I was born and raised in San Diego. Motocross was a big part of my life growing up. I took it seriously until I was 16 when I suffered a broken neck and a massive concussion that made me forget my own name for 5 hours. Unfortunately, that injury ended my hopes of becoming a MX racer.
A few years later, I went to Hawaii for university. It was here that I discovered my passion for filmmaking. At the time, I was studying with the aspiration of becoming a holistic psychiatrist after learning about the neurological damage that can be caused by Big Pharma.
However, in my senior year of college I broke my neck for the second time! I was out body surfing at the number one broken neck beach in the world – Sandy Beach on the east coast of Oahu. This second neck injury made me reevaluate my life. I realised I wasn’t invincible and that life was precious.
I had around 3,000 followers at the time and I began focusing on photography and film while studying business and how to successfully launch a media company. For those reading, I highly suggest looking up Simon Sinek, “Start With Why” when considering how to develop a brand.
After six months of research, I committed to do a three month trip in Southeast Asia with my business partner. Our campaign was crowdfunded which only covered the flights. We landed in Southeast Asia with just $1,000 in our pockets. It was safe to say that we were screwed at this point!
Luckily, the team at ActiveOn action cameras came to the rescue and sponsored the trip. The agreement was that after Asia I would come back to San Diego to be their Creative Director. It was a fantastic opportunity.
What inspired my love of travel wasn’t like most stories you hear. It was just being able to build a platform to share my thoughts and ideas – all while having the opportunity to help others learn how to achieve their own dreams. I am humbled by the success of some of those who I’ve mentored.
My close friend Amir Zakeri is hands down the one who inspires me the most. He uses his success to educate the world on Climate Change, humanitarian issues and ecological preservation all around the globe.
Inspiration to Visit Croatia on a 3-Week Adventure
It was my first time in Europe and I wasn’t ready to leave anytime soon. So I decided to book a flight to Croatia with a girl who followed me on social media. That turned out to be a bit of a nightmare but I won’t go into it!
My plan was to explore Croatia for three weeks – starting in Dubrovnik before road trippin’ north to Split. From Split, I took a ferry to Hvar and that’s where I officially fell in love and found the amazing Pakleni Islands.
I had the best time in Hvar. Two and a half weeks spent in the most welcoming hostel, bantering with the English, taking dinghy boats out to explore during the day and partying in the warm Mediterranean climate at night. It was just an amazing time that I will cherish forever.
We had a fleet of dinghy boats that we used with the other travelers to discover cliff-jumping spots and explore the islands. It was like nothing I have ever experienced as a filmmaker. I finally felt like I was on vacation.
Wild Times Exploring the Pakleni Islands
I had never heard about the Pakleni Islands before I arrived in Hvar. However, as soon as we docked in Hvar, I looked across the incredibly blue waters and essentially yelled: “we are going there tomorrow!”. We ended up visiting this island chain at least ten times in two and a half weeks.
Although I didn’t really bond with the girl I traveled with, she did do something pretty rad. There was a group on a yacht in one of the coves and she wanted to go there too. Just as we pulled up, she started flaunting her stuff on the bow of our boat and asked them if they wanted to hang out!
It turned out they were about to head out to wake surf behind the yacht. That was awesome to be a part of and made for incredible filming.
Beaches, Coves and Cliffs of the Pakleni Islands
I can’t remember the names of the beaches and coves we visited in the Pakleni Islands. Although, that doesn’t matter as there are so many spots to explore. If you look from the dock at Hvar you will see a stunning island chain with turquoise and green water just waiting for your arrival.
Our goal was to explore every cove before we left Hvar and so we hardly ever parked the boat! It was so much fun being out on the water everyday. Not only were the beaches amazing but we also found some epic cliff-diving spots. The diversity of landscapes is remarkable around Hvar.
Base yourself in Hvar to Explore the Pakleni Islands
I was on a budget in Croatia so I couldn’t afford to stay on the Pakleni Islands. If you are a budget traveler, then I would recommend staying at a hostel in Hvar. Here you will meet an incredible mix of European cultures.
Be careful of the English though. They are incredibly sarcastic but once you get their humour you will be laughing together with a few beers in hand.
We hired dinghies everyday in Hvar. It costs around $20 for the day and you can go wherever you want. Fair warning: if you bring camera gear then make sure you purchase a wet bag. The luxury boats don’t slow down when they pass you by. We almost lost our cameras on a few occasions.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Croatia is a bit expensive. There’s no two ways around it. Make sure you have the right budget and book ahead. Places like Hvar and the Pakleni Islands can book out super quick in the summer months, so be prepared.
My final tip is to stay in a hostel, make some new friends, rent out a dinghy and enjoy your time. You are going to be in one of the most beautiful places on earth and you will regret not making the most of this stunning place! You can always join a tour or sailing trip if that’s your preference too.
Happy traveling in the beautiful Pakleni Islands!