The thing about not moving is that I spend less money. It’s easy to slow down when I find a spot that I like and can call home for a few days, a week, or a little longer. I’ve been in this spot by the south entrance to Joshua Tree National Park for almost my two weeks. I like it here. It’s far enough from the number 10 freeway that I can see the traffic going by in the distance but barely hear them. The sunsets are great and I’ve just been hanging out, editing photos and video and getting some things ready for a potential print sale that will keep me on the road for at least a couple more months.
I went over budget in October, wrote it off and gave up a month to start fresh for November. I’m below my allotted budget for November now with 6 days left. Sure I haven’t been running around shooting every day but I’ve also been saying I need to slow down too. So it’s been working. Balance as some call it. There’s no hurry really, despite what the dialog inside my head tends to lean towards.
I’ve been working most days, but not as much. Playing with Garage Band on my Ipad, “composing” some simple music that I can use in the background of my future videos. Editing when the sun is out and it’s warm and the solar is replenishing itself as I go. Then, because of the early arrival of darkness I make some dinner and have been letting myself unwind to a book or a movie. Kind of like normal people do.
5 years ago today I essentially started “this” trip. It was the day I arrived in Calgary from Vancouver, to start a new job that would become the means in which I get to this point. I had a lot to do, a list of goals that all had to be accomplished before I could try another road trip. Another road trip to capture photos, another road trip to see something new everyday. Another road trip to do what I need to do. A new road trip in which I wanted to share more of what I was seeing and the places I was visiting. Even as I write this I realize I’m not doing enough of this. The video cameras aren’t running enough. I’m going to work on changing that.
I made a post about this 5 year “anniversary” yesterday on my Facebook page. The response was so overwhelming I simply didn’t know how to file it. Part of the reason I share this journey and post things like that is that I humbly want to inspire people, inspire my friends and family to chase down their dreams too. If I can do it, anyone can. That’s really it in a nutshell.
I want to be a photographer making a living with my craft. The five years leading up to April of this year was to clear a path with as little resistance as possible. I paid off debt, my truck and some back taxes. I saved for and purchased new camera gear and lenses, (although the desire for more goodies is ongoing). I saved for and bought this old trailer that is a bittersweet addition to the way I road trip. Spending time and more money fixing it up and getting things replaced so that I wouldn’t have any (serious) unwanted surprises along the way. I paid for everything I could pay for in advance. A year of auto insurance, two years of registration, new tires on the Xterra, full mechanical checkup, tuneup, etc. Then I started saving to have a budget to use while I created some momentum out here. After pushing back my launch date not once but twice I finally had saved enough that I was ready (in my own head) to finally leave.
So here I am, 7 months into a road trip reflecting on the last 5 years that it took to get here. This road trip has lasted 3 months longer than both the last two half-assed attempts. Looking back they were necessary learning experiences. I wasn’t ready in both the state of my affairs nor my photography. To be honest, I still feel like I’m growing daily in the latter department.
So have I succeeded? I have succeeded in giving myself the best chance for success. The next goal is to making the minimum amount needed to continue out here. I haven’t gotten there yet. I have some seeds that are starting to sprout, I have been slowly, organically been generating a following of friends and supporters that appreciate what I’m doing and the resulting work. Am I making a living? Not yet. That part eludes me but like I said, some seeds are showing some potential.
So there you have it. A long winded update from this little spot in the desert which has served as a catalyst to me achieving some balance and inner serenity. The first in 5 years.