Wherever I Go, There I am
I have been fortunate to see and experience many places around the world. Some trips have been for work, others for leisure. Some of my leisure trips have been for a week or longer journeys while others have been short weekend getaways. The longest trip was six weeks in Europe and Africa for work and pleasure. Now that was a long time away from home!
Through the years, I have noticed that I am eager to see and experience new destinations for different reasons. Sometimes, I just need a couple days away to relax and recharge my internal batteries. Other times, I am going for a special occasion like a wedding, festival, change of seasons, or other occasion. And sometimes, I am trying to escape my current state of existence – work, personal, or other.
First things first, I love to see, experience, and photograph this amazing world we live. I enjoy our national parks and the Southwest more than any other place in the world. I find the natural environment very photogenic and awe-inspiring. That’s not to say I don’t like to spend a few days in New York, Los Angeles, or other interesting urban centers. I enjoy museums, people-watching, and seeing the sights like everyone else.
One of the things I’ve noticed, I can escape through travel. When I was young, I always wanted to go here, there, anywhere. I would read books about exotic locales, look at maps, spin the globe, look at picture books…you get the idea. I was unable to physically go places but I could sure escape through these methods. I suppose it’s like others who escape through books, playing video games, listening to music, doing woodwork, or other hobbies and activities.
I can still escape through travel. If I scratch below the surface, what’s really going on that compels me to go away? I have to examine my motives for going somewhere. Am I running from a situation or current emotional state? Sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not.
Funny thing…I can look at most of my images and I can tell you exactly what was going on with me at the time I took the photo. Where I lived, what I was doing professionally, how work was going, relationship status, financial state, and more. By and large, most of my images were taken during normal times – not up nor down – just regular. I suppose I wasn’t escaping during those photo journeys.
Sometimes I travel and photograph as therapy to heal emotional upheavals. It is eye-opening that some of my very best images were taken when I was dealing with a challenge. I was emotionally raw, vulnerable, and confused when I shot those photos. I didn’t have the answers and I needed help.
By immersing myself in photography, I finally let go of the dark clouds – my challenges – that blocked the sunlight of the Spirit. In surrendering, I saw the light and beauty that is and photographed it from my open heart rather than my closed mind.
I realize that occasionally I have to get away from where I currently am to process what I’m going through. It allows me to see more objectively and alter my thought process. I also realize that running away is not always the answer either. I can still hold on to the problem and remain in the darkness. Either way, I always take me with me when I travel. Wherever I go, there I am.