments that Loffler says “breathed a little life” into him.

How does he afford his globetrotting lifestyle? According to Loffler, it just takes thriftiness and careful spending. He usually travels to countries in Asia and South America, since the dollar goes further there. He keeps a daily spending limit of about $30, which includes lodging, transportation, food, and anything else. Since plane tickets can be expensive, he tries to travel locally by land as much as he can. Couch surfing, hitchhiking, camping, staying with friends, teaching English, and taking on labor or retail jobs are some of the other ways that he manages to cut costs. Even his camera, a Nikon COOLPIX AW100, is only a $300 point-and-shoot.

Loffler acknowledges that traveling is more of a temporary relief than a magical cure for his depression. He says, “If you manage to get out enough that you can make it on to a plane, you will definitely feel better, but remember, you're going to take all that stuff that weighed you down back home, with you. Change comes from within, so try and utilize traveling to teach yourself how to fix what you need inside. Traveling is inspirational and definitely will transform your life, for the better or for worse.”

Above: Sapa, Vietnam

Rice terrace workers.
Sapa, Vietnam

Vietnam

Old temple ruins. Part of a large complex of other temples, best know as Angkor Wat. These amazing parasitic trees have grown into and taken over this temple.
Ta Prohm, Cambodia

Two Cambodian girls out fishing for snakes in their ‘boats.'
Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

Two children on their commute home from school.
Sri Lanka

Machu Picchu, Peru

A small desert oasis town.
Huacachina, Peru

Huacachina, Peru

Two fancy dogs on an ornately carved balcony.
Jaisalmer, India

India

My trusty horse whom I spent 4 days on, wandering the Mongolian wilderness.
Mongolia

Sunset over the Li River.
Xingping, China

Incredible effort went into making these rice terraces. Generations of families dating back hundreds of years. No machinery.
Yuanyang, China

Snakes road I guess you could call it. A ridiculous bus journey to say the least.
Zhangjaijie, China

Sunrise on the top of South East Asia's largest mountain.
Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo

Nepal

This small village is just outside of Muktinath, a very spiritual village that sees millions of pilgrims every year.
Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Small mountain village I stayed a couple days in.
Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Nepal

Nepal

The only place I know where you can walk along the coast through beaches, jungle and see snowcapped mountains in the distance.
Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Michael Loffler on Flickr
via [Imgur], [Reddit], [Demilked]

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