Australia Zoo Journal-PART 1--PART 2-
-PART 3--PART 4--PART 5--PART 6--PART 7--PART 8--PART 9--PART 10-Australia Zoo Journal - Part 3
I was downtrodden from my third place finish for quite some time afterwards, though I continued to forge ahead in my studies. I couldn't afford to think very much about the travel voucher that I had won, though when my mind became clear I found myself entertaining various options that could allow me the opportunity to visit Australia.
Several individuals suggested selling my photography through prints as a means for raising money for a flight, though initially I scoffed at the idea. I would occasionally sell a print or two on DeviantArt, but the prospect of selling enough to cover a trans-Pacific round-trip set of flights seemed daunting to say the least. It wasn't until I found significantly discounted airfare that I began to seriously consider putting energy into fundraising.
One stipulation of the voucher was that it had to be used within a period of one year so I had some reservations with trying to raise a few thousand dollars within such a short period of time. However, after some encouragement from friends and family, I decided to give it a shot. What I lacked in confidence I made up for in brash stubbornness; the opportunity was still there and, as long as it was, I would continue to try and make it work.
On my DeviantArt account, I decided to hold a special sale to help raise money for a potential trip to Australia. Despite some encouragement from others, I often found myself thinking that I was in well over my head. Selling photography is an art unto itself and quite the challenge for even the most talented individuals. Nevertheless, I tried to market myself as best as possible, offering a range of products and reinforcing the idea that it would help me fulfill a dream of mine.
The response from DeviantArt and elsewhere was quite surprising. A respectable number of friends, particularly on DeviantArt offered their support. I was hardly making money hand over fist, but there was a steady flow of income, fueling a steady increase in confidence.
At university, I created a large display with sale and species information, holding a table over the course of a few days. Marketing to students in the same financial state as myself was perhaps not the best strategy, though I was able to raise some money while sharing art and conservation stories.
I maintained close scrutiny on my finances and with every sale came a renewed sense of hope. Any spare money that came my way was added to the total. However, a friend would eventually step up with support that almost single-handedly put a trip to Australia within my reach.
A friend from a conservation organization whom I had worked with extensively offered to buy a set of calendars as part of their responsibilities to provide gifts for stellar volunteers. I was floored with the offer. Combined with the money I was making from other sources, it was enough to pay for a round-trip ticket.
With plane tickets covered and the Australia Zoo Travel voucher in hand to subsidize the trip, I found myself only having to worry about accommodation and food. After meditating on the subject and discussion with others, I decided to commit myself to a trip. Ultimately, it was an incredible opportunity to fulfill a dream, one too valuable to put aside. I also felt indebted to those who had supported me either with votes in the contest or sales from prints to make the effort to get myself to Australia.
I eventually secured my brother as someone willing to go on the trip with me. If it was anything I learned about traveling in Asia it was that no matter how amazing the travel experience, such experiences are best shared with someone you care about. I was grateful for that.
I chose early May as a starting date, just after graduating from university. There was no turning back.
It's an interesting feeling to make money from art. The fact that someone is willing to buy something you've created and put it on their wall serves as a tremendous honour. In this regard, it is similar to working with tigers and other endangered species: the honour is not lost in time, it is perpetual. Thank you to everyone who purchased prints and other products which helped me fulfill my dream. I could not have done it without you.-PART 1--PART 2-
-PART 3--PART 4--PART 5--PART 6--PART 7--PART 8--PART 9--PART 10-