If you view life like a road, then sure, there have been some potholes and flat tires along the way for Jaimen Hudson. But nothing’s been able to stop him completely.
When you listen to him talk, you hear a voice that is both excited and genuine. His speech doesn’t dwell or stumble. He tells stories and laughs; he seems as curious about you as you are about him. And, not to mention, he takes some of the nicest photographs and videos of Western Australia you’ll ever see.
But to really know the current version of Jaimen — the married photographer and videographer who recently purchased his parent’s tourism company — you need to understand his past.
Jaimen’s earliest memories are of days spent out on the ocean, as his parents had opened up a diving business a few years before he was born. He grew up surfing, diving, and skateboarding in the small coastal town of Esperance. But at the age of 17, a motocross accident rendered him a quadriplegic.
No longer able to partake in his former hobbies, Jaimen had to look elsewhere for fun, which wasn’t always easy. Many of his favorite sunny days were spent inside.
But one day in 2014, by chance, he learned about drone photography.
A man walked into his parents’ diving shop with hopes of finding a way to Middle Island, home of the famous Lake Hillier. But getting there from Esperance is no small feat. The trek includes a five-hour chartered boat ride, which can cost around $3000 (AUD) for fuel alone. Jaimen explained the extensive requirements of the trip to the man, adding that people don’t usually show up the day prior with such adventurous intentions.
Regardless, Jaimen organized a last-minute vessel to take him the following morning. And when he returned, he gave Jaimen a tape with footage from the excursion — footage that was captured with a drone. What Jaimen saw blew him away: the landscapes, the colors, the perspective — all of it.
It wasn’t long before he purchased one of his own.
The technology has changed Jaimen’s life entirely — there’s really no other way to put it. Having a drone has given him the ability to see his surroundings in a new light, from a different perspective than before.
With the ability to show off his relatively unknown hometown through social media, Jaimen has grown his following exponentially and brought widespread attention to Esperance. And because his viewers are spread out all across the globe, he’s had the opportunity to speak at international conferences, something that only a few years ago would have been completely out of the question.
As a child, Jaimen traveled regularly, visiting relatives in England and touring the different regions of Italy with his family. Following his accident, though, he had given up on the idea of sightseeing and experiencing new cultures.
But today, travel is a part of his life again. Last year alone, Jaimen found himself in Dubai, Paris, and Amsterdam.
This type of schedule keeps Jaimen busy these days, especially after recently acquiring his parent’s diving business, and he’s happy to keep it that way. “You’re better off looking at work than looking for it,” he says.
In spite of his heavy workload, Jaimen makes sure to keep things easy-going and enjoyable, spending as much time as possible outdoors and soaking up the sun. His lifelong love of nature and wildlife is unsurprisingly the focus of his droning, and his videos and photos of dolphins, salmon, sharks, and southern right whales have gone viral.
In response, people from all over have reached out to him. His story has inspired others and helped injured adventurers realize that they still have the capacity to seek new, daring experiences in life. Not only have individuals contacted him through social media and news outlets, but a couple of American kids even chose to tell Jaimen’s story through a school project.
“All this from flying my drone,” Jaimen says, which is true, but maybe it’s more than that.
Maybe it’s about perspective, too.