I began my interest in photography many years ago and when I decided to make it a business I did not realize I would be pioneering a new path in this industry. I studied many photographers work and learned about how they conduct their businesses but because I live a non conventional lifestyle I have had challenges finding a system that works for my business.
Here is a quick backstory on my lifestyle to explain what I am talking about. I am married to a wonderful man who is from Belgium (second marriage) who is working there to secure a pension for our future. I on the other hand have children and grandchildren in the United States and found I needed to be close to them in order to be involved in their lives, so consequently I live six months in Belgium six months in Colorado. At the time it seemed to be the perfect solution but this has played havoc on my business model.
So I have conceded that I am a pioneer in this new world of photography. I have to find a way to build and sustain a business that resides in two countries, with two languages, two currencies, with two unique cultures, and does not provide me a set location.
I become very frustrated with this situation when ever I come across a new project or business idea that I would like to introduce in my business. It seems to work great for other photographers but when I run it through my situation it usually falls apart.
I know there are others that live a similar lifestyles of living in another countries away from their homeland, but most have settled in and make it their home. Not me, every 6 months I must move. I move my camera equipment, computers, clothes, and personal items all which need to fit in two suitcases and two small carry on bags.
I also have to adjust to the cultural difference, such as living the much slower paced life of Belgium compared ever popping lifestyle in the United States and adjust to not having the smorgasbord of products and activities only a click or short drive away.
By no means am I complaining and feel very fortunate to live such an exciting life. But like the early pioneers that founded this country and made it possible for all of us I hope I may be paving the trail for others who may find themselves in my situation of trying to create a business with no particular location.
I do believe this situation has offered me many opportunities I would have otherwise not found. For instance the deep connection and inspiration to photograph the draft horse along with being able to document and write about all the ways they are used in rural areas. I am now writing articles and submitting images to a variety of publications. I am also creating photo tours to offer other photographers a chance to see and experience the beautiful and interesting places I have found in my travels.
So often when I tell people about my life, they get excited and believe I must be living a dream by living abroad. Many times it can feel like this, but when you are trying to run a business it more often feels like you are riding in the old homesteaders wagon headed toward a mountain and have no idea how you are going to get to the other side. But in the end I usually find a creative solution to all my business and personal challenges.
If you are living a unconventional lifestyle and feel you may also be a pioneer I would love to hear about your challenges and stories of how you are finding creative ways to live your life. It always helps to know we are not alone in our journey.