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Chandler Bondurant

CONTENT

Chandler Bondurant

Christophe Chaisson


Christophe C: Why do you adventure?

Chandler B: I wouldn't necessarily say that I go out and pursue something just for the sake of 'adventuring'. For me there's always an intentional reason for each trip, and the unpredictable events that happen along the way are what turn a normal trip into an adventure that you go home and tell your friends about.

 

CC: Why take risks in life?

CB: Why not? The way I see it, you only have one shot at life. And I know that's a cliche thing to say, but I don't think most people really realize the weight of that. You've only got one go at this whole thing, so why not take some risks and see if they pay off? I'm a firm believer that the higher the risk, the higher the reward.

 

CC: What is your 9-5?

CB: I currently barista one or two days a week at a cafe because it makes it easier to save, but aside from that I pay my bills with photography.

CC: Where are you from?

CB: Originally I'm from South Georgia but I currently reside in Atlanta.

 

 

 

 

 

CC: When you were growing up what or who did you want to be?

CB: For the longest time I wanted to be an astronaut, but apparently now I'm too tall(6' 2" is the cutoff).

CC: Favorite place you've visited?

CB: East Africa by far. The culture and landscape made for one of the most incredible places I've ever had the opportunity to experience.

 

CC: Place you most desperately want to visit?

CB: This is a difficult one. If I had to pick one place right now it would probably be Nepal. I'd love to experience a landscape on such a scale as the Himalayas as well as the unique culture and people there.

CC: What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling?

CB: My friend Melissa tops the list for this one. When I was in Alaska in 2015 she let me stay on her couch for FREE for over a month when I had nowhere else to go. I'm forever grateful for her and everybody else that has opened up their home to me while I've been on the road.

 

CC: What has changed about you because of your travels?

CB: I'd say the perspective on life that I've gained. Staying in one place really limits your viewpoint on life and can make you very close-minded over time. After I left South Georgia my perspective on life and culture changed dramatically because I was able to experience and understand other people's opinions and ways of life.

CC: Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met?

CB: Our driver in Africa, Gilles, has to be one of the most interesting and friendly people I've ever had the opportunity to talk to. Originally from Rwanda, he was living in the country 20 years ago when the terrible Rwandan genocide took place, but has since taken up a career in driving for tour companies and started a family. We had lots of time to talk on our long drives between Rwanda and Uganda and I'm really glad I had the opportunity to get to know him.

 

CC: If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why?

CB: This may sound crazy, but definitely President Obama. He seems like a cool, laid back dude with pretty good taste in music. Also, access to Air Force one would be pretty convenient.

CC: Must haves for travel?

CB: I've always got a digital or film camera on me. Always. It's very important for me to be able to photograph things on a seconds notice, especially if it's for a job or project. If I'm going on a plane, I make sure to always have my laptop, external hard drive, and headphones on me. I've also learned the hard way that having a rain jacket in your bag at all times is never a bad idea.

 

CC: Travel tips?

CB: Never try to be on too tight of a schedule, and be okay with the fact that your trip is NEVER going to go exactly as planned. I've begun to embrace this, because like I said earlier, the unexpected things that happen on a trip are usually the things that are worth telling stories about. It's also good to always be prepared for a change in the weather. I always keep a rain jacket and some sort of extra layer on me because too many times I've been stuck exposed on a trail when a rainstorm appeared out of nowhere, and it is zero fun.

CC: Tell us a story! 

CB: The closest I've ever come to dying was in Alaska on Matanuska Glacier. I was with a couple of friends and we were there to shoot some photos for a brand. In preparation for this, we had rented some basic ice gear(mountaineering boots, crampons, etc.) from REI and for some reason I thought that made me an ice climbing expert. We got to the glacier and while everyone was shooting photos, I thought it would be a great idea to go exploring by myself. Now anyone with any sort of glacier experience will tell you that this is a very stupid thing to do, and they're right. This did not occur to me at all at the time though because I was cocky and thought that I was invincible. After about 5 minutes of wandering around, I misjudged the thickness of some ice and fell straight through into a hidden crevasse. Luckily it was filled with water and I didn't fall to an immediate death. However, the sides of the crevasse were sloped in and I wasn't able to simply pull myself out. After what seemed like an eternity of struggling, I managed to pull myself out using my ice axe(thanks to Willie Dalton for letting me borrow his). Luckily I didn't get hypothermia after all of this; though I did have to walk close to a mile back to the car in nothing but my base layer. I also lost all of my camera gear and cell phone to water damage. If there's one thing I learned from this experience, it's that you should always have your personal safety in mind, because mother earth does not care and will kill you without a second thought. I got extremely lucky that day, and if there wasn't water in that crevasse, or if I didn't have an ice axe, I could have been seriously injured or killed.

 

CC: Based on your travels, what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger?

CB: Compassion and understanding. There are too many people that I've met who are afraid of and made uncomfortable by other cultures and people, and I think this comes from willful ignorance and a lack of understanding.

I genuinely believe that if everyone were to work hard at understanding people of other races, cultures, and religions, the earth would be a much better place.

 

CC: What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you?

CB: Everyone has different definitions of happiness, and just because someone doesn't particularly align with yours, does not mean that they are wrong.

CC: What would you say to someone who has never travelled before?

 CB: Do it.

CC: When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson?

CB: When I was flying up to Alaska for the second time, I only had a place to stay for a week and had absolutely no idea where I was going to be staying after that. I had barely made any friends yet and definitely none that I thought would be nice enough to let me stay with them. I was terrified. Luckily it worked out in the end and I had somewhere to stay for the following month. For me this just reinforced that it's almost always worth it to take risks. Worst case scenario, I would have gotten a hotel and flown back to Georgia. Fortunately however it worked out and I got to stay and enjoy Alaska for longer.

 

CC: What gives you hope?

CB: Enjoying the small things in life. Even if I'm not photographing it or writing it down, I always make it a point to appreciate every little thing about a situation.

CC: What would you say to your former self?

CB: Don't act like a hot shot know-it-all all the time and actually listen to people that may know better than you.

CC: Where to next?

CB: It's looking like I'll be in Iceland in the next few months, which will hopefully be really incredible. I'm challenging myself to go there and come back with photos that are different than the typical Iceland photos and that really illustrate the beauty of the country and culture. I'm also in the planning stages of a possible trip to India/Nepal next year, which if it happens, should be the trip of a lifetime.

 

Ben: Is flannel always in season?

CB: Hell yes.