One of the longest struggles in my life has been fitting in. I never liked "clubbing" or had any particular interest in watching sport. Despite being a performing drummer in bands for many years, I never felt an affinity for that scene. I've tried numerous endeavours and activities resulting in abandoning them after realising they actually weren't for me, or I simply grew apart from them after some time.
Within the city I live, I am constantly presented with the kinds of lifestyles that I simply have no desire to embrace and never really did, though it wasn't until recently that I realised this with such clarity.
To emphasise a blunt example, drinking seems to be something us Brisbane city folk are good at. Of course I love a beer or three, but I much prefer to have a beer with a few friends in quiet places where the conversation is not only full of laughter but also full of meaning, creativity and making plans.
As I grew older, this desire for something other than the "norm" became the definition of what I had been feeling for so long. I just don't want to do those things. I need art and creativity. I need to seek adventure out in the open. I need to watch the sun rise on the side of a 5,000 foot mountain, or listen to the birds and the insects in a lush rainforest, write a novel (I'll finish that one day), or make a movie about something.
Living in my city, I was never able to find an abundance of that kind of lifestyle amongst the people I met, or be assured that pursuing that kind of lifestyle on my own was "valid". Perhaps that is a consequence of the problems I faced from years of school bullying and incredibly low self esteem I carried for a long time into my earlier adulthood. It hammered into me this crazy idea that doing things other than what most other people seemed to do with their time was wrong, at great cost to my own wellbeing.
These days I no longer identify as that very reserved person in the slightest, having forced my way through a strong current toward a high level of confidence, love for humour, open mindedness, spontaneity and endless curiousity. Despite having overcome that particular battle a while ago, I still felt restlessness around the disconnect between what I wished to do on a daily basis and what I seemed to be presented with as my options, at least socially.
I know that seeing the world outside my city through the eyes of photography is a valid pursuit of one's creativity, but it wasn't until I turned 30 that everything I had been working on, learning and succeeding at in small quantities started to fit into place towards something more whole as a creative career.
This may seem specific, but finding and finally embracing landscape photography through the lens of a narrative workshop-style creator has become the final step I needed to take to finally lift off the weight of that pressure I had put upon myself to fit in, and to just do what I want without my own self-inflicted brand of guilt.
I arrived at a philosophical change in recent weeks, realising that perhaps my relationship to the city I have lived in for my entire life does not need to be everything to me. It can simply be my base of operations for a life explored outside those bounds, in surrounding states, or surrounding countries and cultures.
Do I feel alone in this? Frankly, yes to some degree, but that doesn't mean I don't have people in my life that desire similar things (i.e. above). Sometimes it's a little difficult to gather the troops, so to speak, so I don't let that stop me from actually making things happen solo. Summer in my region still holds a weight over my shoulders, but I try to look forward to Autumn and Winter and ensure they are embraced fully.
The truth is I have never felt such power over my own happiness, fulfilment and ability to make the rest of my creative time on this pale blue dot worth living, whether that's through teaching and inspiring others about what I have learnt, seeing the beauty of the world with my own eyes or producing work that may hopefully live on past me.
I feel like that's overly ambitious, but let's give it a go.
You can find my new YouTube channel with many adventure and technical videos to watch here: https://www.youtube.com/c/NickBedford.