While still a student at the Polytechnic of Central London, in the late 1970s Chick travelled to his ancestral home of Orkney. He took a series of photographs in the islands which subsequently formed a book, Life in the Orkney Islands (1979) documenting the unique character of Orkney life.
With the help of a Scottish Arts Council Bursary, in 1980 Chick took time out from his job as a photography lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University and spent ten months in America. In his VW camper van he travelled 33,000 miles,
visiting all fifty-two states. The body of work he created was later exhibited in the Edinburgh gallery Stills in 1982.