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There comes a time in life when we wonder where we are going, what we are doing and if there isn't something more to life. That time hit in my 30's. Working at an online marketing agency and putting in 14 hour days 6 days a week at times was starting to wear on me. I'd wake up, rush into the office to stare at a computer screen, come home to stare at it some more, go through some robotic exercises on the machines at the local gym and try to fit some sleep in there somewhere.
It was a “comfortable” life, as in all the bills were paid, there was a ski trip or two out west each year and there were some cool toys to play with but never time to actually play with them. Even if there was time to sleep, it was often elusive because there was too much to keep track of, too many projects going on and too much stress at work.
As birthday #36 came creeping up, it was time to make a change. Would a different agency be a good move, maybe working in-house or just one big, bold shake up be the best move? After many more sleepless nights trying to come to a decision, the decision was to simply give notice and quit my job. Up until the day notice was given, it wasn't by any means assured that it would happen. Would health insurance be affordable, would credit cards get canceled, what would any future employers think? There was no way to know exactly what would happen or what the future would hold so it was time to make a bold move and quit.
My 36th birthday was the last day on the job. The plan was to pack the car, drive out to Utah, rent a room, ski at Snowbird for two months and head back to Philly to find another computer screen in another cubicle.
Once Snowbird closed for the season, Mammoth Mountain lured me out to the Eastern Sierras to ski every day until July 4th, 2010. Yosemite National Park and countless other sights kept me out there past the 4th, until early August. When the time came to leave Mammoth Lakes it seemed like a sensible idea to visit more national parks on the way back to Philly. Craters of the Moon, the City Of Rocks, Yellowstone/Teton and the Badlands were a few of the stops on the way back east.
Two months on the road turned into six and a somewhat life changing experience. At some point on the march back east, I realized I'd only sampled what there was to see and experience in the world and even in the United States. It was too soon to go back to starring at a compute screen and forgo the opportunity to experience and photograph the US National Parks and so man of the amazing natural and historical wonders all across the county.
What began as a two month ski trip has now turned into what will be a 7+ year road trip to all of the US National Parks in the lower 48 states as well as a sampling of those in various regions of Canada. I went from living comfortably to spending upwards of 200 nights a year sleeping in a Subaru Outback with the remaining nights spent in a tent, a hostel or the cheapest hotel I can find.
It is grueling, it is exhausting and quite challenging to get by on around $1,000 a month for food, gas and “lodging”. Rest stops, forest service and BLM land and even Walmart parking lots are often places considered “home” for the night. It can be a week in between showers. Sometimes Beefaroni, Ramen Noodles and Pop Tarts make up the bulk of the weekly menu. No matter how uncomfortable or exhausting it can be on the road, waking up to explore amazing sights somewhere in North America makes the discomfort and exhausting melt away.
The photographs you see here are the sights I've seen along the road. Some were quick shots taken from the road while others required days of backpacking of hiking more than 20 miles and climbing 5,000 vertical feet in a single day.
Leaving the corporate office is so far not a way to get “money” rich in any sense of the word. It takes sacrifice and determination to see, experience and photograph all these incredible places but so far its been worth every moment. I hope you enjoy seeing all the incredible sights across the US and Canada. Should you decide to hang a print on your wall, I'd love to see how it looks on your wall and I thank-you very much for deciding to buy one of my prints!
There is a blog and a Facebook page to accompany the trip. If you have any interest in links to those, just contact me through the FAA site and I'll send you the links. Remember to get out of the cubicle on a regular basis. Sitting down all the time staring at a computer screen will kill you. But if you are going to die early do it in the presence of beautiful sights hanging on the walls!
If you are interested in licensing photos, that can be arranged.
For regional and non-profit magazines, I usually go with the NPCA Photo Rates
For national magazines, multiply those rates by 2.
For personal projects, the cost of a license is 80% of the print price (not including materials) listed on this website so it will vary by size. I license if you need to print the image on something that is not sold on this site. I don't license so you can make your own prints.
Commercial licensing is on a case by case basis. I don't offer any images in exchange for 'credit' or 'exposure' because the gas stations, grocery stores and camera shops do not yet accept those as forms of payment and I have to pay them all to get the photos you see here.
Bartering for products and/or services is a possibility.
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