“But the best choice isn’t always the one you want the most. It’s just the most feasible.” With the founder and CEO of @cultureofcreatives – @a_travelers_world
My name is Jamie Mackrill. I’m a 26 year old travel photographer, an aspiring professional freelance photographer from the Island state of Tasmania, Australia. I grew up in the outskirts of a relatively small city and one of the oldest in Australia— Launceston.
I did my first proper road trip when I was 19. I crossed the ocean separating Tasmania from Victoria on a boat bound for Melbourne with my car onboard, a good mate and whatever I deemed necessary to pack inside it. The following two months I spent driving up the east coast of Australia to the northern reaches of far north Queensland to a town called Cook town. At that stage in my life that was the best two months I’d lived.
I discovered my passion for travel however a year later. I left the country for the first time and went and stayed with a family in the north of Sweden. I lived in a town with no airport and which I couldn’t even pronounce properly before I got there. Immersing myself in the culture and learning more about everything around me, I fell in love. Everything about my experience made me feel alive. My passion for traveling was then born.
A year and a half after my return to normal working life in Australia, I set off for Europe again and landed in London full of excitement and optimism. My goal was to lose myself once again and by doing so I hoped to find myself. The only thing I knew was that I needed to do this. And that this was something I was passionate about. I was relieved in the sense that finally I had found something that was both fulfilling and that I was passionate about.
Soon enough out of that passion was born another… I visited 7 countries in South Eastern Africa on a 6 week safari. Here was a Tasmanian man camping out in the middle of nowhere in Tanzania. Instead of kangaroos hopping around I had elephants and giraffes. I had a small Sony camera. And I decided to really use it to capture all these fantastic memories that I was living. I got back to London and realised that there was a few of those pictures I really liked. So I edited them on an app and uploaded them to Instagram.
For the first time in my life I found out that I could create something special. That I was a creative person and had that personality and passion. I found out that I loved photography and that my work could actually inspire people to get out there and enjoy what the world has to offer. And I was hooked… I wanted to be a photographer.
Africa was also life changing for me in another way. I saw what the world used to be without us. And that was a fundamental moment in my life. Only in places like this can animals live and nature thrive the same way it has for millions of years.
The more you immerse yourself, the more you wonder how it all works— the more you understand yourself. You are a part of it all, you feel like you belong somewhere. Your senses go wild with the sounds and the smells, the sights and the touch of everything you encounter. You feel alive. You feel oneness. You feel whole.
Seeing how people live and hearing their stories in a country like Malawi, almost the poorest in the world affects you. Seeing all the different cultures in Europe, getting glimpses of life in Asia. It all stimulates your mind into thought. Over the years you ask ten thousand questions, you muse over them, you research and you find you get a million different answers. As you discover and learn, you grow as a person. This feeling is both fulfilling and addictive. This is a huge reason why I travel.
Having to pick somewhere to move to is both exciting and hard. I’m currently moving to Germany, so I should say Germany is the country I’d move to if I had to pick one. But the best choice isn’t always the one you want the most. It’s just the most feasible. If I had it my way, as a photographer I’d move to Iceland or Zimbabwe, Hawaii or Spain. I’d also love to spend a year working online as I made my way slowly through South East Asia.
One of my most unforgettable moments? I found myself at the top of one of the largest waterfalls on this planet (Victoria Falls) at 4am, in the water, 5 metres from the edge, completely naked with my arse wedged in between two rocks with what felt like spa jets smashing water into my back from close range Aka the entire force of the river crashing into me. I was reassured that the water was too fast for crocodiles to swim after that thought crossed my mind.
So I sat there for 20 minutes with a sound so powerful it drowned out the rest of the world. I sat under the clearest night sky that you could possibly imagine and stared at the billion stars in disbelief. The water became soothing on my back and as it gushed around my body.
The sensation was surreal. That 20 minutes will last a lifetime. Those experiences will forever bring a smile to my face. This is why I travel.
My main goal as a travel photographer actually coincides with some of my main goals in life which makes decision making and risk taking a lot easier. I want to actually make it as one firstly. I want to start making money and eventually make enough to be able to sustain myself and hopefully one day a family.
I want to pursue what I’m passionate about. I want to spend 50 hours a week actually doing something that makes a positive difference in the world and that I actually care about instead of doing some of the ridiculously mundane, mind numbing jobs I’ve had in the past and watch time and life fly by… day by day, month by month, year by year for the next 41 working years of my working life… (Maybe 45 if the retirement age keeps going up!)
If I can inspire people along the way, provide for my a family I one day hope to have, I will be completed.
What inspires me along the way? That’s hard to put into words. There are people and photographers I follow online.. but they are a small part of what actually inspires me to go out and take the photos and to travel and to try and improve myself and grow as a person along the way. I think the simplest way of putting it is that hope inspires me. Curiosity inspires me. The natural world inspires me. Meeting different people from different cultures inspires me. Seeing a beautiful sunrise inspires me to get out my camera and take a photo. And sometimes it’s what gets me out of bed at 4am to start off a road trip. I get inspired by the same things that are accessible to everyone out there. You just have to open your eyes and start appreciating the little things in life.
I suppose defining home is different for someone like me who had a two and a half year period in my life where I was technically voluntarily homeless. I slept in an old Ford Transit van with a mate, behind a supermarket in London for over two years with no running water, no power, no heating and nothing but a couple of gas cookers to cook on.
My “home” was on wheels. My “home” took me all around the U.K and eventually down into Portugal. My “home” actually saved me a lot of money, without it Iceland and that faitful African adventure would never have been possible. I would be a completely different person. It’s a scary thought.
I believe home is simply somewhere safe, secure and somewhere you can sleep with a roof over your head. You meet people that live with their entire families in a tiny little huts or run down 1 bedroom apartment units. They call that home.
Advice to a younger me? Don’t give up, keep trying new things, keep searching for meaning, keep searching for answers, keep learning new things.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
Jamie and I have been friends on Instagram for God knows I couldn’t remember. I was watching IG stories and bumped into his. He was in the Philippines and instantly told him if we could meet up in Makati- Poblacion. It was weekend. I make time for people I want to be with even if I was with my family.
At that time, I was really in a dark place. I couldn’t find myself. I was sad. I was depressed. Even coffee didn’t help. But in that hopelessness, I found Jamie. I felt connected. I felt alive once again. He brought fire to me and I’m willing to breathe fire again. I found hope. For all I know, he’s an angel in disguise who made me realise to continue with what makes me happy— to continue travelling..
Meeting strangers has been one of the things I’ve been doing for quite sometime. And it’s these moments that I don’t feel alone in a world of what society tells me to do. I find comfort in meeting strangers. And they have been filling that void, that space of me being an only child. I feel incomplete but with them I feel whole. And with Jamie, I felt that.
We bid our goodbyes. It was ephemeral. There’s just some people you wish you’ve met earlier in life. Some, later. And some, never. But they’re all there to teach you something. They meet you in their or your own timeline of things making you realise that people just come and go. Every second counts when you have fleeting moments with someone who you thought could last for a bit. And I needed that. And with Jamie, it was fragments of his words and the moments that could last.
Thank you, Jamie for the time you spent with me. Your ocean eyes opened me to a whole new world.
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