Quit Your Job, Buy a Camera, Travel the World

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Inspired by a TED Talk by design icon Stefan Sagemeister, a couple from Seattle took four months off to travel around the world. This stunning video was the result. Below, you can watch Sagemeister’s talk and read an interview with filmmaker Matt Daniels about his epic journey.

If you find yourself quitting your day job, don't blame me. 

The Atlantic: Tell us about your journey — where did you go?

Matt Daniels: My wife, Joy Andrews, and I saved up for a little over a year. We sublet our Seattle apartment, and spent four months on the road. We travelled through Costa Rica, England, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Italy, France, and New Zealand.

What inspired you to take this trip?

Sagemeister's TED talk reminded me that you don't have to do things the traditional way. I'm not a fan of the idea of working for 40 years, and then maybe getting out to see the world in your 'retirement years'. Sagemeister plans to take a year off every seven. He shuts down the office, moves somewhere and makes something personal. My goal is to travel whenever possible and have a job that's mobile and fun enough that retirement is never really an option.

What equipment did you use to shoot the video? What was the process like? 

I brought a Canon 5D, a lightweight tripod, an intervalometer and three prime lenses. There wasn't much of a process to it. We'd just travel and shoot stills, video, or time-lapse when we came across something that was visually inspiring. If the gear is light enough, you'll have it when you need it. If you don't have a schedule, you'll have time to make it all happen.

The Canon 5D Mark II has in some ways become the emblem of a new generation of image making. How did picking up a 5D change your creative process?

I'd been shooting stills and time-lapse on Nikon DSLRs for years. With the 5D you can shoot video too. At first, it's a little confusing trying to decide if you'd rather be documenting with stills or video. It's easier when you know who your audience is. Is it Flickr or Vimeo?

What’s next on the horizon for you and your production company?

We're currently producing TV commercials, a music video, contemporary performance videos, live-action cut scenes for a video game, an indie feature … and thinking seriously about the next trip.

Watch: TED Talk: Stefan Sagemeister: The Power of Time Off

For more videos by Matt Daniels, see thinklab.com

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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