A personal life goal 10 years in the making has finally reached fruition.
Deep down, I think we all have that fantasy of dropping everything and traveling the world. For most, the further we settle into our job, family & community: the less this becomes an actual option. For me, this has always been a deeply-considered inevitability. Leading up to this point, I have structured nearly every aspect of my personal and professional life around being able to finally “flip the switch” and go full nomad. It always felt like the longer I stayed in one place, the more overwhelming this desire became: but was always just barely out of reach. After some recent life developments (and dumb luck in the crypto/NFT space), this came a lot more quickly than I anticipated: but I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting thrown out into the world with nothing but a backpack.
Starting next month, I’m taking a full-decentralization approach to living. I’m moving out of my home, getting rid of my photo studio, and selling all my belongings. I plan on only traveling with only a carry-on amount of luggage, and making a full circle of the planet over the next 8 months.
Instead of frequently moving from place-to-place, I hope to spend enough time in each location to truly absorb the environment around me. I hope to learn about the cultures & histories of where I’m at, produce brand content for Atlas, build a social group, take portraits, shoot & edit videos, livestream DJ sets, and contribute to the local community.
With the exception of a couple stops so far: I have nothing planned. If you’ve got any global recommendations, places you’d like me to explore or people I can visit: let me know! Whenever I travel like this, it’s often a single conversation, interesting place to stay or local legend that’s enough to tip the scale on me buying a flight to a new country.
Logistically-speaking, I’m going to work my way around the planet eastward: starting in Norway, moving South through Europe, venturing into SE Asia and finishing off in Australia/NZ before returning to the states. It’s all completely up in the air, and I’m thrilled at the prospect of aimlessly existing.
Funding a round-the-world trip isn’t easy. But it IS easier when you aren’t paying rent back home, and when you can work remotely. Thanks to the explosion of Web3 and the NFT/Crypto space, I’ve carved out a niche within a rapidly-growing market for applying my existing skillsets and experience to service a potentially massive industry in it’s infancy. As more projects launch each day, the need for commercial-level branding & UI/UX design continues to provide exciting opportunities. A major benefit of taking on NFT/Crypto projects as clients is the flexibility: as most teams are not only anonymous, but entirely remote as well. This removes the “Web2” constraints of needing to be within compatible time zones or physically present for the design & development of creative / web assets, as well as worrying about the hassle of U.S-based payment options.
My Web3 clients thus far have been young, ambitious and on the bleeding-edge of technology: so I no longer need to cater to the “old guard” of traditional client work for now; and can fully operate inside this fast-moving field with like-minded people. As we continue to build, there will be opportunities for others excited about the space to get involved, and I can’t wait to announce more projects soon.
I’ll also be maintaining my positions at WE ARE PDX and ATLAS, as the majority of my client work & responsibilities have already been performed remotely for the last few years, and I’m blessed to have capable teams in place to handle almost anything requiring a physical presence.
With income covered, lodging is typically the biggest cost consideration, so I’m going to be seeking out creative residencies*, and staying with friends when possible.
I’ve swapped my medium-format photo camera for a much more travel-friendly Leica, so prepare to be bombarded with images on my Instagram. I’ll have a mobile video production setup with me as well, so once I’ve settled into the rhythm of things: we may see some video content getting produced too.
I’ll go into more depth on exactly how this became “suddenly” possible in a future article: as ten years of multi-faceted preparation is hardly something I’m willing to subject you to in a single post. But for now, let’s focus on the what and the why of the months ahead.
*Creative Residency: when a hotel/resort provides room & board somebody up in exchange for teaching classes/workshops or completing a creative project, more on that later.
I want to redefine my place in the world. Through authentically connecting with different cultures, people and places: I hope to make deeper decisions on who I am as a person: and what I have to offer the rest of humanity. I’ve felt professionally, personally and creatively stagnant lately, and doing something like this feels like a great way to kick-start a new chapter in life.
After reaching peak career burnout, I need a change. Working 6am-10pm seven days a week with no sense of purpose is not sustainable (understatement of the year). Life is too short to work ourselves to death, and we don’t know how much longer this beautiful planet is going to be around. It’s rare that people are presented with the opportunity to do something like this, and it would be a crime to not make the most of it.
Apart from that, I’d imagine this is something that other people might want to consider doing as well at some point: so I’m going to document as much of the process as possible, and distill things down as I go: sharing the mistakes I’ve made along the way to avoid, and the shortcuts to all the amazing things life has to offer
Let’s explore the planet, together.
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