Travel is my passion. This was the epiphany I had 6 years ago when we set out to start our website theplanetd.com. I realized after spending the past 15 years in the film industry as a Rigging Gaffer that life was too short to spend it not doing what you love. And so we set out on this journey to inspire people to step out of their comfort zones and enrich their lives through travel.
You see travel has had a huge impact on our lives. It saved our marriage back in 2000. It has opened our eyes to new cultures and allowed us to explore the far reaches of this planet. But I believe that a person can have more than one passion. Out of my love for travel was born a love for photography.
I remember our first long trip to South East Asia in 2003. That was when I started to really get into travel photography. Before that trip, I spent a couple of years shooting portraits and street photography with my Hasselblad 503CW. I honed my skills learning the basics of photography and composition and I knew I wanted to take it to the next level, but I didn’t want to bring that camera with me to Asia.
So I dug out my old Canon Rebel G, bought a bunch of slide film, and hopped a flight to South East Asia.
That trip hooked me on travel photography. I bought my first DSLR in Singapore, a Canon 10D, midway through that trip, and never looked back.
There was something remarkable about photographing far off places that stuck with me. It was like my camera was a connection to another world. I felt a sense of comfort when I put that viewfinder up to my eye, like I belonged there. With camera in my hand, I connected to the people and culture of my destination. I understood my purpose.
Fast-forward to 2008 where I knew photography was going to be a huge part of ThePlanetD. When we made the decision to start ThePlanetD it was because we were living unfulfilled lives. We were working 16 hrs a day on film sets and losing ourselves in the middle class rat race. We knew there was more to life than working at jobs that didn’t fulfill our passion, but we didn’t know what to do about it.
It wasn’t until one rainy New Years Eve in 2007 that we finally came to this realization. As the raindrops hit the window like a constant reminder of how low we had sunk, we sat in front of the TV watching a documentary on Ray Zahab. Ray was an overweight heavy smoker that decided to turn his life around and become an ultra marathon runner. He quit smoking got in shape and won the first race he ever entered. I remember sitting there and Deb turned to me and said, “We are going to do something like that. We have to change our path.”
Two weeks later we signed up for the world’s longest cycling race: a four-month bicycle race from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. This was going to be our opportunity for change. We trained for the next several months, and exactly one year later, we were on a flight to Cairo where our lives would change forever. We cycled through the continent as I captured every moment on camera. The race was incredible, but it was the opportunity to photograph the people of Sudan, the landscape of Ethiopia and the wonder of Victoria Falls that excited me.
After we completed that race we were invigorated. We were full of new ideas and ready to take on the world. Travel had changed our lives once before back in 2000 and it once again was the catalyst for our next monumental life change. We knew that if travel could do that for us twice in our lives then it could do it for others.
That is why we started ThePlanetD. We wanted to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and live a more fulfilled life. If we could do it, anyone could do it. And we show them that every day through the photography and stories on our blog.
Over the past 6 years photography has become a huge part of our website. I have honed my skills in more than 100 countries and won awards like Best Illustration of Travel and Best Wildlife Photography by the Society of American Travel Writers. But most of all I have learned that capturing the essence of a destination, whether it is the people, landmarks or landscapes can serve as an educational tool. Teaching people what life is like in other countries and inspiring them at the same time to get out and explore all that his beautiful world has to offer.
You can tell someone to try something new again and again, but it isn’t until they see it for themselves that they will truly be inspired and that is why photography is so important to me.
Travel and photography go hand and hand for me. Being able to combine both of my passions has been a dream come true. It took a decade of searching for me to find my passion, but the wait was worth it. My advice to everyone is to never settle and keep searching until you reach your dreams.