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I’m tired of failed New Years resolutions, aren’t you?   In fact, I’ve given up on them, really. Instead, I want to make a resolution revolution. (And to use more cheesy slogans like this one) What if we aspired to small, tangible steps? Steps that aren’t sexy, aren’t the flash bang we may want, but when we can look back on them years from now we’ll see how the small, incremental steps lead us to a whole new way of living. Of seeing the world and our place in it. What if we started looking outside of our bubbles, even around the corner, to our neighbors in need? What if we started reading news about the world around us, outside of our country, of different viewpoints and perspectives? What if we had a legitimate conversation with that person of ethnic descent that we’ve labeled a potential terrorist, a former criminal, in our minds? What if we listened more than we spoke? What if we lost every sense of entitlement that has crept up on us, and instead treated every good thing we are given, big or small, as a gift? What if we stopped the flow of the talking heads psychobabble, and actually formed our own opinions and sought out fact from fiction? What if we stopped the “need” to instantaneously react to anything and everything we see/hear/taste/touch? What if we found common ground? What if we learned to love, even a little bit more? What if we were honest? With ourselves and others? What if we were okay with who we are? What if we figured out who we are? What if we discovered patience, and decided that sometimes good things do come to those who wait, and that instant gratification is mostly cheap, easy and will leave a bad taste in our mouths, and most likely give us heartburn? What if we started to realize that security is a myth? What if we dared to risk something? Big or small. Took a leap? What if regret was not an option? I’m so thankful for 2013. It has been filled with peaks and valleys, sickness and health, bright tears of laughter and burning tears of sadness. I hope that I’ve embraced all of it. The joy and the suffering. Because life, when lived wide open, is rich, and full, and you cannot help but be different than when you started. That’s my hope. That’s my challenge. Baby steps. Let go of one thing at a time. Step by step. Moment by moment. Ane when we look back, we will see a different, truer, version of ourselves. Yeah. That’s a resolution I can believe in.

So 2013 is half way over. How did this happen??? No seriously. How did this happen? This has been one of the wildest 6 month spans of my life. Which is somehow saying a lot. I’ve been really terrible at posting on here. The worst, really. I want to make this guarantee, this promise, to the 3 of you who will actually read these words, that YES!, yes, I will do better. I will post daily. Or weekly. Or, something. But I can’t. Because I’m the worst. At this. And probably other things. But mostly this (and probably other things). So what have these last 6 months looked like? I moved to New York City in January. I worked with ELIC in Thailand for 2 weeks in February. I worked with a not to be named organization in Prague & Malta in March. (This was also the last time I blogged. I’m an embarrassment to the internet.) I had the privilege of photographing my dear friend Biscuet & Jennifer’s wedding in March. Such a great time! 7572_10104243979832284_223758404_n   934951_10104439857282304_1993952988_n I worked with The Zinghoppers on some new programming for PBS kids in April.  
I returned to Prague to produce a conference & then went to Budapest in May. I continued my ongoing documentary series for ELIC in Vietnam in May. I’ve spent all of June traveling, only to return to NYC this past Friday night. I started in Atlanta, flew out to Fort Collins, CO for a few days, then headed off to New Zealand for two weeks of filming and adventure, and then I spent the last week in Hawaii. Life is hard. I’ll have a lot more coming soon on what went down in New Zealand. Such an amazing country. People often ask, if you were to live somewhere other than the States, where would it be? I’ve never been able to honestly answer that question. Until now. New Zealand. Hands down.


More on that soon. So, overall, its been a wild 6 months. I’ve flown about 90,000 miles so far this year. Which is complete madness. I’ve been at an airport every week for the last 13 weeks. Also madness. And I’m currently exhausted. Thoroughly exhausted.

Where I Live

See that funky little area just below the plane where the international date line goes all wonky? Yeah. If you ever want to know what my body/headspace feels like, it pretty much rotates around that nebulous of chaos and confusion. There. Now you know me a little better. And maybe understand me a little better. Or worry about me a little more. Or all of it. I’m incredibly thankful for these past 6 months. They have been amazing, exhausting, life affirming, filled with tears, and pain, and questions, and joy, and love, and sorrow, and wondering, and wandering, and awkwardness, and boldness, and fear, and just about every other emotion possible. I’m absolutely stoked for what comes next. I have no idea what that is and I can’t wait. I hope you all are having a year full of adventure and new possibilities. And for those of you wondering, no, I do not work for the CIA or NSA or any other top-secret government organization. That you know of.

Two roads diverged in the woods and I took the road less traveled…. AND IT HURT MAN! Really bad. – Kid President (oh, and that Robert Frost guy)
Gotta be honest kids. I’m having one of those weeks. A huge project I was banking on fell through, I lost out on a couple of other gigs because I was out of the country, and I’m reasonably poor. Being a freelancer is the best worst thing. I’m so thankful for the freedom I have to work with amazing organizations that are making a deep impact on this planet, and I get to travel to some of the craziest places and experience cultures that I never even knew existed. keep reading

I’ve decided to start compiling a list of my international traveling truths. This will probably be an ever-expanding list, that I will update from time to time. Here is the first batch, in no particular order: 1. Chinese grandmas will crowd a gate and it doesn’t matter if you’re Boarding Group 1 and they’re Boarding Group 9… you’re gonna have to throw a bow in her face to get her to move. 2. “Buckle your seatbelt due to turbulence” means “everybody get up and crowd the bathroom” in Asia. 3. Airplane food will never look like what they describe it to be, and it will taste twice as bad as your lowest expectation. 4. Consolidating your air miles to one airline on one alliance is beneficial to your long-term travel health on about eleventy billion levels. 5. Every single person that ever flies through Tokyo on a United flight has status and will be in the lounge. I have no idea how this is a thing, but it is a thing. keep reading

Every now and again I’m going to pull out one of my bizarre, what is even happening right now? (WIEHRN?) life stories. Let’s get this party started with one of my more famous tales. Also, this is completely true. Nothing has been fabricated or exaggerated. As far as we both know. This story takes place circa 2004. Living in Los Angeles was one of the most (bi)polarizing times of my life.  I’ve never had such a severe love/hate relationship with a place… or a person… or an idea… or a, well, you get it… in my life. My first real LA apartment was just off of Hollywood Blvd. & Western, tucked right in-between Little Armenia & Thai Town. Sounds kine of exotic, right? Yeah. No. Not so much.  To this day I swear the Armenian mafia lived in the building next to me. I’ll have another post on another day as to why my beliefs came to fruition, but for now, trust me. keep reading

I have already flown nearly 30,000 miles this year. Which is kind of a lot for the first 6 weeks of a year. What have I learned in these 30,000 miles? 1. There are a lot of amazing people who are doing incredible things all over this planet, that I never would have known existed. I’m sworn to secrecy due to the sensitivity of most of their stories, but my mind has been blown and my heart has burst many, many times. People that are risking their lives on a daily basis for their faith and their convictions. People that love so deeply and so desperately that you cannot help but look inward at your own ideas of what it means to love. People that changed my life. 2. I missed Aaron, Jenny & Sadie Karr a lot. They are wonderful people with beautiful souls that are loving and serving the people of Vietnam. You can follow along with their adventures here. (P.S. Their site is currently down, but hopefully it’ll be back up by the time you click the link!) 3. My body has developed this innate ability to know when an obscenely long flight is coming up and preemptively goes into hibernation mode. I keep thinking that I’m going to get SO MUCH DONE on these flights and I usually end up being the equivalent of a lump on a log (In my own defense, I am writing this very post on my flight from Bangkok to Tokyo. Be proud.).   keep reading

How do I put the last 5 weeks into words? It’s been a roller coaster, an obscene roller coaster with heights and depths to the extreme, with profanity laced tirades and whispered prayers. I’ve seen and experienced things that still boggle my mind. Here in China, according to my American sensibilities, down is up… up is left… and left leads you into a brick wall.”What about right”, you may ask? Well, right is an ambiguous notion that I’m failing to catch wind of… Not to say things are bad. Not to say I’m miserable. Because that would not be true. No, it’s more that I’m having to rediscover how to live. That I’m seeing how little patience I have for certain things. How exhausting it can be to feel completely uncomfortable because you are so unfamiliar, more often than not. And when you think you’re familiar, or that you know how a certain thing is supposed to go, and then it goes a completely different way than you thought,  and it doesn’t fit in your ill-constructed, shoddily thrown together box, well, you just have to shake your head and throw the box away. keep reading

Apologies in advance if this is a rambling mess.  This is going to come as rather bizarre to some, completely bizarre to others, and a few will say, “yes, of course”. Those people know that the sum of my life is one bizarre incident after another, compounding upon each other, hurtling towards some unknown conclusion, the only known being that whatever it is, it will probably be bizarre. (or something… I’m tired… cut me some slack.) So, with that qualifier out-of-the-way, I’m (temporarily) moving to China. On Thursday. As in two days from today. Yep. There’s more to this than I have time to explain right now, but here’s what I can tell you. I’ve felt a bit of an unsettling this year, not knowing exactly what it meant, but knowing, as has happened in the past, that big change was coming. I ‘ve been pursuing the idea of moving to New York City for some time. I visited again earlier this year, hoping that my heart would be settled on yes or no as to the move. And I truly believed that it was a yes. Actually, I still do. But not yet. And even THAT is subject to change. keep reading