Meet Brendan van Son from – Interview

My interview series continues with an amazing traveller and digital nomad.

If you are interested in what’s like being a writer and photographer that travels the world and makes a living out of it too, then you will definitely enjoy this interview.

So, here we go:

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a travel photographer and journalist from Canada.

I’ve been a digital nomad for the past 5 years and have visited over 75 countries.

I blog at and own one of the world’s most exciting travel magazines

Brendan van Son

2. How did you find your passion for travel and what made you start

For Interview-2I think it was planted in me at a pretty young age. I know that when I was little summer holidays were the highlight of my year because it meant we got to go exploring.

At age 12, I begged my parent’s to let me go on a school exchange to Japan, and that really entrenched the idea of travel into my mind.

From then on, my whole life became about travel. Almost everything I did was done so with the idea that I’d get to travel a bit to do so.

After graduating from University, having already done trips to Japan, Egypt, Central America, and Mexico, I decided to wing life for a year and took a job as a tour leader in South America. I started doing some print journalism at the same time. was my portfolio to begin, but then as print slowly died, it became my career.

3. Amazing pictures… what is your favorite spot for photographing?

For Interview-3Anywhere with water, really. I love taking shots that have water in the foreground.

Waterfalls, coastlines, lakes, rivers, etc. I’m also a massive fan of wildlife, so anywhere I get to go on safari is a plus. In terms of countries, my favourite places thus far to shoot have been Ireland, Namibia, and Canada.

4. What is your photographing gear of choice?

Ha. It’s actually kind of funny. I’m beyond poor, so I really only shoot with whatever I can afford.

I’d love to be shooting a full frame Canon 5D Mark iii with a 14mm f/2.8 lens, but instead I’m shooting a Canon 60D with a Sigma 10-20mm.

I’m a believer that it’s not really the gear that matters but the light, and execution. That being said, having the best gear removes a lot of the limitations.

5. What gear do you take in your travels beside your camera?

Everything I own, really. I have a 23kg bag that contains basically all my possessions.

Most of those things are electronics: a laptop, some external harddrives, a bunch of cables, and camera-related equipment like tripods, monopods, batteries, filters, etc..

Beyond the usual stuff, I pack essential things like ziplock bags and duct tape.

6. Teach us what are the basics in making a living travelling as a writer and photographer.

For Interview-4It’s not really as complicated as one might think. When it comes down to it, it’s all about drive and determination.

I’ve seen some of the most talented writers and photographers in the world fail because they didn’t push and gave up far too easily.

I’ve also seen some people who really lack any major skill set thrive. It’s all about working your ass off, when it comes down to it.

There are times I work 16 hour days for weeks on end without a day off. The beauty, though, is that when you love doing it, it doesn’t feel like work.

7. Give us a little insight into your “Travel Guides” section on your site. What can we learn there?

Really that’s just a bit of a knowledge dump, and little more. Guidebooks are so stuffed with information it’s really difficult to grasp the reality of what to expect.

Thus, when I visit somewhere I do my best to explain to people where I stayed, where I ate, and the things I did while I was there.

It’s straight forward and simple. I’m not aiming to create extensive travel guides, just bits and pieces that people can chew on to decide 1) if they want to go somewhere, and 2) what’s possible if they do go.

8. Give us 5 tips on how to make the perfect outdoor pictures and how to recognise the perfect spot and conditions.

  1. Shoot the light. Don’t bother doing landscape photography outside the soft light of early morning and late afternoon. The colours will be softer and the sky more colourful.
  2. Your photo needs layers and lines. Create a foreground element, a middle, and a background. Find flowing lines in nature to draw the subject’s eye around the image.
  3. Explore. Don’t settle for the first cool spot you see to photograph, explore the area extensively and find the perfect scene before shooting.
  4. Pack a tripod. You’re not going to get sharp images without one. If you want to shoot serious images, you need one.
  5. Don’t be scared of weather. Sometimes the best photos come right after, before, or during a storm. Get yourself prepared for the elements and go shoot in the harsh weather, that’s where magic happens.

9. Who is your favorite traveller and hero?

For InterviewMy favourite traveller is the one who can explore their own hometown.

I have more respect for the person that can find interesting things to explore without travelling around the world.

These are the people that have the most curious eyes, and the most creativity.

I’m also a massive fan of travellers that go about and travel for the love of it. My least favourite traveller is the one who does it as a sport, to be the first to do something or another.

For me, that’s not what travel is about.

10. A message to your fans.

Go and explore.

The world, whether at home or far away, is worth exploring.

The world is full of wonder and inspiration.

There’s little need for storybooks or movies when you’re out living one.


Thanks Brendan so much for your inspiring story and tips. We have a lot to learn from you and the adventures you share on your blog. This was a wonderful opportunity for me and my readers and we appreciate your giving-back to the community that is growing here on

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James Menta

Camping Gear Reviewer at
Three things you need to know about James - he holds a degree in Materials Technology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he is a zealot for the great outdoors and he can never find his glasses.       In brief intermissions between looking for his glasses, he is the Editor-in-chief of

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