I'm The Worst. At This. (and probably other things too.)

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!

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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.

Hobbiton

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.


St. Paul's Bay - Panasonic GH3

I was on assignment for a project taking place on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, about 50 miles south of Sicily. I had just managed to pick up a Panasonic GH3 right before my flight and this was my first chance to play around with the camera. I had some free time and trekked down to St. Paul's Bay (one of the locations where Paul (yes, THAT Paul) was rumored to have been shipwrecked) and immediately saw how easily it would be to become shipwrecked here. The weather was incredibly volatile, but I managed to catch a stunning sunset. 5 minutes after I stopped filming it began hailing in sheets. Unreal.

Camera: Panasonic GH3

Lenses (used w/ Kipon EOS-m4/3 Canon EOS to Micro Four Thirds Lens Adapter w/ Aperture Control):

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International Traveling Truths

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.

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Thoughts at 30,000

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.).  

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What Is Even Happening Right Now?

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.

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On The Flip Side: The China Chronicles: Part 1: Punching Babies Edition

I have no idea how often I'll be posting about my China adventures, what the content will be, anything, really. But hey, let's see what happens!

(disclaimer: I'm hyped up on coffee right now... there's no telling what's about to happen.)

In 3 weeks I've gone from Iceland, to America, to Brazil, to America and finally to China. Sweet Odin's Raven. Let me tell you this. And I know you mothers out there are going to hate me for this. But because of all this traveling, I temporarily have hate in my heart for babies/toddlers. On my flight to Sao Paulo, there were 7 (SEVEN!) babies that screamed bloody chaos for 9 and a half hours. Not all 7 all the time, but some combination of them THE WHOLE FLIGHT.

Fast forward a week to my 14 hour flight from Toronto to Beijing. I have not slept in well over 24 hours at this point. My goal is to sleep for at least half of this flight. I was most certainly tired enough to do it. However, fate thwarted me. For behind me was a husband and wife and their infant child. Their infant baby child that proceeded to kick and shake my seat for the vast majority of the flight. This same infant baby child also proceeded to stand on the tray table and mess with my hair. Repeatedly. Mostly every time I almost fell asleep. I shot dirty look after dirty look back at the parents. I talked to a flight attendant. Nothing. At all. The parents smiled and laughed at their infant baby child that was just sooo cute in its infant babyness.

Until I punched it in the face.

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