Uncharted Waters: The Barrington ‘BJ’ Scott Odyssey

My name is Barrington Scott, but you can call me BJ,” he begins with a characteristic blend of energy and ease. From the gritty streets of the Bronx, New York, to the tranquil depths beneath ocean waves, Barrington “BJ” Scott’s journey is a tale of transformation and boundless curiosity.

From the Bronx to the World

BJ’s early life in the Bronx was marked by typical urban challenges, which shifted dramatically when his family moved to South Carolina during his high school years. This move was the first of many pivotal changes. After high school, feeling the need for structure and purpose, BJ joined the Marines at 17, which took him as far as Afghanistan. Returning from service, he sought solace and direction in the culinary arts, earning a bachelor’s in Culinary and Business Management, and working in various kitchens.

However, it wasn’t long before BJ felt the pangs of a static life creeping in. “I bought a house, had a dog, the whole American dream. But at 24, I thought, ‘This can’t be it. There has to be more to life,'” he recalls. In a bold move, BJ sold everything and bought a one-way ticket to Malaysia to backpack for a year—a decision that would redefine his path and ignite his passion for travel and underwater exploration.

Diving Into the Deep

It was during his travels that BJ first experienced the transformative power of scuba diving. “The moment I first dived into the ocean, it was a new awakening. I was a water baby, always,” BJ reflects. His adventures led him to Australia, where he worked as a traveling chef and continued to explore marine life, eventually becoming a Master Scuba Diving Trainer.

One of the most thrilling aspects of BJ’s aquatic adventures is his encounters with sharks, creatures often misunderstood and feared. “You know, there’s a whole stigma about sharks as dangerous predators, which is partly true—they are apex predators in their domain. But they aren’t out to get us,” BJ explains with a calm fervor. His experiences diving with over twenty different species of sharks have provided him a unique perspective on these magnificent creatures. “I’m often the one chasing them because they just mind their own business. It’s about respect, being in their environment and appreciating the natural order,” he shares.

BJ’s interactions with marine life extend beyond sharks, encompassing a diverse array of underwater creatures, which he believes add to the surreal beauty of diving. “Being able to immerse myself in their world is just an indescribable feeling. It’s about connection, understanding, and respect. This isn’t just diving; it’s an interaction with a whole other world that many people don’t get to see,” BJ reflects. Through his social media and public speaking, he aims to share these experiences to demystify fears and encourage a more profound respect and love for marine life. His stories and photographs from these encounters not only captivate but educate his audience, fostering a greater appreciation for the world beneath the waves.

Inspiring Young Minds: BJ’s Dive into Children’s Literature

BJ’s love for the ocean and his drive to share it with others led him to another bold venture—writing a children’s book Trent’s Adventures Deep Sea Discovery. “I started this book last year in Thailand. Growing up, books like ‘The Magic School Bus’ opened up the world to me. His book aims to spark curiosity about marine life and the importance of ocean conservation. “Growing up, books were my portals to new worlds. Now, I want to offer that gateway to kids today, especially those who might think the ocean’s marvels are beyond their reach,” BJ says enthusiastically. His book features a young Black protagonist, a deliberate choice to foster representation. “I believe in showing kids that they, too, can explore and protect our oceans. It’s about educating and inspiring, but also showing them that someone like them can become a marine biologist, a scuba diver, or an oceanographer,” he explains. This project reflects BJ’s dedication to breaking barriers and expanding horizons for young minds, helping them to see themselves in roles they might never have imagined.

The Creation of Rival Island: A Game of Adventure and Connection

Rival Island, an idea born from BJ’s love for the show “Survivor” and a desire to do something epic for his 30th birthday, has transformed into a much-celebrated venture. When his original birthday plans fell through, BJ’s creativity took over. “I was literally googling ‘affordable islands for rent,’ and I stumbled upon this gem in Panama. I thought, why not turn this into a real-life adventure game?” BJ recounts. The experience was designed not just for fun but as a social experiment in building community among strangers.

“It’s about more than just playing games; it’s about forging genuine connections. By the end of it, strangers become friends, bonded by this shared, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he reflects. BJ’s initiative echoes his belief in the power of direct, authentic interaction—something you also value deeply, especially in professional settings where feeling seen and appreciated can significantly influence experiences. Rival Island serves as a microcosm for his broader vision, where adventurous spirits and open hearts come together, leaving with memories and friendships that last far beyond the shores of their temporary island retreat.

Photography and Global Campaigns

“I picked up my first camera in 2015, not knowing it would become a tool to express my travels and views on the world,” BJ states. His photography skills have since evolved, leading to partnerships with major brands, including a memorable campaign with Canon in Thailand. “That was a real full-circle moment for me,” he shares with a proud smile.

Future Horizons: Breaking Records and Stereotypes

Currently, BJ is planning an ambitious project to set a Guinness World Record for the fastest time to scuba dive on all seven continents. “It’s about more than breaking records—it’s about breaking stereotypes and showcasing black excellence in every ocean,” he asserts confidently.

An Advocate for Learning and Exploration

As summer approaches, BJ urges everyone, especially within the African American community, to overcome historical fears and engage with water through swimming lessons and diving. “It’s about breaking cycles and opening doors to new worlds,” he concludes, ever passionate about bringing others along on his journey of discovery.

Barrington Scott’s life is a testament to the power of curiosity, the thrill of the unknown, and the beauty of continuously reinventing oneself. Through his adventures, BJ not only explores the depths of the oceans but also the vast potential within himself and others. His story isn’t just about travel and exploration; it’s about inspiring others to dive deep into their passions, no matter where they come from.

You can follow Barrington @bj.thetraveller. You can purchase his Book on Amazon and learn more about his Guinness record attempt .

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