An Uncertain PathA journey of paddling discovery
Post One – May 18, 2008
Post Two – June 15, 2008
Have you ever wanted something so badly that you could never let it go? Thought so hard about it that you feel like you belong in a mental institution? Have you felt it pull on your most concrete principles?
It is my curse and my liberating truth, my burden and my blessing, my never-ending battle of rationality, practicality and convention versus desire. It is my dream. I know It is something that will never leave me so now I will succumb to its pull.
For almost as long as I can remember I have been troubled with finding the balance between what I think I should do and what I want to do. I grew up in a stable and loving family. My dad worked and my mom was always around to take my siblings and me to soccer practice and sleepovers. We spent the weekends on our boat and as far as I know, we never really faced any hardships. Growing up was great.
Because of this, I became accustomed to a secure life with a steady path. As long as I did these certain things, I could almost assure myself a comfortable existence. I took advanced placement classes and was jointly enrolled with a community college during high school to earn college credit and get ahead. I won language awards, took the SAT’s a dozen times. I was the captain of the varsity soccer team, Mr. Senior, National Merit Scholar and the list goes on. In college I was even a Founding Father and Vice President of a fraternity. I was on the road to stability……and boredom.
The point of all of this is not to show off, but to show how quickly I was going in one direction, but at the same time, secretly yearning for something else, something greater, something I could not quantify or make noted necessary steps to achieve.
I was craving to get out and share my view of the world through photos. I just wasn’t sure if I had the guts to defy my upbringing and wander out into a world of unknown challenges.
One thing is certain,it is the unexpected elements in life that I treasure the most. The chance meeting with a stranger who changes your life, the magical sunset after a gray sky day, the power of pointing and going. In a world of certainties, it is the unexpected that many of us fear, but, for now I am going to put aside the safety of a planned and timid life. I am going to embrace the unknown, unscheduled and challenging.
If there is one thing that I have learned since I started paddling a few years ago, it is that you cannot work against a current for very long. You will get tired – the river will win. You have to go with the current and eddy out occasionally – adapt to the flow instead of fighting it.
For quite some time I had been fighting my dream of becoming an adventure photographer, but I have decided to embrace the challenges and dreams of a vagabond picture taker. I am free to follow the winding path of an uncertain career.
Step one was to spend all of my savings on a used sportsmobile converted van to shelter and carry and my gear as I follow the flows and document whitewater kayaking and the people who truly live the life of a paddler – the water rat – a wet version of the ski bumb.
My goal is to follow the lure of the road, and water, for an undetermined amount of time to capture the essence of what it is to be a paddler. I will find out what it is to prescribe to a life of flows. From epic feats of strength and skill to the mellow enjoyment of being on the water. I am out to document a way of life.
I took the first small step in my journey of discovery with a first step last week. I made the short trip from home to Reno for the Reno River Festival where I met and photographed some of the best whitewater paddlers in the world.
My next step, and the actual trip, starts tomorrow with a 16-hour drive to Colorado to meet up with some paddlers hanging out in Buena Vista. After that…… I’m really not sure, but it will include water and an uncertain path.
Check the Canoe & Kayak web site every few weeks as I post updates and images while continuing on my journey of ‘following the current.’
Trevor was born in 1983 in Curitiba, Brazil. He started backpacking, canoeing, kayaking and taking pictures in college. After guiding sea kayaking trips in Alaska, he moved to South Lake Tahoe, worked as an photo assistant, and got a serious traveling itch. As of May 20 he will be on the road scratching that itch and following an uncertain path of adventure.