This last year was probably the most unique of my life thus far. I decided to move to Korea to teach English and begin my journey towards becoming a travel filmmaker. It's been an intense ride marked by confusion, joy, loneliness, friendship, self-doubt and discovery. There has been no shortage of adventure, that's for sure. The new year is here, and 2016 will soon feel like a distant dream. This photographic journal is my attempt at capturing memories and moments of introspection over the past year.
Throwing it back to my trip to California. Shortly after arriving in L.A., I met Jess in a hostel at Venice Beach. We only hung out for three days, but we had similar interests and made a strong connection.
I briefly met her in the hostel kitchen one morning, and that afternoon I was wandering around on the beach bike path snapping photos. I remember briefly thinking that I should have got her number, because she seemed like a rad chick. No more than 10 minutes after thinking this, I almost got ran over by a girl riding a skateboard while I strolled along the path. That girl was Jess. We started chatting, and we decided to go take some photos on the beach. The next day we rented skateboards and partied with new friends at the hostel. Those few days were awesome.
There is nothing quite like those fleeting connections on the road. When we have these experiences, we wake up to the fact that there are so many wonderful people out there to meet and meaningful conversations to have.
Last year, I decided to head into Boston with my camera as my only companion. I remember my sisters questioning why I would go into the city by myself. I just wanted to explore my birthplace and take some awesome photos. I stumbled upon a unique skatepark—the perfect spot to photograph the local skate talent.
I recall feeling a bit uncomfortable on the train and walking around the city alone, but I'm glad I decided to do it. I wandered around the whole day, snapping photos and just taking in all the unfamiliar surroundings. Doing this solo day trip led to me going to California by myself for two weeks and then on to Korea for a year.
Sometimes to really grow you need to take baby steps, and if you follow your intuition, those steps become massive leaps.
Snapped this photo of my friend Lexi this past summer on a hike in Deogyusan National Park. As you can tell, the view was fantastic, and our spirits were soaring on this beautiful summer day.
Looking at this photo reminds me of all that has been accomplished since coming to Korea. From leaving the comfort and familiarity of home to making friends from all over the world to succeeding as an English teacher to diving headfirst into a new culture to hiking big ass mountains, it has been one hell of an adventure.
Although it hasn't been a walk in the park, I've realized that this experience fits in perfectly with what I want my life to be like when I look back on it before I die—memorable and worthwhile.
Shout-out to this dude from San Jose, California. I had a pretty interesting exchange with this guy just after arriving to the west coast during my trip last January.
I was just wandering around the streets taking photos when this guy approached and started chatting with me. In hindsight, I probably should have asked to take his photograph, but I decided to do it anyway. A few minutes later, I was sitting down in the city center when he started accusing me of being a "narc". I'm not sure if he was paranoid because of my camera or what. I assured him I was just taking photos as a hobby, and then I got on out of there.
It's funny to think how quickly our conclusions are formed about people from our first impressions or interactions. Admittedly, I was a bit frightened by this dude, especially when he started accusing me of working with the cops, but who knows, maybe he's a cool guy.
This photo was taken at sunrise during a two-day hiking trip this past summer.
At first, I was a bit angry after being woken up by the buzz of a drone, but then I realized we were out of bed just in time to see the golden rays of the morning sun illuminate the mountains that stood before us. It was a glorious way to start the day.
In life, something that seems unpleasant, like being abruptly woken up at the crack of dawn, can turn out to be something spectacular.
Took this a few weeks ago at a local park here in Daegu, South Korea. As I rode my skateboard in the chilly December air, I was compelled to stop and admire the sunset on this little pond.
To get in the right position, I had to shimmy underneath barbed wire that was hastily wrapped around a tree on the edge of the pond. I then had to balance myself on a narrow concrete barrier to avoid falling into the frigid water. I'd say it was worth the effort.
Sometimes, in life, you have to get a little dirty or break a few rules to get where you want to be. By choosing this option, you will witness things that most people simply won't see.
Stay tuned for Part 2...
For more photos, head over to the BYB Instagram page