The Art of A Good Trade
One valuable lesson that I have learned from traveling is that money is not the only valuable currency. Each and every person has skills, talents, or things that can be traded. Some of the best deals I have made in my life have had zero dollars passed between them. Instead, goods or services were traded to make an even ended deal. I personally love these deals.
Now, I understand that our current social system does revolve around money and that at some point everyone needs to get paid; but sometimes making trades is just as valuable and often fun. Likewise, the older I get and the more I realize that consumerism is destroying our planet, the more I love trading used items, info, skills, or time. This is one thing that I love about photography, it provides an excellent service that I can trade. Now I am not always looking for a trade, I do have bills to pay. That being said, there are some things that make sense and photography is great for trading. Having amazing photos is not a necessity of life but it is something that most people love to have. However, not everyone wants to spend money to get them but a trade can be an excellent opportunity to create a win win situation. Example, my husband and I are currently finishing out basement. A lot of the work we have done ourselves but if someone with skills in finishing a basement were interested in helping, I would happily trade for a photo session. Rather than trying to get enough photography clients to pay to have someone do this for me, I could cut out the middle man and just trade straight across. Plus, then it shifts my time spent on something I don’t want to do (paint a basement) to something I love doing, photography.
Here are some of my favourite trades:
1.Training Equipment (SUP Speed Coach) for a tattoo
A friend of mine that I have raced Stand Up Paddle boards against has been a tattoo artist for 16 years and does some amazing work was interested in finding a speed coach. A speed coach is a handy piece of equipment to use because it can track your stroke rate, speed, distance per stroke, and on and on. I was selling mine and so he contacted me and proposed the idea of trading for a tattoo. Of course I had to say yes. I already had plans in motion to get my next tattoo but was saving up to get it done. Instead, this trade worked in both our favours. As an added bonus I got to hang out with a friend and see his rad tattoo parlour and try a new sport. Through our conversations during the tattoo appointment he talked about his new outrigger canoe, something I have recently grown very interested in, so he invited us to the Kelowna Paddle Club and we got to paddle a six person outrigger. It was such an awesome experience and it wouldn't have happened without the trade.
2. Photography Session for Advise, Experience, and a New Photo Shoot Location
While sitting at home sifting through the many photography websites I visit, I found a call out for head shots for a fellow photographer. She needed some shots of her with her camera to use for advertisement. Normally I don't reply to these but that day I decided to. Kaley and I had an awesome conversation which led to us deciding that this would work great for both of us. Kaley had recently gone through much of the same things I am going through when it comes to starting a new photography business and was also a model. This provided an excellent chance for me to talk to someone about the growing pains of starting out, try out some ideas I had without having to worry about a customer, and get ideas of posing from someone who has experience looking amazing. Working with Kaley was an awesome experience. She was exceptionally easy to work with and her ability to pose and move made it a simple photoshoot. Plus it was nice to have someone else to talk to that is passionate about photography, my husband is really getting tired of which lens I think is better or why my new light modifier makes me exceptionally happy.
3. A place to park my van in Tofino for manual labour
I am going to be honest, I hate winter. I use to love winter but now I don’t. It means putting away my stand up paddle board and not paddling for 6 months. So in April I decided to pack up my van with my SUP Surf board, race boards, and dogs and drove to Tofino. A friend of mine, and all around amazing person, was kind enough to let me park on her newly purchased land for a month in trade for work. When I wasn’t surfing or taking photographs, I helped out Catherine with work on her property. I pulled out hundreds of old nails from boards, helped build a tree fort compost toilet, tended to her mini garden, cleaned out shrubs, and helped out at her SUP shop a couple times. In exchange I got the experience of a life time. It was easily one of the best months of my life and it wouldn't have been possible it wasn’t for Catherine and her willingness to see the value in trading skills. There is no way I would have been able to afford camping for an entire month and for this I will always be eternally grateful to Catherine.
*Catherine was the person who showed me the magic of the trade.
4. My mad cooking skills for a place to park the van
Driving a 8 person converted passenger van all the way to California is not a cheap experience. Then it becomes even more expensive if you have to pay to stay somewhere. This is where amazing friends come in to play. However, just because I am on vacation, doesn’t mean they are. That’s where a little trade can go a long way. By parking my van outside a friends house I can have a free place to sleep, shower, and pee. In exchange I can make their day a little bit less hectic by cooking for them. My mother taught me to cook great meals from scratch and now that I have a bit more free time, I love cooking for others. This is one of my favourite trades because it makes traveling feasible for me and my husband and I get to share some of my families home cooked meals with friends.
These are just a few examples of fun trades that made it possible to experience something different than what would have occurred had I thought in normal currency. I am excited to say that I have a few more trades in the works and I couldn’t be more excited to trade my skills that I am passionate about for the skills of another person. Get out and try it, you just might enjoy it.
Life is an adventure; depart the mundane.
Genna@ Departure Photography