I am @jpphotography and this is my story.

I am a 22-year old student from Germany and, as you can tell my from my username, also a passionate photographer.

I love travelling, and it was in November 2016 when I was in Thailand that I was listening to TED Talks while editing my photos and a talk about the concept of Blockchains and smart contracts came along – I had heard about Bitcoin before, but the possibilities of smart contracts left me in astonishment and I watched this TED Talk several times.

Normally I am the guy behind the camera, this is a rare photo of me posing on a sand dune in the Sahara

After 17 months of travelling I felt that it was time to go back to Germany, but my interest in Blockchain and cryptocurrencies had been sparked and played a role in my decision to start studying business informatics, a combination of computer science and economics. While I was waiting for three months for university to start, I spent a lot of time reading different articles about Blockchain and I think this was when I stumbled upon Steemit for the first time. Soon, I would not shut up about the utopia of smart contracts transforming the world economy to bring a fair distribution of wealth while maintaining and even growing a strong economy, all simply by replacing the middlemen that rule our economy. A decentralised economy would be the long-term solution for a society that struggles with the progress of automation, monopolies emerging from digitalisation and increasing social inequality.

Towards a golden future? (A photo from my current travels in Myanmar)

From talking about smart contracts I got into crypto trading when I decided to invest a few hundred Euros in Bitcoin and Ethereum, but since my order for Ethereum at 10€ never got filled, I only jumped aboard the rallying altcoin train a few months later when I put a few Euros in different promising projects, including Steem. I kept stumbling upon posts on Steemit, but it was not until November that I finally created my own Steem account, not knowing that only a few days later SBD would start skyrocketing, leading to authors earning unreal amounts of money. The idea of starting a travel and photography blog had been in my head ever since I started travelling, but Steemit finally gave me the motivation to do so. I was instantly fascinated by this platform and kept discovering new tools and tricks every day.

Steemit – to a newbie as confusing as the busy traffic in Bangkok

At this point, I had already realised that I could not see myself living in Germany for the rest of my life. Why do we have an education system, where studying business informatics teaches only very little about programming and instead of promoting independent thinking requires students to pass exams simply by memorizing the contents of old exams, why do people spend their life working repetitive 9-to-5 office jobs only because this enables them to consume meaningless things? I had experienced first-hand on my travels that it is possible to live off less than 600 Euros a month in huge parts of the world, living a relatively high standard of life and enjoying the exciting life of a traveller. While I decided to finish my studies, I am using this time to build myself a reliable income that will enable me to escape the prison that we call economy and travel the world.

At the time that I joined Steem, I had already been selling some of my photos as microstock for over a year and built a passive income of 100-150 Euros a month. Without the commission of up to 85% on my sales that stock photo agencies charge for acting as a middleman between me and customers, I would already be close to the 600 Euros of passive income that I would need to finance constant travels, but since I can not solely rely on the hope that this will change when decentralised stock photo agencies take over, I happily took the hand that Steem offered me: When I won a prize of 15 SBD (at the time over 150€) at a photo competition by @czechglobalhosts and even more when I wrote my first proper travel post that received a Curie vote on Christmas Day and was worth over 600 Euros at payout, my expectations for Steem were up higher than the crypto prices at the time.

The cover photo of my post that got a Curie vote and earned me over 600€

January was an exciting time for Steemit with many new users entering the platform attracted by the high post rewards. I got in touch with many like-minded people and soon the need to build a proper travel community arose and when my new Steemit friend @for91dayshad the idea to start a Discord for this purpose, I jumped on board and soon we had built a small, but excellent community. When the prices started to fall, Steem had become much more than a supporting pillar for my financial future.

Within our new community, the dissatisfaction over low payouts, an unfair distribution of rewards as well as the outdated user interface of making it hard to discover good posts or promising authors lead us to create @travelfeed. Many users have turned their back on Steemit since January, but with TravelFeed, we were able to make many great authors stay and have built an amazing community of travellers and digital nomads from all around the world.

Let’s build the golden future ourselves!

With amazing contributors and the powerful curation concept that we have developed, TravelFeed has become the best place to discover high-quality travel posts on Steemit, but I believe that we can archive much more, scale beyond Steemit and grow TravelFeed into a platform on top of the Steem Blockchain that travelers all around the world will use daily to share their stories, connect with fellow travelers and exchange travel advice.

With this vision in mind, I have spent a lot of time learning to understand the technical concepts of Steem and have taught myself Python to interact with the Steem Blockchain on the metadata layer. I am super excited about the prospect of learning about development for Hivemind communities and SMTs and applying these to scale TravelFeed.

In the following months that I will enjoy the support of @sndbox you can expect to see a variety of different posts from me. I will be studying in Taiwan for the following semester and will regularly blog about my travel experiences with a focus on my photography. For more travel content, I plan to finally write down a selection of my past travel experiences and share some of my travel hacks with you. Also, I have plans for a series of posts about monetising photography reporting about my attempt of turning my passion into a sustainable income. Together with the rest of the team, I will be working on TravelFeed a lot and you can also expect some Utopian contributions from me where I will share some insights into development with Steem. It is going to be an exciting time!

This post was authored by @jpphotography, a member of the sndbox incubator. Learn more, follow @jpphotography or begin a conversation in the comment section below.