Hitchhiking Iraq: Top Photos

In April of 2015 I took a trip that pushed me further than I’ve gone since I started this journey. Traveling through Iraq was never even on my radar, until a fateful meeting with a native Iraqi while I was in Turkey. This trip was proof that great (calculated) risks bring great rewards, and that you never truly know a story until you hear it firsthand.

Hitchhiking 150 miles across Iraq was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had on the road.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

This is the Erbil Citadel. Built 7,000 years ago, it’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Iraq Pictures Kurdistan Photos

To my surprise, most shops in Kurdistan region of Iraq operate on the honor system. At night, shop owners simply cover their products with blankets. After hours, locals will take what they need then pay the following day.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

A young Iraqi girl sits on a quiet city street.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

The warm and playful children I met were so friendly…and loved making fun of my mustache.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

Once outside the city, lush green grass covers the countryside—a far cry from the desert landscapes I imagined.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

 Massive red cliffs shot up all around us.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

Locals told me that Saddam Hussein’s mountain home, accessible only by helicopter, is located somewhere on this mountain range.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

 Amedi, Iraq

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

I shot this in Amedi from the roof of an old school, which is now home to 10 refugee families fleeing ISIS. They invited us into their home for tea, and we ended up staying for dinner and some amazing conversation that went late into the night.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

My (slightly illegal) campground in the town park.

Iraq Photos Kurdistan Pictures

 Rawandiz Canyon… This is now what I imagine when I think of Iraq.

IMG_7870