Unsettled

January 24, 2013 Comments Off on Unsettled

I want to tell you about my first week in Portland.  My new surroundings and all of the pleasant experiences I’ve had. The food I’ve cooked for my lovely host and all of the amazing coffee I’ve consumed.

Perhaps another time.

My first week in Portland was imperfect. I was sick the first couple of days I was here. Nothing more than a head cold, but it was powerful enough to siphon away most of my energy. It was around this time  that I began to have second-thoughts about making this move. I wondered why I’d moved to a place without any job prospects and with limited funds. Why I’d purposefully removed myself from my support system.

I overwhelmed myself. I spent an entire morning crying what might be described as an “ugly cry.”

All of that confidence I projected in my last post? Temporarily gone. I haven’t cried since. I guess I owed it to myself. I didn’t let myself cry on my first day in Portland. Right when I felt like crying, I started unpacking and searching for cafes on Yelp. Because that’s what you do to keep yourself from crying. Stay occupied.

It’s going to take a while before I feel truly happy in this wonderful place. I don’t feel like I’m on vacation, but I don’t feel like I live here either. I don’t have my own space or steady income. Almost no one knows who I am.

I don’t like it at all. Well, I don’t have to like it.

I realize now that I have to experience extreme discomfort and confusion before I can call Portland my home. I learned to accept these negative feelings as part of my life while I was in Europe. I experienced them daily, and I figured out how to not let them adversely affect me. I’m re-learning this lesson here in Portland.

It’s Time to Go

January 11, 2013 § 2 Comments

A few people have told me to have a good trip in the last few weeks. I appreciate the sentiment, but I don’t think the word “trip” appropriately describes what it is I’m about to do.

When someone goes on a trip, in my mind, they intend to come back. I’m not coming back. I’m relocating, though I can’t stay away from the Midwest forever. I predict I’ll return more than once.

Three months ago, I almost talked myself out of doing something this drastic. I was convinced that the self-confidence I’d gained during my travels had slipped away. Then I became fed up with second-guessing myself and bought a plane ticket to Portland.

I’ve resolved to do whatever it takes to make a life for myself in Portland. The prospect of having to support myself in an unfamiliar setting doesn’t intimidate me. It won’t be easy. To be blunt, it might really suck at times. No matter. I want to embrace this experience in its entirety, even the unpleasant parts.

As I attempted to cram my belongings (or, most of them) into two suitcases and a worn-out duffel bag yesterday, it occurred to me that I wasn’t nervous. Not even in the slightest. I was happy. I felt exactly the same way when I left Europe. When I trust my own instincts, it inspires confidence in me.

I know that this is what I’m supposed to do.

Western Mass

January 5, 2013 § 1 Comment

I lived in Western Massachusetts (or “Western Mass”) as a college student for four years. I really do miss it. I didn’t shoot with film all that much during my final semester of college. One, maybe two or three, rolls of film in all. Here’s what I have. This will be the last film photography post I’ll do in a while. I’ve really enjoyed posting these images for you. I hope to shoot with film occasionally after I move to Portland.

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Here and There

January 5, 2013 Comments Off on Here and There

As I was organizing my India photographs, I “rediscovered” some other images I made last year that I think are good enough to share. The first four images feature my hometown in suburban Chicago. I took the rest during my final semester of college in Western Massachusetts.

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I Can’t Help Myself

January 5, 2013 Comments Off on I Can’t Help Myself

I’m having too much fun going through my India photos. This is the last round of photos from that trip that I’ll share. For now.

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This Is India

January 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

I told you that I took lots of photos in India.

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This Time Last Year

January 2, 2013 Comments Off on This Time Last Year

This time last year, I traveled to India with my grandmother.

I’d never been anywhere in Asia, and I hadn’t traveled extensively in a long time prior to this trip. I didn’t study abroad in college. The most “exotic” place I’d visited in my then-recent memory was Scottsdale, AZ. No joke.

I encountered many strange and beautiful things in India. I rode an elephant, learned to love getting stuck in traffic, and dropped lanterns and marigolds into the Ganges. I had too many close-calls with stray cows (and their, um, droppings) and stubbed my toes while walking shoe-less in an ancient temple. Even more significant for me, though, was rediscovering my passion for travel. I’ve traveled since I was young. I’m fortunate enough to have parents who made it a point to expose my brother and I to fascinating destinations and cultures. But during my college years, I forgot just how happy travel makes me. I wanted to make the most of my experience on campus and to figure out what sort of work I might like to find after graduation.

That’s not to say I never thought about traveling. I did, more than once, but I never went through with it. I made up excuses: too expensive, too many logistics to sort out…

I see now that I was unmotivated and a bit afraid. I hope to make travel a priority in the next phase of my life. I can’t deny what I love.

I took lots of pictures in India. I used film exclusively on the trip, something I hadn’t done since high school. I wish I had the means to shoot with film more often. I love the look and feel of it. Below you’ll find a few of my favorite images.

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Where Am I?

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