"Travel is about the journey, not about the things you take with you." - Fireside with Heather
My name is Heather Kolupailo, travel photographer and storyteller by weekend, corporate career woman by weekday! Born and raised in Minnesota, so lucky to call this place home. I’m a creative junky who enjoys taking photos of beautiful places, assembling stories of my experiences. I’ve got a wonderfully patient human who loves me to the fullest and supports my wild quest to explore this beautiful earth. We also have a rescue pup named Henry.
Q.) Do you think nature plays an important part in recovering from mental illnesses? If so, how?
A.) It’s the one place that’s free from the weight that regularly holds us back. If you let it, nature can be a healer. It’s a place to connect and rely on yourself. Building trust in yourself allows you the power to navigate difficult situations with the confidence. There’s healing in stillness.
Q.) How did you get into visual storytelling, and what has been the most significant moment for you during your work? A.) For me, my journey into storytelling through travel was born out of a corporate career. A career that weighed me down and depleted my creativity and energy. I was on the road week after week doing something that didn’t fuel my creative nature. I wasn’t paying attention to the damage it was doing internally and externally. At the time I wasn’t creating a space while on the roads that filled these depleted buckets. I knew I needed a change. I began to look at my surroundings differently, telling a story of where I was through photography. I realized there was creativity around me and it was me who needed to change my outlook. I started researching my destinations searching for nearby parks and hiking trails. I planned outings for each evening. I pushed myself to explore. Fast forward to the present and these moments on the road have become my fuel. They became an adventure and thus I found my balance. I’m able to share my journey with those who may be seeking something similar.
Q.) How do you feel that social media is impacting people’s mental health? A.) It’s a definite balance. I use social media for very specific purposes. I bucket my time for inspiration, research, and connections with the travel and wilderness community. Endless scrolling can lead to feelings of inadequacy, maybe it makes you feel like your life doesn’t compare to another’s. This is a dangerous space, that we need to be mindful of. My aim in sharing the spaces I’m fortunate enough to visit is for the dreamers, who may be planning a trip. The doers, who are on the road searching for unique spaces to be inspired. It’s also for those who cannot get to these spots for multiple reasons. Photography and storytelling should invoke purpose and passion . A call to action. If the accounts you follow make you feel less than you should consider taking a break or unfollowing. Creating a healthy relationship with social media is critical for a healthy relationship with yourself.
Q.) What advice would you give someone that is planning to take their life on the road? A.) If you’re planning any time on the road, my advice is to do it. Do it with what you have, no time is perfect. Travel is about the journey, not about the things you take with you.