Journeys, discoveries and living life in the unknown.
Back in 2006, before blogs were even much of a thing, I left my job with CNET and set out to travel for a while. I started a travel blog as a way to let my family and friends know I was okay and to share some of my journeys through photography and writing. My travelblog became a great outlet for me. It was so encouraging to have comments from people about how sharing my experiences touched them. Some of my readers weren’t able to do the things I was doing, but they told me how they lived vicariously through my experiences, and that motivated me to continue traveling and sharing stories.
My journey moved inward.
Then, in 2009, I met a yogic master, learned a bit about yoga and meditation, and began visiting India. The more I experienced of this world, the more I wanted to experience. My exploration of life shifted from the external adventures of visiting other cultures and landscapes to a more internal examination that was quite personal. I began to spend a lot of time sitting in one place (literally) and didn’t have much photography or adventurous stories to share, so the blog came to a natural pause.
As I spent more time in meditation and silence, I started to explore so many aspects of life that I never took the time to look at. It was like peeling away layers of an onion, looking at my perceptions of and ideas about life and questioning whether they were really true for me. This felt way too personal to share and I wasn’t about to get that vulnerable with my blog readers who were used to my fun, carefree travel posts.
Over the years, friends would ask me what had happened to my blog and express how much they loved it and missed it. I did miss writing and sharing with others, but it seemed too surface to just share some photos of where I’d been without sharing how I was feeling. Then, one day, a conversation with the unlikeliest friend became the catalyst to begin sharing at a deeper, more authentic level.
I returned to my hometown of Laguna Beach after the tragic death of a dear friend to pancreatic cancer. Four months earlier I had lost my dad to the same disease that our friend Mark succumbed to. The afternoon before Mark’s service, I spent some time with my friend Mal, one of Mark’s best friends. In the 20-plus years I’ve known Mal, I’ve never experienced him sad or upset. He has always been the fun guy, always joking, making light of things, enjoying life.
Mal and I were sitting on the deck having some small talk—he even made a ‘what ever happened to your blog’ comment—and then, we somehow began to share about the losses of our fathers. It was the most authentic and real conversation I had ever had with Mal, and I saw a deeper, more serious side of him. The next day he said, “Thanks for sharing your experience with your dad with me. I really appreciated it.” It was in that moment I realized that sharing our intimate, personal stories had given each of us new perspectives. And it was also in that moment I was inspired to get back to sharing my experiences through writing and photography (yes, Mal, you can take the credit!).
So now I’m ready to take that leap, to get more vulnerable, more unfiltered, to share my journeys into the unknown at a deeper level.
My hunch is that what people are craving in this day and age is more authenticity (and less ‘reality’ tv), more sharing, more heart. We all have stories and life experiences to share. And they all matter and shape how we navigate our flow in life.
So my blog is no longer just a travel blog… at least not in the superficial sense. It’s a forum to talk about my journeys and discoveries through all aspects of my life: travel and photography, yes, and also, what’s inspiring me now, my favorite things, where I go to nourish my soul, etc. I’ll still travel to exotic places, and I’ll still have some interesting adventures to share (on the books so far for 2014: Guatemala, Bali and Alaska). But the focus of this blog, from here on out, will be on living life in the flow and in the presence of the unknown. These have been my two key discoveries since I left my job back in 2006—the two things that now drive what I do and the decisions I make.
Living in the presence of the unknown is the only way to be truly present to life.
If we think we know everything, if we seek the predictable, if we cling to order and control, then we’re not curious and open to the possibilities and magic of life. If we resist the wild flow of life, it can make for a bumpy ride, sort of like the crazy pot-holed covered dirt roads of Costa Rica. But if you embrace the fluidity and unforeseen twists on this life path, if you’re present to them and willing to continuously adjust your course, well then, you are living in the flow. And that’s a beautiful thing.
So many of us compartmentalize our lives into work versus personal versus family versus friends. We have different personas and agendas for each activity. But I don’t believe in work/life balance. I simply believe in life. Through my journeys, one poignant thing I have learned is that the more I show up to every activity, every moment, as my true self, the more powerful and effective I am. This blog is a step in that direction.
I created Where Life Flows to share my own flow, what projects and interests are occupying my time, what adventure I am on, what is filling me with joy and of course, travel! I truly believe that there is no destination—simply the journey. So enjoy the ride. After all, it is the only one you get!
Navigate your own unique path and let your life flow.
I’d love for you to participate, comment and keep checking back with Where Life Flows. You can sign up for updates and I’ll be adding additional ways for you to participate in conversations and share your experiences over time.