This Sunday was cram packed with adventure and fun! I spent my morning at East Fork Lake State Park, in my kayak, paddling around the lake with my camera in tow. Sometimes I like to paddle out to the middle of the lake, prop my feet up on top of the kayak, lean back and just float. Watch the clouds go by, and just let the serenity wash over me as the gentle waves lull and lap at the side of the boat. I watch the boats whiz by, towing skiers, or trolling along looking for good places to fish. I’ll paddle along the edge of the lake looking for Great Blue Heron, jumping Bass, and other wildlife. The lake on Sunday was a bit choppy, lots of boats, and a little wind, but a little waves and wind never stopped me from having a good time on the water. After my arms finally got tired (and I had to use the little girls room), I paddled back to shore and carried my boat back to the car. I used the creepy park bathroom that’s missing half its doors and decided to walk around the beach to snap a few more pictures. So many interesting people at East Fork Lake. The Beach is really a diverse place, where you realize that no matter the differences in culture or lifestyle, that we are all still alike in many ways. If only we paid more attention to the things that are the same about us, than paying attention to our differences… I watched a dog owner tossing a stick out into the water for his exuberant pup, captured pictures of a group of men fishing from the beach, and took pictures of anything that caught my eye. I stopped to talk to two kayakers, who were preparing for a kayak race the following weekend! I didn’t even know they had such thing around here. But it was exciting to learn there are new common interest communities I can get involved with. After I left the lake, I headed to pick up the Pauper Prince (Geoff) and meet a few of our friends for some disc golf at Woodland Mound Park. Honestly I used to dislike disc golf because I wasn’t very good at it, lol, but now that I am getting better, its actually really a lot of fun! Since I had my camera with me, I snapped some pictures on the course, and of the guys golfing. I didn’t play very well, but I did take some cool photos. We wrapped up the 18th hole and Geoff and I headed to the amphitheater to watch the sunset. It was a cloudless sky and the sunset produced some deep orange and blue hues. Just stunning. All together, it was a great day. Looking forward to always adventuring!
I caught the travel bug at an early age. Every trip, big or small, when you’re a child, seems to be an adventure. A trip to the grocery store is a wild shopping cart ride through isles of colorfully decorated boxes, bottles, cans and packages. The smell of the deli, the texture of fruit, and the candy selection at the checkout line; all stimulating to a little person’s senses. When you’ve grown older, the trip to the grocery sometimes becomes a daunting responsibility, as opposed to an adventure. It’s a task, and one we often like to get through as quickly as possible. It can seem so overwhelming in an era of information to choose the right foods from such a vast selection. I mean, there’s an ENTIRE isle dedicated to high fructose corn syrup! Anyway, not to get too far off topic, because as you will come to learn, my words sometimes carry me away… The reason it becomes a task is because we’ve lost touch with that sense of wonder, of adventure. I challenge you to take a different perspective next time you have to go grocery shopping (or anywhere for that matter). Stop and rub an orange, smell all the candles in the air freshener section, browse through the toy isle, taste every sample available, marvel at the colors on all the packaging, and stand on the back of the cart and wheel down the isle like a child. Who cares who’s looking!
So back to the topic at hand. In the beginning… from a very early age my parents wanted to expose me to the adventure of travel; going away from home and experiencing something new and different. We took countless vacations to the Smokey Mountains, Daytona Beach, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Lake Cumberland, and so on.
My parents both have a very different approach to traveling. While one is a planner, and cares more for the details to be ironed out before hand, everything to be packed neatly and nothing to be forgotten, the other is a spontaneous trip taker, a go-without-reservations type, a person who could leave with one idea and end up somewhere completely different. While these qualities in separate individuals can cause for a bit of conflict, I think I probably got the best of both worlds and its worked out well. On my early vacations, although I don’t remember much with clarity besides what I can gather from pictures, I do always remember never wanting to come back home. I always felt the rush of adventure sucked right out of me as we neared the Cincinnati, Ohio sign. Back to life, back to reality.
I have many fond memories of vacations where I got to invite one of my cousins to join me on a trip so that, as an only child, I wouldn’t get lonely (and probably so I wouldn’t talk my parents’ ears off). Some of the greatest times of my early life were spent in places far (or not that far) from home. One year, I think I was about 12, we took a trip to Virginia Beach. It was a last minute trip that my dad had thrown together, and my cousin Tristan (my childhood best friend) joined us. We left without reservations (much to my mother’s dismay) and by the time we reached VA Beach, nearly every hotel was filled. We found ourselves driving around in less desirable areas of town, with my mom protesting, “I will not stay in a roach coach!” My dad’s spontaneity actually ended up landing us in one of the nicest hotel rooms we’d ever stayed in.
Since it was 1:00 am and the hotel figured they’d not be able to rent the room that evening to anyone else at the full price, they gave us a two room suite for a mere $60. Tristan and I stayed up all night watching Dracula movies, and in the morning called and ordered around $60 in room service breakfast, not realizing that my parents credit card would be charged for all these lavish amenities. It was grand! It’s something I’ll never forget. Someday soon I’ll dig through the film archives and post a few more pictures from these early vacations, although you must promise not to laugh at my style. I am, after all, a product of the 80’s.
By the time I was out of high school, I had been a plethera of places, and had a strongly developed interest in photography. I maintained my wanderlust and strong desire to see the world. The year before I turned 21, my parents, who had always had a wish to take me out west and show me the amazing things they’d seen on their honeymoon, did just that. I took part in most of the planning, writing out an itinerary, making reservations, and still leaving room for a little adventure along the way. Our trip was 13 days long, we drove through the northern part of the US on the way out and through the southern part on the way home. We saw the sunflower fields and Badlands of South Dakota, Mt. Rushmore, Old Faithful and the wildlife at Yellowstone National Park, Bear Lake in Utah, LasVegas, The Grand Canyon, and so much more. I captured images of our adventure with my first digital camera (a Sony Cybershot, with a whopping 5mp!).
That trip sealed a silent pact in my heart that I would never quit traveling, that I would never give up on my quest to see and capture through my lens, the entire world. Although at times I’ve gone long periods without traveling, the wind is always calling me, it’s always in my ear to follow it. At this point I think its a part of my soul.
I begin this blog to share a bit of my story, and a lot of my adventures, both past, present and the ones to come. I begin it in hopes of inspiring those who think that following a dream is impossible, that they might be able to take a first step toward their dreams. I begin it in true faith that the world around us is one of the most important resources for learning about ourselves, our humanity and love. And mostly I begin it because it is a part of my journey to myself. It is my desire, my dream, my passion to capture the world around me and share it as I see it, as I feel it. Who knows maybe it will make you want to experience something new for yourself! Stay tuned, there’s a lot more to come.