— There is something innate in mankind to look to the horizon, a beach, or a mountain top and say, "I wanna go see what things look like over there."
MEET BLAKE PACK....
I've known Blake Pack for years. He is one of those guys I've followed on Instagram 2011 and have lusted after his western life daily. To be surrounded by the mountains and the salt flats of Salt Lake City just seemed to be such a magical place to be. Blake, along with his group of friends have been documenting their adventures through photographer for years now. I thought it was well past time to learn more about Mr. Pack and why he adventures.
Why do you adventure - Adventure because you can. Because you have a privilege the majority of the world does not: to travel with means and comfort to understand and come to better know the world we live in, and for the most part the small state of that I live in.
Why do you explore - It's pretty much on par with why I adventure: there is something innate in mankind to look to the horizon, a beach, or a mountain top and say, "I wanna go see what things look like over there." It's crucial to our development and well-being. Most of my explorations comes takes place in nature. I believe at some point in time we forgot that we are a part of nature, just as the trees, beavers, and bears. I'm not talking in a hippy-dippy kinda way; I mean in a literal cognitive reset. We evolved from the wilderness and at our core, we are all animals. I think it's important to keep that animal alive and wild and exploring does that for me.
Why take risks in life - Because lines are meant to be crossed and boundaries pushed. You will never know how far you can stretch and reach if you don't not try.
Where are you from - Idaho Falls, Idaho, baby!
What is your 9-5 -I run marketing for a tech company called Needle, where I do most of the content creation, copy writing, and design - I also have a person shirt company called badastronot.com, and help another guy with his website and content creation... and suddenly I am realizing why I don't have as much travel time as I'd like.
When you were growing up what or who did you want to be - I still wanna be what I wanted to be as a kid: and astronaut. Clearly that path veered, but at the rate we're going, I totally plan on one of my last adventures and explorations to be in a rocket to space where I can see earth as a whole; I want to see the full, big picture. Till then, I am going to pause my "growing up" and stay a kid who is viewing the world on a more micro level.
Favorite place you've visited - Big Sur - not so much because it was gorgeous (I mean, duh, it is) but more so because of the company I was with, the conversations that accompanied us, and mishaps that shaped our trip, and the amazing food we shared.
Place you most desperately want to visit - Hmmmm. Probably New Zealand, Antartica, or Cuba.
What has changed about you because of your travels - I find focus when I travel. Unfortunately that focus blurs as time from that travel wears off, but the longer the trip I take away from it all, the clearer I see the world, my problems, etc.
Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met - Dallas Hartwig.
If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why - I wanna do a 50 State Journey with Sufjan Stevens. He can continue his 50-State Album project while I interview him, hear him play diddies on the banjo, and make amazing images of the country and the people we encounter. We'd definitely be traveling by pick-up truck with an in-bed camper - very Travels with Charley (Steinbeck). So it'd be cozy, too.
Must haves for travel - Camera, food, and underwear. But, underwear is rather optional.
Travel tips - Don't plan it too much. Be informed enough that you don't miss the must-sees, but don't get caught up or pass up moments and memories because of schedules. When it comes to traveling, I view the first chapter of Steinbeck's book to be my bible for travel planning:
"A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us." John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley. I think every traveler should read the first chapter of that book before they take a trip.
Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger - It's easy to get caught up in capturing that image that will blow peoples' minds. There is nothing wrong with wanting that. There is nothing wrong with wanting people to "like" your work. But if you only view the world and places you explore by looking at the back of a digital screen or through a viewfinder, you're missing the point. Remember to put the camera down, or better, away entirely. And always make a point to look at the stars in whatever place you're visiting when possible.
What would you say to someone who has never travelled before - Don't worry about going BIG. You don't need to go to Iceland or Norway or wherever to travel. The vast majority of people don't even explore their own backyard (i.e. state, national parks, or even their own downtown). I find it hilarious, for example, that so many people from PNW are headed to the red rocks of Utah and how many Utahans (myself included) who are so set on getting to PNW but neither have really spent much time traveling through their own state.
What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you - You have to do what makes YOU happy. I learned after decades of trying to live up to peoples expectations for me was actually holding me back. What I learned from people different from me is that
When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone. What did you learn from that lesson - I feel like I am repeating myself, so sorry, haha. But I believe in crossing lines in a positive way. Certain lines are not crossed because they cause unnecessary pain for others and thats never acceptable. But every other line should be crossed. I, of all people, am guilty of staying in my comfort zone. But the moments and images that stick out in my mind as cherished memories came when I was in a place of physical discomfort (like heights) or the posting of some images that are more intimate and personal (such as some of my dark and revealing portraits). Those put me in a place of emotional/mental discomfort because I feared the judgment people would make about me for sharing a picture of a rather naked man and his body, but there is nothing more exhilarating as an artist to be accepted, loved, and praised for work that put you in an uncomfortable place, and forming friendships with people who love the real work you do, not just the "safe" work that nearly everyone (like your grandma) will like.
What would you say to your former self - You can't be happy trying to make someone else happy. If the people around you aren't happy when you truly are happy, then they aren't people worth having around.
What gives you hope - Obi Wan Kenobi
Where to next - Somewhere tropic this winter, or possibly Australia.
Is flannel always in season - In doses. Not daily. Unless you're in Nirvana, an actual Lumber Jack, or Maple Syrup Farmer.