He knew what he wanted to do, and he knew when he was finished doing it.
Andy Schön, a 1996 Boyertown graduate, has been around the world and now he’s sharing his experiences in his new travel photography book: “Fifteen Times around the World: A lion bit me in Zimbabwe, and other travel adventures.”
While he had an interest in photography throughout his life, it wasn’t until he began traveling that he thought to take “good photos” in order to remember and share his experiences.
“I didn’t know where to go so I decided to go everywhere,” he said. The travels began with road-trips and lead to international adventures. “Photography and traveling go hand in hand.” In addition to being a graduate of New York Film Academy, he has studied photography at the Rhode Island School of Design.
The subject of his photos: “Everything I see,” he says, listing wildlife, landscapes, architecture and a few human interest pieces featured in the book.
He favors photographing “landscapes that are unique and strangely, other planet-like, surreal.”
Schön traveled throughout an eight year period. He says he has taken more than 10,000 photos over the years. The book offers a “comprehensive summary” of his travels.
“I love meeting the [native] people, and the people I travel with,” he explained how the faces that accompany him along his travels tend to change as no one can quite “keep up.”
He explained how he has often gone “alone” on trips with other “like-minded” individuals, meeting good friends along the way.
“I loved the Amazon jungle and I’ve gone back multiple times.” He also listed the southwestern United States among his favorite areas to visit, particularly Utah to Arizona and places such as the Grand Canyon but also smaller places which he says offer rock formations of different colors. He also loved India and the safari experience.
“Overall less dangerous than you may think; I did so much, I had no real danger,” he said, admitting he has had some close calls. In the book, he details being bit by a lion in Zimbabwe, getting caught in war zones and speeding ATVs around the dunes of the Kalahari Desert. “During the 8 years covered by this book, I traveled 373,000 miles, which is the equivalent of 15 times around the Earth at its equator, or the distance to the moon and halfway back.”
He describes his visit to Antarctica, his second to last place visiting, as one of his favorite trips due to the people and the “sense of closure” that came along with it. Following Antarctica, he volunteered in Africa—an experience he describes as “fulfilling.” That was his last stop.
Schön says he wrote this book because it was books like this—a single person offering a summary—that “helped and motivated” him. “A lot of people don’t get to travel or don’t want to,” he said, “the book lets you travel and see these places. It feels like you’ve been around the world.”
“I hope it inspires people to travel.” This book comes during a break in his career involving online marketing in New York City— he holds degrees in philosophy and computer science from Columbia University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
With the break, comes time with family. Speaking of such, the book features a photo of Schön’s brother’s farm in Shanesville, Pa.—an area which he says was named after his ancestors.
The book also includes a photo taken at the Oley Fair, a community event that he has been to more than a dozen times. “Coming back to it was way more exciting,” he said. “I appreciated Pa. more after being away.”
In regards to traveling, he says things have slowed down a bit since going to his top 100 places, but he’ll “never run out of places to go to.”
“Fifteen Times around the World: A lion bit me in Zimbabwe, and other travel adventures” is now available on Amazon.com and can be found locally at The Book Nook in Boyertown. Schön will hold a book signing at The Book Nook in Boyertown on Sunday, Dec. 7.