August 2, 2011

It starts with a notion..

The idea to leave my corporate design job in Manhattan and travel around taking photos and enjoying the outdoors crept into my presleep thoughts sometime in the in early spring.  Like a virus, this notion spread from daydreams to late night conversations with a few close friends.  I missed the outdoors and a sense of exploration.  Leaving a comfortable life in search of something different seemed crazy, but the more I thought it the more I realized it was the right decision.

At first, it seemed like a distant dream, years off perhaps.  Much to my surprise, steps started falling into place.  I signed a book deal with !t Books (a department of Harper Collins) for the Burning House and shot a commissioned project with The Anthropologist. These projects gave me both the money to finance my trip and the purpose to stay productive while traveling.   Eager to put my money where my mouth is, I bought a VW Syncro and made preparations.  LL Bean agreed to outfit me with the necessary camping and fly fishing equipment and I was off running.

“You’re going to do what?  Have you thought this through?  What about your job?”

Next came a series of conversations with friends, family and my coworkers.  The responses were polarized, but by this point, my mind was made up.  If I didn’t take a leap like this now, I probably never would.

“I want to see how far down the hole the rabbit goes.”

In July, I  started condensing my things down. I gave bags of clothes to my cleaning lady to send back to her family in Trinidad and Tobago, sold odds and ends on eBay and gave away the rest to friends.  It was easier than I thought and more liberating than I could have imagined.

As the dust settled, I packed my possessions into a handful of dry bags and my GR1 and wrapped up my surfboard in preparation of  catching a a one wa,y flight back to Portland Oregon this Sunday.  From there, I will pick up my Syncro, hit the road and open a new chapter of my life.

Here are some more links,

All I Need Is (Picasa),

These Photos by Jon Levitt inspired me a lot.


  • August 2 , 2011

    Good luck. It’s going to be amazing. :)

  • August 2 , 2011

    This is awesome Foster! Good luck to you and I know you’ll enjoy every second of your journey – and never ever regret it.

  • August 2 , 2011

    Seriously, best story I have read online in like… 20 years. You are doing what 90% of us dream about while chained to our cubicle desks.

    We shall live vicariously through you.

  • August 2 , 2011

    Thank you all. I am really glad i have this opportunity. I am going to update the website a lot more and take more photos than i know what to do with.


  • August 2 , 2011

    Restless transplant? You are getting back to your roots and what you’re meant to do. You are now the Purposeful Traveler.

  • August 2 , 2011


  • August 2 , 2011

    This looks awesome. Can’t wait to see your photos from the road.

  • August 2 , 2011

    You got what it takes, Foster! Don’t skip Vermont on your trip. Fewer waves, but still.

  • August 2 , 2011

    amazing. I’m actually doing the same thing right now (leaving a “dream job” at a bike company to go ride my bike around the world rather than design and sell them). Good luck and enjoy the adventure (just keep the photos coming).

  • August 2 , 2011

    Kick ass and take names, home boy. We’re gonna miss you.

  • August 2 , 2011

    sounds like a great time. are you going to document it at all?

    I love vt. if i come to the east coast i will spend a good chunk of time in VT and maine.

    thanks for the kind words. im answering the call


  • Bryce McKenzie
    August 2 , 2011

    I have envisioned a leap like this for years but have been unable to let go of the notion of doing what is expected and what I am “supposed” to do.

    Seeing an individual like yourself embark on such a journey gives me hope that it might work for me someday.

    Enjoy the open road!

    Best of luck,


  • ty mooney
    August 2 , 2011

    Simply wonderful! The world would be a much better place if more people lived like this.

  • August 2 , 2011

    see how far the rabbit goes down the hole. leap of faiths is the best.

  • August 2 , 2011

    That’s what’s up Foss.

    I’ve been meeting and talking with friends around Portland and there seems to be a wave of us taking the leap, leaving the stifling comforts of corporate culture to follow our passions.

    Looking forward to the road ahead!

  • August 2 , 2011

    wow foster, good luck with everything and have fun.

  • Anita
    August 2 , 2011

    Sometimes these difficult decisions turn out to be the most liberating. Good luck to you, happy travels.

  • August 2 , 2011

    I hate to say it, but this decision wasn’t hard. it was one of the easiest i have made.

  • August 2 , 2011

    foster, this is excellent news, congrats! i’d wish you luck, but you don’t need it – i can’t wait to hear more about your travels.

  • August 2 , 2011

    thanks for the wishes man. your photos have been a big inspiration for me. I am excited to share my journeys.

  • Uncle D
    August 2 , 2011

    Congratulations dude – Can’t wait to see the syncro.


  • August 2 , 2011

    Wow, go for it. You will have the time of your life. Can’t wait to follow your journey x.

  • August 2 , 2011

    pardon my language, but fucking awesome, Foster! i am still in the getting money / finding productivity phase and getting over the scared of giving it all up in an attempt to try.

    some very crucial aspects may have fallen into place for me recently as well but i’m not yet sure. you have no idea how inspirational you have been and i look forward to following you in your adventures.

  • August 2 , 2011

    Thanks for all the inspiration! Can’t wait to see what happens next.

  • vt
    August 2 , 2011

    this is brilliant news. congratulations. was thinking of your work quite a bit in the past few days (tho it is a continual enlightening presence, because of the way you communicate with the world)- marvelous to see this today. simply brilliant.

  • August 2 , 2011

    This is so inspiring! Can’t wait to check out future posts! Good luck, and safe travels!

  • Eli
    August 2 , 2011

    you’ll never regret this.

  • August 2 , 2011

    Hey Foster – Good work! You won’t regret it. I did a similar-ish thing a few years back, ended up driving from Colorado to Panama, camping and surfing along the way, and then driving back. I was only able to spend about 6 months, but it was an amazing time – well worth the escape from the cubicle world.
    I’ll warn you though, it’ll break you from the corporate life, be really hard to go back – but, that’s almost reason enough to do it right?

    I highly recommend central america btw, the VW will be just fine there – easy to find parts. Not to mention, warm!

    Good luck man,

  • August 2 , 2011

    This is so wonderful to read. I wish you the best of luck. Will live vicariously through your travels on your website.

  • August 3 , 2011

    Normally I don’t see how far the rabbits have gone down the hole… that time I’ve already shot them.

    You’ll have a journey that will be the start of the next stage of your life.

    We’re right behind you you from down here in OZ.

    LL Bean. You bastard.

  • August 3 , 2011

    thank you for all of the support. i am really excited about getting out there and answering the call. its very empowering to follow through on your hopes and aspirations. Im going to start posting a lot more and maybe contributing to some content to other sites.

    I am hoping to make my way down to Nicaragua and Costa. Where in C/A would you recommend? your bags are fucking great btw. love the design and colors.

    thank you for the support. you were one of the first and i really appreciate it. Im going to be traveling through the bay area and will look you up.

    Im looking forward to doing some hunting and fishing too. returning to my roots.


  • Doug Fisher
    August 3 , 2011

    I am sure your cleaning lady and her broke ass kids will miss you, and they thank you for your garbage! I know when I was your age I could muster up the courage and bravery to clean my own apt. Good for you! Its great that your getting away from that humdrum life of free shit and everyone getting their nose stuck trying to kiss your ass. Living the “free life” doing what you feel the need to instead of working in a factory or something….oh wait that’s not what you were doing! Its not that I am jealous, I really am not! I just don’t get it! Looking at your site and such it doesn’t look like you need to “drop it all” You have been doing esentially this for your whole life! Shouldn’t you be getting married, having kids, teaching your child to take pictures or camp or surf?And why make a big deal about how you live your grand life now. Oh I know, as a “Hey look how cool me and my circle of friends are”” blogger its your job to rub everyones nose in it, as apposed to actually trying to put useful info out their like “how to do it”. Anycrap, I hope you have a safe trip and enjoy yourself. I am sure you will see a ton of cool shit and have a tone of great memories!

  • August 3 , 2011

    Foster, If your ever in near Toronto, Ontario and need a place to crash let me know. have fun!

  • August 3 , 2011

    […] -Foster is running away and we’ll be watching. [A Restless Transplant] […]

  • Reyna
    August 4 , 2011

    I just added your blog to my list of daily reads. Goodluck, God speed. I’ll be folllowing your journey from across the globe. :-)

  • August 4 , 2011

    Very inspiring! Like Brohammas said: We’ll live through you!

    You should set up a fundraiser like crowdrise or something… I’d be happy to chip in some money in exchange for more photos and good stories!

    Kind Regards

    Kenneth, Oslo, Norway

  • Ryan Smith
    August 4 , 2011

    I ART about a month ago and have gone through every single post. I am a burned-out photographer who quit the business to go into teaching, but now I just find myself stumbling through life. Your blog inspired me to pick up my camera again for the first time in over a year and take pictures just for me. I’m looking at the business end of 40, married with 2 kids. What you’re doing is amazing. To say I’m a little envious is an understatement. I wish I had the courage to do what you’re doing when I was your age. I respect that you put yourself out there and take risks instead of becoming complacent. I will continue to stalk ART and await your updates. Safe travels.

  • M
    August 4 , 2011

    Hey Foster,
    great news! I’m happy for you. Few weeks ago my friend told me a story of his uncle – working in a factory as an engineer, all of his life. One day (he was over 50) he sold his apartment, sold most of his things and moved to Greece. That’s what he always wanted. He lives by the sea in an old fisherman’s house, runs a motorboats gas station and is a happy man. You didn’t wait til you’re 50 with these kind of decisions. Good for you :) Take care!

  • August 4 , 2011

    Im glad you started taking photos for yourself again and am flattered that my website inspired you in some way to get back on the saddle. thank you for the support.

    stop reading my blog if youre that soar.

    your friends uncle is living the dream. thank you for the support,

    I may set up a kickstarter for something along those lines. I will keep you updated,


  • stephanie
    August 4 , 2011

    your camping box and safety orange gadget storage box will be done for the start of the expedition, good luck on the trip and if you want to do an owl pellet collection trip let me know…..

  • August 4 , 2011

    safe travels Foster and best of luck. you ever cross the Red River into the Lone Star State drop me a note… i’ll buy you a beer.

  • August 5 , 2011

    have fun !

  • Homer browne
    August 7 , 2011

    it pays to be a trust fund baby

  • August 7 , 2011

    Hey Foster! Congrats and bon voyage. It’s going to be a great trip. I’m stoked that you got the book deal all worked out. Can’t wait to see the results!

  • August 7 , 2011

    Best decision you’ll ever make. My wife and I did something similar almost exactly one year ago. We quit our cushy jobs in DC, bought a plane ticket to Bogotá, packed our bags, and moved to Colombia. What an amazing decision. If your travels bring you down to Colombia, please feel free to send me an email.


  • August 7 , 2011

    I actually dont have a trust fund and borrowed money to go to pay for college. so, kiss my ass.

    thanks for the kind words. Im glad a book worked itself out.

    Im heading to the lone star state on this spring. I will let you know when i make my way down,

  • Homer browne
    August 8 , 2011

    i will kiss your ass anytime ! unfortunately you play for the wrong team !

  • nick
    August 9 , 2011

    Foster – As a follower of the site for quite some time I want to tell you congratulations! I actually hadn’t checked the site this summer as I was taking the bar exam. I hopped on to check out your status, as your Wisconsin to NY move has been interesting to me because I’m an Iowa kid heading to Miami for work. Between undergrad and law school I spent a month (and my summer earnings at a cubicle job) traveling southern Mexico and living in $8/night hostels. Its actually funny that you’re making the move at this time, as I’ve already had the itch to make a move to see the world.

    I felt the need to comment considering some of the unhappy nay-sayers on here. Although I don’t know you, you don’t come across as the trust fund type (even if you’re a Badger fan, ill defend Midwest roots). I’m $120k in the hole from law school, parents are a factory worker and an elementary teacher, and regardless of finances I see the reality that you only live once. What you are doing is great, and I wish you success.

    Although I can’t afford to leave my own job at the moment, I’ll be documenting my experience in Miami in a similar fashion that you’ve shared NYC. Good luck to you, and if you are ever in Miami, you have a place to crash. Congratulations!

  • Tucker
    August 9 , 2011

    safe travels, brother!

  • Doug's right
    August 11 , 2011

    Sore. That’s what maybe Doug feels. Can’t say I fully disagree with him.

  • stric
    August 13 , 2011

    saw you and your syncros next to Pearl District REI in Portland… that’s a loud Syncros :)

  • Becca
    August 13 , 2011

    if it’s anywhere near your mapped out plan, swing by my old kentucky home! especially in autumn if your timeline allows. it’s always overlooked, but from the perspective of a native, still the most beautiful place in the region. drive down the Old Frankfort Pike in Woodford County.. the heart of horse and bourbon country

  • Jimmy Black
    August 17 , 2011

    Foster, this post was one of the most inspiring things I have ever read. Thank you for all of the great images and commentaries over the last few years. I was introduced to you by Isaac Buie (Desert Air) and I have loved visiting your site ever since. If your travels bring you to Utah let me know as I would love to offer some insight in return.

    Good Luck,

    Jimmy Black

  • August 18 , 2011

    Foster you’re an inspiration to a lot of people. Thanks for being one to me and supporting my and my blog from the very beginning. Best wishes on your odyssey brother.