It started as a simple “what if,” an idea that we never thought could actually become reality. But sometimes an idea spirals, and suddenly it’s taken over. Within a year, my wife and I had sold everything, moved out of our house and set off on a journey across 10 countries in 10 months.
I started my first photography business when I was 16. It only lasted a few years, falling by the wayside as I took a full-time job in college. But in 2011, two things changed that: I proposed to my girlfriend, and I picked up my camera again. Seeing the wedding planning process from the other side of the lens inspired me to start a wedding photography business.Doors started opening that I never imagined possible. Through apps like Instagram, I started meeting other creatives from all corners of the globe. Travel slowly became a small part of my career, but I wanted to add more. After two years, I decided to take a bold step.
My wife and I decided to spend almost all of 2014 on the road. We announced the decision on Instagram, and what started as a simple post quickly morphed into a life-changing adventure. It spread faster than I ever imagined. We decided to move out of our house and allow where we were shooting to determine where we were essentially going to be living for that week.
Every week there was doubt about whether we’d be able to make it work, but the exhilarating feeling of what we were doing pushed us onward. By the time we actually left home in Florida, I had a packed spring schedule throughout the states and also had weddings booked in Africa and Europe. We flew and road-tripped our way across the U.S. and then shot in Kenya, England, France, Holland and Spain. We took several weeks off in Southeast Asia.
Not every moment was perfect – there are plenty we actually wish we could forget, like being caught in a city-square gun fight in Kenya and getting in a wreck in Thailand. Traveling with thousands of dollars in photography gear, and few weddings worth of photos on hard drives leaves you anxious all the time. That takes its toll. I shipped gear from the U.S. to Europe while we were going through Asia, and ended up having to pay a few thousand pounds to retrieve it from customs. I questioned the entire idea of what we were doing in these moments. Some of them almost broke us and most of them were never situations we could have prepared for in advance.
But these were fleeting compared to those we spent capturing moments that will forever be looked back on by the families we worked with. I’ll never forget shooting with Pilar and Pierce in the Pyrenees mountains or with Junilla & Faizel in historic Rotterdam. Working with Beatrice & Jeremy on unknown tourist-dry streets of Paris, it was all worth it.
Every single day had a story and each of them live bound in a journal on my shelf that now reads like an epic novel. We were constantly heading to a different place, planning for the next destination when we arrived. We experienced a new currency, new language, new foods and ways of how life runs almost weekly. We met creatives along the way in coffee shops and bars, sharing stories of life and business and breaking down the barriers of what social media has created. We lived the life we wanted to and in a way I feel it should be lived every day – in community. What we gained was worth every penny we spent.
The journey seemed to breathe new life into my work. Overall, life is different now. I do believe it’s possible is to figure out exactly what it is you are wanting to do in life and if you really want it, you can find a way to have it. We live in a time where dreams can become a reality and although it may take a few crazy, not-so-pretty moments to get there, if you are willing to go, life will surprise you.
Robert’s journey opened him to an entirely new career path. What transformative journeys have you taken? Where will your journey take you? Tell us on Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #YourJourneyAwaits.