From Warren to: Armenia

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By OREN DARLING

Let me start by saying that I’m not a travel photographer.

(Photo courtesy Oren Darling.)

I dislike the term, at least as it applies to my personal creative outlets. My work comes from a compulsion to document our unique time and place, wherever I happen to be.

I grew up in Warren, Pennsylvania, worked in advertising at Blair after college, went to graduate school at Purdue University and my day job is marketing for a science and economic development non-profit in Indiana.

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to travel to some interesting places, both on and off the beaten path. The images that I share here are intended to give a very brief snapshot of each place. In many cases, these shots do not reflect what I would consider to be my “best” photographs in a purely artistic sense. These are highlights to push back on the cabin fever that many people are feeling and to inspire your next trip when 2020 is in the rearview mirror.

Armenia

Much of my first trip to Armenia was focused on the capital city of Yerevan and the numerous monasteries and historical sites south and southeast of the city. The climate is generally dry, though the countryside has incredibly rich farmland. Armenia has a tense relationship with neighboring Turkey, due to the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century and Turkish possession of Mount Ararat, a historic symbol and point of pride for the people of Armenia.

The Armenian people are welcoming and although fluency in English can be inconsistent, I
encountered no issues with language or communication. With proper advance planning, the
cost of air travel to Yerevan with a layover in Poland or Qatar is roughly on par with more
heavily traveled European destinations. Food and lodging are very reasonable, particularly if you’re comfortable renting an apartment versus staying in hotels. As of 9-11-2020, Armenia has fully reopened its international borders, although a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine period are required upon arrival.

(All photos courtesy Oren Darling.)