There I was, walking up a dark, rocky trail outside Moab, Utah, to reach the Corona Arch and take pictures of the Milky Way. I’m not typically the trekking type, but this idea had been on my bucket list for years.
After sunset, I packed my camera gear and off I went, uncertain where this path would lead. After finally reaching the arch, all I could see was a sky full of stars!
Since it’s one of the darkest places in the U.S., the Corona Arch is perfect for capturing photos of the Milky Way. The stars were so bright I felt like I could touch them… and touch them I did—with my lens.
Every time I look at the images I took that night, my heart races. I remember how I felt being there, all alone with tears in my eyes because I had accomplished this goal.
When I first decided to become a travel photographer, I had no idea that it would change my life so dramatically. Sure, I thought I would see some fantastic places and meet all sorts of interesting people. But the degree to which it has changed and challenged me was a complete and utter surprise.
These days, you can simply go online, do a Google search, and—like magic—you’re relaxing on a dreamy beach, taking a stroll down the Champs-Élysées, or watching a cheetah hunt gazelles in the Serengeti. But let me let you in on a little secret: Your computer screen can’t even come close to real-life experiences.
You can watch all the elephants you want on the National Geographic site, but until you have ridden on the back of one of these magnificent creatures for a day, given him a bath, fed him, and gazed into his eyes, you have no idea what they are all about. Going to Thailand to explore and capture images of the country and its people has afforded me that opportunity.
Watching the Northern Lights on a freezing night in Iceland is like talking to God himself. The aroma in the spice market in Istanbul overwhelms your olfactory senses. Actually witnessing a cheetah catch a gazelle to feed her cubs leaves you speechless. Photographing the Eiffel Tower while lying on your back at midnight—when you are the only one there—sends shivers down your spine. Exploring the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, the home of the Dali Lama, is not something you can do through YouTube.
How about standing by the roadside in Yellowstone with your camera in hand, watching an 800-pound grizzly bear meander through the brush looking for food? It just isn’t the same when you’re only watching a video.
If you really have the desire to make your life exciting and be certain that you have “no regrets,” it’s time for you to make it happen. No more excuses. You only have one shot at “amazing,” so you had better take it!
Get out from behind the computer screen and get out under the stars.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]