It’s like a cross between a “good tired” and burnout. I know what you’re thinking. Stop your whining, so many people would LOVE to have your life! After all, I just came back from three quite amazing places. Italy, Iceland, and Sweden and that’s like a vacation, right?
I get emails, comments on my blog, tweets, and Facebook messages all the time from people that I don’t know, telling me that they wish they could be me because I’m “Living the life!”. Granted, the places I get to visit are quite amazing, but jet setting and living like a king while on the road isn’t what my life is all about — just ask another travel photographer or travel writer/blogger. Another one I get a lot is: “You’re so lucky!” Trust me, luck has nothing to do with photography or the travel I do.
Working hard or hardly working?
Travel is hard work. When on the road I tend to work at least 14 hours or more a day, eat poorly, sleep little, get sick, and come home wanting to do it all over again.
Why? Am I a masochist? Nope, not at all. In fact, that is the fun part of my job. Not the getting sick part, but the being in awesome places and taking photos, yet it is exhausting. The hard part — or rather the part that is far less appealing to me is coming home jet lagged and having a mountain of paperwork, emails, phone calls, image editing, writing, and other things to do. It gets to the point where I get rather overwhelmed and unsure what to do first.
This work, the mundane everyday sitting at my desk till my back is killing me work — that is what most of my days are like. In the end I think it’s worth it, mostly because I have a passion for both the photography and travel. Trust me though, my job looks a lot more exciting than it actually is. I take photos maybe 5% of the time that I devote to work, the rest is far less fun. I’m not bitching about my life, after all I choose to do this. I’m just trying to convey that the perception of what I do is often nowhere close to what the reality is. Your life is probably pretty good too, different than what people imagine it to be, but good even if the grass seems greener on my side of the fence at times.
I often hear from people who tell me that they wish that they could do what I do. My answer to you is.. Do it. If you want to do something, follow the advice from the running shoe folks and Just Do It.
Is it hard? Everything is hard until you know how to do it. Even then, it ain’t always easy. Since beginning the travel photography and blogging I have worked 7 days a week, 70-80 hours a week, this is not an exaggeration. I just do it, even if sometimes it’s really bloody hard. So before you say that you want to do what I do or have my life, please understand what you are wishing for.
“Believe with all of your heart that you will do what you were made to do.”
~Orison Swett Marden
Working this hard doesn’t make me a hero and it may very well make me a bit of an idiot, but I hope not. I’d like to think that what I am doing and trying to accomplish is simple. I want to have an interesting life that allows me to see the world and create beautiful images that inspire others to travel to the destinations I photograph. Even though I place far less importance on money now than ever before, I’d like my work to be sustainable and fruitful. That part is a constant challenge and I’m constantly looking for the right people and companies to partner with. In fact, marketing and looking for work takes up a great deal more time than actual working at photography.
Two and a half years ago when I started writing the blog and began doing the travel photography, I had no idea where it would take me. I just knew that this felt like the right thing to do. Due to some life changing events I made the decision to follow my dream and become a travel photographer… And I did just that, not looking back, not even once. I was inspired to follow this path by a very special friend who passed away three years ago and have had the support of family and a few friends who believed in me. Thank you.
During the last couple of years I also made some great friendships in the travel blogging world and the world of travel photography. These people motivate and encourage me, they are kindred spirits, and kind, generous people (except Mike Sowden, he’s a terrible man ;)).
Collecting moments… Not places
I’m trying to learn how to be a better traveller all the time. How to savour the special moments while on the road and how to make those moments happen more often. I constantly strive to be a better photographer, traveller, and person in general. I often fail at all three, please don’t tell anyone. This can be our little secret.
I try now to stop and take the time once in a while to experience a place as opposed to just photographing it. I’ve missed out on a lot of potential inspiring moments during my last few years of travel. Now thanks to talking with so many other travellers with years more experience on the road than I, thanks to their insight and experience, I have learned that it is important to allow myself to experience things, talk with as many local people as possible, and just be open to letting life take the course it is supposed to take after you have done your best to get to where you are. I’m learning and evolving as an artist, traveller, business person, and human being in general. I’ve still got a lot of learning to do and who knew evolution could be so exhausting?
The last few months have been very busy with the three aforementioned trips to Italy, Iceland, and Sweden. To my disappointment during this last while, I have been quite delinquent in posting anything new to the blog. Sorry! It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write anything. The true culprit is time, or the lack thereof to be more precise. Planning the trips is just as time consuming at times as the trips themselves and I honestly don’t know when or if I’ll ever catch up with the images I have to (or rather would like to) edit and retouch.
I’m looking at a lot more travel for the second half of 2012. There are 14 destinations that are possible/probable destinations for me for the balance of the year! Not sure I can fit them all in, but I’m sure going to try.
I’ve even had to turn down several trips this year (the Galapagos, Lebanon, Australia, Greece) mostly because for some reason a lot of people at PR firms, tourism boards, and travel related companies seem to think that paid flights, accommodations, and meals is fair compensation to go work somewhere for days on end, come home and edit images, write blog posts, share info on social media, all of which promotes their destination or service. They want me to do this with no monetary remuneration and are surprised when I refuse! That mentality seriously has to change. Who works for free? Just dealing with such a ridiculous mindset is exhausting and I deal with it on a weekly basis.
Just thinking about all the upcoming travel makes my head spin. Even if it seems like I have bitten off more than I can chew, I always make it work. I don’t take breaks or days off very often, and most certainly no vacations even though people often equate any form of travel as a holiday.
I started to write this post with the intention of trying to explain that due to my crazy travel schedule and other commitments that I have not been able to write blog posts as often as I’d like the last couple of months. The post just ended up writing itself and hey, I still managed to throw in a few photos from some of those awesome places I get to visit.
“The ability to concentrate and to use your time well is everything if you want to succeed in business–or almost anywhere else for that matter.”
One of the things I know that I need to do is take better control of my time. While I have some aptitude in taking photos, managing my time always seems to be a challenge. I’ll just add working on my time management skills to the list of things I need to do. Yea, that should take care of the problem and I’ll never be tired again! Sigh…
Thanks to all of you who take the time to read my posts, view my photos, follow me on various forms of social media and sent me kind emails, comments, and messages. I really appreciate your support and kindness.
Now I think I’ll take a nap… Just kidding ;)
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