Interview with Mark Harrison

'It mentally destroyed me; I'm obsessed..'

It mentally destroyed me; I'm obsessed. Since 2012, a backpacker turned full-time adventurer and teacher has been crafting global memories. Balancing a passion for travel with an eye for photography and videography, he shares advice for social media growth—do one thing well and stay consistent. From pushing his limits with board sports to mastering backflips, he advocates breaking rules for an extraordinary life. With COVID-19 and a gunpoint encounter in Colombia, he candidly shares his unique experiences on YouTube.

In what way do photography and videoing your trips enhance your overall experience when travelling?

I try to remember that a camera is a tool for documenting great memories. I try not to make my trips completely revolve around the camera but instead focus on having fun and capturing that story on camera. However, sometimes I’ll push a little past my comfort zone because I'm documenting the process. So that makes for an enhanced experience due to the camera.

What advice would you give to someone trying to grow their reach on social media?

Do ONE thing well, entertaining, or educating.
Make sure it's something you love and stay consistent with it.

How have you found that the current global climate has changed if at all, the lifestyle of travelling and sharing of it?

Well, 2020 has been a difficult year for sharing because travel seems like a "luxury" activity.  It's difficult to share such good times when people are very stressed out. Also, you can't travel internationally haha. Although I've used this time to travel domestically which has been amazing.

Where is one place you believe that everyone should visit at some point in their lives?

Probably the Andes, there's so much to see and do down there in South America. So much fun!

Where is on your ‘bucket list’ to visit next or at some point soon?

Mexico! I've spent so long in Asia, it's time to spend at least a month in Mexico.

What is one piece of equipment you use which enhances the capturing of your travels?

My 360 cameras, I've been having so much fun with that lately! It provides such a unique angle that we don't often get.

When travelling is it hard to find a balance between capturing moments and ‘experiencing’ them?

At first, I would struggle a lot with this and look back on my photo/video without much recollection of actually being there. However, that's all part of the process of getting better at photo/video. Lately, I have learned the best time to shoot and when it's time to put down the camera and be 100% present at the location you're in.

What is your favourite treat?

Hmm tough... probably dairy milk plain chocolate or Reese's peanut butter cups.

Do you have any other hobbies outside of travelling?

I'm obsessed with all board sports. Skateboarding, wakeboarding, kiteboarding, snowboarding.

If you were an animal what would you be and why?

Dolphin - swimming with that ease all day seems amazing.

Is there something you’ve done that you’d encourage everyone to do, which you surprised yourself by doing?

Learned to backflip and learned handstands.

Push your boundaries, do things that are "unsafe", break the rules, and learn new skills... nothing cool ever happens from your couch.

Having had COVID-19, can you share your experience and your mentality when exposed to it?

I was sick for 10 days with all the symptoms except lung issues. I caught it flying back from Colombia.

The most difficult part was spending 24 days alone in a basement and then the overseers of the test not telling me my result for 32 days. It mentally destroyed me.

Looking back at your ordeal when held at gunpoint in Columbia, could you talk us through this surreal experience?

It's all in the YouTube video 🙂

Is there anything you’ve discovered or experienced which isn’t common knowledge?

I mean everything seems like common knowledge until you truly understand for yourself. For example, you hear all about taking risks and living outside your comfort zone, but until you do it, you won't understand how amazing your life can become.

How do you stay connected with family and friends whilst travelling?

Visit every summer, video call a couple of times a month.

What home comforts do you miss when travelling?

Routine is huge, I miss a consistent diet and workout regime. I love feeling healthy and fit however, I also love the freedom of travelling, tough to find the perfect balance.

What are your aims for the next year?

Continue to shoot and travel/explore the world. I want to publish more fun and unique things around the world that not everyone has the luxury to enjoy. I want to continue to push my limits.

Join the adventure!

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Images by Mark Harrison