I just spent a couple of days in a remote Tibetan village on the eastern border of the Ganzi Tibet Autonomous Region of Sichuan Province. My travel is also my work so when I arrive in a new location I am always thinking of what to film, what to do a story on and trying to convince local people to feature in my videos.
I love this aspect of what I do, meeting locals who trust me to film their stories. I get a great joy realising that despite our cultural differences we are all pretty much the same.
On this recent trip I had a bit of a head cold, which lead to a touch of altitude sickness, something I didnt even know I had until I read up on it. High temperature, headache, fatigue, lack of appetite, I had all the symptoms.
So when I arrived in Jiaju, the most beautiful village in China (Nat Geo 2005), the last thing I wanted to do was traipsed around filming the sites. So I gave myself the luxury of a morning off where I read some of the ebooks I have been meaning to read for ages. Books by authors like Malcolm Gladwell on subjects like success and human behaviour. A year on the road and I thought to myself, why have I not taken more time to just chill, why have I made this trip such hard work?
In the afternoon I decided to take a hike and explore an ominous tower I saw silhouetted on the top of the mountain. I had no story idea but thought I would just film and photograph the experience.
The landscape was sublime and the weather ideal for hiking. I really enjoyed seeing the world with new eyes, photographing flowers, bugs and natural surrounds. My photos gave me a reason for my trek, something I felt has been missing of late in my current journey.
Although I enjoy meeting local people and seeing new locations, I feel the formula for travel videos is a little limiting. So it was refreshing to find a purpose again, even if that purpose meant that when I visited a Tibetan mountain top Shrine, instead of just taking in it’s atmosphere I had to scope out angles and set up scenes to film.
I read a blog post today, by another author I’ve been wanting to read up on. Robert Greene has written books on the subjects of power and seduction, the realities of human interaction. I really enjoyed his speech transcript and it made me think about my current path. There are things I want to explore that I haven’t been, because my focus has been solely on producing travel videos.
Even though I’m traveling the world and making enough money online to do so, I haven’t been feeling stimulated of late. I feel I need more of a challenge than constantly producing videos.
I got into filmmaking because I like storytelling and have a need to understand my world by explaining it. My most successful film was basically me recording my personal journey to find some spiritual meaning to my lapsed Catholic upbringing. I find the film very hard to watch. I feel maybe I was a little too earnest in trying to capture my feelings. But people have loved this rawness and honesty.
So I suppose I need to return to that honesty. Travel videos are not stimulating me anymore. There are deeper subjects I wish to explore. I studied Psychology and Social Anthropology and have a current desire to understand more about human nature. I want to study such diverse topics as hypnotism and the differences between the sexes. I may make videos about what I learn, I may not!
I still hope to travel and see the whole world, but maybe without the added strain of trying to produce videos at every location I visit. Maybe I will only pull the camera out when I’m genuinely passionate about something I find along the way.
I still love meeting locals so that definitely won’t change and I have a commitment to finish all the videos I have already filmed but not yet edited, particularly the fascinating North Korea footage.
I feel the need for a change, traveling and editing on the road is not an easy task and I don’t want it to consume all my time. I want to explore other passive income sources than just video.
There are things I’m keen to study and learn. So the journey will continue, but the topics of conversation will change. From food and culture and sites, to human behaviour and how the mind works.
From the outer to the inner, this global nomad is just a beginner!