I come from a rather weird background, or at least, weird to me. I’ve always had a passion for the arts and creative expression. But a knack for science and technology has brought me through a few renditions of myself. I’d say I’m on Paul version 4.0, but I could still use a few upgrades. Yes, I still have a geek streak in me.
I started out as a chemistry major in college, but after realizing I couldn’t stand the thought of being in a lab for the rest of my life, I turned to literature and philosophy. When I received a manual SLR camera for my birthday, I began taking photography classes. I was hooked. I started channeling my creativity with this fascinating medium. The process of developing and printing my own photos (yes, real film, can you believe it?) was a zen exercise to me. But I was struggling to find a way to make money, and by the time graduation rolled around I found myself saying, “So now what?”
I began trying to find a career that suited me. Amongst my many assorted jobs, I’ve worked in libraries helping parents find the best picture book, and teaching their children how to make balloon animals. I’ve worked in a commercial photography studio assisting and processing film. I’ve been one of those geeky guys you call to fix all of your IT problems. I’ve built my own computers, and done freelance consulting and web design. And most recently I’ve been a director of photography/editor/swiss army knife in a film and video production company. I consider myself to be one of those inquisitive creative types. You know, the ones that are always taking on too many projects; would rather figure out how to do it themselves than have someone do it for them; always wanting to be on the cutting edge of gadgetry– yet never completely satisfied. A few years back I left my nice IT job to go live in London. I was fortunate enough to meet someone who convinced me to stuff my clothes in a pack and travel around Europe with them. The travel bug had bitten me! It’s venom has been pumping through my veins since then, but I was stuck working on recreating myself in my new career.
I decided I needed to take a break from my career and scratch this never ending itch by going to see the wonders of New Zealand. I love the outdoors and the beauty of nature, so New Zealand seemed like the perfect fit. Actually, at this point my age was the prime deciding factor on my destination. Can you believe that there are age restrictions on working holiday visas? In fact, New Zealand was the only country I could find that would still have me! I’d mentioned the idea to Christina almost a year ago. “What? Quit my job, and just drop everything? I could never do that.” Well, as time went by she started asking ME if I was serious. So… here we are, arriving just weeks before my impending birthday. Just in the nick of time.
With cameras and laptop in tow, clothing is, of course, secondary…… we begin.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always envisioned doing something extraordinary with my life. In my youth, I was always passionate about different ideals, and expected to do great things in my future. To this day, I am curious about life and the world around me. I’ve always wanted to travel to far off places and see other landscapes, meet interesting people, and witness various cultures first-hand. If I came across a large sum of money, I’d study Anthropology just for the fun and interest of it.
After my high school days, I decided to pursue my love of all things beautiful and attend art school, and received a degree in photography. As soon as my studies ended, I was eager to start my adult life and thus took the first job that was waiting for me (not taking photos) and stayed there for several years. I was grateful for the opportunity, and it felt good to be appreciated by my employers. I was a hard worker, and always put everything I had into it, even if it wasn’t my passion and lacked fulfillment from it. This sort of thing went on for many years, but as time went on, I’d realize that I’d somehow let my passions die while sitting working at a desk…
Following a transitional period in my life, I thought I’d settle down and buy a home for myself. The market was in the buyers’ favor, and everyone else seemed to be pulling it off. But after searching for months, and finally realizing I just couldn’t hack it on my single salary, I was defeated. Watching many of my friends starting new careers, buying houses, getting married and starting families; while I was feeling I just couldn’t get my feet off the ground, I started to feel inadequate…
So this time when Paul (half jokingly) asked me to drop everything and take off on some crazy trip with him, my response was: “Sure. Let’s do it. Why not?” I’d run out of excuses why I shouldn’t. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we decided to embrace the freedom that the lack of career, family and mortgages gave us. Maybe it’s our destiny to travel on an adventure before we each settled down.
At 29 years old – I felt it was finally time for a change. Life is too short to sit around waiting for something to happen. If I was going to live the life I really wanted, I’d have to take a risk and jump. Something I’d never been comfortable doing. There was always an excuse in the past: Bills to pay, loved ones I felt I couldn’t abandon… the whole “that would be nice, but it’s just not realistic” talk.
But now, we’re making it happen for us.
…And it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.