In the last three months, I’ve boarded 16 planes. The best part about all these flights is that they have taken me to two continents, six countries, and four states – all for different job opportunities. The worst part is that I’ve contributed over 10 tons of CO2 emissions in the process, all in the name of documenting outdoor recreation. Which fucking disgusts me.
Side note: This is the first time I’ve ever really thought hard about my own carbon footprint in regards to my line of work, so before I dazzle you with pretty photos of far off places, I want to take a minute to address this issue and my thoughts.
I like to think that even though I live in an air polluting van, I’m still reducing my carbon footprint by not living in a house using heat, electricity, or running water on a daily basis. But when it comes to flying, there’s not a lot that can be done other than choosing to not go to that amazing far off destination. And to be honest, I never once thought about my CO2 impact while traveling this summer until I sat down to write this post. I don’t even have any good answers or excuses, but I do think it is important to share that I’ve started donating to Mossy Earth in an attempt to offset my CO2 emissions. You can learn more about how they plant native trees and restore wild ecosystems by visiting their website. I hope you’ll take a minute to reflect on different ways you can help do the same.
Ok, back to pretty pictures.
The first set of flights brought me to Europe where I spent the month of June in Chamonix. My sister moved to Geneva at the start of the summer and I wanted to join her for some trail running in the mountains. I was also fortunate to work out a contract with Patagonia for my time over there, and also booked a shoot with their trail running team in the Dolomites.
It was a really great four weeks. On top of being genuinely psyched on the images I was creating, I also met a lot of new faces and spent some quality time catching up with old friends and family.
After a brief stint back in the US to celebrate my brother’s wedding, I flew south of the equator for my first trip to South America. The Janji team was reuniting to shoot the Bolivia line for their upcoming Fall and Winter collection, and I was pretty excited to shoot more photos and explore a new country with the crew.
It was a mind-blowing trip. After a week in La Paz, we skipped around the country taking in the incredible landscapes. We spent a night on Isla del Sol on Lake Titicaca, drove two days to Uyuni where I shot the most beautiful sunset of my life, explored the terrain beneath Huayna Potosi, and hiked the insane clay conglomerate cliffs of Las Animas. All of which were situated above 12,000ft.
Fifteen days at altitude was a blessing because the next set of plane rides brought me to Peru where I was meeting up with a team from Eddie Bauer to shoot video for a hiking campaign in the Cordillera Huayhuash. We were a small team comprised of three athletes, one guide, a photographer, and myself. The entire trek stays above 10,000ft for 88 miles and includes over ten mountain passes. For this reason, the trek is usually attempted over the course of 12 days. But because of our time constraints, we were attempting to do it in 5 days.
The trek was incredible but exhausting. We were hiking 20+ miles over 16,000ft passes almost every day, plus I was attempting to film most of it. Because of our schedule, we had very limited time to set up our shots and instead opted to run and gun for most of the trek. I was definitely beat by the time we finished, but I was psyched that I was able to keep up with a team of athletes in fairly difficult terrain and do my job at the same time. The views were also pretty great.
After three weeks of bottled water and empanadas, I was looking forward to my next set of flights, which would bring me back to Vegas and my van. As the summer begins to close, I’ve spent the last ten days coming up for air and taking care of all the things that fall by the wayside when I’m working.
Despite the amount of airtime movies I enjoyed while silently adding to the rising temperature of our planet (I highly recommend the new blockbuster Ready Player One – you can really see what the not-so-distant future might look like when global warming and rampant overpopulation have rendered the planet devoid of almost all resources) I still believe travel and new experiences are inherently good and can help us to better understand the human population’s impact on a global scale. But even though I selfishly still hope to see so much more of the world while shooting and getting paid, I also hope more people and companies alike take the effort to visit places close to home that have still yet to be explored. I know I’m excited to do more of that this fall.