I don't have any photos from the month of December. This normally happens - the holidays come and days move quicker than expected. While photos to me capture a deep presence of a person or experience like nothing else, there are times when putting down my phone, my camera, my pen and paper - everything, and just being with is far more meaningful. So all I wanted to share from this month are a few photos from trips we took in the fall + thoughts that have been constantly on my mind.
Community - a pretty buzzed out word in the bible belt, but one that can't and won't ever be less meaningful due to overuse. Driving close to a hundred hours this holiday season had me listening to a lot of podcasts - specifically my favorite of all favorites - On Being. I listened to some multiple times because of how amazed I was at how all of these different beautiful minds always come back to one thing - interconnectedness. Community. Being with people and how impactful that is on our minds, spirits, and bodies. I kept making little voice memos with quotes that I fell in love with. I had many a moments where I was stunned into silence and utter amazement at humanity and our great strength when we support one another. One of my favorites was from an interview with Jennifer Michael Hecht, a historian and philosopher, and during the conversation on suicide she said the words, "we believe each other into being." Chills. All over. Doesn't that give you so much hope? We are all connected and when we believe in each other, in the good and the light that is deep within us, we are made human. Being together, knowing we are loved, feeling our community supporting us gives us life.
Place. This is something I've struggled with and still struggle with. I read a quote from a travel writer I follow on instagram, Jedidiah Jenkins, and his blunt and striking words hit me hard. They read, "Do you have any friends who complain about the city they're in?" Let's pause there so I can say, that's me. I always tell myself and people I can't be here for much longer. I need mountains, I need ocean, I need a bigger city. No more too expensive whited out restaurants for me! Anyways, he goes on, "They say a place sucks or the people suck and then they move away all knotted up and try a new place, and then maybe a year later they say that it sucks there too, New York must be better, or Portland, or their home town. And the cycle continues. Sometimes I want to say to them that classic line, "you know the only common denominator in this constantly changing equation is you. Maybe it's you." Of course I never would.
Sometimes a change of scenery really does help. Maybe a better job or the confidence of a fresh start can push someone into better community. And I do believe LA can chew up an insecure person looking for fame faster than a light saber can slice a banana. It isn't the best place for a lot of people.
But I'm tempted to believe that a curious and kind person could live almost anywhere within reason and find a good life. That is to say, people are pretty much the same everywhere.
I don't know. It just seems to me that the people that blame a city for their sadness rarely seem to find the Oz they're looking for.
I saw this a lot on my bike trip. So many career travelers didn't seem to be driven by discovery. They were trying to forget. They were running from themselves. Unfortunately, every new town that they woke up in, there they were.
If you're going to move through this life, to travel, I think a great first step is to like the only person you'll always travel with."
His words sunk deep. A place is only what I make of it. And I'm starting to see it all around me now. The good, the adventure, the inspiration. Sometimes being in the same place for too long feels draining but the only thing draining is the mind dwelling on the negative. So my goal for this year is to be curious and kind. To find what I'm looking for no matter where I am.
I hope everyones New Year is filled with curiosity, kindness, and a good community.