Today: Travis Novitsky is a nature photographer. A member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Novitsky also is manager at Grand Portage State Park.
I am not currently in the middle of reading anything, but I do have two books that are next on my list of must-reads: “Cathedral of the Wild” by Boyd Varty and “The End of Night” by Paul Bogard. “The End of Night” intrigues me because my No. 1 passion when it comes to photography is the night sky. The book talks about searching for natural darkness in an age of ever-increasing artificial light. I am excited to read “Cathedral of the Wild” after hearing Varty on the “TED Radio Hour.” I was coming home from the Southwest where I just had some amazing solo experiences in the wilds of southern Utah (which, coincidentally, also involved night photography). I heard Boyd talking about his book. This passage made me pull off the road and write down the book title: “In the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the most beautiful parts of ourselves reflected back at us.” Once I heard those words, I knew I had to read his book. He summed up how I felt about the trip I was on.
I don’t spend a lot of time on social media, but I pay attention to some things. I like to go on road trips for my photography. I like to stick to gravel or off-pavement routes. After much research on a proper vehicle, I settled on a Jeep Wrangler. I found it is wildly popular with people who like to stay off the beaten path. The Wrangler goes wherever you want (not limited by condition of off-pavement routes), and the options for customizing it for this type of exploring and camping are almost infinite. Consequently, many of the people I’m following online are people who have been doing this sort of thing and like to share what they’ve learned. I also follow too many photographers on Instagram to list here. Much of my inspiration is internal, but following others inspires me and plants seeds for new adventures.
My current obsession is overland-style exploring and camping. Most of what I watch on YouTube is about that. Many of the overlanders I follow have channels.
My musical tastes are all over the place — there isn’t much I don’t like. What I’m listening to depends on what I’m doing. I just returned from a two-week trip where most of my driving time was spent listening to the Road Trip radio station on SiriusXM. That station has yet to play a song I don’t like. My most-listened to podcasts are “StarTalk” with Neil deGrasse Tyson and the “Heart Wisdom” podcast with Jack Kornfield. “StarTalk” satisfies my cosmic curiosity and “Heart Wisdom” keeps me centered and focused on my anchors, which is something I’ve really needed this past year.
I’m immersing myself in road trips. In the past six months I’ve gone on two extensive trips where the main focus has been exploring, hiking, photography and mindfulness. I’ve experienced some major shifts in my life in the past year. I’ve become all about mindfulness and being in the moment. Regarding my photography, I’ve always been more about the story of the photos and the experiences that went along with them than the technical how-to of their creation. Mindfulness and feeling good about myself goes hand in hand with this, and I love how it’s helping my life and my art.