In 2012 I quit my job and decided to leave safety and security behind.
It wasn’t doing anything for me anyways, other than keeping me comfortable with apathy. If I had stuck through it, I probably would be making twice the amount of money that I made by the time I left. I could’ve had a down payment on a house, I could’ve found a nice girl and perhaps planted some roots for a life of stationary normalcy. I shudder at the thought now and cannot express how thankful I am that I got out while I could. Nothing excited me back then, and it truly weighed me down.
I’ve learned how widespread that lifestyle really is for us. How many of us just do something because that is what it takes to pay the bills, what is required of us to get by? How many excuses have you told yourself to make yourself comfortable with what you’re doing? Perhaps you have your dream job, or perhaps it isn’t you’re dream job but you are genuinely pleased with the work you do for at least 5 days a week. That doesn’t exist for a tremendous percentage of the working class, so consider yourself fortunate.
Me? I was completely lost. It was a job that did nothing but inspire me to perpetuate this vast feeling of nothingness.
So I left it.
I figured that if all I felt was nothingness, I should go explore nothingness as deeply as possible, and hope that somewhere in it I would find something worthwhile. An uninspired work life motivated me to throw myself into solitude. I had no plan, no destination, and quite frankly I didn’t even have any hope. In my mind I had already given up, but perhaps something in my subconsciousness had not. With no idea where I was going or what I was doing, I traveled 10,000 miles over the course of 100 days.
With no idea where I was going or what I was doing, I traveled 10,000 miles over the course of 100 days.
That is a lot of time to yourself.
While I have always had an appreciation for nature and enjoyed the outdoors, this was a drastic change of pace for me. It wasn’t just a casual stroll through the woods behind my apartment. I was living out there, I was a part of it. Looking back on that adventure in 2012, I don’t know what really brought me back to life; the serenity of untarnished wilderness, or the third eye I brought along to look at it all with.
My camera was one of the only belongings I brought along with me for the trip, and it just became a necessity for me. Looking through the lens was a different way of looking at life. As soon as I would put it back in it’s bag, my vision would return to normal, and I would go back to dwelling on apathy. But through that viewfinder I saw things the way I had to see them.
The inherent desire to get away from the busy complications of human nature and spend some time in the quiet mountains is older than civilization itself.
I’m not the first of a kind. The inherent desire to get away from the busy complications of human nature and spend some time in the quiet mountains is older than civilization itself. I’m also certainly not the first man to take a camera along with with me. The only difference to my story that made me feel it was a worthy one, was in the amount of reception and support I received almost instantaneously as I progressed. I started sharing my images and story on Instagram, and it didn’t take very long to reach thousands of people.
All of a sudden… I was inspiring people. It was an exciting thing to have happen for me, since I had allowed myself to believe for so long that I couldn’t have a positive impact on anybody anymore. It motivated me, it frightened me, and it gave me a sense of responsibility. When my money was dwindling, I decided to stop somewhere and begin the process all over again. I knew I had to get a job, start saving up money, bide my time, and then take off once again. If my images and adventures can change even one person’s outlook on life, then in my eyes I have succeeded. That’s worth sacrificing stability for.
Don’t we all want to make a difference?
Patrick Semales is a 26 year old photographer with a dream of becoming a professional travel and wildlife photographer. Fox Clearing (the video above) is a documentary that follows Patrick as he exits the 9-5 life for a photographic road trip across North America. Check out the Kickstarter Campaign here.