Initially, the idea to interview vagabond and photographer Mitch Cox came from a place of jealousy. I had more than a passing impulse to poke a few holes in the image Cox has curated on Instagram. The 22-year-old’s social feed is like a visual essay on the subject of freedom. It’s all unbelievable landscapes, glassy waves, and isolated camping spots; intense adventures followed by quiet rainy nights spent sipping wine in his van; plus an abundance of sunlit shots of his girlfriend, Cleo Cohen. Careless, comfortable, and free. Not a worry to be found — like Margaritaville for the millennial set. And all of it beautifully documented.
The f*cking nerve of this guy.
As it turns out, pulling the curtain back from Mitch Cox’s facade was impossible — because the image isn’t an image at all. It’s just who Cox is. He doesn’t worry, but he does care. His awesome rig didn’t just fall into place, it was designed and re-designed four times. He isn’t stressed about a recent break in and theft, he’s excited to start fresh. He’s hasn’t curated his feed, he’s just exposed his life. He isn’t escaping winter, he’s reveling in summer.
What I found was a deep thinker, a savvy traveler, and a person who genuinely loves his life. I don’t feel jealous anymore, but I’m inspired.