Update

So, my last post that I had here, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…was about my trip to Iceland in March of 2016 where I hitchhiked the Ring Road. The last post was only a summary of day one and I was there for 11 days, that meant I had set myself up to write another 10 posts summarizing the rest of the trip; that’s a lot.

Believe me, I have no problem writing about the trip, in fact I love it. It’s been about 16 months since it happened, and it’s still fresh in my mind. But, as someone who was balancing two jobs working about 70 hours a week to pay for the next trip, time was not a luxury I had. Simply put, it wasn’t feasible for me to write that much, or even be able to. So, like many things, it got put on the back burner and never made it to fruition.

Now why did that happen, here’s why. The last 6-8 months or so have been pretty much a shit show to say the least. As some of you who know me personally, I was supposed to be headed out to Colorado the first of October for the winter to ski, followed by a road trip around the western US, Canada, and up to Alaska in a Volkswagen Vanagon that I got. #VanLife

So, October comes around and the Van needs more work than I planned on. Start really working on the van only to find out it has a blown head gasket and I need to rebuild the motor as well as a number of other things. Over the next couple months, me and my uncle fix up the van, more so him teaching me how to go about fixing it and giving me the knowledge to do so. (Thanks again for all the help and teaching.) That took more time and money than expected, so there’s the first big setback that I had.

At the time, I’d only been working my one job at a motorcycle shop since I was under the assumption I’d be leaving soon anyways. Well, once the van needed to be fixed back up, I knew I needed to get that second job to recuperate some of the losses, so that’s what I did. Started working two jobs again around mid-November and everything was going well for about a month or so. Mid-December rolls around and we get notified that the motorcycle shop is closing down. It wasn’t too bad since we were getting a severance package. Couple weeks go by though and I get sent home thanks to being screwed over by my team lead. There goes the severance package and three weeks of pay and there you have setback number two.

At this point I realized that Colorado was most likely not going to happen and for the second time I would postpone my road trip. Started debating what I wanted to do next and decided on hiking the PCT. It was something I had talked about doing before and seemed like a good idea. Got all my gear together, had all my transportation set up, I was good to go just waiting to get my hiking permit once they opened on January 24th and 35 permits per day became available. But, on January 19th I tweaked my back at work. Didn’t think it was too bad, maybe a strained back or something so took it easy over the weekend. Well, it hadn’t gotten better and I was having shooting nerve pain in my left leg and I knew something was up. Went to see a doctor on Monday and she thought it might be just a back strain, so she prescribed some oral steroids, I on the other hand was not too confident in her diagnosis.

Tuesday rolls around and it’s time to get PCT permits. Go to fill out my application for the first or second week of April, arguably the best time to go if headed northbound, but the site was overloaded and for about an hour and a half I sat there trying to put in my application, but nobodies would go through. Well, I had to leave the house for about an hour, and immediately once I got home, I scrambled to my computer to try again. Open up the site, and SHIT, all the days in April are taken, the whole first week of May is taken as well as the last week of March. I didn’t want to start too early as it was looking to be a high snow year in the Sierra Nevadas, so I put in my application for May 10th as I figured I’d be more than able to quicken my pace in order to not be stuck in Washington once the snow started. Still had it in my mind that my back would be healed and I’d be ready to go.

Week goes on and I take the steroids for the week but they didn’t help a bit, the pain was still progressively getting worse. Saw the doctor again that Monday and she still thinks it’s nothing major, but prescribes two weeks of Physical Therapy to see if that helps. I’m sitting there thinking why not an MRI scan, but I go along with the PT order. The next couple weeks go past and nothing is getting any better. The doctor then decides that she’s not too sure what’s wrong so she refers me to a pain management doctor and that doctor orders an MRI scan, finally someone who doesn’t waste time. A week goes by and see the doctor again with my MRI results and found out I have two herniated discs in my lower back; not good. This is the point I realized the PCT is not going to happen either. On April 17th I had a microdisectomy spinal surgery to repair the herniated discs and for the last three months I’ve basically just been recovering from that trying to get back to 100% so I can finally go on another trip. And that was my biggest setback.

I don’t write any of this looking for sympathy or anything. It is simply a fact of my life and the root causes as to why I haven’t been active here, nor really anywhere else for that matter. I’ll have to quote Paulo Coelho again as he has a couple quotes that speak volumes to exactly what I’m going through. “There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.” “Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all, or by having everything happen at once.” And it’s absolutely true. I’m not frustrated, angry, sad, or resentful to anything that has set me back, if anything, I’m most likely grateful. It gave me lots of time to think about things, ponder what I really want, and the fact is, is that a lot of people would have had this happen to them and just give up thinking that it wasn’t meant to be. In my eyes, going through this, and realizing that I still want to do all this stuff really solidifies it in my mind and is almost inspiring. By no means am I saying this is the worst thing in the world, it’s not. There are millions of people out there doing way worse than me, both physically and mentally, and I understand that very well.

What’s next? The tentative plan, assuming I continue to get back to 100%, is to take a two-month trip overseas to hike some places I’ve wanted to go for a while and from there start taking trips more frequently. Should be going to Iceland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Egypt, India, Nepal, and possibly Australia as well. That’s at least the plan.  The site should also be getting updated more often as well as making a final summary of hitchhiking Iceland in a post in the next day or so. If you’ve taken the time to read this, thank you, it means a lot. J

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Iceland Day 1

I know that it’s been almost 5 months since I headed to Iceland, but, I think it’s time I took my time to start writing about my experience. I’ve been putting it off for many different reasons, but that’s not what matters.

A lot of people ask me, “Why Iceland?” I’m not going to lie, it was complete impulse. I had known for a while that Iceland was a place I wanted to go eventually, but ha not planned on it being any time soon. So early February, my dad asks me what I’m doing for spring break, to which I reply, “I don’t know. *Paused for a minute or two* I think I’m going to go to Iceland.” And just like that, without any prior planning, I went and purchased my plane tickets and started to contemplate about what it was I was about to embark on. Thinking back on it now, I think that’s one of my proudest moments I’ve been of myself. I just went for it and assumed it would work out. Paulo Coelho quotes, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” And I truly believe that ideology.

Anyways, at like 3am on March 14th, me and a friend drove to the Indianapolis airport from Louisville. Thanks again Alexis! I was flying from Indianapolis to Newark, NJ, and then to Boston, MA where I would catch my flight to Iceland. All my flights went well and I got to Boston with no problems.

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When I got to Boston, I had a couple hours before the desk to get my ticket was even open. There was an elderly Icelandic lady sitting a few seats down from me and I talked with her up until the counter was open. Talked a lot about the fact that I was hitch hiking in March and she kept telling me how all the roads east of Höfn were going to be shut down. My general response was, “Oh well. Guess I’ll find out.”

Got to my terminal and started talking with a girl from Reno named Savannah. Strikingly, we had the exact same flights, both there and back, so for the next couple hours, we hung out in the small airport terminal and got to know each other.

The flight from Boston to Keflavík was a four hour flight and was an overnight flight. The week prior to leaving, I had been telling friends that if I saw the Northern Lights, I would freak out like a small child at Disney World for the first time; those were my exact words to be honest. It was something I have always wanted to see. My flight left out around 9pm, and about an hour into the flight, it started. I thought I was dreaming or tripping or something. There was no way. I’m looking out my window, I have to always sit in the window seat, and there they are. Outside my window, over the wing, I can see the Northern Lights. At first I wasn’t positive whether it was them, or just the plane lights reflecting off clouds or something, but after a few minutes, I was sure. They were there and I was basking in their beauty from a plane in the sky. For the first thirty minutes or so, they were pretty dim, but definitely visible. After a while, however, they started dancing and moving along the wing in a very magical sensation. At this point, I’ve been staring, eyes wide open, face pressed against the window, out my little double paned window, for over an hour and had no intentions or straying my eyes any time soon. I was genuinely losing my shit in the most positively joyous way possible. I kept frantically trying to tell the people around me that the Northern Lights were outside, but they were either: asleep, or didn’t care at all. That saddened me a little, but I wasn’t going to let their lack of interest keep me from having a great time watching lights by myself. So for the next hour or so, I continued to peer out my window and observe the beauty of natural phenomenons going on outside this giant, flying, Pringles-canister-like object that I was stuck inside. The craziest thing was the perspective of seeing the lights from an elevated location, versus seeing them from ground level; just a completely different experience to say the least.

We landed in Keflavík around 5am and wasn’t sure what to do then. Met back up with Savannah and we tried to figure out what to do considering it was pitch black outside, almost nobody is driving between Keflavík and Reykjavík, and nothing is open. So we chilled in the airport for the next couple hours before we caught a bus to Reykjavík. I was going to hitch my way into the city from the airport, but I wanted to hang out with Savannah in Reykjavík for a while, so I splurged and bought a 1600isk bus ticket. The bus ride was about an hour to Reykjavík and had plenty of beautiful snow draped scenery along the way.

Got to Reykjavík and this was the first thing we sawIMG_1014

I knew when I saw a Vanagon in Iceland, it was going to be a good time. Spent the next few hours walking around the streets and experiencing a new country. The arguably most famous buildings, and most beautiful in my opinion, in Reykjavík, is a church called Hallgrímskirkja.

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I was having a blast walking around the city just shooting new scenery. We were both extremely hungry at this point, so we went to a small Icelandic cafe where I tried a dish called mashed fish. It tasted about as weird as it sounds. But, not in a bad way, just really different. Imagine how tuna is, except with cod, and then throw in potato chunks.

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Most of the houses are all different vibrant colors and provide a very warm feeling to the city you don’t really get back in the US. Everything appears to be so much more laid-back and simpler; I love it.

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To make sure you always learn something new everyday, the root endings of many Icelandic words have a meaning between words. For example, Vík, the ending of Reykjavík and Keflavík, means: “A Harbor Town.” Walking along the coastal waterfront is a beautiful area, even when the weather is gloomy, which it often is.

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Across the water, you can see boats departing as well as mountains on the opposite coast; really quite remarkable.

A really cool thing about Hallgrímskirkja, is that there is an elevator to the top of the clock tower where you can peer out over the city in all directions. You pay like $10, but it is well worth the money. The sky opened up for just a brief second and allowed the sun to light up the clouds for a brief moment, and then right back to overcast; which is still beautiful in Iceland.

After we got down, it was past noon, and I knew that If I wanted to make it to Vík before nightfall, I really needed to get on the move. So me and Savannah said our see-you-laters and I walked out on my way. I had zero idea what I was doing other than the fact that I needed to get to route 1 (The Ring Road) and then follow that. In terms of how I was getting to Route 1, I had no idea. So I just started walking away from the city in a direction I assumed was correct based off the sole knowledge that I was following what appeared to be a highway. After a while, I checked my handy map from International Travel Maps (highly recommend it) and found I was going in the right direction. On the map, it looked like it was just a short walk to the connection to route 1. I was so wrong. After walking for 2 hours or so, and 11km later, I came to a mini spaghetti junction and found out that in order to get to the start of route 1, I would have to walk across the highway. I’m daring, but not stupid. So, I did the next best thing. I walked down to the side of the highway leading towards route 1, and stood there with my finger out hoping for a ride. Sure enough, within like 10 minutes or so, a young Icelandic man picked me up on the side of the highway, he literally stopped on the highway. Asked me where to, and I said I was trying to get to Route 1 so I can get to Vík. He’s kind enough that he drives me to the first gas station on the ring road and I’m officially started on my hitchhiking mission around the country. IMG_1031

At this time, it’s now around 3pm and I’m just really getting started. 176km is not a crazy distance in a car, but trying to hitchhike, it’s not a close stroll by any means. I start walking and everywhere around me is just gorgeous. Within Probably 10 minutes, an elderly Icelandic couple stops and asks me where I’m trying to go, and I respond with Vik. I annunciated the “i” as an “ih” because that’s how I figured it was pronounced and no one had corrected me prior. They look at me and say, “Henh?” I was like, “Uhhh, Veek?” To which they understood perfectly and the gentleman helped me put my bag in the trunk and I took my place in the rear passenger seat and began to try and start a conversation. Then come to find out that this couple literally speaks zero english. So I’m there sitting in the back of this couples car and can’t speak to them at all. DSC_0079

After a while, I knocked out in the back seat where I took a very well needed hour nap after not sleeping for over 48 hours. After 2 hours or so, they pull into a gas station and point at me and then immediately point at the gas station. So I repeat the hand signals and get the memo that this is where we part and I start again. I thank them and get my bag out of the trunk, and then head into the gas station to see what I can eat. I had read prior to leaving the US, that you have to try Icelandic hot dogs at gas stations. So, accordingly, I order a bacon wrapped hotdog. Oh. My. That hotdog was amazing. I can’t put into words how much I loved that hot dog, but it was damn good.

After eating my heavenly hot dog, I headed back out onto the road and continued to walk. It was a good 30 minutes to an hour before anyone picked me up. So I had plenty of time to walk and observe what was around me. DSC_0085

Icelandic horses are the epitome of chill. The small, furry, short, horses are so docile and beautiful, it’s hard not to enjoy their presence. You can walk up to the fence line and they’ll do likewise and you can pet them and they couldn’t be happier. Well, as far as I know. I’m not a horse or anything so I wouldn’t know for sure, but I figure they’re pretty happy.

Roads in Iceland are also a beautiful sight in and of themselves. They actually inspired my first official photography project entitles “Travel New Roads.”

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After about half an hour, I got picked up by a Spanish guy and he drove me 10km to the entrance of the farm he worked on. I’ll take 10km over 0km all day, so that was more than fine by me. After that, however, things did not go well. I walked, and walked, and walked, and no one would stop. It didn’t help that I only saw a car maybe every 20 minutes or so. After two hours or walking with no one stopping, I started to get worried. I had drank the entirety of my two 320z Nalgene bottles, so I had no more water. At that point I sat down with my back against one of the poles that line the roads, and wrote this note in my phone: “It’s 5:15. Only two more hours of “sunlight” left and I’m still 65km from Vík. I haven’t seen a car in 20 minutes. I haven’t slept in 3 days. I’m tired and frustrated and just want to be there already.” It didn’t help that I could see rain coming in the distance.

After about another hour, a big SUV passed me up, but pulled over probably 1000ft from where I was walking. I literally ran to this car I was so relieved. I get to the SUV, hop in the back behind the driver, and say that I’m trying to get to Vík. There’s an Icelandic dad, his daughter, and her friend from San Diego in the car. They let me know that they’re showing the friend around the area and going to see a few sights and ask if I want to come with. Of course I wanted to go with. They drove for a little bit and came up to this huge waterfall. I knew which one it was because I had seen pictures of it floating across Instagram for the longest time. It was Skógafoss. Absolutely huge and equally beautiful.

Me and the two girls explored the area for the next 30 minutes or so, but I could have easily spent the rest of the day here. After the waterfall, we drove just a couple minutes down the road where they turned off the main road onto a small gravel access road. I saw one sign that I knew meant good new: Sólheimajökull. Another fun fact, jökull means glacier. So we drive a little ways off the main road and come up to the start of a trail. One of the craziest things about Iceland, is how much black is everywhere. After Eyjafjallajökull erupted a few years back, the majority of the southern portion of Iceland is still covered in black ash. It makes for some crazy color contrasts. Me and the two girls walked this trail, probably a couple km, and wound up face to face with a massive glacier.

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The color contrasts of the bright blues among the dark blacks are something you could only dream of seeing. The area is extremely popular for glacier hiking and while we were there we could see groups climbing up and down the glacier. One of the crazier things about this glacier, is how easily accessible it. DSC_0161

I really believe in the idea that important meetings in life are planned for you, prior to their occurrence. There would’ve been no possible way that I would have been able to see this glacier had it not been for the fact I was picked up by these exact people at that exact time.

After a while of taking pictures and exploring the beautiful area, we made our trek back to the car and back to the main road. When we got back to the ring road, we knew it was our time to separate as they were making their way back to Reykjavík, and I still needed to get to Vík. So again, I leave the security of the car and company, and start walking. At this point, the sun had begun to set and I was still a solid 30km away. It doesn’t help my thought process that I didn’t take my tent along with me, only my eno and sleeping bag. But, I wasn’t going to let that dampen my mood. I just kept walking along the side of the desolate road hoping that one of the few cars, by few I mean one every 15 minutes or more, would pick me up and take me to town. Sure enough, within like 10 minutes or so of becoming dark, an Icelandic couple in a Ford pickup stops and tells me to hop in. They let me know that they’re passing through Vík on their way to Höfn and that they can drop me off in the town.

We get to Vík and this couple more than goes out of their way by literally driving around this town to try and find the hostel I wanted to stay at. We spend the next 5 minutes or so driving around trying to find the place, and they drop me off in front of hostel and we say our inevitable goodbyes and wish each other safe travels. I went inside the hostel, got my room, and went straight up to bed. Usually, it’s customary to hang out in the kitchen/dining area and meet the other people staying there, chit chat a little, and just relax in the presence of others. Not this time. It had now been almost 72 hours and in that time I had slept only 3 hours combined; not in a bed. Not to mention the fact I walked over 20km that day. I was tired to say the least. Overall, I was wowed at the courtesy and hospitality the people of Iceland had shown me, as well as the pure beauty and peace of the Island.

Pre Iceland Winter Backpacking List

In less than 8 hours now, I head to Iceland. I have nothing more than a rough plan of what I’m doing. Basically, my plan is to fly into Keflavík and hitchhike from there to Reykjavík and then follow the ring road around the country counter-clockwise. It’ll be 832 miles, and I have 10 days to get back to KEF to fly home.

The weather doesn’t look like it’s going to be the greatest while I’m there. reports say rain/snow almost every day with temps ranging from 45F to 30F at night. Not the coldest, but not warm either. I’m trying to sleep outdoors as many nights as possible in my hammock, but weather dependent, I’ll have the option to stay in hostels.

Here will be a list of the gear I’m bringing with me and I’ll make a secondary list of what I wish I had and what I didn’t need once I return.

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Clothes

  • Upper Body
    • 2x Patagonia Capilene 3 Midweight LS Baselayer Shirts
    • Columbia Heavyweight II Stretch LS Baselayer Shirt
    • Patagonia R2 Fleece Jacket
    • Rab Xenon X Hooded Synthetic Insulated Jacket
    • Columbia Rain Tech II Jacket
    • North Face Verto Jacket
  • Lower Body
    • 3x Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxers
    • Patagonia Capilene 4 Baselayer
    • Patagonia Capilene 3 Baselayer
    • Columbia Heavyweight II Stretch Baselayer
    • Patagonia R1 Pants
    • Columbia Silver Ridge Pants
    • Marmot Precip Full Zip Rain Pants
    • Nike Shorts (Swimming Use)
    • 3x Smartwool Midweight Hiking Socks
    • 3x Wigwam Thermal Sock Liners
    • Wigwam Ice Socks
    • Kamik Nationplus Winter Boots
  • Misc.
    • Patagonia Powder Town Beanie
    • Buff Balaclava
    • Moutain Hardwear Polartec Powerstretch Gloves
    • Outdoor Research Meteor Mitts With Liners

Gear

  • Osprey Farpoint 40L Backpack
  • REI Lumen Sleeping Bag
  • ENO Deluxe Hammock With Long Straps
  • PackTowl Large
  • 2x Nalgene 32oz Widemouth
  • Outdoor Research Nalgene Parka
  • Smart Water Bottle For Filtering
  • Sawyer Mini
  • International Travel Maps Iceland

Electronics 

  • iPhone 6
  • Nikon D3100
  • 5x En-EL 14 Batteries
  • Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel
  • Mefoto Roadtrip Tripod
  • International Travel Adapter
  • Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
  • Into Circuit 11200 mAh Power Bank
  • Apple Lightning To SD Card Adapter
  • 2x Sony 64GB UHS-1 Class 10 94mb/s
  • 2x Sony 32GB UHS-1 Class 10 94mb/s
  • 2x Sandisk 8GB UHS-1 Class10 30 mb/s
  • Optech 18″ Rain Sleeve

Night Walking

So, currently, I am living on campus at the University of Louisville. A close 5 minute drive down 4th street, or take a bus, will get you to the heart of downtown Louisville.

A lot of people have this mindset, that downtown Louisville is extremely dangerous at night. I disagree. The whole main city hub is lit and the majority of the people you pass, don’t even look at you. Now granted, there are places you shouldn’t go to while downtown at night because they are legitimately dangerous, every city has those areas.

Every now and then, I like to go into the city at night. I’m there for as long as I please, going wherever I choose. I usually take my camera, my phone, a couple tripods, headphones, and a book. Tonight I only took my phone as to be my camera. I didn’t do any timelapses as I do quite often, instead, I just sort of wandered around taking pictures of things I found interesting.

I have a good interest in parking garages, as I like to go to the top floor and look out over things that I wouldn’t normally see from the ground.

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I’ve come to the realization that it doesn’t matter what other people like, it’s what you like that matters.

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I was walking past a building and the front desk where the security guard is supposed to be at night, was missing. I wonder where they were.

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One thing about walking around a city at night, is that there usually are people doing the exact same thing. It’s interesting to ponder what they’re doing. Why they’re doing it. The crazy thing however, is that I’ll most likely never see them again.

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I like to walk around and take pictures of things that most people wouldn’t think of to capture. “It’s not important. It’s not famous. It’s a normal object.” That doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say.

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I like to get a different perspective on things, rather than just seeing them at face value.

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When one door in life closes, another door opens. It’s interesting how quickly an image will change over a few seconds of time.

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I really do like to wonder what people are thinking to themselves.

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Funny how light works.

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One thing about walking around downtown, especially at night, that I do not like, is the sense of negligence for your fellow man, that many people have. People you walk past, even after you give them a friendly smile, or nod of the head, will continue walking past with disregard as if to say, “You’re not worth my time.” Really quite saddening that that is what has become of so many people.

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So many people are too worried about the potential negatives of a situation they could put themselves in, to where they don’t realize that the positives outweigh the negatives man times over.

Thoughts

What are we doing here on Earth? That is one of the most quintessential questions toyed around with in the human mind. It usually accompanies the question of, “What happens after I die?” Or something of that sort. The greatest fantasy of what it would be like to sleep and never wake up. One usually proceeds to play through their future in their mind: what they envision life to be like for them over the course of the remaining years, what they would like to accomplish before their time is up, and mainly how the two differentiate and what one can do to change their course so that they can accomplish their dreams. The other side, when one envisions their past and everything they’ve done, or perhaps, haven’t done.

Kids are brilliant at fantasizing about their future and what life would be like after death. They are so innocent and oblivious to the standards and expectations set forth for the people. Their goals contain no ceilings or limits. They aren’t concerned with what everyone else is doing, what people would think of them if they do one thing, or how they are going to make money doing that thing. None of that is important to the young fantasizing mind. All that matters to them, is doing what they would genuinely like to do in their future. The odd thing however, they are sublimely happy while money has no bearing. At some point, we, as humans, specifically Americans, lose our sense of imagination and dreaming. As kids and young adults, we know what we like and what makes us happy, yet we are told that our expectation here on Earth is to go out, get a good education, that will get us a good job, that will have good pay, so that we can buy all the things we want, and somehow, that will provide us happiness. But what happened to our goals and dreams we had, not too long ago, as kids? Do those things not mean anything anymore? So why do we buy into this idea?

Then it gets you thinking. What if money weren’t in the equation? You start to have the same thought process you had as a child and what you were to do that really made you happy. What would you do that you really enjoyed? I believe that is what you should do. Don’t worry about the money. Alan Watts does a brilliant job at discussing this, “If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it – you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much. That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track.”

We are all taught at some point in our life, that we can’t do what we love and have a passion for, as a career. I don’t think that is a good way to live your life. If you have something you really love and enjoy, you should pursue that and actually have fun in life. After all, you’re only on this Earth for a short period of time. We are forced to go to school for roughly the first 18 years of our lives and after that, school for another four years until we’re 22. After we graduate from college, it’s the standard to start your career where you’ll work until you’re roughly 60-65 years old. That’s nearly three quarters of the average American life expectancy spent doing something the majority of people don’t like doing. That is ridiculous to think about. Our “prime” years are roughly between the ages of 20-40, yet we decide to spend our best physical ages towards our career. We work all that time to save up money in a retirement fund that we can use after we retire, to do what we please with and to really live our lives. How does that logic make sense though? Working away the best years of our lives and pausing our goals and dreams to be able to have the freedom to do what we please once we retire around the age of 60 when our bodies aren’t the same physically as when we wasted away our time working. I’d much rather have the freedom to what I please and what I love during my prime years, than to wait until I was older to be able to achieve them. We are never guaranteed time. I might not live until retirement age. If I were to put off my dreams and goals thinking that I could achieve them after I retire, only to not live until I retire, what would the purpose or fulfillment of my life be? I would have simply lived my life towards the idea that money was the only way to achieve my dreams. That is simply not true.

As Alan Watts said, if you really like doing something, and you put enough time and work into it, you can eventually become a master. And with becoming a master, you can now sell your trade, what your so good at, your dream, your passion, to others that are interested in that as well. Wouldn’t that much more fulfilling than working a job you didn’t necessarily like in order to maybe one day pursue your dreams? That sounds like a much better plan.

I’ll paraphrase what Paulo Coelho, a Spanish writer and thinker, says in his most famous book, The Alchemist, about this idea. He discusses the idea that everyone has, what is called, a Personal Legend. A personal legend is basically the purpose of your life, and what you should do. The story starts off with a boy who was a shepherd. As the boy is travelling from market to market, he encounters a king who says he will find great treasure by the pyramids in Egypt. The story then goes on the journey of the boy as he decides to seek out his personal legend of finding his treasure in Egypt. He pitches the idea that it is the heart that wants to pursue your dreams rather than the mind. The heart will talk to you and give you help towards your dream and that is what makes you happy. However, the more and more you ignore the heart and your dreams, the heart stops talking to you and reminding you of your dreams, until there is no more hope towards accomplishing them. “Because wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.” He also ponders the idea that the universe is all around you to help you fulfill your dreams. “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize their dreams. In fact, life is generous to he who lives out his personal legend.”  It is really interesting to think about the idea that if we really go out and pursue our dreams, we won’t be completely alone on the whole journey.

If more people were to truly pursue their dreams and live out their personal legend, the world would be a much happier place. The question of what am I doing with my life would be an easy answer and life would be much more fulfilling. You might not be all that financially successful, but that doesn’t matter, as long as to you, you’re doing what you love, you’ll be successful and fulfilled in your own life.

Flight

Flight from Louisville to Chicago

Recently took a trip out to Los Angeles for a week and had a blast. My first flight was from Louisville to Chicago. It was an early flight so I knew the sun was going to be rising as we were making our way to Chicago. I was sitting with a friend and kindly asked her if I could have the window seat in order to take some pictures and what not; she obliged and we switched seats. I didn’t have anyway to mount my iPhone anywhere so I resorted to holding it against the window. Not bad for the first ten minutes; but after 30, it starts to hurt.

The footage isn’t as nice as I’d like it to be, but oh well. Next time I fly out this summer, I’ll be sure to have my gorillapod, Shoulderpod s1 iPhone tripod mount, and take the video in landscape instead of portrait. I’ll also use the Lapse-It app as it is a much better option for time-lapse photography on iPhones.

Hello world!

Hello, my name is Jacob. I’ve created this website for a variety of reasons. One, it can serve as a portfolio for my photography and get my name out there a little more. Two, it gives me somewhere to blog about topics that I feel I need to discuss and share my opinions on. This will mainly serve as a travel and photography blog, yet I will discuss other topics as well on occasion.

Hope you stick around and enjoy!