I think most of you, Dear Readers, know my dad was in the Air Force for my whole childhood (coincidentally, until the day I got to Notre Dame this past summer). We moved around a fair bit. College was the longest I'd ever been at one school. And as a kid, I pretty well hated it. I wanted nothing more than to just stay in one place, to be at a school for more than a year -- to feel normal. To have roots. Such was not my fate however, and I bemoaned that loud and clear (my parents will tell you). As a kid, my plan was to nail myself to the ground and stay somewhere as soon as I could.
In high school (all three of them), I got into photography. I was -- and am -- enchanted by the play of light in all things and deeply touched by photography's power to impact individuals, communicate ideas and information, and make things happen. For a while, I was pretty bent on doing it as a career. The idea of traveling all over for a job and doing something important at the same time was hugely appealing. Before the end of my freshman year of college, however, I realized that I lacked two things necessary to do that for a living: the raw talent, and the drive that would make me willing to put my job before everything else, including family. You can only learn and practice so much, and you can only give up so much in favor of something else.
Funny enough, at the same time and I think in part because of my fascination with photojournalism, I began to realize that despite nearly two decades spent digging my claws into every place we lived and throwing a fit every time we moved, as a quasi grown up I had no desire at all to settle anywhere, doing anything.Instead, I felt compelled to reach both as far and as deep as I could. Every time I picked up an issue of National Geographic, I felt antsy. Those images are compelling, and they are compelling because they are of real places and things. Looking at them, there was a palpable sense of wanting to go... elsewhere. Everywhere.
This is how I ended up moving to Texas and living with nuns. My first choice was something more conventionally missionary -- orphanages in Africa and the like -- but I felt staying close to my teeny little siblings was more important. Thank God, too, because that year was far and away the best collective experience of my life thus far, and it in turn led me to ACE, which I am also loving. An it's how I ended up with roughly 9,000 pictures in my "My Pictures" folder in the year and a half since I got a digital camera.
I still want to go to all these places and see these things myself. I really, really, want to. And I'm looking at ways to do it.
Of course, I have almost two years left before I'm done with my current wacky life adventure (living, in an only half joking sense, in Mexico), and who knows what will come down the pike for me between now and then. The Spirit has had a clear hand in all the shenanigans I've gotten into thus far. I trust he's just cackling with delight at what's to come -- and where's to go.
I'm also hell bent on buying this, ASAP.
(All photographs from the National Geographic Society's Photo of the Day, a daily staple in my life.)