Back Road


– Sean Jansen –

The term “back road” is something that resonates with me on a deep level, something I strive for everyday with my photo and writing career. Pursuing the unknown and going in a different direction with my work and seeking the opportunity to rise above. Using exploration and adventure to get there. However, I feel the word “adventure” has been used in ways of over-exaggeration. Adventure, to me, if I were to picture it as a metaphor, would be a trunk of a tree. Now, to be noticed and respected, you must strive to be the branch. Going outside of that relativity and expanding further. Now to be successful and to sprout one of the leaves from that branch, well, you’ll have to have something extraordinary in your hands. Something that “back roads” stands for me.

Backroads aren’t a highway. They aren’t a freeway, through road, driveway or street. To me, they are the roads less traveled, the roads many of us either strive for or steer clear of. To those of you who steer clear, I understand, for the fear of the unknown could be the most frightening. However, for those of us who strive for it, there could be that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and something spectacular that few, or even no one, has seen before.

With my travels taking me to places that many only dream about, I have had many the opportunity to walk, cycle, run, steer, and guide my way down backroads in almost every country I have been to. An hour’s bus ride away from the capital of Ecuador led me to one of the most beautiful volcanoes on earth, so close to the sun that you felt you could keep walking up into heaven. A dirt trail circumnavigating the beautiful Torres Del Paine in Chile. With a snowboard leading the way, S carving down the face of an untouched peak in Austria. Stand-up paddling a channel in Yellowstone National Park, and a bicycle trip down the California Coast.

So I ask, what does “back roads” mean to you? And which have you gone down?

I represented what it meant to me, but to others it could be as simple as taking a step out your front door and trying a new coffee shop, restaurant, or barber even. That is what I find beautiful about backroads. They are up only to the interpretation of what you want them to be. So I simply hope this piece does nothing more than to get you to explore the backroads that you desire.


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