Snapped this photo of my little sister last February after a heavy snowfall in Dracut, Massachusetts. We thought it would be fun to go for a winter walk through the woods.
As I perused my hard drive for photographic memories from the last year, I was first drawn to the scenic landscapes of nature that I've captured through my camera lens, but the images of people always hold a special place in my heart. Seeing this photo of my sister reminds me how much I miss my family. With winter here and Christmas behind us, I'm wishing I could spend some quality time with the fam.
Being away from the familiarity of home is a true test of character. It leaves you sad but also excited to share your crazy adventures with all the special people in your life when you finally do return home.
Captured this with my long lens at a Korean baseball game back in the summer. I remember being super excited to see how they did baseball (my favorite sport) over here in Asia.
The game was an entertaining one, as it ended with a diving catch by the home team (Samsung Lions) to save the game. Even though I'm 7,000 miles from home, it was nice to see something familiar like baseball. While the level of play isn't as premier, the atmosphere made up for it.
It's incredible to explore new parts of the world and discover how different some things are and then realize how much is similar to what you know and love in your own country.
This photo was taken at the top of Palgong Mountain (팔공산) in Korea. The view may look tranquil but getting to the top was anything but. My friend Tom and I took a cramped bus to the base of the tallest mountain in our area. We began our hike by getting a bit lost, but luckily we were helped by a friendly Korean woman. We got back on track, and we soon arrived at a pristine lookout point boasting gorgeous panoramic views. While there, thinking we were close to the summit, we finished our snacks and nearly all of our water. Big mistake.
We were still quite far from the top, and to our dismay, there were no water refill stations anywhere. As we sweated in the sweltering summer heat, we soon finished our water supply. Dehydrated and mentally beaten, we managed to make our way to the top. We didn't linger long, quickly making our way back down for hydration.
Just like how the trip started, we ended up on the wrong trail and somehow were on the total opposite of the mountain from where we began. After about an hour of finding our bearings, we once again loaded on to the crowded bus. Adventure is not always pretty.
Snapped this photo of Alia Al-Kasimi while filming a cooking video in Indonesia this past summer. Alia is a big inspiration to me. She works her ass off, and she is successfully pursuing something that she's passionate about.
I helped film a handful of Alia's videos in Seoul, and during one of these gigs, we started discussing our summer plans. To my surprise, we both planned to go Indonesia and coincidentally, we were going to be in the same area at the same time. She asked if I'd be willing to assist in filming a cooking video at a villa she was renting. Of course I was down!
One morning while in the quaint town of Ubud in Bali, I hopped on a motorbike and went to meet Alia for the video shoot. I still can't believe the synchronicity of it all.
Sometimes in life, we get handed golden opportunities that perfectly fall in line with our vision and goals. If you're open-minded, doors will open where there were only walls before.
The date on this photo was March 1st, only a few days after arriving in the city that would be my home for the next year. It was a cold yet clear day at the top of Mount Apsan (앞산).
This was the first of many hikes that I would do in the months that followed. I guess you can say this is where my love for the outdoors continued to grow, as I immersed myself in Korea's nature. Every time I go hiking I forget how hard it can be both physically and mentally. Then, with each upward step, it all comes flooding back.
More than anything else, hiking is the perfect metaphor for life. It has the potential to beat you down and leave your body and mind begging for mercy. The physicality is certainly a factor, but the mental battle with yourself us what it's all about. That's hiking, and that's life.
Found this photo of my friends Tom and Toby on my hard drive. It was taken during a long weekend getaway in Busan. All three of us love being by the ocean, so it was exciting to get to the coast.
It's strange to think that we all met at the orientation for our teaching program back in February. We've done and seen a lot of interesting things in the last year. From our hiking adventures to enjoying Daegu nightlife to the wild vacation to Indonesia. Both Tom and Toby have decided to stay in Korea to teach for additional year, and I'm heading out pretty soon. I'm hoping we can rendezvous in some other part of the world and continue the adventure.
Our friends are such an integral part of who we are. While living abroad, friends take on a role that's similar to family, and it can create a special bond. Here's to my friends all around the world...2017 is gonna be a good one!
Last month, I was awarded the Silver Prize in the EPIK (English Program in Korea) video contest. The goal was to make a 5-minute video highlighting the teaching and cultural experience that you've had here in Korea. While I was glad to receive some recognition, I was happy to create this video regardless of the prize.
These films are something that I pour my soul into. I'm willing to do it for free. These little creations are born out of passion or a burning desire to express myself. With that said, it does feel good to be recognized and awarded for the hard work.
My dream of becoming a filmmaker and being location independent is slowly falling into place. Stoked to keep pushing for it!
Took this long exposure on the 20th floor of an apartment building my friend rented for Christmas. It wasn't my best city photo, but I thought it still came out quite good.
While looking out over the city, I thought about an interview I recently watched about Millennials. The man being interviewed spoke about how this generation of young people are too accustomed to instant gratification, largely as a result of social media. He continued by saying that we need to understand that success and happiness is derived from patience and realizing we must work for what we want, expecting progress to be slow.
Like a city is built one building at a time, our lives are constructed piece by piece. Let's exercise patience and humbleness in 2017.
Decided to try my hand at some more long exposure night photography. As I stood in the January air, I mused about some interesting thoughts I recently heard about discovery and creation as it relates to art.
External success or factors can motivate people to create, but this method is shortsighted and shallow. Art, in its truest form, relies on intuition and a voice deep within ourselves. Following this voice can be difficult, because it's dynamic, so we must adapt, change and grow to keep pace with it.
When we are inspired solely by our own self-expression, we begin to unleash the creativity that dwells inside all of us.
Every day we face the same question: where do I want to go?
We must constantly ask ourselves if we're going in the direction that's taking us closer to our true self. With all the distractions around us, it's inevitable that from time to time, we will stray from our path. The most important thing is acting in the face of the doubt and fear that sidetracks us.
Which direction will you go?
Another year has passed. All we can do is force a smile as we look back on 2016, hoping to apply the lessons learned while striving forward. Amidst our failures, struggles and successes, may we confront 2017 with determination and fearlessness.
For more photos, head over to the BYB Instagram page