I am going to be a photojournalist who travels the world.
To rephrase this, I am going to do the only three things I am completely and wholly passionate about: travel, write and take photographs. That’s all I really want to do with my life, especially travel. I would hate more than anything else in the world to be stuck behind a desk in a newsroom for any amount of time, no matter how short. I am not the kind of person who functions well behind a desk unless I want to be there, and believe me, I won’t want to be there at all unless I’m either writing fiction or writing about travelling.
To me, my life is divided into two different times: times when I am travelling and exploring, and times when I’m writing about how much I want to travel and explore. I’m currently doing the latter, and while I’m perfectly fine with doing that occasionally, I would rather be climbing Mount Yamnuska in the Rocky Mountains while writing down everything I see in a handheld journal and snapping photographs on my Nikon D90 than sitting here writing about it on the other end of the country behind the screen of a computer.
The reason I decided to take this Trent-Loyalist JOPB (Journalism Online Print and Broadcast) course is because I knew that realistically it would be a lot easier for me to leave post-secondary school with both a diploma and a degree. If the world worked the way it does in my idealist mind, I wouldn’t have bothered going to post-secondary school at all; I would have just packed my backpack and camera and hopped on a plane and said, “See you never!” to all responsibilities as I jetted off to Thailand to live with any family loving enough to take me in for six months.
But since the world doesn’t work like that, I decided to take a course that I knew would look good on a resume that would allow me to get a job that pays me good money in order to do essentially the exact same thing.
So how am I going to get there? I’m a firm believer in “Don’t worry, it will just happen” because I know that’s exactly the case. It is going to happen to me one day not too long after I graduate, it is only a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’. But like every reasonable 20-year-old with half an idea of what she wants to do with her life, I decided to create a plan.
i’ve already begun building my portfolio. I started from a young age with photographing wildlife at my cottage in ways that told a story. Why is that deer looking at me and licking her lips? How come the sky is that particular shade of blue and what does that tell me about the seasonal storms in Southern Ontario? Then when I travelled to Alberta over the summer, I continued with this, taking photos from mountaintops and the side of canoes, in order to expand my portfolio. I did the same thing last year in Costa Rica, and I’ll be doing the same thing in 2016 in South Asia.
I also, as I already mentioned, decided to take my journalism course. That was probably the most difficult thing for me to do considering I hate reporting and sitting behind a desk. But I also learned a lot of helpful skills that will assist me in my next step (which I will talk about soon). For example, I learned how to operate a television camera, and I found I really enjoyed it. This prompted me to ask around until I found a young man working outside of Scarborough as a cinematographer that travels the globe making environmental and anthropological documentaries with different film crews. Now that’s a job I would adore more than anything.
So I did what anyone would do in my situation: I asked if I could intern with him next year.
Following my internship, I’ve planned to go road tripping across North America with my brother the year we graduate, where I will further practise my photojournalism skills on the road. After that, I’m going to be working with an organization called Au Pair to work as a nanny in as many different countries as I can for a year or two before trying to get a job working with social media and promotion for a company called Edventure International – the company I went to Costa Rica with and will be going to Asia with. I already have ties to the company’s CEO, and have used her as a reference for many jobs, so I’m feeling fairly confident about landing a job there when I’m in my mid-twenties.
Once I have all this experience under my belt with travel and photography and social media, as well as a degree and diploma in journalism and media studies, I think I’ll be able to land my dream job at National Geographic in a decade or so. And even if I’m not able to do this, it sounds like a hell of a path even just trying to me, and i’m really excited to get started on it.