Over the past few months, we’ve followed our Ambassador Simon Pocock’s adventures with envy. His love of the natural world, and unmistakable talent capturing human connection, draw us one step closer to his deep passion and incredible visual story telling. In the journal piece below, Simon shares with us a project which he undertook in Kenya, documenting the phenomenal work done by organizations within these communities, as well as a personal project, the build of a secluded wilderness cabin. These are the stories we love to share…
The last few months have dished up an awesome variety of work for me, a privilege I try and check myself on regularly.
Combining my natural draw to the outdoors, love for sport and curiosity around authentic stories, the mix of mostly photographic work has kept me inspired, motivated and on my toes a lot of the time. So much growth has come out of these months for me, a lot of the time as I think back I have found myself hiking along some mountain trail wondering ‘how on earth did I get here’.
This year I’ve been focusing on a lot more introspection and finding my inner truth as a creative, trusting the process and my mixed skill set, along with digging into my individuality. Easier said than done, in today’s modern media-frenzied world where our insecurities and vulnerabilities are often hidden away.
I wanted to share a few personally meaningful stories of late and hope they can add some degree of perspective to someone’s day.
On Kenya and authentic work
In March I headed to Kenya for what has been my biggest project to date, both in sheer volume and artistic responsibility. We visited the Namunyak conservancy, in Northern Kenya, a magnificent wilderness area of 850,000 acres situated in the Mathews Mountain Range. This wild landscape is home to the Samburu people, a pastoralist community guided by ancient traditions and living alongside the wildlife of the area.
The Sarara Foundation works across a myriad of sectors including conservation, eco-tourism and philanthropic work in community education and medical services. They have established the world renowned Reteti Elephant Sanctuary and have developed a beautiful micro economy around the sanctuary where ladies form the local villages sell the milk from their herds of goats to contribute towards the feeding plan of the rescued baby elephants.
It was quite an undertaking to document all of these factors authentically and honestly during my two weeks on the ground, but a challenge I am grateful to have received. It was one of those projects that overflowed with potential stories in every direction and I’m happy with how things turned out in the end.
On my own space in the mountains
On the first of August last year I very gratefully took ownership of my own little caravan, permanently stationed somewhere out in the Western Cape mountains. A symbolic achievement for myself, having dreamt of my own basecamp in the wilderness since being a kid.
It’s a simple setup where less is more, one that was very gracefully shared with me by a friend from the trail running community.
The build has been a passion project for me and one that I can share with my father, but also enjoy sharing with my friends along the way. We build whenever life and work allow us to get out there, we’ve watched the seasons come and go and begun to understand the nuances of the place, always making time to explore on every visit. The process of outfitting the space has been hugely rewarding for myself as a creative who seeks and appreciates both the joys of designing in the mind and on paper, followed by executing with the hands.
The project represents a lot more than what meets the eye. Getting out there, away from the busyness and the cell signal – being present in the task at hand, everything else just sort of erodes away. The process holds relevance to so many people in their own unique way.
At the end of the day it’s only an old caravan with a wooden roof over it, sure it will evolve and improve but it’s not about the external validation of having a second home or the achievement. It’s always been about pouring my heart into a tangible project that represents so much of what is actually important to me.
This August marks one year since we started and although I’m not so sure of the intended outcome; I’ve been working on a small newspaper print design to carry the imagery, sketches and story of the project to date.
A big thank you to Simon for sharing these magical stories with us. Follow more of Simon’s inspiring Adventures on Instagram, and stay in touch with the Sarara Foundation here. All images and copy supplied by Simon Pocock.