Mobile Mappers
Mobile Mappers

I’m here to talk about John Fabian. That’s him sitting on my right (light blue shirt). He was something of an inspiration. He did a number of things that, well, I would like to do. And what’s more, he seemed to do them right.

As you may have guessed by my use of the past tense, he passed away recently, and that (in my opinion) makes the world a little darker.

A coworker of ours made the point that it seems like  a lot of folks tend to hyper romanticize the dead. I’m inclined to agree, and (from what I know of him) I don’t think that John would want that, so here we go.

What I Know

John was a Mobile Mapper like myself. He too seemed to be doing the job because of a sense of adventure and a desire to roam. In fact, he was on a leave of absence to go exploring New Zealand when he died.

He worked a job where he traveled non stop and took his leave so that he could… travel more.

He wrote a lot. He road a motorcycle and wrote about his travels. He took photos while he did his mobile mapping work and wrote about that via his blog. He even started a second blog for his trek to land of the Kiwis.

His photography skills make me want to work harder at taking photos when I’m out in the world.


He wrote in a simple and understandable way. There’s a sense of zen to it. I find it delightful.

He liked to help. He made great efforts to bring his fellow mappers together socially via an online forum that he set up and maintained for us. Our job can get very lonely, and he provided a means to reach out to each other in a less formal than “this is for work” way.

He also wrote a number of other religion focused books (also available on Amazon) though it would appear that most (all?) were simply translations of existing texts. I’m unsure if his efforts were faith based, based on a desire to help others, or simply a business. I kinda like that I don’t know.

What I Don’t Know

Honestly? Most anything about the man. I only recently met him. In fact, the first photo in this post is from the first time I ever met him face to face just before Thanksgiving 2014, and we only got to visit for a few more days before we both left town.

He seems a bit of a mystery. Like the sense of adventure – of discovery – fits him perfectly.

Sure – my vantage point (as the guy who hardly even met him) colors this perspective heavily. I’m ok with that.

Mountain Reflection

Was he a religious man himself? What other businesses did he create? (Aside from the writing – he hinted at other businesses when we talked, but we didn’t have time to go into it.) Who were his friends? Was he ever married?

This would (and possibly does) sound creepy if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s gone. If I do some online digging, I can find out more about him, and perhaps I will. If he was alive that would be weird. Since he’s gone, I almost feel like it’s a kind of obligation.

Picking Up the Torch

Partly in honor of John, I’m going to do my best to spend more time here on this blog. Photos and writing. Bringing the things I find back to those of you who don’t get the chance to roam quite like I do.

I probably won’t write as eloquently as John did, and my photos will likely not be as impressive, but it’s something.

My hope is that it will get me to think more about the amazing adventures I’m having. That it will help me to burn it into my brain and not overlook these fine experiences. I don’t want to take them for granted.

John didn’t seem to.

Self portrait reflected in ship's window.