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This blog is designed to be a journal of sorts. Discussing  pre-travel issues, questions, worries, plans, routes, researching, thinking or reading about everything I need to be doing. Then, it will become the “fun” part. The epic locations and photos and then the stories of the people and places I visit.

There is always a struggle, some problem you are faced with. Learning to adapt, change and be flexible is the only way to make-it.

Currently my steps are in limbo, as I am having knee replacement surgery next month. FINALLY! This has been as massive issue since 2004 (meaning I’m walking with pain every...EVERY day). Getting the knee fixed, checks off a MAJOR to-do line. So while that happens, while I heal, I will be dedicating any down time, reorganizing my computer. Basically getting her ready for the up coming travels and adventures. Having my tech guy come in this week to install all the software updates I need. He’ll also make sure she running right.

The pre-work I am trying to complete before I get on the road, is trying to set up accounts for passive income. Using tools like Smugmug (https://thirdiphoto.smugmug.com/) or FineArtAmerica (http://thirdiphoto.pixels.com)  to sell my work. It takes time. I can throw up a bunch of artwork but unless I advertise (i.e the blog or facebook), I won’t make money.

To help fund my adventures and travels; I have to market myself, which is not something they teach you in college. However, I have to look at this like I’m interviewing for a job. First impressions matter, which means the websites have to be on point.

In the last 20 years, the photography industry has taken as MASSIVE leap. I went from a film based photography career to having to learn tech and understand how it all functions (literally handed a Nikon D1 the first day of Football Hall of Fame events).

I started shooting for newspapers while I was in college and began working freelance work for a small paper called the Sun Journal, The Massillon Independent and the Akron Beacon Journal. In 1997, I moved across country (for the first time) and began working for the Coeur d’Alene Press. In 1999, I was offered a position back in Canton at The Repository as a part-time staff photographer. I worked almost full-time. I spent the next 5 years covering local news and events around my hometown.

In 2004, I decided to make a change and sold and packed up my jeep to move to LA with no job, no place to live and only knew 4 people that were there. I had a lead for a freelance job at the LA Times, but a month after I moved here, they went on a hiring freeze and my career shifted.

I was never one to “worry” about what people thought about what I did for a living. I needed to work. I began in phone sales at a company in Beverly Hills and once they figured out I actually knew design, photography and other creative aspects of what the company needed, I was moved to the design department. I began designing ads for fitness magazines like Muscle Mag, Oxygen and others. I travelled with the company for the Olympia in Vegas, The Arnold Classic, Ironman etc., working with some of the best athletes during that time and witnessing their sheer dedication to the competition blew my mind.

Unfortunately during the beginning of the massive recession that smacked the US, I was laid off. I spent 4 months struggling to survive in LA. It is not an easy town and you learn real quick how to hustle and keep the roof over your head. Other than freelance, I began working part-time designing pop displays for a wholesale company, photographing products for packaging for retailers like Big Lots and Kmart.

Always looking to improve my life, learn, experience new things, I always look for new opportunities. Sometimes it led nowhere, sometimes it led to opportunities and experiences I didn’t expect. I’ve shot stills for movie shorts, shot a web commercial, performed voice-over work for a web series, spent two seasons sitting audiences for TV shows (which allowed me to walk around the studio lots unsupervised!!), filmed and edited a horror short, photographed and designed an Album cover for Pat Boone.

Dealing with the stress of not having a full-time gig and having to pay the rents costs in LA, I wanted a break from the hustle and finally found a full-time gig, that was steady, had insurance, vacations and bankers hours (7-4). I spent 5 years working for Nikon Inc. as a rep for the camera tech side of Nikon. Answering questions and troubleshooting issues while they were out in the field. I did enjoy that aspect of that job. Speaking to other photographers, getting to know those in various industries. But… customer service is NOT fun.

It’s wasn't a job I wanted to do, but it was a job I needed.  

Nikon decided to make some changes within the company and our entire department was let go. I had no issues with this, I had only been working for the company 5 years, but most of the department I worked with had been there 17-25 years! This was probably one of the hardest things they have had to experience with a job. When did loyalty and experience become a liability?

It’s the new trend.

The day we were told our department was closing at Nikon, I went to speak with the District Sales Manager and asked if he were me, who would he work for? He said Samy's Camera.

I have been with Samy's now for a while, I enjoy the job, I really love the company more because it is a family-owned business. After working for a corporate giant, you quickly learn you are a number and not important.

When my grandparents worked, they stayed with the companies until they retired. Spending 40 years with one company was the norm. Now there is a larger turn-around, tech that changes overnight, programs that modify how you perform everyday tasks.

I truly feel my experiences working in the news industry taught me how to think and react on my feet. Yes, some of my life events were stressful BUT... knowing that I was the only one that could deal with it or ignore it, you learn REAL quick the stress will always be there. It doesn’t go away If I ignore it, it will only get bigger.

Trust me I stress and worry. I just face it much quicker than I used to.

I don’t want to just “survive” anymore. I want to live. I want to see and experience aspects of life that will not only light the fire under my creative ass, but will motivate me to do something larger than myself. To have an impact in some way. It may be small but if my story, my blog, and my journey affect change on how someone lives then I have succeeded.