Monday, November 21, 2011

The Blind Trust Fund

Photo: Media Team in Port Au Prince, Haiti
L-R: Driver, Bodyguard 1, Dan Denardo, Javier Suarez Martin, Ron Sim, Driver, Emily Lynch, Personal Aid, David Blum, Bodyguard 2


Today, when I watch reality shows like Survivor or repeat episodes of Fear Factor, I have to chuckle. You think building a hut or sticking your hand in a tub of worms is hard? Try treading through a minefield in rural Cambodia moments after hearing one go off; or carrying 50lbs worth of gear up a mountain in the Borneo Jungle while leaches feast on every vein in your body; or sweeping through the Helmand desert in Afghanistan with elite special forces commandos.

When you hoist a camera and a note pad for a living and decide to venture into the unknown--the game you play goes like this: If you lose, you die, and if you win, you get to do it again, and again, and again, and watch as friends die, until you die or retire. Period.

You don't study to become an expert in war zones or how to shoot and survive in remote environments--you just do it, and grow into the role. And as far as survival is concerned, you don't get better at "surviving;" you just keep getting lucky. But make no mistake--for the men and women that do what we do, luck is like a blind trust fund--you can make withdrawals but not deposits--and you have no idea how much is left.

3 comments:

bumatom said...

Wheres the application button!
Stay safe!

Emily Cavan said...

Yeaaah....I guess I was more hoping it was like those little lottery ball machines where a number pops up every time and there are always plenty left and you're just not totally sure how great the one that comes up will be. How about that? Let's pretend it's like that. Yeees. ;)

Small Footprints said...

Happy New Year, friend ... it's been awhile! I've always laughed at those reality shows, too ... the participants aren't really in any danger and the competition isn't really about survival. Can I ask you a question ... and this is asked with the deepest respect and a true wish to understand ... why do you do what you do? I've often wondered about people who put their lives at risk for an occupation or to accomplish something (like climbing the highest mountain or diving to unheard of depths on a single breath). I wonder what the flip side is of taking such a life and death risk. I know that for us, the public who views the pictures or reads about the experience, the benefits are many ... we learn, we understand, etc. But for the person taking such an enormous risk ... what is it that draws you to do it?

All that said ... I do thank you for the insight you bring to your fans and the world you've opened up to me. I wish you a happy, healthy and safe 2012!