June 2017, I was on my way to Thailand! I had no idea what the next month would look like. But I also didn’t have a clue what the next year had in store for me. I had no income, no job prospects, and my savings was running out. This was the last hurrah before I had to buckle down and figure shit out. I was a coder. I quit my career in corporate finance to code and I was going to either succeed with my own start-up or I was gonna get a job building someone else’s dream. Before I left for Thailand, I showed up to the USA Climbing National Championships in Denver with my camera. It turns out, they needed a photographer that day and I quickly said yes (for free). Side note: In 2010, I started showing up to mountain bike races with my camera, and USA Cycling asked me to be their photographer for the 2010 XC National Championships. It was eerily similar. That landed me a job at the Climbing Wall Association Expo and a bigger (paid) shoot for the hosting gym and my home gym, Movement Climbing and Fitness.
In Thailand, new friends I met would introduce me as a “famous photographer” because I had a big lens. And although I would get embarrassed, I liked being called a “photographer”. I would walk around the streets of Chiang Mai with my camera and people would just pose for me. I felt like I was on assignment for National Geographic. Other travelers would tell me I should be making money with this. It should be my job.
So when I got back to Denver, I had the paid shoot for Movement and the following weekend I had a media pass in Vail at the GoProGames, shooting (unpaid) for Climb Connect. I was in the media pit with other photographers and I was starting to feel a little more like one of them. Back in Denver, people liked my work and were responding to my story about leaving Corporate America. I was getting hired. So here I am today, two years later. Shooting NBA players, fitness instructors, Samsung products, Tinder headshots, pregnant women, weddings, and everything in between. And I’m having a blast. Learning, growing, and somehow making it work. A nice little lesson about showing up, going with the flow, and trusting that somehow, you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.