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Case of the Fridays – Pro Paintball Player Oliver Lang

For today’s post, I’ve selected professional paintball player Oliver Cameron Lang as my subject for the “Case of the Fridays“.


I chose Oliver because I’ve known him for quite awhile now – and I always see him posting about his adventurous around the world, but also his adventures from our home city of San Diego.

I really think Oliver shows a passion for life in regards to his showmanship style of fashion, his zest for travel, and eagerness to do something exciting with each day.  A lot of people think you have to travel in order to have adventure – and while he *does do that* - he also leads a prime example of how to have fun on a daily basis.

Here are a few photos I snagged from his facebook page that I feel give a good sense of his personality:



I met up with Oliver at his loft in downtown San Diego just as the sun was going down.  Here’s a visualization to help give you an image of the discussion that follows.



What is your name/age?


 ”Oliver Cameron Lang – 30″


What is your occupation?


“Professional Paintball Player”


Where did you grow up?


“Marin County, CA”


How long have you been doing what you currently do?


“Since I was 14…so 16 years”


Did you have a 9-5 job before that?


“I worked at Blockbuster in high school, and then I worked with a paintball sponsor when I first started playing, and that kind of segwayed into more opportunities within the industry.”


How did you become involved in professional paintball?


“The big tipping point was when I was recruited to play for a certain factory team – they got me involved with research and design for manufacturing equipment, I contributed (and they valued) my opinion in meetings, sales…I was heavily involved in communications.  The companies own a portion of the league, so my opinions even factored into the formats of how the sport was being played – to an extent.”


How much longer do you envision yourself playing on the circuit?


“I’m at a level right now where I love the sport so much…I can’t live without it, but I’ll continue playing the sport as long as my body can hold up.  I understand the history of the sport and where its been and where it’s going – it’s a strong connection that I’ve had for a long time.  If I take care of myself well enough, I can really stay involved playing for the next 10 or 15 years if I wanted to.

I think my next goal within the sport is to create my own league and format according to the kind of style I envision is best for the sport.  Almost like an *Oliver Lang* event series.  I have an idea of building a format that would be great for spectators and create a lot of growth opportunities for these younger guys that haven’t had the option with some of the other formats. 

It’s not a sport that can be owned – you really have to educate everyone on who people are and what their roles are.  You really have to paint a picture for the audience to understand the dynamic.  It takes true education and understanding of how the sport is different in order to watch the game and really “get it”.

There are several different types of leagues all over the world that have separate rules and separate formats, it’s almost an entirely different game sometimes depending on which country you go to.”


What level of schooling have you completed?


“High school with a little stint in community college.  The small stint ended right where the pinnacle of paintball was really hitting.  Economies were booming all over the place, and we were just there at the right place at the right time.  I plan to go back and take a few classes to learn about art.”


What is it that you love about your work?


“It’s what I love to ‘do’.  I get to travel, make friends, try new and exotic foods – I get to experience things that you don’t normally have the opportunity to do in a 9-5.  A lot of people don’t know what’s out there, and what’s possible…once you understand new standards of living where luxurious ideas become reality or amazing opportunities present themselves, you get used to a new ’normal’.  But you have to make sure it doesn’t go to your head and maintain a mindset of being thankful for what we have.”


What is your least favorite thing about your work?


“There’s a lot of emotional tie into the experience.  People don’t know that competitive side of me, sometimes I have to be an asshole on the field to get the job done.  There’s a huge emotional drain if you don’t win, sometimes you feel like you let people down.  Especially when you lose by a small fraction of error.  Everything that you’ve done – traveled thousands of miles, slept in shitty hotel rooms, eaten shitty food, and lost sleep – all of that just seems pointless if you don’t come back with the win.  It can be really frustrating at times to lose, and it’s difficult to not take that emotion out.  I’m the nicest guy off the field, but when it comes time to compete – I take things pretty seriously.”


What are some of the advantages of your job compared with the regular corporate career?


“Flyer miles.  (laughing).  I’ve become accustomed to travel, and the biggest perk to my job Is that I get to hang out with my friends.  It’s a bond that’s like none other when you win with a team composed of all your friends.”


What are some of the disadvantages compared with the regular corporate career?


“It’s difficult traveling so frequently – it makes it hard to have a long term relationship.  I like sleeping in my own bed – even though I love traveling.  A lot of times your sleep patterns are fucked from timezone changes, you’re bundled up in a ball in the airport – it all really depends on how willing you are to go through these experiences.  Sometimes you lose a bag, and you just gotta think of it as ‘gone’ – can’t dwell on it.  Just gotta keep moving forward.”


How different is the dating scene for you?  Is it easier/harder to make time to be with your significant other?


“It’s difficult to have a long-term relationship because, really – how realistic is it to expect to have a solid relationship with someone that’s traveling 70% of the time?

It’s definitely a good conversation starter (playing pro paintball), but it really depends on the countries and if they speak English.  In America, the common language is sarcasm and some places don’t even know what that is.

I’ve had long term overseas relationships and they’ve been great – at the same time San Diego is full of beautiful women and there are some girls that I’ve really looked forward to seeing when I get back from traveling.  I’ve had some great physical connections with girls & that’s always nice, but really the most important thing is having an awesome conversation.”


Do you tend to prefer to live paycheck to paycheck or with a savings plan accounted for?  Is your income predictable and regular, or entirely dependent on what you produce?


“There was a moment in life I thought I was making a large amount of money (so I thought), then I realized that it wasn’t that much when there’s even more possible – and then I realized that money isn’t the end all goal…it’s just the standard people have established.  I need a little cushion for sure – but I definitely like to live month to month, let’s put it that way.  I absolutely believe in having some tucked away in case of an emergency and health insurance doesn’t come through, etc.

Without a doubt – never ever get into debt.  I’ve learned that if the cash flow slows down a bit, I know I gotta go out and hustle.

Once you establish a standard for the kind of money you make, you really can’t go back down – you have to realize what you need to do to earn to maintain it.”


How do you imagine your retirement, or lifestyle past 60?


“I’ve got a plan – 60 – I’d like to be sailing around the Caribbean.  Being cap ron.  With or without my wife, ha!”


Do you see your career facilitating a lifestyle suitable for a family, or do you have the desire to have a family?


“Not right now, but I understand that.  I’m at a very selfish point in my life – my new years resolution was to treat myself like a king this year.  I want to have ‘myself’ resolved before I can fully meet someone and be in a relationship with them.  I’m on a path right now and there are certain things I need to do before I move forward and have a family.”


What are your top priorities in the ‘big picture’?


“I think a lot of people look at money as the benchmark of success, but I look at spirituality, friendship, and experiences.  You have to sit down and really evaluate what’s REALLY important when it comes down to it.    One time I didn’t have much money and it made me really realize how valuable money really is.  Family is definitely important…me and my mom are the only ones in my case.  The only requirement that god has placed on you – is our responsibility is to procreate.  You can be an individual and experience life for sure, but I think it’s easier with a mate – you’re supposed to have a “team”.  Together we have a seed, we plant it, and we make this human being as good as it can be.”


If you had any advice to someone just graduating college or thinking about switching careers, what would it be?


“They have a long, long road/life ahead of them.  Take that leap, get uncomfortable.  A well-lived life is a delightful struggle.  If you’re just graduating college & you don’t know what you want to do, you’ve got a long road ahead of you.  They say you switch careers 10 times in your life.  Explore the things you’re curious about, and if it doesn’t work out – you’ll learn and take that knowledge into your next endeavor.

There’s a lot of life to live, and it’s a wide road.  The biggest way to understand that there’s a lot out there is to travel – see how people live differently.

I’m just realizing this now – and I’m just starting *now* to really open my wings and fly.

I’m at a point where I want to ascend…full blown artistic lifestyle.  Get in to music, painting, dancing, really explore myself in terms of theatrics – maybe acting.  But I’m curious about how I do in these kinds of things.  I know I might not be great, but I know I can do them.  I’ll figure out which things I like the best and sail those into the next decade.”


If someone wanted to do your job, what is important to maintain a position?


“It’s all about practice.  I can always practice to get better and improve my style of play.”


Who inspires you?


“Well, I’d like to think one day I’d be a nice blend of Salvador Dali, Dr. Seuss, and Errol Flynn.

Shane Pestana – he taught me how to win.  He taught me a certain kind of confidence that just allowed you to go after something and just win it.  You just have to do what it takes.”


What do you think of authority?


“I think it’s very important, unless it’s abused.  I think the right people in the right positions are important to make things happen.  The desire for power is what corrupts it.”


What did you get into the most trouble for when you were young?


“I used to skateboard a lot and it was a constant battle with the police.  The sport was kind of like where paintball was right now.  We used to get beat by up the cops or we used to beat them up…or other security guards, it wasn’t always just me but we’re in a big group and when someone comes at you in an abrasive manner – you kind of put on your punk attitude.  Everyone just wants a little respect though – and it goes both ways.”






What did you want to be when you want to be when you grew up?


“An underwater archeologist to find treasure.”


What are some of your favorite sounds?


“Haha, I actually invented a sound – when you rub a piece of rubber together – it goes *Brrrrrraaap*.  I like the sound of aluminum getting sprayed with a faucet when it’s getting cleaned in the sink.”


What’s your favorite curse word?


“It’s gotta be fuck.  I like cursing, but only when it means something.”


What’s your favorite memory from your past?  


“Going to a skateboard competition where I met this proskater I had followed in the news for awhile, he introduced me to his crew and they all signed my t-shirt.  I couldn’t read any of their signatures when I got home though, ha!  Except for one guy though – Drake Jones, he wrote his name in all block letters.  If I ever become famous I’m gonna sign my name legibly.”


If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be, and why?


“I’d have to say some sort of cool bird.  How could you not want to fly??  Hummingbird maybe.  It’d be cool to kind of zip around and drink nectar”


What are some of your favorite smells?


“I love the smell of this Paulo Santos stuff – which holy wood.  Holy basil is by far my favorite smell – discovered it on a shamonic adventure.”  (hands me a branch to smell)


If you were a character in a famous movie, who’s role would you play?


“James bond.  Hands down.”


If you could go back to any point in history for a month, what time period would you visit?


“Probably the point where they started creating pesticides so I could stop it from happening.”


If you had to obtain $1m illegally, how would you do it?


“Smuggling cocaine.”


Which long lost childhood object would you most like to find?


“A gold necklace that my dad gave me.  It was beautiful, and my dad was a jewler – I lost it in a bush one day, I searched and searched but just couldn’t find it.”


What age do people become “old”, what’s the secret to staying young?


“60, or just on the cusp.  Simple – eat well, exercise, sleep, and feed your soul.”


What’s your favorite quotation?


“Nature is the true definition of art.  I came up with that the other day.”


If someone wanted to get in touch with you and ask you more about what it takes to get involved in your career, what would be the best way?




On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to get back to them?


8 or 9.  It depends.  I get a lot of paintball kids emailing me all the time…if it’s a genuine question or thought – I’ll 100% get back to you.


If you got a lot out of this article & think you might know others that would as well, I’d love it if you’d tweet/share on facebook.



Allisa - Interesting article – has Oliver ever played at a Delta Force centre across seas? 26, 2014 – 11:00 pm

Craig - What did you want to be when you grew up?

“An underwater archeologist to find treasure.”

Lol – a pirate then? Or an underwater pirate! lolJuly 16, 2013 – 12:54 pm

JulesFoote - good pictures and a better interview.January 26, 2013 – 1:40 am

Debbie - There are times in life when we meet someone and feel a great connection. Oliver is.the exact age I was when I married my soulmate. The exact age I was when I left home to travel the world with my hubs. The exact age I was when we moved to Asia for 2 1/2 years. We experienced different cultures, traveled to surrounding countries. And never looked back.

Fast forward, I’m now 44, still no children and since our move to Asia, we’ve moved 7 x’s, lived in three different states and like you, we too reside in beautiful San Diego as of three years this past October.

I used to tell the hubs that all I need is an hours notice before our next move. But now that we are here, he understands I need at least a five year notice. :) jokes aside,I will continue to follow him to the ends of the earth, and when it’s time to go, I’ll be ready.

I say all that to say, keep doing what you love, life is too short to sacrifice…

Loved this post and you too Tim are just as awesome!

Happy Travels!

Blessings – DebbieJanuary 25, 2013 – 9:35 am


On the 2nd leg of our South American adventure, the three of us decided to see one of the world’s most well-renowned nature parks – Patagonia de Chile.

If you’re just joining now joining us along this adventure, here’s a shot of my buddies that are accompanying me on this journey.

(Ryan on the left, Jason on the right)

*Note – during this trip, Jason and I decided to mess with Ryan’s head and call him “Bryan” from time to time in a subtle way until he noticed…then we’d of course deny it and make him think that his mind was playing tricks.  He didn’t catch on until we were calling him “Bryan” repeatedly pretty much every time we addressed him on the last day of the trip, so from this point forward I will be referring to him as “Bryan.”

If you know Bryan personally, I suggest you do the same next time you see him.


The weather was looking gooooooood.  The area around Patagonia is known for it’s strange cloud formations.  Some of the most rare types of clouds can be spotted in this region.  These (pictured below) appeared to be as if Bob Ross took a brush and just smudged them across the skyline.



It was an interesting trip – there weren’t many people are age around.  There were a bunch of old people like the guy below, and it appeared as though this was a destination that appealed towards that kind of demographic vs the young party crowd we’ve seen in places before.



The winds were strong.



But stoic llama was optimistic.



And so was Bryan.



So we set forth and set up camp for day 1.



At the entrance, there was this mascot that they called “Smokey the Squirrel”.  It came across as a rip off of our “Smokey the Bear” – we joked about starting a fight with him and stealing his head.



The first day’s hike was full of some really interesting trees.  They were thin, but thick at the same time – and the leaves were this vibrant green color that didn’t seem natural.



For some reason it made me think of an asian forest in regards to how spacious it was between the trees, but how thick the foliage atop was.  I asked Bryan if this was what China looked like, and he seemed insulted…I don’t know why.



Here’s Jason pulling a “Bryan” and recording himself talking to the GoPro.



Day 1′s destination:  Torres Del Paine.  Looked like the entrance to Mordor or something out of a Harry Potter movie.



Peter Pan syndrome right here.






The view on the way back down the hike.  Each day, we hiked about 25 km.  By the end of the day, you can bet we were exhausted.



But not so exhausted that we couldn’t do handstand photos in front of this majestic landscape!



And not too exhausted to mess around and hide in the bushes while other people walked by.



Making dinner was a chore though.  Luckily for us, soup isn’t the most complicated dish to make in the world.  We still managed to f*ck it up though.



Taking down the tent the following morning.  Took a spike to the fingernail.  Not gonna have a good time.



More cool foliage.


Apparently this part of the forest burned down a couple years ago.  Made for a great spot to find good walking sticks.  We had several sword fighting matches breaking pieces of  dead wood and leaving it to be with it’s “family” in the woods afterwards.



The water was so damn inviting.  However you can bet it was cold as a mofo.



Didn’t want to test this warning.  For those that don’t speak Mexican, this means “don’t crucify more than 2 people at a time.”



A little nerve-racking crossing the bridge.



(PS – if you thought I was serious about the “speak Mexican” comment and “crucify” translation above…you can relax now, I’m kidding.  Welcome to my blog.)


I *will* say however, it was a trip to see Spanish speaking indigenous people in such a cold climate.  It’s a weird thing to think about, but I just don’t think that’s a common association for most people.  When you think of Spanish speaking countries, you think of hot, humid places like central America – you don’t really think about how cold it can be down here.

Here’s some more majestic stuff.  2 waterfalls leading into one, which led into a HUGE waterfall behind us.



We all agreed that the water was clear as f*ck, so we decided to drink straight from the stream.  Here’s Ryan getting a shot of me going head-first to get a little natural spring water refreshment.

(Oh man, I know there’s going to be someone in the comments to tell me about what I could have ‘gotten’ by doing this.  I don’t even want to know.  But it was pretty damn refreshing – I’ll tell you that!)



I don’t know what the hell I was doing here.



Bryan ‘Noosing’.



This hike spanned about 10 hours on this day – with all the breaks we took for photos, it ended up being a little longer.  Unfortunately we ended up getting back around 11:30 at night (yeah, I know – crazy) – here’s a shot of Jason a little before midnight before we got back to our camp.



Day 3 – Glacier time.



It was not that cold.  This is just me just being theatrical.



A lodge on the way back.  Playing with the leading lines a bit while we wait.



I started feeling a bit of rain dripping on my head, so I put my poncho on over my coat & backpack.  These guys made fun of me at first, but once the rain really started coming down along with some harsh winds – guess who had the last laugh!



Man that water was cool.



This trip was too short to do this area justice.  While it’s hard to justify returning somewhere when there are so many other places in the world to visit – this is definitely one that allows for an exception.  It’s pretty radical.



To see more photos of me, Bryan, & Jason – I’ll be uploading an album on my facebook later today.  Subscribe or add me as a friend to check em out

Lisa - Looks like a fabulous trip! and a lot of fun.
I can’t believe you had a set of photos titled “Glacier Time”. That is just hilarious.

And wow, great photos.January 24, 2013 – 6:50 pm

Cate O'Malley - I can’t help but feel a serious case of wanderlust when I visit your site and see all your pictures and adventures. I’m going on a cruise to the Bahamas (with a stop in Florida) in March, and while that is no trip to Peru or whale watching excursion (those photos were awesome), it will have to do. ;)January 24, 2013 – 11:45 am

Case of the Fridays – Expedition Leader Lee Goldman

Welcome to my new feature, “Case of the Fridays.”

I decided to start this project based off  the feedback I regularly receive both here & on my Facebook page regarding my lifestyle.  I strongly believe that life should be an adventure and your career should be something you are excited about.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it feels to hear someone say, “I’m jealous of your lifestyle” or “you’re so lucky you get to do this for a living.”

It’s not luck.  ’You’ make the bed that ‘you’ sleep in. I think it should be damn-well comfortable!

So what I’ve created with this feature is an inside look at the lives of individuals who’ve inspired me by the way they’ve shaped their lifestyles and careers.  In these interviews, I’ll ask them about how they got started and what it takes to maintain their careers – as well as what effects their lifestyles have on their long-term vision (dating, family, kids, etc).  At the end of the interview, I ask each person if they’re willing to respond to questions from readers or anyone interested in getting involved in their area of expertise.

I hope you guys get a lot out of this – the world is at your fingertips!


Expedition Leader


My first interview for this series is Lee.  I met Lee during an expedition he led out in the Papua/New Guinea region via live-aboard boat (blog post coming in 2 weeks).  Lee has traveled the world and seen some of the most amazing scenery one can possibly have access to throughout their lifetime.  He’s taken a lot of risks and traveled on one-way tickets to parts unknown, and I think he has a lot to share from his experiences.

Without further delay, here’s the interview I had with him while I was adventuring out in the Asian-Pacific.

(Here’s a photo to give you a visual of what the environment was like during our interview)



What is your name? 

Lee Goldman


What is your occupation?

Expedition Leader specializing in the Coral Triangle of the Asia-Pacific Region.


How long have you been doing what you currently do?

 12 years


What level of schooling have you completed?

Masters in Marine Bio, and planning on going back for a PhD.  I’d like something to fall back on.


Did you have a 9-5 job before that?

I guess you could say yes, I was switching between 9-5’s – mainly construction management, project engineer.  I didn’t find it challenging though, it just wasn’t something I wanted to do.


How did you become involved in the work that you currently do?

After college, I became a dive instructor because I was always interested in the Marine environment.  Moved to the Florida Keys – it was almost a ‘right of passage’ for instructors to work in the marine environment in that area.

1995 was a year with horrendous hurricanes, & the reality of being a dive guide at that age and those conditions, you’re not making a lot of money.  So I had an opportunity to open a dive shop in BC – went up there & worked it for a couple years…found that I really loved the tropical environment (you could dive the same area every day and see something different…and the warm water was also great)

At an early age, NatGeo always enticed me with the Coral Triangle, but I never really had the means to get out there.  So I went to a dive show called DIMA – found some people that were working out in this part of the world.  Met a guy with a place out here that I could stay, and he told me he would hire me.

My brother was having some tough times with family, and I had to pass on the initial opportunity in order to be there for him.  I still had my airline ticket (1-way), so I went to Guam and walked into a dive shop – gave them my credentials.  Went down to Palau and never went back (to Guam).

I met Ethan and Ron, two other guides that had already worked as established expedition leaders while in Palau.  Went and got my masters in Marine Bio in Guam, came back, and proposed the trip of doing Palau with Ron & Ethan vouching for me to submit to their company – Wilderness Travel, and it was a go!


What is it that you love about your work?

You get to meet great people, see some great things, I’m able to talk about the Marine Environment that I love to people that are interested in it.  I get to share my passion with others that are also enthused.  Maybe that’s why the Florida keys didn’t cut it…


What is your least favorite thing about your work?

Being away from the family.  I’m away about 5 months out of the year when you add up all the trips cumulatively.


Is there anything you miss about life back home?  (In the states)

Rita’s Italian Ice.  And pizza.

Living in this part of the world, one of the things I do miss is a bit of a stricter sense of order in society (paying attention to stop signs).  Open roads.  A wide open road, like the ones outside of Vegas you can do 90 on the freeway.  There aren’t many open roads here, and the ones that are – they’re in bad shape so you can’t speed.


What are some of the advantages of your job compared with the regular corporate career?

It’s a much more relaxed-paced life, I’m doing what I love and I know some corporate people can say that, however I get to see what most people go and do when they take a break from their job.


What are some of the disadvantages compared with the regular corporate career?

Not much opportunity to make more money, in kind of a weird way – the idea of going into work and knowing in your head that you only have a set amount of hours that you have to put in, then you get to go home and be with your family -that sounds nice.  Here I have to work 24/7 and be away from family for weeks at a time.  The “on/off switch” of working a normal job can be appealing.


How different is the dating scene for you?  Is it easier/harder to make time to be with your significant other?

It was actually pretty easy to meet girls – you’re living a glamourous life and ‘working’ in the area that most people dream to visit.  Most girls that I dated would just be coming through for a week or two, which was nice at the time that I was more into the dating scene.  I was also somewhat of a pseudo-celebrity being the only foreigner in the local scene, so that helped!  Haha


Do you tend to prefer to live paycheck to paycheck or with a savings plan accounted for?  Is your income predictable and regular, or entirely dependent on what you produce?

Well, I was paycheck to paycheck before I got married, but now with a wife & daughter – it’s savings based.  We find it’s more important to have no bills, and have a little money put away – rather than put away more, and have less bills.


How do you imagine your retirement, or lifestyle past 60?

Lounging somewhere in the Phillipenes, watching my daughter grow up.  Doing some sort of project though, I’ve got to do something.  Not sure what, but maybe a guide book or stay involved in the education on the Marine Environment in some way.


How much longer do you envision yourself working as an expedition leader?

Probably 5 more years at the most.  I know I’ll miss it dearly.


Do you see your career facilitating a lifestyle suitable for raising a family?

I would say no – when you’re working  you don’t see your family, however when you’re off – you can make it so that you have a lot more solid time with family when you are home.


What are your top priorities in the ‘big picture’? 

My daughter, my family.  Outside of my family, keeping an ear and an eye open to make sure I don’t miss opportunities for things I can do after this.  If there was such a thing as a tourism consultant, I’d love to develop programs for trips.


In your lifetime, what experiences are important to you?

When I was younger it was about having fun, then when I got older, it was about seeing the world, and now it’s about being able to provide a great tour and keep me in the top of my game.


If you had any advice to someone just graduating college or thinking about switching careers, what would it be?

First I would suggest they asked themselves if they’re ‘serious’ – most people aren’t, so don’t kill yourself thinking about it.

If you are, just DO IT.  It’s scary, but be scared.  It’s exciting.  There have been several times in my life that I’ve bought one way tickets, and I think it’s a great thing.  It was kind of a break from growing up in middle class life.  I wanted to do something on my own, where I could turn back and there’d be no one there to fall back on and look to for support.  I had to make it happen.  You’ll be a stronger person after it’s all said and done, regardless of what happens.

If you do something half ass & fail, you feel like you let yourself down.  And I’ve been there before – it’s a learning experience.


If someone wanted to do your job, what is important to maintain a position?

Innovate, and maintain a clientele that with stick with you, and lead great expeditions.


Who inspires you?

I’ve always gone against the system, growing up in a straight-laced town…ultimately I was in my rebellious phase when it came to my career.  When parents tell you “this or this” is what you’re supposed to do…

I read National Geographic and dreamed of doing this kind of work…with something that challenged me.  I could be a deckhand and see this kind of stuff, but it wouldn’t be enough.  I used to collect all the maps from all the destinations National Geographic used to cover and just study them.

Robert Lynn Nelson – he painted an amazing piece called sea of magic.  He captured “freedom and beauty”, which is what I wanted in my life.  I wanted to study killer whales, which represented freedom to me.  I realized they represented the ocean and all it’s amazingness, which is really what I wanted to study.




What did you want to be when you want to be when you grew up?

An astronomer.  I loved reading science fiction when I was a kid.  Didn’t do it because there was too much math.


What is one of your favorite sounds?

My daughter laughing.


What’s your favorite memory from your past? 

When my wife and I were first dating, we would go out kayaking in some of the most beautiful places on earth.  I would be off-and-on back in town & it was great spending time with her.


If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be, and why?

I’d be a killer whale.  They’re one of the most amazing organisms on this planet.  Apparent intelligence, surrounded by the environment that I love the most, and an apex preditor that no one fucks with.


What are some of your favorite smells?

Freshly cut grass, warm soft pretzels fresh out the oven.


If you were a character in a famous movie, who’s role would you play?

Denzel Washington’s character in Crimson Tide.  He made some of the toughest decisions of life & death when it comes to other people.  It takes some of the most tough and strong character to make those kind of decisions.  Indiana Jones never had to look at someone and decide whether or not they would live or die.


If you could go back to any point in history for a month, what time period would you visit?

I’ve always been impressed with Leonardo Da Vinci, Ben Franklin, and Alfred Wallace.  I’d have to go with Ben…I feel like you’d just get a sense of insight and enlightenment just being around the guy – seemed like he was a pretty intelligent and wise guy.


If there was one celebrity you’d like to punch in the face, who would it be?

I’d love to punch Bernie Madoff, anyone who affects so many people on such a negative personal and financial level, they deserve to get hit by a ton of people – and I’d like to be one of them.


If someone wanted to get in touch with you and ask you more about what it takes to get involved in your career, what would be the best way?

Email me at


On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to get back to them?

10.  I get back to everybody.  I still have guests write me from years back sending a photo of a fish they saw on a trip they’ve just gone on!


If you have any feedback for Lee or suggestions for future interviews, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Rachel Julson - Saw this linked from your facebook page and just had to write to say THANK YOU! I understand the frustrating comments of “you’re so lucky to have this job!” and this interview was very eye opening and inspiring. I just bought my first one-way ticket to Switzerland, and am currently in the limbo between following my passions and having a steady income.. Keep these interviews coming, I’d love to read more!!January 21, 2013 – 11:50 pm

Rachel Ruffer - This is awesome, Tim. I definitely want to travel a LOT and am working towards that goal – thanks for inspiring people to do what they love! :)January 19, 2013 – 8:19 pm

Jackie VanHatten - Hey Tim! This is a great idea. It’s really inspiring and motivating. Hope life is well!January 18, 2013 – 3:35 pm

Alison Howard - Great interview, Tim! Super interesting to read Lee’s story. Thanks for sharing! :)January 18, 2013 – 6:27 am

Amazon Adventure

As I mentioned to you in my previous post, I came across a killer deal for airline tickets that was just too good to pass up.

So I bought two trips.  The first was to hike to Machu Picchu with my roommate David, and the second ‘to be determined’ by myself & two friends you may remember from my adventure in Iceland – Jason and Ryan.

And while Machu Picchu was an incredible display to witness, the concentration of tourists during that trip really affected my mindset.  I wasn’t able to completely feel removed from my ‘day to day’ life during that trip.  So on this adventure, we opted for something completely different.

Something REMOTE – out of the usual path of common travelers…something unique.

I’ve always wanted to visit the Amazon rainforest, and I’d received some conflicting advice from friends on “where to go” in order to experience it.  When it came down to it, there were two main options to decide between:

1.  Iquitos, Peru – a more well-known town in northern Peru and safe bet when it comes to seeing the Amazon.  Several people had recommended going here.  We’d have the opportunity to see pink dolphins, and there was more culture in the area for us to be able to learn about.

2.  Research lodge in the Tambopata National Reserve, Peru -  one of my ex-girlfriends lived in Peru for a couple years and recommended visiting this place.  It’s a far way out from civilization & the trek to get there would take almost 3 times as long as Iquitos to get there…and with only one personal testimonial to rely on (see above)…there was a chance it could be lame.  (Just kidding C – kind of…)

After talking it over, we decided to take the road less traveled and visit the research center.  And I’m SO glad we did.

*I should note – Ryan was adamant about seeing Machu Picchu, so he decided to take the first leg of the trip solo and take his own separate journey.  So for this adventure in the Amazon, it would be just myself & Jason (pictured below inside of a bird blind)



Let’s start the adventure, shall we?

When we arrived in Puerto Maldonado, we met with our guide from the research center to take a caravan down to the river, where a boat would be waiting for us.  From there, we traveled up the river about an hour and a half until we reached the entrance to the research lodge.



I thought the hike to Machu Picchu was hot…this part of Peru was hot AND humid!  Probably the most intense heat I’ve ever experienced…it really never quit – night or day.



The trip up the river was pretty serene.  It became quite a lot of repetitive scenery, but it gave us the impression of how deep into the rainforest we really were.



Our lunch wrapped up in a palm leaf.  (Inside were rice and potatoes.)  Gotta hand it to them for the presentation.



These were the cabins at the lodge set up for visitors.  There were really just a few other people there that were visiting at the time – and at one point they left so it was just myself and Jason!  Never really stayed at a place where we were the only guests – was pretty cool to experience!  Felt like our time there was tailored towards what we wanted to do.



This was the dining area – here you see 3 research students from London.  While the majority of the staff only spoke Spanish (I’m near fluent), it was nice for Jason to be able to communicate with someone while we were there and carry on conversation.



The lodge was run by a large family of indigenous Peruvians, and many of them hadn’t even ventured outside of Puerto Maldonado (which is a very small town itself.)  It was really insightful to hear their perspective on life, work, and culture.

Here’s a shot of a guide’s wife preparing a meal.  She’s expecting a baby in just a few months – was pretty cool to think about how they’ll be adding a new member to their growing family.  In a way, I’d compare their lifestyle to farm/ranch living in the states.



After getting settled into our cabin, we were eager to get out into the jungle and do a little exploring.



I really like how Jason’s shirt contrasts with the jungle in this next shot – really shows just how thick the trees really were.



Crazy foliage.



At the end of our little hike, we made our way back down to the river front to catch sunset.



At night, a group of about 5 of us went out searching for white caiman alligators along the river bed.  Would be fun to try to wrastle ‘em.



We got back to our lodge – everything from about 8 PM-on was lit strictly by candle-light.  Not to preserve energy…but because the lodge only had 1 solar panel that created enough juice for about 2 hours of electricity per day!  (You’ll see the panel later in this post)



Our beds were equipped with Mosquito nets for good reason.  Like the heat – the bug bites never ceased.  Here we are getting our “noosing” on.  (Back story – on our adventure in Baja, we came across an abandoned building with a single rope hanging from the ceiling.  It was creepy as hell but we decided to have some fun with it and start our own new photo trend.  It’s like planking or tebowing, except 100 times better.  Yeah, I know…we’re messed up in the head.)



The next morning we had an early start.  Thank God for Nescafe, right?  (It’s funny – I’ve talked to other travelers about this too…regardless of how well known a country is for its coffee – the international blend is always NESCAFE!)



Here’s a shot Jason grabbed showing how early we were up to hike.



The light coming through the trees in the morning was seriously incredible.  I couldn’t stop taking pics.



We reached our destination after about 2 hours of hiking.  While we waited for our guide, Jorge, to prepare the boats – we tossed some saltines down in the water below and watched piranhas fight over the each bite.



Nothing special in particular about this photo, just liked how the water ran into the forest habitat.  The amount of species living in such a small area was incredible.  The rainforest is extremely diverse.



In fact, the Tambopata reserve has been regarded as the most biodiverse area in the world when it comes to butterflies and birds.



Butterflies were everywhere.



Here’s a shot of a giant otter clearly displaying his neck markings.  When it comes to otters, the neck actually serves like the human fingerprint – it identifies an individual from the rest in it’s pack.  We were lucky enough to see an entire family feasting on some fish that morning.  Animals in the wild are extremely shy and it’s a slim chance you’ll see this kind of action on a random day.  We were pretty stoked.



On the way back, we came across a huge tree with super strong vines.  Of course we swung from them.  Felt like George of the Jungle.  (In the photo on the right, I’m wearing a scarf I found on the flight into Peru.  Jason and Ryan both made fun of me because I take these kind of things as good luck…I’m oddly superstitious.)


This bird pictured below was an asshole, and hardly anyone liked him at the reserve.  His name is “Wowee,” and he really only gives attention to those who have crackers or beer to offer.

Yeah…you read that right…crackers or beer.



Seems friendly, right?



But what happens when you’re down to your last cracker?

He CHASES you and SNAPS at you with his beak!  (The bird is also known to creep in through holes in the ceiling late at night and scare the living sh*t out of the researchers.  At the end of the trip we trapped him inside one of the cabins with a wet towel…everyone cheered and felt like an abusive husband was evicted from the family home)



Later in the day we made another hike out to the canopy tower to catch sunset.  The tower felt pretty unstable and at times I wondered if it would be my last moments alive.  But hey, I’m here writing to you about the experience – so it looks like it worked out after all!



Not sure how many stairs we climbed up, but there came a point where there was an iron gate we had to maneuver around.  This obstacle stopped the other members of our group, but Jason and I kept on going.



Snapped this shot of Jason near the top of the tower.

(Want to know the secret to get ANYONE to crack up laughing like this for your photo?  Email me at with subject line “Why is Jason laughing?” and I’ll fill you in on this great trick.)



Here’s that ‘individual’ solar panel I was telling you about earlier.  They really weren’t kidding when they told us they had just one!



Seeing the sun set over the rainforest was a pretty amazing sight.  Photos don’t do it justice, and I really hope that you get the opportunity to see for yourself someday.



Here’s my best attempt to relay the visuals…the trees seemed to go on forever.



Got dark REAL QUICK on the way back.  Luckily we had our trusty flashlights.



One thing that was a little annoying was all the tarantulas that would always jump out at us while we were hiking.  It seemed like every few feet either a snake would drop down from the trees and try to wrap around your neck or a spider would crawl down your shirt.  It was nearly impossible to get them out without getting bitten.



PS – just kidding about that last one  :)

When we got back to the lodge, the sky was crystal clear.  Here’s a shot of our cabin lit up with my flashlight during a long exposure.


The next morning we headed out to see if we could catch a glimpse of a local clay lick of macaws (a huge flock of wild parrots) through the window of a blind.  Here’s one of the student researchers from London on watch in the pic below.



Again, that morning light hitting the trees – this kind of sight is where the term “sun kissed” comes from.



Birds finally decided to make an appearance.



After the morning hike, we headed out again to explore some less-traveled paths.  We took a couple machetes and carved our way through the thick foliage as we went.  I had so much fun hacking away that I got a little blister on my hand from the wooden handle.  (Shot on GoPro)



After 2 hikes, we still had energy left for a good game of volleyball.  Sports is one of my favorite activities – you don’t need to speak the language in order to be able to convey trash talk.  What?  Did you think I was gonna say how it brings cultures together or something?  Okay, well yeah I guess that too.

Planning on having this one framed and put up in my office.



The last night…participated in an ayahuasca ceremony.  Changed my life.

If you want to hear about my experience, I’d be happy to talk about it with you through email.



In the morning we hopped on the boat back to Puerto Maldonado – here’s our trusty driver looking stoic.



Hopped on the plane with some suspicious weather on the horizon…stay tuned to hear about how this 1 hr flight almost ended our entire trip across South America.

Check back in on Thursday to hear about my journey down to Patagonia!


Patrick - Hi Tim,

Just came across your blog. I like the way you present your travel narrative. Keep traveling.April 11, 2013 – 5:05 pm

Buenos Aires | Tim King Blog | Tim King Photographer - [...] Amazon Adventure [...]January 30, 2013 – 1:33 am

Ray Stein - Amazing Blog and the photography is stunning! Glad to see your are livin life to the fullest. Let me know when you make it to Denver again, would be great to catch up over some drinks!

-RayJanuary 29, 2013 – 11:36 am

Lena - I’ve been waiting for this one :) ahhhmazing. Good to hear you didn’t come home with any snakes or tarantulas in your pockets…January 19, 2013 – 3:42 pm

Cole Joseph - Killer post man! Without a doubt though my favorite part of reading everything was you calling the parrot an asshole! I am still cracking up over that, ha!January 15, 2013 – 11:47 am

ami - WTF spider!a,

Always look forward to your posts, they always feel like grand adventures. Now how do I apply to be a part of your traveling troupe? :)January 15, 2013 – 11:34 am

Christy - Mean trick with the spider.January 14, 2013 – 9:57 pm

Christie - Your blog posts are always remarkably entertaining! As I read this everything checked out, except for the tarantulas and the snakes of course, and it made me miss it so much. Thanks for sharing. I’m excited to hear about it all in person!January 14, 2013 – 8:06 pm

Machu Picchu!

I feel a bit like Bilbo Baggins here, writing to you to tell you about my adventures.

And in some part, it’s pretty similar – I’m going to be posting a few more adventures here in the coming days (Amazon Jungle, Patagonia, Buenos Aires, New Guinea).

Let’s start where it all began, shall we?

One night, I randomly came across an email with an offer for a roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to Peru for $300.

That’s right.  Round Trip LAX->Peru for $300.

At that price, I’d be losing money if I didn’t go.

So I bought 2 trips.  One with my roommate to go conquer Machu Picchu and the other to go with long time friends Ryan and Jason for an adventure in Patagonia.

You could say we were all pretty stoked.


Prior to making our trek down to Peru, David & I both talked with different people about where to go, what to see, and how to go about the whole Inca trail situation.  (In case you haven’t ever had the discussion, there’s a lot of disagreement about whether you should purchase your tour when you get down there – or book it ahead of time.)

I’ll give you the scoop – the only thing you really REALLY need to book prior is a ticket to hike the Inca trail.  (And a ticket to Huayna Picchu if you want the view everyone seeks to achieve while down there.)  I’d recommend both.

Unfortunately, we didn’t receive that information prior to going, so we decided to take our chances and book when we got to Cusco.  When we got there, tickets were sold out for the Inca trail as well as Huayna Picchu.  When we heard the news, I looked over at David (my roommate) and he was devastated.  He’s an adamant one about doing things to their fullest, and I could tell it didn’t sit well with him.  (He’s probably remembering that feeling while reading this blog right now actually)

I won’t lie – I was a little bummed, but at the same time – excited to explore the road less traveled.  I’ve heard that the Inca trail is constantly flooded with tourists and THAT is one thing I seek to avoid.

So the adventure begins.

We get into Lima.

Rent a car.

Lima smells.  Bad.

We sleep, wake up, head back to the airport.

I accidentally over-shoot the turn-in for the rental car return and almost cause us to miss our flight.  In a swift decision to bend the rules and make an un-lawful U-Turn, I get us into a little trouble with the authorities.  A policeman comes over and starts to threaten us with a ticket.

*This* is the face of a guy who just used the ol’ $7 handshake to get himself out of a traffic violation in Peru.

We take off for Cusco.  One of the most dangerous airports to fly into in the world due to it’s high altitude and heavy winds.

Not to mention heavy traffic.

We get a single room at one of the local hostels.

We decide to spend some time acclimating to the altitude since we’ll need our lungs in tip-top shape in a few days.

Here we are enjoying some of the local architectural ruins:

This old guy (pictured below) noticed David attempting a handstand (above) and got infuriated.  He spoke so fast it was difficult to understand him, but I think he was upset that he’s never been able to pull off a handstand before – and wanted David to teach him how.  Something else about staying off the ruins, respecting things, I don’t know.

We hired a car to take us out to this spot since we missed the group tour earlier in the day.  I love making my own tours – a lot of times if you go at off hours, you’ll get the chance to see everything without interference from a lot of people clogging it up.

We decided to have our driver drop us off in the outskirts of town so we could walk back and get a little extra exercise on our way back to the room.  Later on we found out the parts we walked through were actually the most DANGEROUS parts of the city.  Good to know!

The next morning we headed out to the local market to try out some local cuisine.

They made fresh juice from the fruits right in front of you.  It was delicious, and it was really cheap.  Loving Peru already.

We took another day trip out to the Salt Mines and came across some pretty cool scenery along the way.  We hired our own car ($40/day vs $4 each for the bus) and it was well worth it.  We came across some amazing view points where we asked our guy to just pull over so we could get some shots.

Everyone has a dreamy meadow shot.  It was about time I got my own.

We made it back to our room pretty late since it was a long drive out that day – here’s David texting Lindsay (his girlfriend – sorry ladies, he’s taken) before we make the trek out the following morning.

Coca tea.  This stuff was addictive.  Really.

Meeting the group for the first time.  Sizing everyone up, guessing who’s going to be the straggler.  Kidding!  Kind of.

Mosquitos started biting pretty soon.  And they were serious.  It’s recommended you take Malaria pills while out in this neck of the woods.  We weren’t taking any chances.

Our fearless guide, Niko.  He would always make sure we only focused on what was important – which was the next 3-4 hours of our hike.  Nothing else.

While we hiked, views like this were pretty common.  And you got to see a lot of it, because we stopped to rest pretty often!  The altitude was killer and the amount we were ascending each day was pretty intense.

Soup’s…off?  Was pretty hungry, so this is the photo you get of our first lunch.

First base camp after 12 miles of hiking.  We were worn out and ready to sleep by 7 PM.  But hey, when you gotta wake up at 4 to hike the next morning, you don’t even worry about how early you’re crashing out.

Two candles were our only source of heat during our trek.  And it was COLD.


Here’s chef preparing our food.  He only spoke Quechua, so only our tour guide and the German – Leo could communicate with him.  (Leo had randomly been studying this ancient language as part of his archeology focus) 

Day 2.


Yes.  It was f*cking cold.  The weirdest part?  There were bulls and cow grazing up at 14,000 feet.  Was a pretty interesting sight. The summit.

Happy guy right here.  I’m posing like I’m not completely out of breath.

Grenadines – my new favorite hiking fruit.  Looks like an egg from an alien, but tastes amazing.

You know what else tastes amazing? 

Day 4 was hot as balls.  I tried to find shade wherever I could while I was walking to avoid the strong sunlight.

A pretty common site during the 5 day trek: empty water bottles.

Here’s our base camp the night prior to arriving into Aguas Calientes.  Aguas Calientes is a town right outside the site of Machu Picchu that was pretty much built for tourists.  No cars, just busses and trains.  Pretty big turn off for me.

Speaking of tourists, here’s a stunning example of the stereotype.  I was pretty bummed to see how packed Machu Picchu was with people, but once you get past that, it’s a pretty remarkable place to experience.

This was sunrise from the Eastern slope.  Probably the coolest sunrise I’ve ever seen.  The way the sun’s rays split over the mountain tops was unlike anything I had seen before.

Here’s another view, including the surroundings.  The way the light just kissed the side of Machu Picchu was gorgeous.

In addition to the more well-known site, there are 2 additional mountains you can climb during your visit.

1.  Huayna Picchu – costs about $140 and sells out weeks in advance.  More people try to visit this one since it has more architectural remains on the top.  Supposedly a better view, but I doubt it.

2. Mt. Machu Picchu – about twice as tall as Huayna Picchu, this beast is an additional 2,000 stone steps to get up.  The climb down made my knees sore for a month afterwards.  Really.

But it was worth it.

On our last night in town together, a group of us met up for coffee and listened to David attempt to play the flute he bought at the market.

After seeing the stars earlier that morning, I felt compelled to try to get a shot from town before we had to board our train back to Cusco.  I found a guy that worked in a small shop in town that told me he knew of an un-finished floor with open air access I could use.  The guy looked a little shady, but I figured “what the hell“.
The spot he led me to was pretty dark, there were no walls, and if you took a wrong step – that would have been the end of you.  This feeling made me acutely aware of the income gap between myself and the guy who led me up to that spot, and realized that if he wanted my camera – it would have been pretty easy for him to just push me off the roof.


And you know what?  That sucks.  I got caught up in ‘tourist’ mindset where you always assume the worst because of a difference in financial situations and being in a foreign land.  The guy didn’t kill me – I tipped him for showing me the spot (and not killing me) and I walked away trusting humanity *that* much more.

And came back with a half-way decent shot of what you would see if you had looked up that night.

We made our journey back to Lima and spent our final day catching up on all our business we had been separated from.  Here’s David laughing at something inappropriate I probably said.

 The trip was a blast, and there was so much more to tell of this story.  However, the blog post would have stretched pages – and hey, we both don’t have time for that.  However, if you’d like to see more images, check me out on Facebook (I’ll be uploading a different set tomorrow).
In the meantime, check back later this week for another post from my 2nd trip to Peru for my visit to the Amazon Rain forest.

PS – here’s the breakdown for total trip cost in case you’re curious of making the journey yourself:

Flight – $300

Hotel & Hostel – $350 each for the entire trip

 Tour to Machu Picchu via Salkantay including meals – $250 each

Misc food, driver – $100

Total trip cost:  $1000

Hope you enjoyed this post!

KC Fisher - You are an incredible photographer!

I have a question about your trip. Based on this blog it looks like you did your traveling in Dec/Jan? How was the weather? My husband and I are planning to go next late December/early January and am nervous that it will be rainy/nasty weather.May 8, 2013 – 10:01 am

Claudia - The beauty of your photogrpahy inspires me. I’m going on quite a different kind of journey but nonetheless, I hope to get out as much from Peru as you did. Peru, here I come!February 5, 2013 – 1:56 pm

Lena - You didn’t really eat that cute hamster… did you? :*( haha The silhouette shot of the sun over the mountains and the one of the starry sky is killllller dawg!!!!January 19, 2013 – 3:45 pm

Amazon Adventure | Tim King Blog | Tim King Photographer - [...] Machu Picchu! [...]January 14, 2013 – 5:24 am

Elle Moral - I really enjoyed reading about your impromptu trip to Peru. What a great trip to share with your homie. Your photos really rocked. I love how simple yet impactful your images are. Thanks so much for sharing, please keep on!January 13, 2013 – 3:35 pm

MattyV - Wow Tim, this was a great blog…thanks for posting man. Always enjoy reading about your adventures.January 12, 2013 – 9:28 pm

Melanie Rose - Finally had a chance to look at your blog and I am completely blown away. These landscapes are some of the most remarkable, crisp shots I have ever seen! I still can’t get over the night sky shot. Love it!January 12, 2013 – 5:35 am

Johnny Jimenez - Amazing work Tim. From your work it seemed like most was shot in wide angle if i am not mistaken, Either was your work is incredible!!!!!!!!!!January 10, 2013 – 8:29 pm

Mark Andrew Gonzales - We all know those ruins weren’t build by man… lol Anyway great blog post! Would love to have all the experiences you’ve had so far. Keep sharing dude the pictures are sick as f***!January 10, 2013 – 2:59 pm

Mirian Silva - Tim, I absolutely loooooooved this post. I am glad you are posting again. The story and the pics were amazing. You do an incredible job of transporting others to that moment through your pics and your writing..can’t wait to see more! :)January 10, 2013 – 7:11 am

chari - AMAZING! The shots, the cost… the adventure. I’m very curious to hear what lenses you ended up taking!January 9, 2013 – 10:07 pm

Christy - wow. You have taken some photos of Peru in a way I haven’t seen before. Beautiful. The star pic made me say wow and the 5th from the bottom made my stomach drop. You captured the the area great. I remember thinking I couldn’t capture what I saw with my eyes there but you got it!January 9, 2013 – 9:12 pm

danielle - dude. sweet shots!!! I hope Niko can get that shot :) oh and you better not have eaten that sweet lil guinea pig! lolJanuary 9, 2013 – 7:58 pm

Ellie - Tim! I’ve come back from my Christmas holidays to find that you’ve started posting again! Horaay! I love reading your blog.. and this trip looks simply amazing. It’s crazy that it only cost you $1000! Might have to make the trip one day myself… Thanks for the inspiration! :)January 9, 2013 – 6:33 pm

Matthew Eeles - Amazing pics Tim. The second to last photo is simply magical.January 9, 2013 – 6:33 pm