“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
A few weeks ago I posted an article about courage and how I was considering a big change in my life. Well, not just my life – I am a married father of two children after all – but in the lives of all four of us.
After a few months of deep discussion, Di and I have decided to untether ourselves from London and we will be travelling for at least the next year.
We have made this big choice for many, many reasons.
Partly to help us develop some new workshops in places we love – Kerala, Mexico, Hong Kong and to get Di’s help on the ground is super helpful.
Partly because we both have big creative projects we are working on – I have a couple of photo books to finish and she is writing a book. A really awesome book I must say.
And we want to show our kids the world. That’s always a good education right? My son is 12 in a few weeks, and it seems that maybe the window is closing of how much longer he’ll want to hang out with us and even consider such a long trip away from his friends and the rest of our family.
But mostly I want to do this because it’s about living with the idea of possibility.
What could happen if we put ourselves in new places, exploring new ideas, doing new things and meeting new people?
“I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.” – Whoopi Goldberg
Possibility isn’t something I think we are encouraged to believe in as we become adults in our life. Security, good jobs, stable incomes – these are all promoted. And nothing is really wrong with that – I love a stable income as much as the next guy.
But I do think we need to ask: does this near-constant search for security limit what we might do with our lives?
“Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.” Elizabeth Gilbert
Do traditional ideas of security stop us from making our lives the most useful, most interesting and most inspiring they could be? Not just for ourselves but for those around us?
This isn’t me arguing for self-indulgent lifestyles – it’s not like when a character in a wickedly funny English TV show said, ‘Why can’t I have everything I want, all the time? Isn’t that democracy?’
No – this is about bringing the gifts that we are born with and bringing them into the world, for the good of ourselves and for each other. Is our love for security stopping that?
“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s taken me more years that I care to remember to figure out what I can offer this world (my treasures :)). At first I thought it was just taking photos – but now I see that it’s so much more than that.
The other day I got a comment on a recent article I wrote for Digital Photography School, which blew me away.
“I am seventy three years old and have been a professional photographer for over forty six years. The feeling of “been there done that” has begun to take over my outlook on photography and I have stopped growing and getting excited about taking pictures.
This is the way I felt before reading your article on starting and finishing a photography project. I am now brainstorming subjects that I can get into and enjoy.”
AMAZING, right? I felt so good after this comment. It has reminded me that my work of teaching photography is just as powerful as the photos I take.
If I can encourage people to create for themselves, that is an amazing gift I can give. It was a pretty startling revelation to me.
I also got an incredible email a few months ago from a man who purchased one of my prints online. I had taken a photo of a place he had lived as a child during a very challenging period within his family.
He had made a commitment as a child living in that building, that he was not only going to survive what he endured but also to thrive and be successful.
He had bought the photo to remind him of how far he had come and how much he had grown. I felt so moved by that, especially as some of his family life echoed my own.
I also knew that it wasn’t just that I had taken a photo of a building that he could have probably found else where (much cheaper!)
I had created a photo that had strong feeling imbued in it, that was impactful and evocative, that expressed my feeling about that part of London, being out at dawn, all of my life experiences too.
I have spent my life working on my craft, developing my skills as a photographer, so that I can create images that move people and evoke ideas, thoughts and emotion.
I want my images to mean things to the people who see them.
So – I want to do more and more and more of all of this. I want to help/inspire/motivate/move people in any way I can as a teacher and as a photographer.
I want to bring new teachings, new ideas and new photos to the world. And that’s what I want this period of travelling to do for me. In particularly because:
I haven’t always believed in possibility.
Truth be told I lent way towards pessimism for many years of my life. I always felt that ‘luck’ and ‘connections’ were what you needed. And I didn’t have that.
But then I learnt I could create my own luck by opening up to the world of possibility. If other people could create beautiful things in this world and have them seen and shared, so could I.
It’s not easy taking that level of responsibility for one’s life. I struggled at first thinking – I need someone to help me, I need a gallery or a rep or ‘someone proper’ to notice me.
Then Di told me that we can’t wait around to be ‘picked.’ We have to choose ourselves, and whatever that means for us, go out there and do the work anyway.
Share your ideas. Share your work. Create, and things will happen.
What I would love my trip to help you with is to help you open up your ideas about what’s possible for you.
I will obviously be sharing my photos of the places I am going – but I have also planned a lot of simple and powerful teachings that will help you dive deeper in your subject, creating more interesting and compelling images.
I want to show you that every single one of us has a creative gift to offer the world. Just the sheer process of creating something is a beautiful, inspiring gift to ourselves and those around us.
“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” Elizabeth Gilbert
One of the things that I love about this community is the connections that I have built up with so many of you. Whether we are involved in an email chat or you come on one of my workshops, we meet over Skype or on one of my online sessions.
I cannot thank you all enough for being part of this community – the emails I get, the comments you leave, the fact you open my emails at all 🙂 really validates that my purpose here and my work are creating an impact.
I also want to teach my kids about this concept of possibility. If you know that anything is possible, you can accept new ideas, news ways of thinking and you can bring out the very best of what you have to offer the world.
Who knows what amazing innovations and creations the next generation could offer up this beautiful world.
We ‘set sail’ at the beginning of August. We can’t back out now! Our beautiful little house will be taken over by another family who will hopefully love it as much as we have. We are saying goodbye to friends and family, getting our vaccinations, decluttering and putting everything in storage – where did all this stuff come from?
It’s exciting and more than a little scary – a combination that is really quite exhilarating. Stepping into the unknown.
I hope you’ll join me as I send teachings, ideas and photos from all over the world. Thank you again for being part of this small and so very awesome community.
Now an extra little note – this article was written in the most part by Di – I created all of the skeleton ideas – but she has made it the readable and interesting post that it is. Plus, she seems to be telepathic, knowing my thoughts and ideas sometimes before I say them out loud. Perhaps that is just the nature of being together for 18 years. Although it does seem to be a one-way telepathy 🙂
Have an awesome day, happy photographing – and let me know what you think in the comments below, really appreciate it!
All the best
Anthony and Diana
All the photos in this post are from my Cuba project. Hope you enjoy them.