Shedding light on life’s journey

Jackson Lavell-LeeAugusta Margaret River Times
Tom De Souza will exhibit his surf WA travel photography at the Margaret River Heart.
Camera IconTom De Souza will exhibit his surf WA travel photography at the Margaret River Heart. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Yallingup creative Tom De Souza has depicted his personal journey, from drug addiction to braving the outback, in his latest endeavour — photography.

De Souza educates schoolchildren about the perils of meth addiction in the hope that students learn from his detailed and heartbreakingly honest story.

Searching for Simple Pleasures is an exhibition that showcases Australian landscapes from the north to the south west of WA, with an emphasis on lifestyle and surfing.

De Souza is a freelance journalist, budding author and curator of the blog Stories from the Scenic Route.

He said the images were accompanied by statements that described his journey from drug addict to surfer and fisherman.

“For me it’s about my journey to rediscovering joy after drugs,” he said.

“That’s probably the hardest things about ice addiction. After such an emotional rollercoaster it’s hard to appreciate the simple pleasures of life again.”

After fleeing what he calls a toxic home environment, De Souza travelled to Asia, where he wrote a harrowing depiction of party culture.

Upon returning to Australia, he began road-tripping and documenting his experiences.

“I spent a lot of time travelling on my own and it began as running away but I soon discovered photography, writing and surfing, which helped me a lot,” he said.

“It’s the added motivation to go the extra mile and allows me to see life in a different light.”

De Souza said he had sought help during relapses but could find solace in self-discovery and speaking with role models and people who had experienced similar issues.

“It’s been a long and difficult journey which is ongoing today,” he said.

“Drugs just create a Russian Babushka doll of problems and it’s only when you start to remove the outer layers that you can deal with the core issues.”

De Souza is writing a novel chronicling his experience following on from his work with the Guardian Australia, the short film Down the Wrong Path and PodcastOne.

Photos from his picturesque path are open to view from until February 23 at HEART Margaret River.

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