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The Journey Changes You

In May of 2011 I took my first adventure with my camera. I had no idea when I boarded that plane to America’s southwest how one week would change me forever. It was this trip that I found my soul and realized the need to nourish it. It has been hard to explain to family and friends the need to travel alone. Here is my attempt at an explanation.

1. Disconnection. Disconnecting from the routine of everyday life and information overload that seems to come along with it. Maybe I am getting old, but growing up without cell phones and computers, we created adventures every day. We were shielded from the troubles across the world, not naive to, but it wasn’t in front of us 24-7. Traveling makes it hard to be one with your devices and the break is intoxicating.

2. Patience. Steinbeck once said You don’t just take a trip, the trip takes you. Although, I enjoy planning my trips, creating an itinerary, searching for inspiration on images I hope to capture, I have learned that not everything goes as planned and it has taught me patience. There are so many variables that come in to play while traveling – weather being the biggest influencer. We photographers all hope for the perfect sunrise or sunset, the best conditions for our trip. Experience has taught me you have 2 choices: you can sit in your hotel and complain that things aren’t working out as you hoped, or you can get out there, in the rain or snow or bright sun and find that silver lining.

3. Gratitude. I am not sure that I can ever explain how incredibly grateful I am that I am on this journey. That I have found such a passion for photography and that I have been fortunate to have been in front of the most amazing scenes that God and nature have created and for those people who understood the need to preserve these places for the generations. I am grateful.

4. Getting out my comfort zone. This is probably the toughest to do, but certainly the most rewarding. 10 years ago, I never would have thought I had the courage to travel alone, to overcome my fears to get to the places I never believed I could get to or go out of my way to meet people and truly listen to the stories they have to tell. These challenges have allowed incredible growth and overall self-improvement and empowerment.

5. Self-Discovery. To be able to find one’s self is the greatest and most important adventure in our lives. Unearthing those things that make up who you are and realization that the imperfections that you see within are ok. I have found such contentment in my life, “content” being the key word. So many people seek only happiness and success and I believe in turn experience a lot of disappointment. The fundamental is to find that middle ground. We are going to all have joy and sorrow in our lives, but to find that balance and be truly “ok” with it is being comfortable. I am content with my life, because I have disconnected, been patient and grateful, and got out of my comfort zone.

Anthony Bourdain summed this up perfectly when he said “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

Vulture Mine, Wickenburg, Arizona May 19 2011

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