I sat on a concrete bench, on a cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and my local beach. My friends were in the water surfing, and I, was stewing with anger. I was sidelined from surfing do to a recent laser surgery on one of the terbinates in my nose from inflammation; likely do to polluted ocean water of my local Southern California beach.

Surfing was my life. I went to bed thinking about it, woke up well before dawn excited about it before school. It was my daily vice, my dream, my therapy, although sitting on that bench as a 17 year old, therapy wasn’t even a word in my psyche. But stewing, watching my friends catch waves while I sat in misery, the sunset began and I felt almost relief as I knew my friends would soon exit the water and the stab of catching waves without me put a temporary band aid on the wound until the morning.

But as the sun set, the clouds lit to an array I am uncertain an artist could replicate with paint and canvas. The purple, pinks, and reds of color burned an etch in my memory much like the smoke from a cigarette damaging the lungs. Even if you decide to quit, the residue of the tar and tobacco remain much like this sunset did for my life.

I knew I wanted to surf, I knew I wanted to travel, and as a few months down the road having graduated high school and about to go to college, I picked up a camera to ensure no more sunsets were to go undocumented.

I set out with a deep goal of becoming a photographer. With loved ones cautioning me at my choice of a profession with a success rate of a professional athlete but with the income percentage of less than one percent of theirs, I delve into it whole heartedly. Fast forward 16 years, my camera is still in hand, the same laptop and Photoshop program purchased as a freshman in college still in my lap as I write this piece, and with certainly less than one percent of an income in my bank account to prove to my loved ones that I need not their advice, am still here plugging away at my dream at the ripe young age of 33.

I have had some success in comparison to other creative’s in that I decided to expand my horizons beyond the one craft. Although my dive into videography remains to be seen, I have dabbled in writing and am starting to fall in love with it. I am seeing a pattern within the realms of social media where anyone can take an incredible photograph from the accessibility and simplicity of our smart phones. Even photographers have gotten images published in magazines and even cover shots from the imagery of their Iphone. But with the visual world seeming to shrink, despite being nowhere close to shutting the door completely, the written word has yet to show any signs of disappearing. And with that, editorially I have failed to get images published do to the lack of wordage to accompany the visuals. Thus I slowly have drifted my path from photographer to writer, although still taking photographs.

Through this, I have been fortunate to share journalistic endeavors with the likes of fly fishing magazines like FlyLords. Even have had the chance to write featured articles from the long time magazine my dad subscribed to and the one I looked at every other month, day dreaming of contributing to as a teenager like Northwest and Southwest Fly Fishing, now American Fly Fishing, which I am still a contributor to today.

Expanding that passion and love into the surfing world where I have finally written for the daily muse of Surfline  and Magicseaweed where I not only get my surf report from, but get to see my stories and photos shared with millions of surfers the globe over. Shared photos and stories across oceans in Australia with magazines like WhiteHorses, or a piece in a local magazine in Holland and Uruguay.

Luckily I have used my time as an angler, surfer, and hiker/backpacker to finally break into a company I have dreamt of working for when I picked up a camera, Lonely Planet. I was on top of the world when nearly monthly for a year leading up to COVID, I got to write listicles about my favorite, surfing, fishing, and backpacking topics to share with the largest travel organization on the planet.

The list could go on and on, ranting and raving about my success in the published world, even though, I still have a day job. Although day job is a tall statement, in that I work seasonally in Yellowstone National Park. Largely because I truly love the place, but also because I work 6 months on, 6 months off, granting me free time to pursue my continued dream of writing and photographing full time. But even with my successes, the doors continue to shut with denied photo printage or story ideas not being suitable.

With my ADHD in full effect, my sensitive daydreamer mentality kept churning up ideas despite its success rate of even seeing the late of the public day. But it finally dawned on me that simply because a company or website or magazine didn’t want to publish something, never meant it couldn’t see the light of day. I have a website. I have the tools, and I have the drive. I am throwing all I have that doesn’t want external approval onto my website, and weekly, I want to show the imagery that gets turned down. I want to write the stories that editors don’t want. I want to own my destiny and not be chained by the approval of someone else.

Thus, here is my ode to my Why. Why I want this life, why I am pursuing this goal, and why I am tired of waiting for emails to return from my ideas. I want to be in control of these topics, this dream, and this life. So here it is. Here are my reasons, here are the photographs and here are the stories. As the editor signing out until next week. Enjoy.