Years spent doing low level work in a cubicle and even more years spent hunched over books late at night, I’d invested a lot into my career as a lawyer in New York City, but when it came time to look for a new job in the spring of 2010 I just couldn’t get myself into the search. To try and solve the problem I decided to complete the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile pilgrimage walking across Spain. I thought it would help me recharge and find my old motivation. I was half-right. It helped me find motivation, but it wasn’t the old one.
One morning, after spending the night camped in a cold mountain pass, I woke up to watch the sunrise over the Pyrenees. I had slept out with only the most basic equipment, but as I watched the sun rise over the cloud covered valleys, I realized that morning there would never be a day I’d rather be in an office than out seeing the world. What I wanted wasn’t to find a new job, it was to pursue my passion: a passion for travel.
When I returned to New York and told my friends about my experience, I was hit with the usual line: “You can’t be on vacation all the time.” Maybe that’s true, but innovation starts with doubting something accepted as truth. I took what little savings I had and decided to travel for as long as I could make it last. I didn’t really have a clear concept of what I would do for income, but I did create a blog – “An Out of The Way Place” – as a way to share my writing and photography, two areas that had always interested me.
To my surprise the blog started generating income soon after I created it, while at the same time my ever increasing network of contacts allowed me to keep costs down. It was a good combination and now, three years and 30 countries later, “An Out of The Way Place” is up and running with more readers than ever. Also, thanks to the blog, my work as a writer and photographer has branched in other exciting directions, such as working on a film set in Austria and trekking through the Himalayas. Still, as satisfying as making a career of travel has been, my real success hasn’t come from generating income.
One day as I was working on a post, a message from a reader came in. In it he wrote that he had never left the US before, but that after reading my blog he’d taken the leap, bought a ticket to Spain and enjoyed his first experience abroad. My blog had changed his life. That was a defining moment for me, because even though travel is my passion, it’s not something I want to keep for myself.
A recent study showed that travel is one of the few things you can buy that actually makes you happier. Unfortunately a lot of people view travel, especially overseas, as something out of reach, something beyond them financially or emotionally. My goal is to show them that it’s not something out of reach; that with just a few dollars and a passport there’s a whole world waiting to be discovered. I know a lot of people dream of traveling and if in some small way my photography and writing can help make that a reality then I’m living my dream already.