Travel Diary

In Paradise, In Panama

@imogenevonbarron

"I could hear Attenborough’s voice narrating as I walked through the jungle, monkeys swinging from trees, sloths hanging out doing what they do best..."

Creative, Imogene Barron, revisits the balmy Caribbean shores of Panama in a short film honouring its untapped beauty and the charisma of its locals. In a time of reflection and longing, we speak to her about what she took away from her trip across the Atlantic and the importance of travel to her.

What does travel mean to you?

Travel is everything to me. I want to see and explore as many corners of the earth as I possibly can squeeze into this lifetime! I think growing up in a small town, in a country very far from anywhere, pushes you to traverse, and gives you certain yearn for new people, sights, smells, tastes, languages - for me, nothing compares to being completely immersed in a new culture.

What’s your wildest or most cherished Trippin memory - where were you, who were you with, what happened?

So many amazing memories, one that really sticks in my mind was a trip to Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of islands in Panama. I was working on a project with my best friend, Dion, on a sunglasses collaboration for his label EPOKHE. I designed a frame and really wanted to shoot some imagery that had a sense of realness to it. We flew in with no expectations, had the absolute best time getting to know and document the locals - not only just in passing - we were invited into family homes, drank countless litres of rum with old mad dogs in beach bars, kicked it with the local kids - lived the absolute island life dream!

What’s in your camera collection for travel?

Current working rotation is Contax T2, Contax G2, Olympus Stylus, Pentax Espio 120, Yashica T4, Minolta Wathermatic dual 35.

Do you have a track that reminds you of Panama?

La Rebelion - Joe Arroyo

Was this your first time in Panama? If yes, what were your first impressions? If no, what keeps you coming back?

It was my first and only time in Panama! I am dying to go back. The archipelago of San Blas looks really beautiful, its been on my hit list for quite some time. I’d also love to drive from mainland Panama up to Costa Rica, I heard that the stretch of coastline is incredible.

How would you describe Panama to someone who’s never been?

It’s absolutely breathtaking, we joked the whole time that it was very “Nat Geo". I could hear Attenborough’s voice narrating as I walked trough the jungle, monkeys swinging from trees, sloths hanging out doing what they do best - we even went to an island called “Sloth Island”. I insisted to my friend after a quite a few Pina Coladas to trek through the jungle in the middle of the night to see the Caiman (Crocodilia) in the swamp. If you shine a flashlight on them, their eyes pop up and they gravitate towards the light. It’s completely mesmerizing.

The people of Panama were so beautiful both inside and out, smiles and good vibes all round.

Is there anyone you met on your trip that made a lasting impression?

Scotty and Maiky from Red Frog Bungalows, where we stayed on the island of Basimentos. They were so caring and kind and the best tour guides ever!

What was the best thing you ate/saw/experienced on the trip?

Sancocho de Gallina, one of the authentic Panamanian dishes, was a fave!

The day we went to island of Kusapín, which we wouldn't have been able to visit without the local access was pretty mind blowing. It was pure nature and wildness, like the land before time. I felt very privileged to explore this beautiful community. They don’t have much power/access to internet etc; the kids were completely fascinated with our phones and cameras etc. We ended up getting stuck in a crazy storm, so fortunately got to hang out with them for most of the day. We thought the storm had passed and the boat nearly capsized on the way back, was up there in some crazy ‘might die' moments!

Photography by: Imogene Barron

Film by: Imogene Barron and Dion Agus

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