Aboutmefeature

My name is Vincent Russell Van Patten, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I currently live in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

I’m a self-published authortravel photographer, and host of The Dare to Dream Podcast, exploring what lights my soul on fire day-in and day-out.

 

This exploration might include a morning swim in the frigid ocean, reading classic literature unsavory for the faint of heart, or cracking a beer and laughing ‘till it hurts with the people I love.

 

Rarely does a meaningful experience escape the ink of my pen — I love to write about it all.

 

I write on my website, Medium, where I’m the inspiration editor of the publication Coffee Times, and on Substack about travel, literature, personal-growth, philosophy, spirituality, and everything else that makes life an absolute adventure worth embarking on.

 

Most of all, I write to inspire.

 

I aim to be honest and vulnerable with my words; we’re experiencing this life together, and it isn’t always pretty. Still, the darkness is damn well beautiful.

 

I hope to be a light, an inspiration, and a helpful voice through whatever adversity you and I face. We can only go up together.

I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. After four years of studying journalism, one thing was for sure — I didn’t want to be a news reporter.

 

I dreaded each interview and contemplated switching majors countless times. In retrospect, I’m thankful this was near impossible to do at Cal Poly, as I know my time in journalism was for a reason. I wouldn’t be the individual that I am today without that challenging experience.

 

That fearful college lad was me, the college journalist me; I resented news reporting because I felt like a fraud. I was writing stories I had no interest in — I felt inadequate as a writer because of this.

 

I acknowledge that part of my past. I’ve grown. Now, I don’t only embrace my past fear of vulnerability; I strive to make it the focus of my life.

 

In 2022 I completed my master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Denver. No matter where my journey leads, I’ll always have a means of expression, solace, and profound joy in the blank page and a will to write.

 

Writing is the most rewarding way I’ve gone about traversing the depths of what it means to be human.

 

I simply want to learn; be it through travel, reading, writing, and most importantly, by getting out there to connect with other human beings. That, I’ll never stop doing.

My Insatiable Passion for Travel

Since I was a kid, I’ve fostered a profound interest in travel and spending time in the natural world. The beauty and peace of the natural world is healing when we’re receptive to it.

 

I fervently believe travel changes us. Traveling puts us in uncomfortable situations where we’re required to ask: who am I, and how will I react in this environment? Will I seek the help of a stranger by speaking up? Will I act courageously if need be? 

 

We’re exposed to new people, fresh ideas, and foreign landscapes that excite our senses and make us come alive.

 

Nothing brings me more joy than seeking the beating heart of any location. This essence comes from the people, culture, and history of any place.

 

When I was young my favorite shows were on the Travel Channel. Andrew Zimmern, Adam Richman, and Anthony Bourdain were my guys!

 

Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations made me believe that it’s an art form to uncover the essence of a city.

 

The solution is simple: do as the locals do, walk, ask questions, observe, live. This often means staying in one place, watching the world go by, and simply being present.

 

I wouldn’t be who I am without Bourdain’s influence. Bourdain’s life has emboldened me to be an explorer of this progressive planet.

My Manifesto

I live to inspire others through my words and actions by living life on purpose, day in and day out. That’s why one of my best friends and I created The Dare to Dream Podcast and the Dare to Dream Medium publication.

 

We believe every human deserves to live a life that lights their soul on fire.

 

Something burns in me that I want to give to the world to move us forward. Writing helps me appreciate that we’re here together on this spinning rock with many of the same problems, victories, doubts, and blissful moments.

 

With every new project and step that I take, I hope to be a binding light that brings people together to see the good in one another.

 

I want to learn about who we are and how we’ve interacted since the beginning of time. Our cultures, similarities, and differences derive from our relationships with one another and the earth.

 

No part of the world, no person, no experience is uninteresting. It’s a blessing just to be alive.

My Vision

It was 5 am on a crisp December day in 2019. I woke up in Tokyo, Japan and scuttled out of my hostel into the dim morning light. It had been my dream to visit Japan since I was a kid; I would not waste any time sleeping in.

 

Nothing could hurt me, nor could anything diminish the smile on my face. The table was set for an ideal day, which for me looks something like rising at the crack of dawn in a new city and heading out with my camera in hand and my journal in my backpack. I’d roam the chilly streets, observing shops open and locals going about their morning as the sun rises.

 

I’d find my way around for the rest of the day, taking whatever comes my way with a smile and an open mind.

 

This mindset imbued my entire month in Japan, where I possessed boundless energy with eight of my best friends (you read that right) traveling from Tokyo to Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka, and the Iya Valley on the rural island of Shikoku.

When you think of Vincent Van Patten, I hope you think of discovery, adventure, connection, and learning. Through my projects, I dream of instilling the world with the same enthusiasm and sheer joy I felt on that first morning waking up in a foreign city.

 

I aim to illuminate the darkness and negativity that we see on the news by leading by example and getting out there. We fear what we don’t know. Yet, too many of us only know what immediately surrounds us or what we see on tv.

 

Our way of living, whatever that may be, isn’t the only way.

 

Through travel, we learn how others live. Through learning, I strive to impart what it means to be human, fully human.

 

In the biography of one of my heroes of history, Michel de Montaigne, the 20th-century writer Stefan Zweig writes:

For him, seeing is learning, comparing, and better understanding all that demonstrates the perennial diversity of human nature. Out of the art of living comes the art of travel, to become the art of life.

Montaigne himself said:

And I know no better school of life, as I have said so often, than that which reveals the way others live their lives.

In 2021 I released my debut nonfiction novel, Arrows of Youth: A Young Man’s Inspiring Journey to Find What Lights His Soul On Fire. The book is part memoir, part travel story, part spiritual exploration, all a quest to find what lights my soul on fire. On this quest, I strive to help you do the same.

 

Join my lifelong journey through my Weekly Insights! I’m just getting started.

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