I often wish I were more worldly, but honestly, I haven’t done much traveling.  Well, that’s not entirely true I guess.  I travel constantly, for a living, but I never go very far away.  While my sister has circled the world and turned back around for more, I’ve only been to a handful of places on the west coast of the United States and a host of the more popular places on the East Coast, and nowhere much in between.  And I’ve never left the United States.  That’s not something I’m proud of.  I think that travel, especially outside of the United States, is vitally important now more than ever and should be damn near required.  I’ve had the good fortune, however, of being around folks who have traveled extensively and I greatly admire their perspective and experiences and I appreciate the wisdom and presence that they share with me as a result.

My life has been very regional to this point, by choice yes, but also because of that pesky little thing known as finances.  I spent a considerable amount of time chasing selfish pursuits.  By the time I chased higher education as far as I could, I decided to do photography full-time–perhaps another very selfish pursuit.  In short, I started this photography thing with absolutely nothing in the way of assets.  And It hasn’t gotten any better.  In short, I’m a shit businessperson.  But, I’m working on that.  I only bring it up here so as to point out that I don’t allow myself to do much dreaming in terms of far away travels.  I see the photos and listen to the stories occasionally, but I’ve never allowed myself to think that I could be that person.  I’m afraid to actually allow myself that sort of freedom.  I’m still trying to secure the very basic things for myself and the rest is just too far away right now.

I’m also conditioned towards depth.  I don’t know whether that’s ingrained (Introvert) or learned, but I’ve never cared for skimming the surface of people or places; I head straight for the deep waters.  The times that I have traveled to the western United States have been relatively quick in and outs:  a week here or a week there, which equates to a day seeing something.  There’s a quote about “licking the world” that I always envision when I think of this kind of travel–grabbing a taste here and there and moving on.  I’ve always come home somewhat unsatisfied from these types of adventures.  Getting a feel for a place takes me time.  And, well, that was my plan when I started landscape photography full-time:  I wanted to live in a different state, near a different wild area, for 12-month periods.  In my idealized vision, I thought that I could simply create new work, sell it, and then move to the next place, developing a new market, new work and new sales in a self-reinforcing loop that would allow me to travel the country, and perhaps even the world.  Things haven’t worked out quite that seamlessly for me yet!  Five years into this thing and I’m still trying to find customers and revenue streams for landscape photography of the Southern Appalachian mountains.

Back to the specific question, though.  I’ve quickly realized that I don’t have a clue about where I would go and/or why when it comes to world travel.  There’s no substance behind my selections, only curiosity about that which I don’t know.  In a nutshell, I tend towards places that are wet, green and lush.  I love water–waterfalls, streams, oceans.  Cold is not my favorite condition, although I would make an exception to see the ice caves in Iceland!  I’m intrigued by New Zealand, British Columbia, Olympic National Park in Washington, Hawaii, and the Faroe Islands.  But to confuse things more, I would be ecstatic visiting Acadia National Park and/or the Everglades, two places relatively near that I’ve never seen.  Hell, I’d be ecstatic to travel the shoreline of North Carolina, town by town for six months.  I dreamed of mountain biking places in Colorado and Utah when I was younger; of rafting through the Grand Canyon; or hiking the Appalachian Trail end to end.  And to really muddle things up more, I believe I would be just as happy settling in any one place and spending the rest of my time digging and gathering as much depth as possible.

This question was beautifully setup for an easy punt on my part for an inspirational blog post listing the places I dream about and instead I gave you a muddled and rambling answer that was anything but inspirational.  So, here goes.  If I won the Powerball tomorrow and money was of no concern, I would first buy a small piece of land in Western North Carolina; somewhere about five to eight miles from a small town where I could walk for groceries every few days.  I don’t care for view lots but a nice wooded bit of land.  I would build a small home hidden in the trees, a two and two with detached garage and workshop/office.  Then, I’d get a modest pickup truck and a Timberleaf trailer to pull behind.  I’d hit the road in short order and see the whole of the United States, spending extended periods of time in those locations that were most interesting.  A couple locations that I think would be spectacular that I’ve never seen or experienced would be the Olympic Coast in Washington and the islands of Hawaii.  I would also like to spend more time at Glacier National Park.  In terms of the world, I’ve always been drawn to New Zealand, especially the south island and the ice caves of Iceland look pretty amazing.  However, once I did my tour of the states and visited a few areas outside the U.S., I would likely find myself in that small home in WNC, traveling around the southeast annually, revisiting areas that have continued to deliver inspiration, staying active physically and creatively.  I think that would be enough for me.

While I envisioned answering this with a tidy list of bulleted places and the reasons that I’m attracted to each, the naked truth is that I haven’t really thought that big. I’ve been ultra-focused on the Southern Apps and Carolina coastlines now for almost five years and I haven’t taken my eye off that particular goal.  I’m hoping that I can lift up my game behind the camera to a level on par with the working professionals in the industry and that someone with an opportunity available will take notice.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll chase anything I can find (and have been actively doing that).  From whatever opportunity comes or is found, I’m open and all-in to see what happens!  Oh, and yeah, I’m going to play that Powerball occasionally too!

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