The T+L Social Ambassadors are a team of photographers who are taking it to the next level on Instagram. These are the people we see living their best lives, and inspiring our travels on a daily basis. These ambassadors help us all discover the world, whether it’s exploring a set of national parks, embarking on an African safari, or just taking some time to enjoy the sound of waves from a beach in Europe. Follow along as we introduce more of our ambassadors on the T+L website and social accounts.
When you think of travel Instagrammers, you might have a favorite picture that comes to mind. With so many places being documented around the world on the platform, it's not hard to gather a virtual scrapbook, filled with stunning shots of other people's travels — a wish list of sorts. And there's a good chance @alexstrohl has taken some of the photos you've mentally added to your Instagram bucket list.
The photographer has been documenting his trips around the world for his (now 1.7 million) followers for years — often to incredibly remote spots that are nearly impossible to plan a casual vacation around.
"I once took the summer and kayaked up into a glacial lagoon like 30 miles from civilization in the middle of an ice field on Knik Glacier in Alaska," Strohl told T+L. "You're standing on 300 to 400 feet of ice, but there's a lake on the ice. It's very surreal, especially when you get dropped off there for a day from a helicopter and it's just you and the kayaks and this lake that could disappear any day. There's an unnerving sense of freedom, but also a very short time where this lake would exist. I don't know how many people have paddled in a field of ice like that, but I'm sure it's not many."
While most might deem this an extraordinary experience, and it certainly is, "extraordinary" is not what Strohl is necessarily looking to photograph. "I'm usually not trying to chase the extraordinary because it's easier to do," he said. "I'd rather focus on the ordinary — but I do love a good challenge."
You'll notice a theme throughout his photographs: grounding photos of the beautiful scenes that surround us in nature. His tendency to search for alpine views doesn't surprise him one bit, and he attributes it to his childhood.
"I grew up in Spain, so being exposed to the mountains as a kid helped," he said. "We lived in an area that was 45 minutes from Madrid, and 45 minutes from the nearest ski resort."
His father was always on the road, but made sure to take the time to explore the great outdoors with his son. "He shared it with me every weekend," Strohl said. "He worked a lot, but on the weekends in the winter we would go skiing, and we'd go hiking in the summer. We swam in the lakes, chased cows...little memories like that. It's things like this were I'm like, 'Okay, yeah—this is why I'm constantly chasing an alpine landscape.'"
But the first time Strohl picked up a camera didn't come until a couple of years later, when he was living in France with his family. After he was kicked out of high school in Spain, his family bought some land in the woods and Strohl attended a boarding school. "There wasn't much to do, so I would roam around with a motorcycle. I was 15 years old, and I would just get lost in the woods," he said.
After becoming bored with the same ride weekend after weekend, Strohl borrowed his dad's camera and started documenting his trips. Soon his aunt, a painter herself, hosted a show featuring his photographs in her home. Another big move (both physically and artistically) happened next: Strohl relocated to Quebec.
"I got to experience the whole set of seasons — I have never seen anything like it before," he said. "The seasons were really something that inspired me."
And this is clear in his work. All of these things — solo adventure, alpine scenes, seasonal transition — have combined to create what very well may be one of the most wanderlust-inspiring accounts on Instagram today.
So, as I mentioned before, some of Strohl's photos may have made your list of favorites. But what are his favorite photos? We asked, and boy did he deliver. Check them out ahead.