Full time Travel Photography and Life on the Road
What can I say, the past few years as a full-time travel photographer have been really interesting and full of unique challenges. Since I started along this path in 2009, I’ve managed to travel to more than 40 countries, take over 450 flights, and fly over 1 million miles. In March 2012, I took things one step further as my wife and I sold nearly all of our possessions, relinquished our permanent address and adopted a 100% location independent lifestyle. Looking back now — dozens of countries and hundreds of thousands of miles later — I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions of my life.
Before you read more, it’s important to me that you know that we’re not rich and we’re not poor. We don’t have some grand inheritance or a nest egg of perpetual funds in the bank. Instead, our full time travel lifestyle is funded 100% by our activities and business on the road. Specifically, this is done by myself as an accomplished travel photographer and educator, and by my wife as a graphic and web designer. While at times it can be very challenging to maintain, we’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some great companies and extraordinary people along the way.
How I Became a Location Independent Travel Photographer
Elia Locardi on becoming A TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER
Photography is a recent path for me. From 1999 – 2009, I had a long career in Post Production and Motion Design but after 10 years, I reached a breaking point. Tight deadlines, constant revisions, late nights, and 80 hour work weeks had left me completely burnt out. Pursuing larger paychecks and bigger promotions had earned me a bunch of financed things and a mountain of debt. Life had somehow become all about making enough money to cover the bills each month. It seemed like the more money we made, the more we needed, and the further in debt we became. Finally, financially stretched to the max, my wife and I felt completely trapped. For a few rough years, we felt like all hope was lost.
In the peak of the housing crisis, over loaded, upside down in debt, and too many months behind, we finally gave up. We sold our house and left our old life behind, deciding to pursue a more simple existence instead. I swore that I’d never work on a computer again and we moved to a small beach community in Central Florida.
The next years was all about keeping things simple and feeding the soul. Nearly every morning, groggy and determined, I would paddle out into the ocean on my surfboard, catch a few waves and feel totally connected to the Earth, and for the first time in my life, at peace. We didn’t make much money, we didn’t spend much, and we didn’t need much. It was a truly amazing experience but after some time, something unexpected happened. I felt an overwhelming desire to somehow get back into art and production. I began to have a profound and unstoppable desire to create something – anything. I had to start moving forward again. It was time to try something new.
It was our first trip to Italy that changed everything. For the first time in my life, I was able to meet my Italian family and they embraced us with open arms. With our old work schedules, my wife and I never had any time for travel and believe it or not, we had let 8 long years go by without even taking a single vacation. Now, there seemed to be a whole new world of possibilities. On that first trip, we made a pact that from then on, we’d do everything we could to change our lives and make travelling our top priority.
On that same trip, when I decided pick up a camera again, a plan slowly began to form and my path was forever changed. It was like being struck by lightning. I felt totally energized and completely motivated. I didn’t know it yet but Blame The Monkey and my life as a full time travel photographer was already born.
After Italy, we started making traveling and photography our top priority and by the end of 2010, BlameTheMonkey.com was online. Then, in 2011, with a determined blend of insomnia and jet lag, I flew 220,000 miles to build a portfolio and feed my passion for Travel and Destination Photography. No matter how long we stayed away, we still had a little place to come back to in Melbourne Beach. The more we traveled however, the less returning home made sense and our lifestyle had once again become a financial burden. Throughout the year we started to plan our escape into a fully location independent way of life.
As of March 2012, after relinquishing nearly all of our possessions and condensing our lives into a few small suitcases, there will be no more round trips, no more going home, and no more looking back. The world is our new home and we fully embrace it with boundless joy and a childlike passion for life. – Unless of course, our luggage gets lost… that sucks!