Soon-to-be graduate plans 100-day journey across world
To chronicle his graduation trip, one soon-to-be graduate isn't settling for selfie-stick snapshots. He prefers portraits of Aussies, Africans and Turks to remember the journey.
Christian Murillo, an industrial engineering major set to graduate in December 2015, will take a 100-day journey across the world less than a month after turning the tassel.
His motivation for the trip, aside from exploring different cultures and areas, is to meet and photograph the people who make up Earth's population. Murillo, who has been practicing as a photographer since he was a teenager, hopes to take portraits of strangers in every country and learn about their stories and lifestyles.
"I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone, so I chose places that first and foremost I had never been to before and also places where I could fairly easily get out of the general touristy areas," he said.
With the company of his friend and fellow Knight Andres Perotti, Murillo will spend January to May traveling to almost every continent, stopping in countries such as Australia, Ghana, Iceland, Turkey, India and Chile, among many others.
"After I graduate I don't know if I'm going to grad school or starting a career, but either way, this might be my last chance to do something this long and this crazy before I have any real commitments," Murillo said. "I started flirting with the idea of traveling to places and I just got carried away. I was like, 'Why don't I just travel everywhere?'"
After the travel-intense 100 days, Murillo will collect all of his subjects' portraits, stories and contact information and compile them into a book titled Face: The World.
After the portraits are printed, he plans to send each person he photographed along the way a picture of another subject in an effort to create a truly international network.
"I'm going to encourage everyone to reach out to each other to make a modernized pen-pal type of network," he said.
Murillo raised the funds necessary to print, package and ship the portraits through Kickstarter, through which he received $5,632 of his $5,000 goal in a little under a month's time.
Perotti, who graduated in fall 2014 with a degree in history, met Murillo on the UCF club soccer team. He said Murillo had been talking about his trip a lot, and it really piqued his interest.
"When he first said it, I kind of wanted to join in with him, but I didn't really have the money for it. But then I started working and made enough money to be able to pay for it, so I decided to tag along," Perotti said.
By traveling in a pair, Murillo said his parents were more on board with the excursion, as they were worried about safety, especially in third-world countries. Perotti said he's willing to help Murillo out in any way with his endeavors.
"Having another person with me, it's going to lead to twice the amount of relationships we make on the trip," Murillo said.
The trip has taken many months of planning, organizing and preparing. Since the money made from Kickstarter is going toward the production of Face: The World, Murillo and Perotti have worked and saved in order to finance their travel funds.
"I've been saving up for like a year and a half," Murillo said. "I've been working long hours, and everything I make goes into a savings account."
Although both are fluent in English and Spanish, the two will come in contact with languages ranging from Icelandic to Indonesian, upon which they said they will rely on Google Translate.
"When I don't have access to a translator, just in case, I was going to print out a short description of what I'm doing and why I'm doing it and Google Translate it in all the languages of the countries I'm going to," Murillo said. "So, hopefully, I'll be able to get across some basic understanding of my project to get people on board."
A mostly self-taught photographer, Murillo has had his eye behind the viewfinder since he was 15. He notes taking inspiration from the popular portrait photography project Humans of New York.
However, he wanted to take it one step further.
"I figured, what's a better way to tell someone's story and direct it to someone else who can actually hear it and create a network where those people can actually communicate with each other?" he said. "With modern technology, it's really never been easier, even for people from remote places, to have access to email, phones and social media."
Noelle Campbell is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @Noellecampz or email her at NoelleC@CentralFloridaFuture.com.