Picture: Rainbow over the “Meat & Potatoes Palace”, near Hat Creek, California (A play off Galen Rowell’s famous photo, Rainbow over the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.)
I love coming home after being on the road for more than a few days. Returning home to my wife and kids is always it’s own reward, as is the comfort of the house and getting to sleep in my own bed.
But on just about every trip I take, I meet someone who says they’d love to be doing what I do, and how lucky I am running around all over the place and taking pictures. Most of the time I give them a sincere nod of appreciation and token acknowledgement. But under my breath, it’s about all I can do to keep from saying, “if you only knew…”. What I want to tell them is to imagine themselves in my shoes:
My last trip found me zig-zagging and looping around a good chunk of northern California, turning 1413 miles in about six days while working on my current book project. When I leave, I always take some work with me that I hope to get done. None of it ever does get done. Most of the time I sleep in my truck, with maybe only one or two nights in a hotel in any given week. My cell phone alarm usually goes off at least an hour before sunrise. Breakfast usually follows after a few hours of shooting in the morning, and is almost always Peets Coffee & instant oatmeal. Lunch usually gets missed due to driving or shooting, and maybe as minimal as a couple plain tortillas, crackers & cheese, or a quick fast food stop. After a day filled with trying to get as many book locations in as possible, I usually opt to find some deserted road or empty campground to park the truck. Dinner a la backpacker stove is usually a can of Chunky soup, canned pasta, or Salami & Cheese.
This is the life they want, what they wish they can be doing? So often is the misconception brought on by fancy magazines that the travel or nature photographer’s life must be glamorous and full of adventure. Adventure, yes. Glamour, hardly. It’s certainly not all 5-star resorts and filet mignon dinners, though those do dot the landscape on occasion. My good fortune is that I’m just as happy sleeping in my truck and eating canned soup as I am spending a few nights at the Hotel del Coronado. But no matter where I go or how I travel, I’m always happiest when I’m coming home.
See the photo larger at my image archive.
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