A wise man who has traveled many more miles than I ever will once told me, “No one who works a 9-5 desk job wants to hear that your life is difficult.”
No matter how many airline nightmares, passport horror stories, or close calls I have had with nature or elements he is ultimately right. We are the people who were somehow lucky enough to have the opportunity to sell the dream to the masses. We are the glimmer of hope for all the 9-5 desk jockeys out there. We are the ones who consciously made that choice to hide from comfort. We left the security of a steady paycheck for the complete chaotic lifestyle of this “modern day Gypsy.”
I flew back from Hawaii roughly 72 hours ago only to walk into a whirlwind driving four hours down the coast, packing, lost luggage, storyboarding, and locking myself in an office editing corporate videos. It’s the less glamorous side of the job, but it needs to get done. There are countless hours of behind the scenes preparation that go into these seemingly glamorous projects. But it’s not difficult, it’s just the “9-5” part of our lives. The reality of being a travel adventure shooter is that there are no 8 hour days, they’re realistically more like 12-18 hour days. We often run off a mixture of coffee and trail mix. Lunch breaks are not even a word that is in our vocabulary and our benefit package includes sun charred skin, wrinkles and blood shot eyes from being out in the sun all day waiting for that moment to come together. But it’s worth it, because to us it’s the only way we know how to live. There’s no contingency plan more often than not and we are just every bit ad dedicated as the athletes in documenting that one moment when all the elements come together to create that one timeless image that will be immortalized by the simple click of a button.
Hawaii is normally considered a dream destination by many. It’s a way for them to disconnect from the fast paced lifestyle that they live at home. For me it’s a place where I go to push my limits and test myself. Whether it be my photography,filmmaking, physical strength or mental toughness it seems these days that I rarely find a moment to just sit back relax and enjoy a lazy day under the sun on a white sand beach. Don’t get me wrong I woke up at 5:30 am and enjoyed a almond milk mocha while watching the sunrise over Koko Crater. However that sunrise mocha was more often than not filled with ideas as my mind was racing a million miles an hour. It filled with the limitless possibilities of how I could find myself up on some razor thin ridge or perfect wave breaking over a few inches of water. I succeeded most of the time finding myself in both situations. ;)
It was fun, it was romantic, it was somehow everything I needed at this time in my life. I learned a few valuable lessons, including the fact that I’m not indestructible and very human. There was an incident where a tree that was roughly slightly bigger than me and heavier, became unrooted, fell on me and sent me flying down this vertical section of the ridge I was on. I laughed with my friend after that I have the, “best worst luck”. Somehow I find myself in all these less than ideal situations, but somehow end up with the best possible case scenario. Anyway I ended up falling roughly 20ft down this vertical section of the ridge caught myself and climbed back up. It took me a minute or two to collect my thoughts, but I forced myself to reach the summit of the peak in less than ideal conditions. I was scared, shit I’ll admit I was terrified. For those who don’t know me I’m terrified of heights and falling. So i pretty much lived out my two worst fears in life, but somehow once again survived. That’s how you have to look at it though, “we fall so that we may learn how to pick ourselves back up.”
Other than that incident, I spent a lot of time snapping photos from helicopter, scoring really really fun waves, and sharing some laughs with friends. I found some fresh new perspective and revisited some old familiar favorite places. I swear this is not a plug for FUGOO, since this is their blog, but I had a lot of fun doing the “FUGOO waterproof party trick.” I would roll over laughing at people’s expressions when I would fully submerge my Fugoo speakers in buckets of water. They would freak out. It was always the highlight of the night.
Halloween was definitely a night to remember, hahaha.
I guess the best way to sum up Hawaii is that my good friend Windy gave me the nickname “Taz”. Mainly because she says I come in like a tornado make a mess and then as fast as I came I leave. I know a lot of people who would probably agree.
So I left Honolulu and one would think after all that I would take some time to decompress. This is the furtherest thing from anything that is on my radar. I left Honolulu only to say, “hi” to my parents and enjoy my old bed for a few hours before driving four hours south to San Luis Obispo. Once I arrived at Lucas Gilman Production’s headquarters, aka the editing bay in the garage of his house, I locked myself in their for the entire day only to leave for dinner or a much needed caffeine fix. I spent three days straight editing. The last couple days of my stay in beautiful San Luis Obispo have been spent creating shot lists, packing for Peru, and enjoying the California winter weather. I have approximately 16 hours to drive back to San Jose, pack any personal belongings I need, and then head to San Francisco to be ready to board a plane to Peru. I will be spending 11 days in Lobitos working with Lucas and my good friend Cristobal De Col, only to come back to California for a few days before I have to pack and leave for Oahu again for another shoot. I spend 10 days on Oahu then back to California to enjoy the holidays with my family. In that time I signed up with Paradigm Sports to undergo a month long training regiment. I’m not longer 20 something and have to realize my body doesn’t just recover and function like it used to. It’s a harsh realization really, but if I want to continue tackling the challenges that I often finding myself daydreaming about I need to take preparing for them more seriously.
I know it’s a bit of a ramble but this has been my life as honest and candid as I can possibly make it. I wish I had some inspiring quote or life experience to share that is the secret to life and gives you the key to finding true happiness. If I could offer one piece of wisdom it would be, it’s not where you are but who you’re with. Whether it’s a best friend of 20 odd years, a complete stranger who I met at the local pub in some third world country, or simply in complete solitude with a little blue light blaring my favorite song it’s all about your perspective. Most likely I will never be on the Fortune 500 list anytime soon, or own a beachfront house unless you consider a MSR tent pitched on a black sand beach in Peru owning beachfront property. Haha =) But when I pass on from this life to the next, I will be able to look back and know I lived the richest life I could have possibly lived and that’s all that matters. Knowing that makes all the falls, the time spent in airports, dealing with lost bags, aches, pains, solitude, reef cuts, and broken bones worth it. It’s what gets me through those hours in the editing bay dreaming of my next journey, my next adventure. It what will always cause me to find ways to hide from comfort. It was said that Gatsby believed in the “Green Light”. If Gatsby spent his entire life chasing the “Green Light” then why shouldn’t I spend my entire life chasing this little “Blue Light“?