I often ask myself why we’re doing this. Why leave solid jobs and great friends? Why dump the contents of our life out of this carefully constructed reality, with no guarantee that things will fall into better places? I have a great life, why change anything?
There are many answers, but the one that I keep falling back on is: if you don’t try something new, you’ll never accomplish anything great. Fear of failure is a healthy and normal reaction, but totally counterproductive. Do you think that Edison and Einstein got it right the first time, every time?
I don’t expect to change the world with our adventure, but I do expect to change myself — and I’m certain it’ll be for the better.
I’ve never been much of a shutterbug. I think I feel awkward taking pictures, which is probably a normal and healthy reaction. People are awkward when they take pictures. You look stupid and hold up traffic at the entrance to Tomorrowland. I don’t like looking stupid and inconveniencing others, so I never liked taking pictures. Welp, its time to get over that stuff. I think this is me making the first step toward full I’m-an-old-man-and-I-don’t-care-what-you-think mode. Fanny packs and Hawaiian shirts, here I come!
Honestly, there’s no way I could travel around the world and not take as many good photos as possible. It just wouldn’t make sense. So, after not nearly enough research and very little budgeting, I’ve purchased a Canon EOS Rebel T2i. It’s easy to use, takes awesome photos, and didn’t cost me a kidney; in other words, totally sweet. I got it with the kit 18-135mm zoom lens, which basically means I know the neighbors across the street a lot better now. Since my initial purchase, I’ve complemented it with a 50mm f/1.8, which I like because it lets me take photos with a narrow depth of field. This means that the foreground and background will be blurred, making the subject stand out. In other words, very artsy.
So I’m still pretty new to the technical mumbo-jumbo and kind of intimidated by all the possible settings, but slowly and surely I’m picking it up and getting the pictures I want. I’ll pass on the best and really only useful piece of advice I’ve gotten to date: just shoot. Take lots of pictures in different scenarios and lighting conditions to get a feel for the camera, lenses, and the effects of say, changing the shutter speed or adjusting the exposure compensation. Take it slow with the gear you have and look at other people’s pictures. Browse flickr and look at the EXIF (camera setting) data associated with pictures you like. But, just shoot.
Here are a few pictures that I’ve taken that I think are not terrible:
In a few short months we’ll pack our life up and begin a traveling adventure. First stop: New Zealand and a simple life on small organic farms. We’re leaving some people’s idea of adventure – living and working in New York City – for our idea of adventure. Perspective is everything.
This feels like a big deal. I think most people would agree that it’s a big deal. But when you break it down into little pieces it’s nothing special at all. This big adventure is just another set of small tasks that add up to something big. I like to think of them individually.
For example: we’re moving our things into storage. This is not exciting at all. We’re quitting our jobs. This takes planning, but not a tremendous amount. We’re taking a long flight. Thousands (millions?) of people do this every day. We’re living out of backpacks. We’ll still have so many more luxuries than the majority of the global population. So we’re just doing a lot of these little things in rapid succession. What’s the big deal? We’re assuming a very normal, everyday lifestyle that many millions of people practice.
I find it odd that we’re drawn to a simpler life – one that society has stigmatized as less useful or less exciting. For many people, farm life is a burden they try to shake for years. We’re choosing it voluntarily. Our ancestors took great pains to get as far from the field as possible. We’re gravitating back to it. Is the grass truly greener on the other side? I worry that it may not be, but I’ll never find out unless I try.
Anyway, more to come.