About Off the Atlas
Hey guys, I’m Chris.
Thanks for visiting Off The Atlas
I am an American photographer, blogger, and guide who finds myself traveling to many places you have never heard of.
People say I have a weird accent – probably because I have been living in various countries outside the USA since 2015.
Coffee, cameras, big mountains, all things Pakistan, and waking up in new cities multiple times a year excite me. Constantly applying for visas does not. Long-distance hikes, epic suffer fests, and snow-covered ascents appeal to me far more than drinking beer on the beach in Thailand.
Off The Atlas was born out of my love of exploring off-the-beaten-track spaces and places and the desire to open up Pakistan to the world. Few things in life bring me as much pleasure as waking up in the dark to hike up a mountain to shoot sunrise or to sit in a humble stone hut with a shepherd sipping tea.
Photography is the vessel that allows me to capture the unique beauty of Off The Atlas places and it is a craft I am constantly developing. I also believe in the huge potential and power of photography to destroy negative stereotypes and misconceptions about places like Pakistan. Photography may well be the key to shedding prejudice, misinformation, and negative media attention. Point being photography is a powerful tool in my kit that I value every day.
What Sort of Stuff Will You Find on Off The Atlas?
Off The Atlas is all about delivering big informational value for adventure travel, adventure gear, and hiking/cultural activities in Pakistan and beyond.
Here you will find all the good practical travel info you need, recommendations on the best gear for traveling, where to stay, where to go, and how to prepare like a pro for your trip.
So Why Pakistan?
Pakistan is the main focus of Off The Atlas for the next few years.
I have now been to Pakistan 10 times and I have led 7 group tours to various parts of Pakistan as well. Pakistan is my second home at this point. Hey Pakistan! Still waiting on that passport!
The result is that I have simply fallen in love with the country, its mountains, its people, and its adventure possibilities. I’m all in on Pakistan and I am passionate about sharing its magic (and its downsides) with the world.
The goal and mission of Off The Atlas is to be at the forefront of information when it comes to traveling, working from, and doing crazy hikes in Pakistan and other parts of the region.
A little bit more about me…
When I was 17 years old, I moved across the country to study creative writing at a small hippie, liberal arts college in Western North Carolina. People swam in the rivers naked, played a lot of bluegrass music, and sometimes even studied stuff. These were my formative years as I got a lot of exposure to new people and new ideas. Despite all the distractions and pretty ladies, I managed to graduate with a degree in creative writing in 2010.
From there, my love of mountains, nature, and exploring the world began. While I did take a few photography classes and studied creative writing in college – my dream of becoming a journalist faded into the background as I took a drastically different path: I became an organic farmer instead.
For the majority of my early twenties – I farmed seasonally, both in the USA and abroad. My work driving tractors and managing vegetable gardens are what funded my annual backpacking trips in places like Central and South America, Nepal, New Zealand, and Europe.
On more than one occasion I arrived back at LAX airport with my dirty backpack, hiking shoes destroyed, and literally only $150 in my bank account. So it was back to work I went – only to repeat this migratory travel pattern later in the year when I have saved some money.
Farming turned out to not be in my long-term destiny. At least not for now. After my marriage to a French lady fell apart (pretty much because I was not ready to settle down and farm) – I fully dedicated myself to pursuing the dream I had had all along: working as a location-independent writer and photographer in the adventure travel space while simultaneously building my adventure tour company.
In 2017 I started blogging full-time and doing more with photography while at the same time traveling the world almost non-stop. I started guiding adventure trips to Pakistan in 2018.
This four-year period was life-changing for me as I learned the various “blogger world tools” and skills of the trade, greatly improved my photography skills, and became a more competent leader in the mountains.
One thing stuck with me though during this journey: first and foremost – there is a TON of work that goes into making a successful project. If you don’t work hard, you will fail – simple as that. If you work harder than everyone else, you can still fail, but I think I will take my chances and work hard anyway.
Off The Atlas is my dream and hopefully it will inspire you and countless others to get Off The Atlas as well.