501 Places – Photographs that fill you with emotion

Happy #traveltuesday folks! In line with this month’s theme, here is today’s Travel Tip by  Andy Jarosz from 501 places on “Photographs that fill you with emotion”.

1. Aurora Borealis, Kattfjord, Norway

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These were the second time we had seen the Northern Lights and I can honestly say I would never tire of this, one of nature’s finest spectacles. We had just checked in to our lovely log cabin at the side of this remote fjord, well above the Arctic Circle. It was around 10pm and we stepped out onto the balcony to search for the lights. As if on cue, this shimmering light appeared on the western horizon and continued to spread until the green shapes were dancing above our heads. A truly mesmerising experience! Just looking at this picture makes me want to return and try and witness this light show all over again.

2. Solar eclipse, Durness, Northern Scotland

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We woke at 4am and wandered down to the beach when a crowd of around 50 people were waiting for the sun to rise. This was an annular solar eclipse, meaning that the moon would pass directly in front of the sun but be too small to cover it completely. The sun would therefore rise as a ‘ring of fire’. We watched with great excitement as the sun rose, and although the low mist meant that we didn’t witness the point where the red ring rose from the horizon, we did see this spectacular crescent sunrise. The small crowd stood in awe as we watched this special moment. Since then I’ve been determined to see a full solar eclipse. It’s on my list!


3. Long lost family, rural Ukraine
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This is a picture of my mum (left) with her cousin and her daughter. They had just been reunited for the first time in nearly 70 years. I had taken my mother to the village in Ukraine where she had been born, and we had walked the streets looking for things to trigger her childhood memories. We never expected to find a close living relative! My grandfather had been Polish, meaning that his family (including my mother) were deported to Siberia at the start of the war. Her mother’s side of the family, being Ukrainian, were allowed to remain. The old lady cried as she told us that she had been waiting for over 60 years for my mum to return. At that point we all shed a tear or two. It was an emotional and very happy reunion.

4. A local bar in Navahradak, western Belarus
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An unremarkable evening of food and drink, shared with family. What was memorable about this encounter was that we had come to Belarus in search of my father’s home village and the plot of land on which he was raised. Like my mother he had deported to Siberia as a child and never able to return, but being slightly older when war broke out his memories were a little stronger.
It was a very emotional moment to see him standing at the exact point that his father had built a house 80 years before. As for our little celebration here, it has passed into family folklore and involved us pretty much emptying the bar of its stock of beer and vodka!

5. The Polish military cemetery at Navoi, central Uzbekistan
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It was here that my grandfather died in 1942, and it was here that in 2008 I became the first person from our family to find his grave and pay our respects. We had arrived in Navoi with plenty of hope in finding his grave, but little practical knowledge of how to do it. To actually stand in the cemetery, see the family name on a plaque and know that my father could rest in the knowledge of seeing his own father’s resting place was one of the most special moments of my life.

About this week’s Guest writer
Andy Jarosz is a passionate traveller and a professional writer whom only recently has started to link his work with his passion. Writing in corporate magazines and creating website content might pay the bills, but it is recounting the experiences of his 20+ years of semi-nomadic existence that really gets the creative juices flowing. His travel blog 501 places is a selection of his experiences from his travels, and is updated daily.

Follow   Andy on Twitter.

17 Comments

  • Juno says:

    Wow. Andy it’s so touching. Photography is certainly the best way to include emotions, and I almost can feel how you feel. Here, we have saperated families by war, and organized reunited happens once every 5 or 10years. But it’s highly unlikely after while ship thing. Shame..
    Couldn’t be better. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful moments!

  • This is indeed special and an emotional journey for Andy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nellie says:

    Andy, thanks for taking us on the journey. Stunning and inspiring shots! I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights. Your story of reuniting with long-lost relatives in Ukraine is also extremely touching.

    • cumi&ciki says:

      On the Northern Lights,I want to see them too! The 1st time i watched this phenomenon was on TV! It bowled me over.
      I also agree on the reunion being so touching. Isn’t it divine intervention that paths can cross again after so many years? God is good.

  • Oh wow. 5 powerful photos, of natural beauty and of such a rich family history…

  • Ted Nelson says:

    That must have been one incredible reunion regarding picture #3. How crazy after so many years to be reunited.

    I will be in Canada camping this summer and hope to witness the Northern Lights although I am sure it will not be as spectacular as your photo.

  • Dave and Deb says:

    I love the post and especially the picture of your mum with her cousin after 70 years.
    We have never seen the Northern Lights, we really have to go north this winter. They can be seen in our province that we live in! Unbelievable that we haven’t seen them yet!

  • Photographs often transcend just the image. Emotion from the person taking them can live in the minds eye forever. Often times I don’t photograph a moment in time. It makes it that bit rarer.

    Other times like Andy here, they bring back the memories of a lifetime.

    • cumi&ciki says:

      Closure is so important. I think that’s what every human being wants/craves.. but how many actually get the desires of their hearts? Andy’s story is amazing because it is about deep suffering & loss but then triumphant victory & joy in reunion in the end.
      When I asked Andy to do the post on Photographs that fill you with Emotion, i did not know what to expect. This post is great. It is everything the title says and more.

  • Andy Jarosz says:

    Thank you to all for the very kind comments.
    When I was asked to write this post I first thought of all the places I’d seen while travelling and tried to consider which had made me feel emotional. I’m not a weepy sort of person, so when I thought about standing at the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal, while they were hugely impressive sights they didn’t necessarily tick the emotional box. Then I thought back to the recent adventures I’ve had in researching my family history, and all of a sudden selecting the five choices was easy.
    As for the Northern Lights, if you see it you’ll never forget it 🙂

  • worldwindows says:

    Northern Lights seems amazing. Thanks for sharing. Also did not know that there are more Polish military cemetery i es-Soviet Union besides the famous one in Katyn. I hope the countries will do the right thing as families comes to terms.

  • Irene Barnes says:

    Hi Andy,
    That is really amazing. It appears that my grandfather was also buried in the same place as your grandfather. Did you by any chance see/video any other graves.? My grandfather surname was Andrzej Pichner who served in the Polish Army and died in Uzbekistan in 1942. I have seen the picture you posted on the internet. I have his grave number 1-3 buried in Polski Cmentarza Narpaj.

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