2016: A Year in Review

A lot of things came together last year and I wanted to reflect upon my year.  It's a tad late to write about this, but I always like to say that it's never too late for anything. 

Last year, I took it up a notch and decided to shoot more with my camera. This did not happen without my friends picking up their own. When people tell you that you inspired them, it truly means a lot. And these are guys who never really took up any creative activity or what most will say, "hobby".  I took these guys under my wing and taught them what they needed to know. I am by no means an expert, but I could teach people what I know. 

Jess R.

Jess R.

PJ Canaveral

PJ Canaveral

 

I really thought I'd never use my camera until I traveled. It's the reason why I purchased my camera in the first place. My camera gave me more purpose to create and explore. Me and my friends explored cities, local parks, hidden gems, visited Instagram spots, and attended only one Instameet. On top of that, we met a few people through the world of Instagram. 

What did photography do to me? It's overwhelming in a good way because it truly created a positive impact to my life. I created more. I explored. I traveled. I started writing. I got to connect with like-minded people on Instagram and even met some of them in real life (hoping that I could meet more of you this year and whenever possible). And it is always a pleasure to inspire others through this medium. 

Masego

Masego

Inspiration doesn't always come within. Before my trip to Seoul, I discovered Alice through Instagram and this is way before she even took notice of my work. Her heavy blog of travel and lifestyle content inspired me to create even more. The Seoul video I created was really inspired by her travel videos on BunBao. Only if I had discovered her earlier, maybe I'd be inspired to make videos during my trip to Hong Kong and Japan in 2015. But even before then, I created videos for the sake of experimenting and I truly took a step forward after seeing her videos.

Were we in Seoul at the same time?

Surprisingly, she came to San Francisco in a short amount of time that we connected through Instagram. Don't get me wrong, Instameets aren't always perfect, but we clicked from the moment we met in person. I'm glad to meet such a passionate person from the other side of the world even though our time together was short. I'm hoping that I catch a sponsored flight to Berlin this year, if that will ever happen!

 
 

Quick tip for travelers, WOW air is offering cheap flights to Berlin and Paris!

 

To all my friends, old and new and to those I met very briefly, I hope you're all doing well.

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I'm going to save travel for another post, but these photos below will sum up where I've been.

But first, let me share my thoughts. Travel isn't a phase for me, it's something that I'll do forever. I'm glad that I'm spending my last years in my 20's doing something that made a huge impact to my life. I know I haven't seen the whole world, but experiencing and seeing these places has made me a better person. Travel taught me how to love and show compassion to others. It taught me how to step out of my comfort zone. It taught me how to be free and to always keep an open mind. It taught me how to give back. It taught me that I don't need to be rich or own expensive things that don't matter at the end. 

New Orleans, Louisiana "NOLA"

New Orleans, Louisiana "NOLA"

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Saigon, Vietnam

Saigon, Vietnam

South Korea

South Korea

Jeju Island, South Korea

Jeju Island, South Korea

Washington State

Washington State

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

At the end of the year, I stepped down from my full-time position working at a "start-up" to part-time to focus on my studies on UX/UI design with Springboard. I finish the course within a month and I am currently on the search for new opportunities in this new year. While I am looking for roles in UX, I am open to offer my creative skills as a freelancer. 

2016 was full of experiences and I'm glad all these things happen because I know that this year, I'll be doing even better. I want to meet people. I want to continue learning. I want to experience new things. I want to make an impact in people's lives by inspiring or helping others in any way. I want to do so many things with good intent. With no list written down, I'll continue to build upon my accomplishments last year and continue to do things with a purpose.

 
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Thank you for being part of my journey.
-Russell

PersonalRussell Rabanal