Hi! My name is Walter Chang. I’m a photographer located in the New York City area. We Call This Home is a photography and film project based on three years of backpacking around the world.
The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to fund the creation of a beautiful hardcover book to share this journey with you. The book will be predominately images but contains stories from the experience scattered throughout.
The film portion of the project is already complete, you can check it out below.
When the global economy collapsed in 2008, I had just graduated from college. My friends and I all feared we’d have to move back in with our parents. Instead of pursuing freelance work in film and television, the profession I’d gone to college for in the first place, I decided to play it safe with a full-time job as an audio visual technician at a different university.
It was supposed to be a short detour, something to hold me over until the economy improved. But, three years later, I was still there and tired from being overworked.
Sometime during 2010, I began dreaming of quitting my job and traveling through Southeast Asia for three months. This idea eventually turned into plans for a year-long break. The whole concept was crazy: I had only traveled outside the United States twice – to the Bahamas and Paris. I was totally clueless. I knew nothing about backpacking or taking a gap year and I had no idea certain countries required visas to be visited. But I went ahead with the plan anyway.
For nearly a year, I saved up money by moving out of my apartment and sleeping at friends’ places. At one point, I even discreetly moved into the building where I was working at the time and slept there. I sold much of what I owned and took on additional hours at work. On Sept 13th 2011, I got on a plane.
I went to Nepal and trekked to Everest Base Camp. I did several self-drive safaris in southern Africa and fulfilled a childhood dream of seeing cheetahs. In India I took in the wondrous sights and sounds of Varnasi.
One year became two. Two became three. The endless travel felt like a drug-induced state. Each strange new place was exhilarating — a rush of new experiences.
To keep costs down I hitchhiked and took 30 hour train rides throughout countries like China and India. I slept in airports, camped, and Couchsurfed.
I had bad moments as well. I caught food poisoning several times, was robbed of everything in Chile, and nearly died when my car flipped over in the deserts of Namibia.
I never once imagined myself traveling like this before I set out. I always thought globetrotting was only possible for the rich and adventurous, but this isn’t true. Traveling around the world with nothing but a backpack can be done with less money than you think and becomes easier everyday through online traveling tools.
Traveling in this manner is really an educational experience and investment in yourself. You get to see how other people live and how they view life. You also get time to reflect on your own issues from an altogether different perspective. In the end you may just come out wiser, more confident, and laid back. Then there’s the interaction with people vastly different from you who time after time are willing and eager to accommodate complete strangers, yet expecting nothing in return. The whole experience is incredibly humbling and urges you to give back in the same way.
I’ve been extremely lucky going on an adventure like this. Capturing images and telling stories through a visual medium has always been an obsession of mine. Though I took a slight detour, photographing the people and places I visited during these travels gave me a chance to express this passion. With your support, I hope to share this story with you and perhaps inspire you with a bit of wanderlust.
Click the image below for a more detailed account of the trip:
Info: The book will be approx 150 pages, 11’’ x 8.5’’, hardcover, glossy pages with photos from over 60 countries.
Images: You can check some more of the images that will go into the book at my website www.wecallthishome.com
Country List: http://www.wecallthishome.com/?page_id=1630
Delivered: By May 2016
The funding goal represents the minimum amount I need to make the book. It includes paying for the actual printing, design and editing work, and shipping.
Right now the funding goal reflects the cheapest way we can print enough copies without sacrificing too much on quality. If the project gets funded and it happens to exceed the funding goal then more books can be printed at a lower cost, which means better quality materials and additional content.
Reaching a higher funding goal would enable us to share the book beyond Kickstarter and have it available on other websites, libraries, cafes, bookstores. It will open up a lot more opportunities.
With additional money we might even be able to hire a publicist or hold an exhibition in the New York City area.