As a child, nothing could draw me in as my mother’s ghost stories. The late night sudden power cuts surprised us having our dinner whereupon curled around the candlelight my family waited out the light while listening to my mother’s whispering stories. During this time, I felt closest to my ancestors.

The stories, as it turned out, weren’t really about ghosts but about my great grandmother’s and father’s strange experiences in the old cobblestoned and forest-surrounded city of Quito. I never met my great grandparents or the old Quito, but through my mother’s stories I felt a strong connection to them as if I had known them. 

Connection is what I write for.

Over the years I’ve written studies, opinion pieces, travel blogs and leaped from a minor in anthropology to a Master in sociolinguistics and communication. I’ve worked with the community of asylum seekers in Amsterdam to raise funds and awareness of their rights, and lived out of a backpack as we, 9 teenagers, rough-traveled through Central America surviving on the profits of our street performances. Since then, I have been working on the road in South America and Africa collecting stories about the environment, social development, and crisis relief for different clients working on humanitarian causes. 

As a journalist and researcher, gathering stories on the road requires a good level of adaptability to unexpected challenges, a self-starter attitude, a great energy with the team, and a passion for connecting people through stories. But over time, I’ve understood much better why my mother and I do what we do.

We do it to spread stories that need to be told, so that they don’t get lost. 

Susan Martinez

Many images here are courtesy of photographer Peter Caton.

Check his work