What's in a Picture

August 02, 2016

What's in a Picture written by Dylan Johnston, Balboa Ambassador

It's a rare thing for a single event to shift your perspective on life. The road trip I took with my two friends, Moses and Ingrid did just that. We snowboarded in Leadville, CO, fed wolves in Westcliffe, CO and climbed sandstone in Moab, UT. This trip opened my eyes to the American West, the grandeur, big sky and vast open spaces.

It would change the perspective of anyone from the suburbs of New York City. It gave me a new found desire to live in pickup trucks, climb until my hands bled and explore the wild places to the fullest.

When you start traveling and adventuring your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends will all want to see pictures. A cheep digital camera will suffice to snap hundreds of pictures. But, when you spend an extended period of time in the desert, the sand will creep into the electronics and the moving parts of the camera will eventually stop moving. When my camera broke, I was spending all of my money on gas, driving to spectacular places; I couldn't pay for a replacement.

Even without a camera, your relatives will ask for pictures. I felt like a bad grandchild when I had no photos to show my grandparents. You cannot disappoint your grandparents.

I have always had sketchbooks, pens, and pencils for drawing. Art had been a part of my life since before I can remember. On my climbing trip to Seneca Rocks, WV, it clicked. I didn't need a camera. I could carry a sketchbook. I could draw pictures of the places I travel.

I started carrying a pen and paper on all my adventures, rock climbing and hiking, traveling. I found drawing places I love to be extremely mindful. I couldn't snap a picture in half a second. I had to sit down and focus on the view for at least fifteen minutes. My trip to Seneca had permanently shifted my perspective; I couldn't go back to a digital camera. I also found that grandparents like drawings more than pictures.

I now have an iPhone complete with a working camera and even my dad’s old 35mm, but I still carry a sketchbook on all my climbs. Art is not a thing; it’s a way to see the world.



Dylan is one of the original Balboa ambassadors. He shares a passion for living life to the fullest and sharing his stories with others who are less fortunate. To learn more about Dylan and other Balboa ambassadors check out our
family page


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