Let me know what you think. I love these shots I took back in August.
I am a 21 year old photographer, sailor, rescue diver, and entrepreneur. Unfortunately, when I was 16 I faced a life changing head injury, giving me a massive concussion and a fractured neck. Over the next few months I hit my head 4 more times, amplifying my injury severely. I developed post concussion syndrome, and my life came to a grinding halt.
Everyday I was facing massive headaches, irritability, depression, fatigue, and severe nerve pain. I had a team of doctors from some of the best medical institutions in the world working on my recovery. One of my doctors told me he was going to through medication at the wall hoping something stuck. I tried 20+ very strong medications to treat my pain and symptoms. None of these medications did anything for me but provide temporary relief. In fact, the side effects of the medicine where so strong that I decided to stop using them all together. They brought, anxiety, confusion, loss of words, panic attacks, depression, fatigue, and many other issues.
After failing to recover with western medicine, I was forced to look for alternative treatments. I started seeing a chiropractor, a neuromuscular therapist, a doctor of osteopathy, an acupuncturist, a hypnotherapist, a massage therapist, and a physical therapist. Some of these treatments were better than others. Seeing all these doctors and specialists taught me so much about concussions and post concussion syndrome. What was absolutely crucial in my recovery was believing that I could get better. I've been through a crazy journey over the past few years, and I really want to share how I got better.
In the aftermath, I had a transformational life experience. I took all that I had learned about life and set out to adventure. I took a gap year before attending university in California. I backpacked throughout Europe by myself, sailed more than 1500 miles in the Caribbean, attained my rescue diver license, and received many sailing certifications. Since my injury, I have traveled more than 87,000 miles on 3 different continents, passionately documenting all my experiences.
During my injury, I was taken away from everything in my life that I loved. I promised myself that I would find a way out of the crippling pain, and back into the sport I loved the most. Post injury I've coached competitive sailing to everyone from beginners to varsity sailors. I hold my level one, two, and three U.S. Sailing coaching certifications. I am certified in first aid and CPR by the American Red Cross. I hold my IYT navigation masters, vhf operator license, and sailing certification. I've sailed since I was 11 years old. It's a passion of mine that I will absolutely carry with me for the rest of my life. It has taken me all around the world, bringing me to some of the coolest places on earth. This is my story, check it out.
When I was 18 I decided to defer from college in California and spend the year traveling. The main reason I did this was because I wanted to explore the world, however, the reason my parents let me was because of my year of chronic pain and post concussion syndrome. They felt awful for what I went through and saw an amazing opportunity to gain back the time I had lost from my injury. I deferred and set out on a journey of a lifetime.
I booked an open ended trip to Paris by myself with a few loose plans. Keep this in perspective though, I'm from a small town in southern Maine, and until this point I had never traveled internationally by myself. I didn't speak a word of French, other than bon Jour, and I never once navigated a subway, let alone in a foreign language. I hopped on the Icelandic Air flight and upon refueling in Iceland it all hit me. What the hell did I get myself into. How am I going to survive in Europe by myself? A few deep breaths later I took a step back and collected my thoughts. I knew somehow I could find my way to my hostel. Finally, I arrived in Paris, Freaking out of course. Now it was real, now I had to figure it all out. I looked to the first young person on the plane. I tapped him on the shoulder and nervously asked if he spoke english. He ended up taking me the whole way to my hostels stop on the metro. It's amazing what you can accomplish if you just ask for help. I am forever thankful for Remi, the amazingly helpful Frenchman that started my journey off right.
Now It was my time to explore, adventure, and well, get a little drunk off some nice french wine. After all I was in Pairs.
My advise to you- Don't spend your time in Paris packed with touristic ambitions. Instead do what any good traveler would do, get a little tipsy, and walk, just walk. You'll be truly in awe of everything you see. The beauty of Paris is that art is everywhere. the Metro in Paris is amazing. After 4 hours of exploring or so, look for the nearest metro stop and go back to your hostel or hotel. You can see amazing things while fully enjoying your time. This was the advise given to me by one of the Young and Happy Hostel employees.
If your looking for an amazing place to stay in Paris that is incredibly cheap. Check it out! They are so friendly, you will meet a lot of amazing people, and the place is so much fun!