Hawaii Day 1: Quarter Way Around the Planet
It's incredible to think that in one day all fie of us travelled 1/4 the way around the Earth. Wow, did we really have to go that far? Sometimes I wonder why I have such terrible wanderlust. After all, didn't I have next to my picture in the senior yearbook this quote?
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
Yes. Yes I did.
But what am I always trying to escape from? I've moved multiple times, at least once every 3 years since I was 12 years old, not to mention I attended 9 different schools between kindergarten and graduation, if you count those several months I homeschooled myself. You'd think all that newness would keep the monotony and existential doom from setting in, right? I'm not sure why I love travel so much. Maybe it's to escape the idea that I have to commit to a certain way of life and that that limits or eliminates my opportunity to do anything else. Maybe that means I'm insecure in my choices, or that I still don't feel settled in an identity that I like. Maybe being out of the zone of things I'm supposed to control helps me feel more in control, or at least gives me reprieve from feeling powerless to change my environment or circumstances, despite doing my best to create them in the best way I know how. Maybe it's discomfort with settling into any way of life, or the thin veil I keep between acceptance and the fact that I'll never be an ideal version of anything I try because you can always find someone on the internet who can appear to do it better. And even if I'm not comparing, my expectations of myself continually rise above my chin as I tread deep waters of perpetual self improvement. But I'm not driven by fear; I'm driven by the love of what I'm doing.
Recently I've become a bit more comforted in learning all that is actually involved in creating the kinds of photographs I really want to shoot. I've been the baby wrangler, wardrobe person, hair person, set person, lighting person, gear person, and stylist. In reality, the kinds of photos of children dressed beautifully in perfect-looking scenarios like I see in catalogs, take either a team of people or the kind of life-arresting involvement to create and live in an ideal backdrop that I just can't keep up with, because three kids and no help. I've been expecting way too much of myself. And somehow knowing that now sets me free. I'm more appreciative of the photos I have styled, constructed, arranged, or simply noticed and captured. In giving consideration to where I'm going with photography, I've realized that for now, I really only want to shoot personal work. That my family is the most important thing to me. Family and new, shared experiences.
For me, traveling means putting all those expectations of myself on hold. It means holding my breath and sinking underwater just a few inches, touching the muddy bottom, and letting go of my breath. It's the time and place where I can shoot and just enjoy shooting, and enjoy life too somehow. It's the place I can create, and where I feel the most myself, floating, unanchored. I feel more at home on the road, living that vagabond life with my family, discovering places and shooting our experiences together, than I do in the house we're breaking our backs and bank account to remodel and grind our noses in weekly through the school year. I live for the times we can travel. For the times I just feel like we're us, and I'm not 30-something with a mortgage, but free, just living, with our children.
As for Hawaii, this will be one of these times, a new shared experience. None of the five of us have ever been to Hawaii.