Bartering Globetrotter Shantanu Starick Shares Travel Stories

Written By Josie Gulliksen
July 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Bartering Globetrotter Shantanu Starick Shares Travel Stories


Bartering Globetrotter Shantanu Starick Shares Travel Stories

July 24, 2014

By Josie Gulliksen

Professional photographer Shantanu Starick, a native Australian, concocted an idea in 2012 to experiment with the possibility of getting to every continent in the world without buying a single thing. He made a recent stop in Miami to discuss his project, hosting a talk at the Futurama art space in Little Havana.

The idea for his project was to trade his services as a photographer for food, shelter and transportation for at least three days on his travels and also arrange for the three travel days at his next destination.

“You have to be clear from the beginning, put everything out on the table and be honest in what you need,” Starick said.

So far he has made it to five continents and shot over 170 very diverse projects. The only two remaining continents to visit are South America and Antarctica.

One of his points is always what changes most when you take the money out of the equation. “The relationship between your subjects becomes more like friendships and you end up having friends after these projects,” he said.

The idea of trade is that it is much more of an equal exchange. The value becomes between two parties. For example, he expects food that equals what he’s giving. It becomes a nice equal medium, something that wasn’t very present in the beginning of his project. After he did three months in North America it created a lot of buzz about his project.

When he first started, he created opportunities by calling on friends and asking them to spread the word about his project. He said “the first 10 trades were difficult because there was no Website and so people had to trust me.”

In Australia the project gained momentum because it spread throughout different cities there. Soon bloggers started discovering it and he began speaking at conferences. And now he has been getting requests. There are several people interested in South America where a few trades are already set up and now he’s working on his flights to get there.

“Now it’s reached the point where I get anxious when I don’t have my next project booked three months out. When this happens I start reaching out to people to fill those gaps,” he said.

Starick talked extensively about some of his most memorable trades. He loved his project in Morocco and highly recommended the location he visited. He also loved New Zealand, where he went on the first year of his project and traded with a winery. It is his dream to someday work on a cookbook so the winery was the perfect pairing.

In New York he did a trade with Tumblr, which gave him a month-long transportation card, with an Italian restaurant who let him eat and drink there whenever he wanted and another trade gave him an apartment with a fully stocked refrigerator and an unlimited tab at a local bar.

Probably one of his most crucial trades was with a coffee company that is providing him with health insurance and insurance on his equipment throughout the three years of his project.

Within the second year of his project he started interviewing his subjects. And he’s going back to shoot a wedding in September for one of his trades.

By far the most satisfying aspect of this, he says, is “seeing the people using his photos. That demonstrates that they’re happy with my work.”

Follow Starick on his upcoming trades and contact him at if you have a contact for a possible trade.

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