The Fernweh-farer: "Wait, you're doing what?"
Updated: Jan 30, 2019
“Wait...you’re doing what?” That is the question posed most over the last two months. Why? Because of a life changing decision that evolved over the course of the last year and that I gave serious consideration and began sharing with close friends and family shortly thereafter.
I planned on stepping away from what I will modestly refer to as a successful corporate career path on a positive trajectory (hey, I had an adjustable standing desk, ok!) and chase my passions by leveraging my creative pursuits into a self-sustaining model. In other words, make work not feel so much like...work.
Approaching twenty years in different professional business careers, which took me across the country from coast to coast, a moment of reflection sprung on me at the turn of the calendar year twelve months ago. “Is this what I want long-term? Is this the path I belong on?” I struggled with all the usual trappings of maintaining the comfortable versus exploring what is risky but, in the end, soul satisfying. I was fortunate to have fostered some level of monetary security and, honestly, a lot of joy and growth in my corporate roles - including working with some very talented colleagues who became fast friends and true partners in the media space that were often the envy of my peers.
I got to experience a lot of “cool” things over the years, just not ultimately what I was most passionate about and this always remain encamped in the back of my mind. I count myself truly fortunate to this point in life, just not truly satiated yet.
So, get to it already - what are you most passionate about? 1) Photography 2) Travel, exposure to new cultures and shared experiences 3) Sharing and collaborating with other creatives. Years of domestic and international trips with gear in tow have only fed the desire to devote more energy to growing my skills as a photographer in a full-time capacity. I love having one foot in front of the other and my camera strapped to my wrist. I realize that I need to redirect all the time and effort previously earmarked for my day-to-day corporate gig to succeed in a freelance role.
I also became conscious that my focus on traditional career advancement brought with it with increasing regularity a self-imposed need to build possessions. We all battle it - the desire to own more...stuff. I’m not throwing stones here, I'm a gear enthusiast who was up to five connected speakers in my home (they do sound really damn good). However, this brings with it lifestyle weight and inflexibility that serves to tie us down.
Look, I am under no illusion that going back into more “traditional” roles is still very much a possibility…and ruling that out would be foolish. My goal is ultimate flexibility and remaining open to the best opportunities that do not compromise everything else I have referenced above. However, my aim is to apply those hard fought shared and learned skills and further the goal of eventual independence professionally.
So, the dream starts now (or more precisely, a few weeks ago). Late last year I let my company know I was leaving. Then I booked an around-the-world itinerary that will encompass the first-half of the new year, at a minimum. For me, this next journey represents a bucket list of locations, people, tastes and visual elements. I’ll be bootstrapping where I can and have no firm plans yet on the backend of the journey. I don’t want to do anything to cheat the experience. Throughout, there will be a few constants: I’ll be open-minded, I’ll be gracious and thankful, I’ll be hungry and I’ll always have my gear in tow.
The purpose of this space will be to share my observations, moments of joy, inevitable challenges and misplaced ramblings as I travel around a constantly smaller world. As a deliberate solo traveler, I’ll try to keep it from taking on too much of a “voice inside my head” vibe. I refuse to commit for the time being to a schedule for posting, which seems arbitrary and forced but that may change. Hey, hopefully exciting things will greet me at every turn but writing about the umpteenth bowl of ramen in Japan could get old (also, I quit a job where six-page briefs were the norm remember!).
So, check-in every now and again for updates on where I have been and what I have witnessed. Hopefully what I share kicks off some level of response that moves you one way or another (it’s ok if that response is, why am I reading this...but, obviously I hope not).
“Wait...you’re doing what?” I’m making it count. Chasing it down.