3°44’53” S / 73°14’49” W
Two years ago I found myself flipping through an issue of Snowboard Canada when I came across an article about a group of snowboarders. They had traveled to Japan in search of adventure, fresh powder and to taste of the culture that lay high in the hills. Something about that article stopped me. It was like I was looking at the combination of all my passions cultivated into one; snowboarding, culture, travel and photography. In that moment, in the back of my mind, a trip like this was now a goal for the future. I ripped out one of the pages and stuck it amongst my journals and list of things to do in my lifetime, not thinking much more of it.
Two years later I found myself well traveled, after a seven month solo backpacking trip though Central America, with an extreme passion for pursuing a life in the photography industry. After enrolling in a two year photography program, I dropped out after my first semester. I was not happy with the teaching styles and system so I decided to self teach and break into the industry on my own accord.
In search of a direction to take with my photography I found myself in Chapters Book store flipping through and writing down the top ten magazines I wanted to work for and focus my market efforts towards over the next couple of years. One of the top two I had written down was Snowboard Canada, with no connections in the snowboard industry, magazine editors or professional riders I second guessed myself. Nevertheless I told myself to dream big, even when the task at hand seem very far fetched.
After leaving school I found myself having to fulfill some financials student loans. With my past work history of unreliable firefighting seasons, I jumped at an opportunity to head up north and tree plant for the summer. The first night with the crew was spent at a local pub drinking and getting to know the people I would be working, eating and living with for the next few months. I started talking with Eliel, a professional skier who told me about his plans to head down to Peru and Chile after this season of tree planting. He planned to work on a volunteer project in the amazon and head to Chile afterwards in search of snow in August. At the time I didn’t think much of this project other then it sounded really amazing and was stoked to have someone in camp passionate about shredding.
A month went by and countless days of pounding thousands of trees in the ground left me with a lot of thinking time. My thoughts were constantly bouncing back to the project Eliel had talked of down in South America and I couldn’t help but purposely bump into him around camp to ask further details. Sitting on the back of a flat bed semi trailer with dinner and a beer, Eliel told me they might have a potential spot on the crew for a photographer/filmer as one of their buddies wasn’t able to make it for the summer. The thought of being a part of the project hadn’t much occurred to me. The fact that I would have to get on a plane two weeks after planting season ended, come up with $2000 to be a part of the volunteer project, pay for my flight, and head down for a two month project with a group of guys whom I had never met seemed a bit wild. After a few more days of slamming thousands of trees into the ground I decided I had to make a decision right then and there if I was going to join the team on the project. It was a decision that would take putting all my time, energy and money into making this project happen, with one month until go time, or forget the project all together.
After raising seventeen hundred of the two thousand dollars I needed to secure a spot on the project, sending countless emails and making many phone calls (on our one day off, four days on work shift) I was officially accepted onto the project by Tamo, the founder of the organization Beyond Boarding and by Rainbow, the project manager of Hope International Development Agency. It all came together. This was it and I hopped on a plane headed for Peru.
With a hundred pounds of camera and snowboard gear sitting below me in the plane I sat alone, looking out the window, with a smile on my face. A project I felt near impossible had come together and I had no idea what the next two months would have in store for me.
The rest is history and you can now read about this adventure in the ten page article Snowboard Canada published, on my photo work, in their 2012 December issue.
Two years ago I started something without even knowing it. When I ripped out that page in SBC magazine it was only a dream – traveling with a snowboard crew and have an article published in Snowboard Canada. Just as when I first heard about the project in South America and it’s next to impossible budget and timeline.
From my experiences so far in life, anything is possible when you put your mind to it even when it seems so far out of reach. I encourage everyone to dream big and do bigger. It might take a lot of hard work, patience, and energy to reach your goal but really, it not about arriving anyway; it’s about the journey.