Let me just say, I truly didn’t think I would last this long! 58 days away from home. That may not seem like a lot to some, but for me… someone who went to college an hour and a half away from my hometown, an only child and an only grandchild of a small family, and someone who was never really shipped-off to summer camp … 58 days away is crazy and quite an accomplishment! It baffles me that I spent an entire month in Australia, two whole weeks in Hawaii, and I’m rounding-out my second island on an 18-day adventure in New Zealand. It’s still so surreal, especially since I spent the last 11 years in little ol’ Waco, Texas. But, that’s what this past seven months has been about … expanding my horizons, challenging my norms, and stepping outside of my comfort zone.
My comfort zone. I’ve struggled with that phrase on this particular trip, especially in terms of my photography. Many of my photos are of beautiful landscapes. I’ve been lucky enough to traverse stunning islands and gorgeous parts of this planet, and it’s hard not to photograph things that move you to tears. But I sometimes get discouraged thinking, I’m not trying hard enough or I’m not branching out or stepping outside of my comfort zone with my photography … and then I remember, 58 days away. I did 36 on the road by myself across America. I flew to Scotland after quitting my job, packing up my apartment, and leaving my comfortable lifestyle (and salary) behind. So maybe the end of my comfort zone isn’t necessarily about photographing homeless people in the back alleys of Auckland … maybe for me, right now, it’s about pushing forward each day and living in the moment of this adventure. Of making it to day 67 and not coming home at day 35. Continuing on with a smile on my face as a white, American, 38-year-old female, exploring the world alone – hiking through cities, renting cars in different countries, driving on the left for thousands of kilometers, finding a new place to sleep and eat every one of those 58 days, and putting myself out there 8,000 miles away.
So, maybe this is more of a note of encouragement to myself … and a quick check in with my blog after 4 weeks … to say, keep going, you’re doing it! The great state of Texas, delicious mouthwatering Mexican food, and your adorable fuzzy pups are waiting for you whenever you’re ready. But for now … finish strong and keep going. Do it for those who can’t.