Instagram is famous for holiday snaps. Open the app at any given time and your feed is bound to include pictures of people sunning themselves on a beach, hiking a snowy mountain or rambling down a cobbled city street somewhere in Europe. And if friends, families and celebrities can have an Instagram account dedicated to their adventures, why not a tiny astronaut?
Started by John Egiziano, The Wandering Astronaut is a fun photography project that features images of an action figure of NASA astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad as he travels across the United States of America. The project was initially inspired by John’s fascination with NASA and space travel. “I was standing under the Saturn V rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in 2014 when my life changed. I was awestruck and humbled by its size and the history that it represented. I immediately became a NASA addict. Since then, I have read as much as I can about the history of NASA from the beginning of the idea of space travel to present day technological research and development programs,” John told Lonely Planet Travel News.
Almost a year after that fateful trip, John began playing with taking perspective shots of the collectable action figure. “I chose Pete because he was a Navy guy, he rode a motorcycle, and he was known to have a good sense of humour. He and I had a lot in common. Also, who travels more than an astronaut? They are today’s new frontier explorers,” John said.
Keen travellers, whenever John and his wife took a trip, the tiny astronaut joined them, and before long, they had a visual diary of everywhere that they had been. The first voyage with Pete consisted of a road trip from Pennsylvania to Washington State, through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and into Utah. With some encouragement, John decided to start an Instagram account dedicated to Pete’s rambles.
“Every step of the way I was taking shots with Pete. From the mundaneness of our hotel room to snapping beautiful views of Yellowstone National Park, he was there. I do it because I love to travel and share our adventures with others. Also doing what I do gives me a creative outlet that my day job can’t give me,” John said.
On any given trip, John said that passers-by often stop to watch him work with Pete, amused by the quirky poses and creative ways that he shoots.
More shots of Pete and John’s adventures are available at thewanderingastronaut Instagram page.