Natalia Horinkova, a “photographer, traveler, and believer in good,” documents the authentic spirit of the destinations she visits around the world through her Instagram account, @_nata_. We were captivated by her snapshots when they first popped up on #traveldeeper, so we caught up with the Slovakia-born, Australia-based travel photographer to talk about her photography inspiration, travel experience, and her fascinating (and incredible) upcoming project.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you decide to move from Slovakia to Australia?

“I was born and raised in Slovakia. When I was 19 years old, I moved out of my childhood home and lived between Slovakia, Spain, and Italy. After that, I lived in Dubai for about three years, and then I moved to Australia. My permanent address is in Australia, but to be honest, for past two years I haven’t really spent much time there either—I’ve been traveling pretty constantly.”

Ubud, Bali

It sounds like travel is pretty deeply ingrained in who you are. Is there a specific trip that inspired you to make it a lifestyle?

“I’ve been traveling since I was very little—as far back as I can remember, really. My first solo trip was when I was 14 years old. I spent a summer in Switzerland and lived away from my family. Since then, I’ve traveled from Europe to the Middle East to Asia. The trip that changed me the most, though, was to Nepal. I booked a flight very spontaneously and spent 10 days there doing yoga in the Himalayas, hiking to neighboring villages, getting to know the culture, and communicating with local people, even though I didn’t speak their language.” 

What draws you to photography—specifically travel photography?

“I want to share with the rest of the world what I learn from my travels. I want to show people places they haven’t been—places that they might like to go to. I want to share beauty. I love learning about new things and talking to people. The world has so much to offer—there are so many amazing cultures and customs to experience and celebrate.” 

Delhi, India

In July, you’re embarking on a cycling trip through Malawi in partnership with OnePulse and Partners in Health—what a unique adventure! What is the basis of this project?

“I was actually asked to join this trip as an official photographer through Instagram! I’m joining a group of 19 cyclists who will be riding through Malawi—about 800 miles in total—to fundraise for better healthcare outreach across the country. This trip is a perfect example of the reason I do travel photography—to help. My goal for this project is to not only raise money, but also to capture photos, share them with my audience, and perhaps make an even bigger impact by spreading knowledge and awareness. You never know whose heart your images will touch and how those people, in turn, will lend a helping hand.”

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Around the World Through Natalia Horinkova's Lens
See the world through this photographer's lens.
By Natalia Horinkova
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    Lima, Peru
    "I came across these two young boys in Lima, Peru, practicing their tricks on their skateboards. As soon they saw me taking photos, they called out and asked me to take more." 

    By Natalia Horinkova
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    Zanzibar, Tanzania
    "I was leaving for the airport that morning in Zanzibar, when I saw these girls playing in the sea. They were using their head scarves to collect fish from the sea."
    By Natalia Horinkova
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    Siem Reap, Cambodia
    "Angkor Wat is the biggest religious monument in the world. People from around the globe come to visit—it's not hard to see why."

    By Natalia Horinkova
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    Antigua, Guatemala
    "I was walking through the local markets, admiring the colors of Guatemala when I saw this man standing around. I wanted to photograph him, but when our eyes met, I got shy. I took my chances anyway, and snapped this shot."
    By Natalia Horinkova
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    Cartagena, Colombia
    "The best photos alway comes to me when I'm not searching for them. I was walking along the wall in Cartagena's Old Town at sunset, and out of nowhere these kids passed by me walking on their hands. I quickly grabbed my camera to snap the moment and got this shot. As quickly as they came in to my frame, they were gone again."
    Photo by Natalia Horinkova
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    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    "I was walking in Rio de Janeiro by the water, when I saw a group of young boys jumping into the ocean. I spent the next couple of hours talking to them and photographing them in the golden light. They continued to jump in, until one of them screamed, ‘Jellyfish!’ After that, they were done."
    Photo by Natalia Horinkova
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    Ubud, Bali
    "In Ubud, there are colors, fruit, flowers, and vegetables wherever you look. Anywhere in the world, local markets are great places to take photographs."
    Photo by Natalia Horinkova
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    Colombo, Sri Lanka
    "This fisherman from Colombo, Sri Lanka, was selling his fresh fish at the markets. We talked about my tattoo (a whale on my arm) and he said he wished he had the same one."

    Photo by Natalia Horinkova
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    "While in Vietnam, I met a street artist who was selling his art—this painting of a rooster—just in time to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which is a big event across Asia."
    Photo by Natalia Horinkova
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    "I volunteered at a school in Madagascar, where I met this boy. I asked him for a photo while he sat at his desk, but suddenly, he stood up and walked towards this map, where he wanted me to take his portrait."
    Photo by Natalia Horinkova
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    Kathmandu, Nepal
    "If you visit Kathmandu, Nepal, don't miss the Monkey Temple. You can see the whole city of Kathmandufrom the top."
    Photo by Natalia Horinkova

Learn more about the Malawi Expedition here.

>>Next: Meet the Young Educator Using Instagram for Activism