On the Road

Photographer of the Week: Carolina Esguerra Colborn

By Maan D’Asis Pamaran

Fueled by a dream, Carolina Esguerra Colborn took her post-retirement life to the roads of North America. She recounts how it all came to be.

Somewhere in Alaska (Carol Esguerra Colborn)

“When I retired early from a busy business career in the Philippines, I migrated to Seattle to be with my eldest daughter and her family. There, while teaching at two colleges and a university, I met my third husband and avid travel partner, Bill. He sold his business and took me RVing all over North America for eight years.”

Going to the Unknown
Half Dome at Dusk (Carol Esguerra Colborn)

As the former president/CEO of e-procurement hub BayanTrade, managing director of SAP Philippines, deputy commissioner of the BIR, general manager of MegaLink, and VP of the Development Academy of the Philippines, and two-time recipient of the Most Powerful Women in IT Award, Carolina found herself looking for a new challenge to conquer. This was why she started documenting their experiences using a Nikon DSLR on a blog. “That time, my photos were not really good and I didn’t use the power of my camera,” she admits.

When the couple settled in a 55+ resort lifestyle community in Phoenix, Arizona, where there were so many clubs to get involved in aside from the many amenities to enjoy, she joined the Viewpoint Photography Club.

Portland Light
Legendary Bodensee Lake
Mabry's Mill
Bridge that Goes to Nowhere (Carol Esguerra Colborn)

“That’s where I found out how I can make my pictures help to tell my stories better. I discovered that it can be another way to express myself, other than my words,” she shares. There, she realized that she was inclined toward architecture, street photography, macro/flowers, wildlife, and black and white, based on the recognition that she received from their photo shows. “I think it is because these are the elements I was always drawn to in our travels,” she explains.

Her mobile lifestyle allowed her to not only soak up the sights in 49 American states, nine Canadian provinces, and six Mexican states, but she also became deeply immersed in American culture and history. Within the cozy confines of a 350-sqft. motorhome, life lessons came as fast as scenes changed.

The Beach from Above
The Brighton Wheel (Carol Esguerra Colborn)

Her enjoyment of creating her blog soon led her to publish books about her experiences on the road. In 2015, she chronicled in her epic journey in Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream. This year, she released a handy booklet, Cruising in an RV, sharing the basics for those looking to start RVing. This was soon followed by her second travel book, Cruising Past Seventy. It’s Not Only about Outer Journeys. It’s Also about Inner Ones. She shares some of her content on her travel blog Cruising Past 70.“It is not only about seeing breathtaking scenes or outer journeys, it’s also about enriching inner journeys that come as a result of them.”

My Bill and the Half Dome
Sand Sculpture (Carol Esguerra Colborn)

In her former career, she was the one approving photos to be used in ad materials, corporate reports, and journals. Then and now, she has criteria on what makes an effective photograph: what is pleasing to the eye, what is evocative of good feelings, and what elicits some reflection. “The photographer’s mood is quite important because it dictates how he or she takes the photo and eventually finds the angle, the composition, and the lighting that produces one or more the three things above.”

Salisbury Cathedral Walk

Caroline is the perfect example that one can learn and enjoy a new skill. “If there is enough interest in something, learning new things would be such a great thing to do to exercise our brains. But I did notice that there is a decided difference in how I learned in my 60s and how I learned especially now that I am in my 70s. But guess what -- there are so many tools for learning now, from Google, Youtube videos, apps, and good friends.”

She is tireless in learning and improving her craft. “It is another way to express myself, what is important to me, what I want to share with others, and what I can leave behind even after I pass on to another life. With my blog and books, I hope to inspire people about deep and long-lasting benefits of travel.”