Brendan van Son

My name is Brendan van Son, and I’m a travel photographer and journalist from a small town in Canada called Rocky Mountain House.  After completing degrees in Political Science and Geography in 2008 I headed to South America to take a job that paid me only $50 a week, but allowed me to travel.  I knew within 3 days of arriving in South America that I’d never stop travelling, that I needed to find a way to meld travel into my career, no matter what it took.

Over 5 years later now, I’ve visited around 80 countries on 6 different continents.  I’ve done some crazy things like drive a $600 scooter down the west side of Africa.  I’ve done some amazing things, as well.  I count my blessings that I’m able to live this lifestyle.

In the 5 years since I’ve engaged in the life of a travel photographer and journalist my work has been in a number of major publications such as The Guardian.  My travels themselves have also been featured in various major media outlets such as the BBC, National Geographic Traveler, and others.

I have no intention of slowing down.  So if you decide to follow this blog, be sure to hang on tight, because we’re going for a ride.


Brendan van Son

“If travel really is what you want to be do doing then go out and do it. If you seek guidance you need not look further than your own desires. If you need support your friends and family will always be there for you. And if you need a hand, those who have set the trail ahead of you will always be there to lead you or, more importantly, remind you that it’s alright to burn your own path.” – Brendan van Son “How I made Travel a Career


  1. Yet there is nothing insignificant about you Brendan!

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  2. Hi Brendan! Found you through #tni and linked you on the blog! I am looking forward to checking out all of your posts!

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  3. Hey Brendan,

    So happy to have found your site! Tons of great stuff to read – there goes my productivity. Anyways, thanks again for being our expert on the Canadian Rockies this week for #TNI. Cheers! -Rachel

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  4. Hi Brendan!

    Found your blog on Twitter (@lilyleung) and wanted to drop a note to say hi and look forward to more of your updates.

    P.S. Is the pic on your About page from Ecuador? I think I was in the exact same spot 3 years ago, I recognize the little hearted island 🙂

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  5. Beautiful quotes you’ve got there. Keep traveling. And writing too.

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  6. Hi, Brendan, it’s great to know about a man like you who braves to breaks boundaries. May you always got some worthy life lessons. God bless you, Brendan!

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  7. Here’s a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson that you might like:

    There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
    A race that can’t stay still;
    So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
    And they roam the world at will.

    I bookmarked your site a while ago, but only just now found out we have something in common: both from Rocky Mountain House (although haven’t lived in the area for many years). Well I remember the day when Grandad P. dropped me off on the highway just east of the Alhambra corner where I started hitch hiking to Panama. That was in 1965, and I’ve been breaking the hearts of kith and kin ever since.

    All the best
    Jim P

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    • I, too have something in common with you, Brendan. Like my cousin, Jim Patterson, I remember Grandpa P dropping me off to set out on on my world travels. We are all kin in the sense that we see the world as a myriad of un-experienced adventures. The next plan, for Wilson and I, is coast-wise navigation of North and South America. Happy travels, Bendan and Jim.
      Pat Teskey and Wil Southam

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  8. Yes, going beyond the borders of text books is quite correct. I ave enjoyed your site. I shall return to read some more. I have wondered what it would be like to travel for longer periods without stopping. Unfortunately I’m a family person and the luxury to time away is restricted. But I do get around quite a bit.

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  9. Hi Brendan,
    found your blog by chance and it’s really great to read it!! Especially all your infos about South America.
    Keep it up!!!

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  10. do you do naughty things during your travelling?

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    • Hi Beth! Yup, my life definitely doesn’t suck haha.

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  11. Looks like I have finally landed on the right website after browsing for many days. Amazing adventure

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  12. You are living my dream.

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  13. Hi Brendan,

    Wonderful blog you have! I understand you very well as I also love to travel, especially when it is done on the spur of the moment. May you continue your journey to your heart’s desire!!!

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  14. can’t stop watching your posts. I have a little catching up to do, I am on day 30. you just saw an amazing water fall.

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  15. I would like to say that I appreciate this article. I seem to enjoy playing around with my camera and taking many pictures. For a while, I have been getting many compliments on my pictures. Some say I have an eye for views. I just don’t want things to go to my head.

    I was checking out DSLRs and found that I really don’t like them. It is an expensive hobby getting into dslrs and I don’t have the budget for that. I’m more of a work with what I have person and usually don’t need more than I have. I settled on a nice bridge camera that takes phenominal pictures.

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  16. Thanks for giving us hope that everything is possible;) hope you have many excellent good travels!

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  17. Hey Branden,

    We had a quick chat in Page, AZ when waiting for the Sunrise at Horseshoe Bend. And I did ask for your website address when Tiffany and you left. You had typed your websites into my mobile’s note, but unfortunately by some reason the note has gone. I thought that I could not have a chance to talk with you guys again but thanks for the Google, I did a search with something like “canadian photographers vietnamese tayninh trip” and ended up with this blog eventually 🙂

    Your website is great and your pictures/video are amazing. Thanks for your great works. Good luck for your 3 months South America trips.



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    • Hi Trong,
      It was really nice to meet you at Horseshoe Bend! Thanks for finding the site and leaving a comment I really appreciate it. And, if you want to find Tiffany too her blog is
      I hope your road trip is going well. All the best to you and your family in the New Year!

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  18. I have been moved and inspired by your spirit that you bring to your life and pictures, ,

    Safe travels always-


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  19. Hi Brendan

    I remember you mentioning that some of the countries you were visiting were on your list because some clients needed photos. Do they contact you and ask you for specific places that they want you to shoot or are you doing this on spec in the hopes that they might need the shots?

    Really enjoy your photography.


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    • Hard to answer because it’s a bit of everything.
      I’d say it’s about 50% me going somewhere and pitching images later, 35% me going somewhere and having pitched things beforehand, and 15% someone sending me somewhere specific.

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  20. Great website! I like all that you are doing! Keep living a courageous life!

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  21. I like all that you are doing! Really enjoy your photography.

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  22. Hey Brendan, thanks for the review of the Canon 100-400 lens. I was just wondering which camera body you choose to use for a balance between stills and video?!

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    • I was using the Canon 6D. But, I don’t really do the balance thing, I carry multiple cameras. If you’re looking for balance, the Sony a7ii is great with both.

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  23. Branden, I’ve watched many of your travel videos. Thank you for taking me to places that I most likely will never get the opportunity to go. My question to you is as follows: Given that you often complain that the sky was just not cooperating on the day of a particular shoot, do you do any sky replacement in post? If not, why?

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  24. I saw that many of your Machu Picchu attendees had tripods. I thought the park charged $300 to bring a tripod into MP. Could you clarify? Thanks

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  25. Hi Brendan, I’m a subscriber and have watched almost every vlog you uploaded.
    In your recent vlog in UK you mentioned that you will be in Austria in a couple of weeks after your two week stay in Calgary. When will you be in Austria and will you be in Vienna? I’m also from Canada, close to Toronto but will be in Vienna from Sept. 21 to Sept. 23, three full days. If you plan on being there during those days, it would be an honour to meet you and shoot a few frames together. If you find the time to reply, please do so and I hope that our paths may cross. Thank you for everything you do and for living your dreams and sharing them with us.


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    • Hey! Not going to be in Vienna, I’m afraid. Just in the Tirol area for a conference.

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  26. Love your work and your channel on YouTube! I also follow you on Instagram and just started following you on Twitter. You’re living the life I wish I had chosen when I was your age, although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my life so far. Keep up the good work and keep those images coming! Looking forward to seeing more in the future.

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  27. Hi Brendan,

    Just started watching your shows, M interested with the Viking river cruise YouTuber video. But really expensive though. Do u have any recommendations on someone like me with a limited budget going for a river cruise in Europe? Thanks! All the best!


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  28. Hello Brendan,

    I am Zarina from Bougainvilla Hermitage, Nachinola, Goa, India.

    Having read your blog which is very informative, I would like to introduce our organization where Ayurvedic treatments are the focus.
    As you are aware, Ayurveda is an ancient Indian form of natural medicine and treatment, known to treat ailments right at the roots. We have contracted this specialized activity to professionals. This Company has been in operation since 19 years and has won National Awards for their commendable work.
    The Ayurvedic Centre is managed by a team of Ayurvedic Physicians and Certified Therapists. Their focus is on improving the health conditions of people through Ayurvedic treatments, Ayurvedic diets, therapies, yoga and meditation, in a peaceful, healthy, natural and stress free environment, leaving the patient feeling rejuvenated in mind, body and soul. Goa as you are aware also enjoys a multi cultural mild tropical climate all year round.
    We invite you to stay a few days with us, on your visit to Goa and experience our facilities, so that you can spread the word through your blog, You Tube and other media. We can send you our e-brochure if you share your E-mail ID. I am certain your audience will thank you and will benefit from this vital information.

    Will be glad to hear from you soon.

    With warm regards,
    For Bougainvilla Hermitage Pvt. Ltd.
    Zarina D’costa
    ( Manager )

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  29. Hi, we as the Austrian Trade Commission, are organizing an Austrian Tourism Promotion entitled Discover Austria at the Eglinton Grand in Toronto on Jan. 30th. Are you based in Toronto by any chance and interested in attending?

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  30. Good day Brendan,
    I just read your article “How I Make Money as a Travel Photographer in 2015”; loved it! Thank you for your honesty and for the useful insights. I love travel myself and spend all my vacation time going abroad. Your insight on going after multiple income sources to get to a needed budget was an eye opener for me 😉 I mean I dream of having more free time (like a lot of other 9 to 6 folks out there), but could not seem to find a path to a (relatively) stable way of earning needed budget.. I always was thinking in terms of getting it in one chunk…
    Thank you and good luck to you! Safe travels!
    Best regards,
    Alex K

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  31. Hi Brendan,
    you suggested a trip to Nepal in 2019,
    This is a company i have used for expeditions
    They are Scouts as i am hence the contact and use (Baden Powell Expedition, you could be the first Canadian to climb Baden Powell Peak!! its not easy).
    I cannot recommend them highly enough

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  32. Watched video on Cinque Terre,are Focal Lengths for your photos, for a full frame camera?
    I am shooting a Fujifilm XT-2 (crop sensor)


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