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The most important thing I get out of travel is something I call Experience Value. Experience Value doesn’t directly translate to a dollar amount. Admitted, I might have to spend a few dollars to have access to a certain experience, but there’s no direct relation between the amount of money I spend on a trip and the experience value I’ll take out of it. I’ve traveled on a very tight budget and had the time of my life. I’ve also experienced some of the more extravagant sides of travel, involving helicopters and limited edition limousine rides. Having seen both extreme ends of travel, I realized that going for the more extravagant options doesn’t always make for a guaranteed good experience. Money doesn’t buy happiness.
Taking the feature image for this post probably has been one of the more expensive photographs to make – so far. As you probably noticed, it portrays the Empire State building in New York City, which has been photographed a million times. After 9/11 it’s also the tallest tower in Manhattan, so the viewpoint I wanted for this image was to be above it. I wanted to be higher than Empire State. Some of the key ingredients: return airfare to New York, good weather, a sense of adventure, and a helicopter.
Happiness comes first. While it’s a lot of fun to charter a helicopter and fly over Manhattan just to get a certain angle for a picture I had always wanted to take, those experiences have never become a mandatory requirement for me when embarking on a trip. Simply being at a certain destination is always enough for me. Going to Paris, or any other destination for that matter, doesn’t require a laundry list of attractions, guided excursions and tour buses lined up to experience the city properly. The only thing that matters is getting from where I live to where I want to be, and calling it home for a little while. Soaking in all the energy, smells and sounds a destination has to offer. I still use this principle today. Just being somewhere is the experience I’m after, and all it takes is to just go. The real value of experience, is priceless.
I go to Paris, I go to London, I go to Rome, and I always say, ‘There’s no place like New York. It’s the most exciting city in the world now. That’s the way it is. That’s it.’ (Robert de Niro)
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This post contains excerpts from my best-selling travel book The Freedom Project – available through Amazon and finer book retailers worldwide.
You can also view my personal New York City fine art photography for sale at Creative Windmill Fine Art Photography.
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