'Bye bye dentistry, hello photography'

Wednesday March 18 2020
Ravjir Soin

While in his third year of university, Rajvir Soin cast aside his anatomy, physiology and biochemistry notes, and picked up a camera. PHOTO | COURTESY


While in his third year of university, Rajvir Soin cast aside his anatomy, physiology and biochemistry notes, and picked up a camera. He was a student of dentistry at the University of Nairobi but he gave this up to pursue a career in wedding photography. That was in 2018.

Now, the 24-year-old is well known for his travel photography and his YouTube vlog, Adventure Singh.

“I used a camera for the first time while I was in secondary school. It all began as a hobby, before I realised that photography is what I wanted to do for a living. I was smart in school and always posted impressive grades, and my parents always encouraged me to pursue a science-related course such as medicine.

When I told my father that I wanted to be a photographer, he was flabbergasted.

“What is that?” he asked. Then I got my first gig in which I earned Sh70,000! This was the perfect confirmation that I could earn a living as a photographer. They supported me to live my dream, but they never stopped telling me to go to the university. That is how I ended up studying dentistry,” he says.

Because he enjoyed travelling and his wedding photography was picking up fast, he felt that rather than study to become a doctor, dentistry would allow him more time to pursue his interests, since he could see patients on weekdays, and then reserve the weekends for wedding shoots. He had it all figured out.


But there was another hurdle. His demanding school timetable was constantly in conflict with his wedding shoots. To solve this, he ditched his studies and took up photography on full time basis.

“In readiness for the transition from being a student to full time photography, I travelled to Tanzania on vacation, and later to Thailand. I carried a camera and a microphone muffler. I wanted to vlog about my travel experiences on my YouTube channel. While in Thailand, I met many other enthusiastic travellers, and I changed my plans. I decided to concentrate on travel photography and showcase the beauty of our country to the whole world.”

Through Adventure Singh on YouTube and on Instagram, Rajvir travels to different places in Kenya and recommends travel destinations that are ideal for weekend getaways and vacations. His YouTube vlogs attract thousands of viewers every month.

“While traversing the country, I have realised that there are so many beautiful places to visit that many travellers haven’t discovered yet.”

Rajvir is a backpacker, which means that he travels on a shoestring budget and sleeps in hostels or backpackers hotels, and mostly uses public transport means to move from one place to another.

“I am more interested in getting to experience my travel locations than I am in staying at hotels. The good thing about backpacking is that you get to meet many travellers like you with whom you can foster strong friendships and networks.”

While he sometimes travels as part of a group, Rajvir prefers to journey solo.

“Whenever I visit a new place, I open my Google Maps app so that I am aware of all the affordable eating joints around me, and restaurants that are popular with other travellers.”

To afford his excursions, Rajvir runs a water filtering and bottling business together with his brother, and occasionally takes up wedding gigs.

Does he make money from his trips?

“Yes. I have monetised my YouTube channel, so whenever I put a video up and get people to view it, I earn some income.

Rajvir has learnt a lot through travelling.

“For instance, I have discovered that I really value my independence. If my friends are not willing to go on a road trip, I will still go. Also, I have learnt that Kenyans are truly trustworthy and hospitable.”

The biggest challenge Rajvir has encountered in his pursuit for adventure, is the poor infrastructure, especially the lack of proper road networks in some remote parts of the country.