Henry Rollins travels with a fierce agenda. He believes if you aren't moved, disturbed or changed by where you go, you're not going to the right places. "Traveling allows the opportunity for humility to creep into your life," says Rollins, a photographer, actor, author, publisher, TV and radio personality, and punk-rock veteran.
In the past decade, Rollins has been on the road with USO tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with "Snake Underworld" and "Animal Underworld" TV shows for National Geographic. But it's his more personal journeys to places such as Mali, North Korea and Iran that allow him to take off on his own with camera in hand.
The result? "Occupants," a photo book published in 2011 that's described this way on Rollins' website: "Simply put, this book is a visual testimony of anger, suffering, and resilience that will help its readers realize what is so easy to miss when tragedy and terror become numbing, constant forces — the quieter, stronger forces of healing, solidarity, faith and even joy."
Indeed, that's the recurring theme when you talk with Rollins about travel. He's cognizant of the big disconnect between his life in the West and, say, malnourished kids in Senegal. "Part of [traveling] means overcoming your identity as an American and realize that's not your whole life," he says. "Being a human being has to be a big part of your life too."
This year, Rollins hopes to spend more time in South America, maybe photographing the Amazon or the rock statues on Easter Island. His stage work and books are indelibly tied to inspiring others, especially young people, to take off too.
"I have a stage, I have an agenda," he says. "I want to go to Lhasa, talk about what I see ... and maybe inspire a 19-year-old to go and get lit up by that journey of the world."
Go to the L.A. Times Travel Show website for schedule and ticket information.