Just as filmmaker and photographer Ben Moon was accomplishing his dream of becoming an established photographer, living in a van and shooting for Patagonia, his life took an unexpected turn. At age 29, he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

After a year of fighting and not being sure if he was going to make it, Moon was eventually able to go back to doing what he loved, with a greater passion and appreciation than ever before. He refocused his work on people, through storytelling and portraiture, and began writing a memoir. He moved back into a van, this time a 2016 Ford Transit which he fully customized with his father’s help to resemble a cozy sailboat.

Moon told ASN, “It’s nice to have a sanctuary to just go into and be anywhere. I love parking at the beach. Just being able to wakeup and cook breakfast while you’re facing a window in front of you … It’s really nice.”

He continued, “A lot of people think that once you fight cancer, it’s over. But it’s not like that. Anytime I have an ache or a pain, it’s easy to worry that it could be coming back. That and the emotional scars that come with the fight, can stick with you.

“I’m not not an advocate of running from your problems, but a perspective and landscape shift, and meeting new people, can really help you recognize that what you’re going through maybe isn’t that important. And in the grand scheme of things, you’ve got it pretty well.”

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