I roamed the plains with the elephants and lions as a child, danced with Masai, ran with flamingos, sat through exorcisms, dangled from a billboard, crawled through mountain caves, got completely lost in Spain while on a pilgrimage alone, got locked in an alpaca paddock, jumped out of a plane to tandem skydive and questioned my sanity many times over. When I turned 50 I thought I had reached the pinnacle of my bucket list and that it was now time to slow down and do more creative and safer things.
A few years later, I have come to the conclusion that bungee jumping is not for me, fractured my shoulder during a paragliding course, have rebuilt my life from scratch, and now I wonder what can I do to make this year different.
Stop the press…
This is 2020 for crying out loud! With the pandemic and #lockdown2020 I can’t possibly ask for more adventure in my life! Instead of crossing yet another swinging bridge between mountains or going spelunking, I decided to go back to the drawing board and earn myself a few certificates here and there through e-learning, in addition to launching several new projects this year.
The photographs you see here pretty much summarise my attitude to life at the moment – and serve as my inspiration.
No guts, no glory.
Fear, outdated values and imaginary standards only hold me back. Allowing others to talk me out of something which might bring me the experience of a lifetime is something I choose to summarily reject now. Yes, I will certainly listen attentively if I am on the verge of committing a major blunder (or have already done so), but when it comes to defining myself, the time has come to purge the brakes, breaks, barriers, and hesitations.
More importantly, I have also learned
* to ask for help,
* to accept help when offered;
* to reject any form of emotional abuse
* to recognise a fraud and a scammer
* to set goals and objectives for myself again and not just go where I am told;
* to rekindle that inner fire that I thought had long gone out.
It is that very fire that inspires me to remain true to my calling as a documentary photographer, but also push the boundaries and bring out the best in others through empowering soul portraiture. The same fire that revives my desire to tell stories in conjunction with photographs, but also to be a committed literary activist.
The past five years have painful and traumatic, hitting rock bottom financially, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. But I crawled and clawed my way back up, met people along the way who showed me both kindness and cruelty, learned many a lesson, and discovered a new definition of authentic self. I am no longer the same person you might have met 40, 30, 20, 10, or even five years ago. I fear nobody, and will eat nincompoops for breakfast before I allow anyone ever again to define how I am to act, speak, think, behave or choose, and at what speed.
As a footnote: all images in this blog were taken with a GoPro by Kevin from Thai Sky Adventures. I have great ambitions for my personal journey as a photographer, but skydiving and jumping out of a plane six times a day is not one of them.