This post is long. If you’re the kind of person who reads the last chapter first, scroll to the bottom for a short version.
For almost a year, this post has sat in my draft folder. I’d open it up, read through it, rewrite parts (or all) of it, then click “save draft” again and again. Time and time again, we’ve come so close, only to have things fall through. But now, it’s real and it’s happening.
Sometimes, you know a life path is right from the start, but you don’t quite know how to say it. It has to rattle around in your head and your heart, collecting the words it needs to express itself. Sometimes you ignore it, because you’ve got other plans for yourself. But that path calls to you. And eventually, when your heart and mind find the clarity they need, you realize that path is meant for you. And you follow it.
“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough” — Lowell Lundstrom
For me, that path was photography. It called to me. It was always there, in the back of my mind, whispering to my heart. The desire to be an artist was so strong, that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t deny that urge to create. To tell the stories. The decision to dedicate the bulk of my time to growing my business was the first step. And it was great. I started growing my business, then I quit my day job, and worked on it even more. It was liberating and terrifying and BIG. I knew I was embarking on the path I was meant to be on. But that wasn’t all. Even though starting my business was great, I still felt the pull. Something was…off. And when we sat down last summer, after a whirlwind visit to Spokane for a wedding, and Portland for WDS, we realized what it was: our long terms goals didn’t have us in Seattle.
At first, I wasn’t sure. I knew I didn’t want to deal with the traffic or the rain. H didn’t want to commute an hour to work. But I love Seattle. And H does too. And so we talked. We discussed our long-term goals as well as short-term. Our business and personal goals. Our dreams and wishes and hopes. And H start looking for different work. Work in Spokane. Because as much as we love Seattle (and I swear, we really do. It’s one of the quirkiest, most wonderful places in the world), it wasn’t the place we needed to be. And even though we knew it was the right decision, we had doubts.
This has been a year in the making. A year of ups and downs, of getting SO CLOSE, followed by weeks of nothing, of waiting, and wondering if we were making a mistake. But, it all worked out. Last week, H accepted a new job in Spokane. A wonderful, fantastic, perfect-for-him job. A job that not only allows us to move, but will further his career. A job that would create the life we were looking to live. A job that would allow us to be near our favorite snowboarding spots. A job that would bring us, as a couple, full circle. To the city that shaped our lives and brought us together.
“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” — John Irving
What does this mean for my business? Not much is changing. I’ll be living in Spokane instead, but like I’ve always said have camera, will travel.
Long story short: H got a fabulous new job, we’re moving to Spokane, but I’m still going to shoot in Seattle, and we all have to follow our dreams.
The last few weeks have been a little quiet around here. And it’s not because I have nothing to share. It’s really the opposite. I have so much to share that my mine flutters all over. I’m here, there, and everywhere right now. Dying to spill my guts about awesome projects and plans, but wanting to wait until they’re real. So this might be all over the place, but here’s what I have to say today.
In the past month, I’ve traveled all over this great state of Washington (and a little bit of Oregon). Really. I’ve been in Vancouver, Portland, Mattawa, Moses Lake, Spokane, Bellingham and all over in the Seattle area. I’m at the point where I think I’ve become part of my car (his name is Otto, by the way, and I love him). And beside a few phone shots, I haven’t used my camera that much when we’ve traveled. I even went to a wedding as a guest and it really made me think. It’s the first time I’ve been a wedding guest in over 3 years.
There’s more travel to come. I’ll be in Portland for WDS in July. July 4th-8th, to be exact. And not only am I attending the conference that sparked me to quit my job, but I’m doing a little work there too. So if you’re in Portland and in need of photos, let me know. I’m in the Portland area every couple months now and I’d love to head there even more often. I’ll also be in Chicago in September with time for one session. I could use some tips on what to see and where to eat. Since I’ve never done anything but madly dash through O’Hare to catch a connection.
What I’ve learned in the last few months is to let go. I’ve been trying to make plans, but time and time again, they’re changed. Life has been in constant flux, which has been hard for me. I’ve struggled to accept that, but I’m realizing that I need to let go. I don’t need to plan everything, because it’ll work out. Eventually. And life will take me where I need to go. Like going out to dinner with friends without a watch or my phone. And just letting go. Or going to the park and snapping a few photos on a Monday.
I’ve been doing more of my work on paper lately. Writing out my ideas and sketching out plans. I find it helps me think better. I’m also working on slowing down. An editing tweak that I spent a few hours working on yesterday. A new font that I haven’t yet fulling decided I want. Slow down, my heart is telling me, and find what you really want. Do not be swayed by those around you. Don’t let the noise distract you from the music. Follow your heart. And then…let go. Just be.
Meet my beautiful friend Katja. We met at Gonzaga while on a retreat and have been friends ever since. She’s graduating from Seattle University next month with her Master’s degree and needed some portraits for her announcements and for her future job hunt. So we spent an hour traipsing around Seattle U, finding secret gardens and sunshine. Success! Besides her stunning blue eyes, Katja has a beautiful soul. She’s one of those people who will always be there to lend a hand, listen to your troubles, and help you out. So, it’s not surprising that she’s planning to use her Master’s of Divinity to work in Crisis Counseling. I’m only bummed she’s moving halfway across the country this summer.
Our surprise day trip destination? Hamburg! When H and I were planning our trip to Germany, we knew we wanted to travel by train. So we looked into booking our tickets early, but didn’t want to be stuck with certain trains at certain times. What if our plans changed? We looked into Eurail Pass, and that’s out we found the German Rain Twin Pass. It’s a special pass for two people traveling together through Germany. We bought a ticket for 4 days, and only used 3. Thus the impromptu trip to Hamburg. We were pretty happy with the price and value of the pass. I’d recommend it if you’re going long distances, but be sure to do your research.
Hamburg is just a short 2 hour hop from Berlin and so we grabbed a early morning train and arrived mid-morning. And of course, instead of being sunny, it was freezing and raining. And then it snowed. Since we went on whim, we didn’t really know where to go or what to do. But we wandered around and fell in love with the city. It’s a charming, confusing city filled with old brick warehouses and new homes. And ships! It reminded me of Seattle, which is probably why Hamburg is possibly my new favorite city in Germany. Sorry Berlin, you’ve got competition.
Oh, and those warehouses? Some of them were converted into apartments, with balconies that hung out over the canals. I can just imagine them with exposed brick walls and big windows. Doesn’t that sound like a nice place to live?
Catch up on all our adventures in Germany:
Berlin: Part One, Part Two, & Part Three
Bonn & Cologne
This last set of Berlin photos (see part 1 and part 2) covers three of my favorite Berlin landmarks: the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, and the Jewish Memorial. We covered all three places on our last day in Berlin. All three are free, but you do need to register for the Reichstag tour (right here), I’d recommend doing that a few days in advance. As strange as it sounds, the Jewish memorial is one of my favorite places in Berlin. I also like cemeteries. They’re calm. Peaceful. Anyways. It started to snow as we walked through the memorial. First, little flakes. Then, big, fat flakes. I wrapped my scarf around my head and across my body to cover my camera. And then it stopped. We slowly wandered over to Brandenburg Gate and to the Reichstag for our tour we were early, but we got to go up anyways. As we walked around and around the dome, the sun broke out. I’ve toured the Reichstag before, at night. It’s completely a different experience. I’m still not sure which I like better. I just know I love the dome, even though most Germans don’t. Later that night, as we waited for the bus, I snapped those nighttime frames. The TV tower at Alexanderplatz and the Berliner Dom.
I’ve got a few more Germany posts for you still. And then I’ll need to go on another adventure 🙂
Catch up on all our adventures in Germany:
Berlin: Part One & Part Two
Bonn & Cologne
You can find my first post on Berlin here. We ended up spending only three days in Berlin, and we had a long list of places we wanted to visit. At the top of the list was Olympiastadion Berlin. We try to visit Olympic sites when we travel, maybe someday we’ll even make it to the Olympics! It costs 7 Euro to visit the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, but I think it was worth it. Our tickets were discounted because the bell tower was not open, so I think they were only 4 or 5 Euro. Either way, it was impressive. We weren’t able to tour the locker rooms or anything, but we got to wander around on our own.
I could go on and on about the museums we visited in Berlin, but I’ll make it short. We’d go to all three of them again. Two are pictured below.
The first is Topographie des Terrors, which is about the Gestapo and SS during WWII. No, I didn’t take H to another concentration camp, but he did agree to come to this museum. The museum is located on the former site of the SS Headquarters, right in the middle of Berlin, near Checkpoint Charlie. There is an indoor and outdoor exhibit, but we skipped the outdoor exhibit because it was covered in snow. This museum is free. Free is good.
The second is the DDR (German Democratic Republic) Museum. This museum was SUPER fun, because you get to interact with all the exhibits. They’ve got school books, propaganda films, old cameras, a crazy old soviet game, and even an apartment replica you can tour! The admission fee for adults is 6 Euro for the DDR Museum. Everything is in English and German at both the DDR Museum and Topography of Terror.
Lastly, we visited the German Resistance Memorial Center, about the German resistance movement during WW II. Are you sensing a theme here? A little boring for most, but I think H liked the resistance memorial a lot. It was hard for him to visit WWII museums and monuments, and feel like no one tried to speak out. The permanent exhibit is in both English and German, but they also have free audio guides in multiple languages. Also, free. And in a sweet old building, but it is a bit out of the way.
We had planned to go to the Altes Museum or perhaps one of the other large museums on Museum Island, but ran out of time, because we took a day trip instead. There are plenty of Museums in Berlin, and while I was cruel and dragged H to all these cold places outdoors, don’t think that planning a winter trip will be boring! It’ll just be cold.
Catch up on all our adventures in Germany:
Berlin: Part One & Part Three
Bonn & Cologne