IT ALL STARTED IN 2013...
After winding down a 4-month marathon of what the crew affectionately refers to as utter “Bay-hem” on Transformers 4: Age of Extinction in Chicago, I remember spending my first lazy Sunday in months just catching up on emails. The phone rings and it’s Ilt Jones (international Location Supervisor/mentor/dear friend) on the other end. We hadn’t spoken in weeks as he had been in Asia for the majority of filming.
ILT: “I hear your passport’s up to date.”
ILT: “Your flight leaves tomorrow for Hong Kong, mate.”
At that point in my life the farthest this hayseed from Illinois had been away from home was lounging in a lawn chair on a Mexican beach or a scuba diving trip to the Cayman Islands with my father. Out of sheer childlike exhilaration and literally zero traveler's prowess, I foolishly spent the entire 15 hour flight from Chicago to Hong Kong celebrating with cocktails, watching movies and failing miserably at cramming Cantonese.
8,000 miles from home and anything remotely familiar...
I will never forget my first day on a balmy street in the Sham Shui Po district of Kowloon. Jet lagged out of my skull, my sorry state of profuse sweating and swaying back and forth caught the eye of Doug Dresser (international Location Manager and now great friend). With a classic Dresser smirk and a "We've all been there", he kindly loaned this newly-hired and obviously naive stranger some local currency (as I hadn't even considered they wouldn't take US dollars) for a life saving bottle of water.
(pictured: the street corner where nick spent his first day in hong kong)
The next month would be a 24 hour, 7 days a week crash coarse in Hong Kong culture and Location Managing of the highest caliber. We closed streets in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, blew up cars in the alley of a massive apartment complex and had stunt men on wires leapfrogging 25 stories in the air! Many firsts in my career but nothing compared to sharing the experience and being under the guidance of some of the best in the business.
As the HK portion came to a conclusion, my journey didn’t end there...
Immediately I boarded a plane and jumped ahead to Bejing to meet JJ Hook (international Location Supervisor/mentor/dear friend). Filming again in a mega city proved to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my career.
(pictured: some artifacts found around Beijing / JJ (left) & Nick (right) stand tall on final day of filming in Beijing)
Little did I know that this three month journey into the unknown would forever alter my life and change how I view the world. The epiphany itself wasn't fully realized until I found myself standing on the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China. Set about two hours or so outside of Beijing and totally isolated; Ilt, JJ, Amy IP (Hong Kong native/Assistant Location Manager/now great friend), Lau Chor Chun (Hong Kong native/Assistant Location Manager/now great friend) and I all experienced a Wonder of the World totally to ourselves.
Each breathtaking step was better than the next as five friends walked this miracle in human engineering with the Chinese sunset leading the way.
(top photo from left to right: jj hook, amy ip, ilt jones, lau chor chun, nick jamison)
Over the course of the next few weeks, I accompanied Ilt on his bucket list trek across China. It was an eye opening experience to the limitless accessibility of the world.
I vowed from then on to utilize the skills bequeathed to me from my new travel companions as to let them go to waste would be the ultimate disrespect. I furthermore vowed to hone and use my gifts as a photographer, a writer, a people-person and an adventurer to the fullest extent of their possibilities.
WHERE I'VE TRAVELED
110K+ MILES | 5 CONTINENTS | 11 COUNTRIES
MY LOCATION BUCKET LIST
√ = achieved | + = not yet...
√ snorkel with whale sharks | isla mujeres, mx
√ bioluminescent night swim | costa rica
+ run with the bulls | pamplona, spain
+ scuba dive with mola fish | bali
+hike an active volcano | pacaya, guatemala
+visit chichen itza on 3/20 (birthday) | yucatan, mx
+ photograph angkor wat ruins | cambodia
+ hike rice terrace fields | mu cang chai, vietnam
+ the great migration | tanzania , africa
+try potato bourekas | old city of jerusalem
+cave jumping | melissani cave, greece
√ watch the sunset from the great wall | china
√ ferry down yangtze river | china
+ hear call to prayer | morocco
+ snowboard down a volcano | cerro negro, nicaragua
+ cave diving | yogyakarta, indonesia
+ dive the great blue hole | belize
+ visit the door to hell | derweze, turkministan
+ helicopter through zhangjiajie national forrest | china
+ scout the pyramids of giza | egypt
+ have "lost in translation" moment | tokyo, japan
+ photograph a diplo show in ibiza | spain
+ many more to come +