What Travel Has Meant to My Career

This is the sixth post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.

Cooney World Adventures Issue 6Traveling has been such an amazing opportunity for me in so many ways.

It’s taught me more than I ever could have learned from solely reading books. It’s showed me how to relate with people and find ways to communicate with others, even if we don’t speak the same language. You begin to realize deep down we’re not all that different.

Traveling has been an extremely liberating experience, though it wasn’t always easy. It pushes you and constantly forces you out of your comfort zone. Early on I had to find a way to be able to continue school while traveling. FLVS was such a great way to be able to do that. There were times when I was in the middle of the jungle in Central America, monkeys were swinging above my head and I was still able to take a test online.

Today, I’m a Freelance Photographer’s Assistant and generally work on large advertising campaigns. Needless to say, at times, there can be a lot of traveling with the job. Travel taught me that being flexible and adaptable when your plans don’t go quite as expected is a plus. However, I think the most helpful impact traveling has had on my profession is the ability to relate to others about the experiences we’ve had. There’s something about being able to talk to a complete stranger about a place that both of you have been. Suddenly it breaks down walls and there’s a nexus formed that can bond individuals.

Early on in my career, I had to make a lot of cold calls and emails to people I had never met in the attempt to find photography gigs. In one scenario, I saw the individual had traveled extensively and had a picture of a glacier in New Zealand on his website. I contacted him and made a comment about having previously been there as well. It got his attention that maybe I was a little different from every other hungry photo student attempting to break into the industry, and we kept the contact up. A few years later he landed a staff photographer position at a very prestigious corporation. He was kind enough to bring me on as his assistant and we now have the privilege of traveling all over the world on assignments together.

As my dad likes to say, “Travel is the ultimate education.” Not only does it provide a hands-on, immersive education, it also helps develop long-term relationships that lead to new opportunities and possibly a career. I am living proof.

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harrison cooneyThis post was written by FLVS alumnus Harrison Cooney and is the sixth in a year-long series by the Cooney family. Harrison loves surfing, hiking, reading, and of course photography.  In addition to photography assignments throughout Central Florida, his work has taken him to Europe and the Caribbean. Harrison’s father, Mike Cooney, recently published a book about their family’s travels. 

Visit www.cooneyworldadventures.com for more information or email mike@cooneyworldadventures.com.

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