A snowstorm was threatening. I kept an eye out on our driveway as the late December sky became ever darker. At last, a pair of headlights pulled in. My Couchsurfing guest unfolded himself from the small rental car and came to the door with a smile. Tall, lanky, with curly dark hair, and a face that had seen much of the outdoors, Hamish Roberts walked with the confidence of a man who is happy to be where he is. The snow started as soon as he carried his modest kit into our guest room.
The next day, we went to the University of Virginia to tour the grounds. A blanket of white covered everything. As I explained the architecture and history of the Academical Village (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), he captured me on his iPhone. It was the first time that I had seen someone take a selfie. It was also the first time that I knew that a camera phone could take videos. But what really surprised me was the quality of the video and the audio track.
Hamish was a student at American University. Actually, he was a junior at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, doing a year abroad in the United States. He was on the Christmas break from American University, and urgently trying to cover as much of the Southeast as he could in 30 days. Just shy of his fourth decade, he is far from a typical undergraduate.
Hamish is a professional videographer, who spent several years working in India and other countries as a freelance TV cameraman. He can do more with a simple iPhone than most could with a full studio of gear, so I can understand why he has no problem landing film gigs.
Originally from Christchurch, NZ, he has been living on the road for a long time. He goes where the work is; film crews work “on location” almost everywhere that you can imagine. But Hamish also likes to travel for its own sake. He uses his free time to go to amazing places he wants to see.
Videographers are the people with the cameras, camcorders, smartphones, etc. on the set, in the stadium, the theatre, or at the scene. They are the people filming the news anchor and the game or scene that she is talking about. While the Director of Photography (a cinematographer) may be in charge of the film crew on a movie set, people like Hamish actually take the pictures and record the sound. There is always plenty of work for good people with his talent. And one of those skills is being able to live on the road easily.
Trip update: This week, I rode up to the Blue Ridge to ride the Skyline Drive. I planned on an overnight trip, so that I could get back to Charlottesville in time for choir rehearsal on Wednesday night. It was good training: 1000 meters up and less than 68 down on Tuesday. A cold front blew in Tuesday evening, dropping the temperature drastically, and putting my Big Agnes Copper Spur II tent to a serious test. It passed: I was cozy and warm, and slept well all night.
The rear derailleur cable broke 6 km from the Loft Mountain Campground, which left me stuck in high gear. I had to walk uphill three times, but Wednesday was mostly downhill, so I coasted to a friend’s house in Ruckersville, and hitched a ride back to Charlottesville. By 1600, I was back on the road, thanks to the generous wrenches at Performance Bicycle, Matt Dalton and Kenny Johnson.
I have been riding to a different paradigm since the overnight trip. I try to ride a certain number of hours each day, rather than try to cover a certain distance. This is less stressful, and it allows me to schedule the many other things that I must accomplish before setting out for Europe 2015.
Next week, another sea story. Feedback is always welcome, including ideas for things that you would like to read about.
Smooth roads and tailwinds,