Despite spending more time at a desk nowadays, he has had many a camper adventure - with Nikita the white dog in tow, and camera in hand to capture the sights that come along with a life on the road.
We asked Troy a few questions about his work, his camper and his dog - and how they all fit together! Enjoy a bit of travel inspiration and the stunning pictures from his fantastic Instagram account.
Exploring the Yellowstone River while the chinook gets fixed and found this 5 foot long snake skin! Nikita was really interested in it buy easily spooked and cautious which is a good thing.... Don't want her going after potentially poisonous snakes! Especially since we are headed to the Dakotas next...
Did you always want to be a photographer? Was there a particular experience that put you on this path or did you fall into it?
I would take snaps of my friends biking in high school but never thought much of it. It wasn’t until a rainy day when I was 18 that the idea really took hold. I was hiking up a mountain here on Vancouver Island to take some pictures of the Bald Eagles there. On the way down the mountain I was flipping through the images on the tiny LCD of my cheap point and shoot when this powerful feeling took over, and I knew I had found something.
I rushed home and googled “photographer” and to my sheltered small town surprise, people got paid to be one! Less than a year later and I was living in the biggest city in Canada 4000km from home enrolled in a commercial photography college program.
How long did it take you to gain traction in the industry? Was there a particular project or job offered that gave you the feeling that you had “made it”?
Two years or so after graduating I was in India shooting for Vogue. That was the exact moment I felt I “made it” — however, the feeling of making it never stays long as the idea of what “it” is always changes and grows harder to reach.
How much time do you spend on the road and what do you enjoy about the lifestyle?
I used to spend as much time as possible on the road. Every chance I got I’d hop in the camper and go. The feeling of not knowing where I’ll sleep in the evening is beautiful. Or waking up and deciding where I want to go.
What made you decide on a truck camper as a way to get around?
I wanted a go-anywhere type of rig, but with some basic comforts. The 4x4 truck took me over any road conditions and the small footprint got me down some very narrow trails, and allows for very tight u-turns on dead end dirt roads. The camper had a double size bed, fridge, sink, stove and standing head room with the pop top. The pop top kept the overall height lower which is great in those overgrown trails and kept the centre of balance lower which made it feel like a normal truck.
Posted a new "lifestyle" section in my commercial portfolio (link to site in profile) and couldn't help but sneak a shot of the #toyotachinook in there from the #oregoncoast. Make sure to check out @roadlyfe to see what the Chinook is up to now. #adventuremobile #vanlife #ourcamplife #camptrend #homeiswhereyouparkit #vanagon #vanlifefitouts #vanlifediaries #vanlifers #slowroad #toyotacamper #toyotausa #yyj @toyotausa @polerstuff @polerportland @greatnorthco #greatnorthcollective
Have you found any logistical issues with traveling so much and living in a small space?
You need to stay very organized! If you let it slip a few days things can really get messy in that tiny space. Besides that it was great, and I was travelling with my girlfriend and large dog!
Camped out in the #toyotachinook by the ocean with @tomccabe in @jawshuwah cruiser. I believe this is the first night "Snowie" and the Chinook have spent together... #campvibes #vanlife #adventuremobile #ourcamplife #camptrend #homeiswhereyouparkit #vanagon #vanlifefitouts #vanlifediaries #vanlifers #slowroad #fjcruiser #bjcruiser #bj60 @toyotausa #toyotausa
Can you tell us about your relationship with your dog - what brought you together and how does she fit into your life?
I adopted her a couple years ago when she was two, and we’ve been all across Canada and the US now. She spent the first two years of her life kept in a crate and never exercised. Within 3 weeks of getting here we were on the camper heading across the US! She’s now climbed mountains, ran through alpine meadows, fought her way through river rapids, attempted to fight a porcupine, watched hundreds of bison run across the badlands and the list goes on and on.
#tbt to that time I spent a winter in Northern Quebec and rode my skidoo across the seemingly endless frozen lake with Nikita reaching top speeds of 40-50km/h. #dogsofinstagram #adventuredog #naturedog #hikingwithdogs #husky #whitedog #whitehusky #justhuskies #huskylovers #ruffwear #campingwithdogs #wolfdog #explorequebec #quebec #lacsaintjean #lacstjean #winterdog #snowdog #sleddog @greatnorthco #greatnorthcollective #canadiancreatives
I feel terrible now when she’s laying at my feet in the office as we’re not out there exploring!
Have you come across issues involved in travelling with your dog - in campgrounds, national parks, with other travelers, etc? Do you take her with you overseas?
I never take her overseas as I think the plane experience would be really stressful for her. Plus she’s terrified of the sight of a crate now, since being set free from one.
The biggest issue when road tripping with her is most National Parks don’t allow dogs… so it means missing out on some places. But it also just means digging deeper and exploring off the beaten tourist path.
What are your top three amazing things you have seen/photographed during your time on the road in the camper?
Top two are actually Bison… First time was in North Dakota when I stumbled on a small herd and was able to take some great photographs and really feel an intimate connection.
Second time was in South Dakota in the badlands. We were hanging out at the camper watching this huge full moon rise over the landscape when we heard a tremendous rumble pounding the earth, and then the dust cloud slowly came into view followed by hundreds of Bison stampeding across the land, right past the camper under the light of the full moon.
My third favourite moment is hard to pick… I feel like summing it up as that feeling when we’ve discovered a secret spot we didn’t know was there. After driving down random dirt roads and stumbling on a dream campsite, the excitement that produces is one of my favourite feelings when travelling on the road.
What gets you really excited or makes you tick?
Exploring. Going around that extra turn to see what’s there, or scrambling up that random mountain side. Hopping in the camper and heading in any unknown direction.
What advice could you give dog owners who want to try an RV adventure?
Don’t expect to visit every park you want, plan a safe cool space for your dog if you want to shop (my girlfriend and I would often times take turns going into stores while the other hangs out with Nikita), and have fun! The dog really helps make you get out of the camper and go hike which is great.
What advice could you give to someone who wants to hit the road? Particularly to budding photographers?
Don’t make excuses, just go! And don’t stress about finding the perfect place to visit. More times than not my best experiences come from areas I wasn’t expecting much or didn’t even plan to visit. If you’re a photographer buy an inverter for the car to keep those batteries charged.
Could you tell us something about yourself that no one else knows? Any funny quirks?
I love bananas but don’t like things banana flavoured.
You can check out more of Troy’s work on his website! If you’d like to recreate some of the amazing photos and experiences seen here, you could try one of our United States or Canada road trip itineraries, with an RV rental in the United States or Canada to get you around - many places also offer truck campers. Adventure is waiting!