Even numbered years have had a pretty bad track record for me. I’m more of an odd numbered kinda girl.
This year, like any, had it’s ups and downs. I’m not cheers-ing to a “hopefully better year this year”. If people can generalize a year that much- good or bad- great for them. Not every day is good, some are better than others, but I feel horrible for people who say their whole year sucked. Frankly, I think they’re being over dramatic. //end rant.
My year had lows. My grandpa Duey passed away. Thanksgiving was weird without his stuffing. There’s not a day I don’t think about him and hope even though I’m going through life the non-traditional way, he’s watching me and is proud of me trying to find my way.
I went through the breakup of a six year relationship.
Unfortunate things happen on or around my birthday, this year was no different, I had my wallet stolen in a foreign country. I am officially in financial debt to my parents. Horrible car (RIP), camera (still kickin’) and computer (shelf life of a couple months) problems- all within the span of a month ($$$). I had to bring my dog Abby back to my parents house because I didn’t have enough time for her.
Besides those things, only the first two being something truly defining of a low time in my 22nd year, 2014 was pretty kick ass for me.
The biggest part of my year was travel and the people I met along the way.
There was nothing holding me back this year, I wanted out of Minnesota, and out of Minnesota I got. One credit card booked plane at a time, I made it happen.
Aminda, my photography best friend, won a trip to shoot with the Billabong photographers (yeah, she’s amazing) and I was lucky to go along with her. This was more of a vacation than it was a work trip- the only one I’ve ever relaxed so much on. My phone got fried on the island… so many photos were lost.
The traveling really started in February. I wasn’t alone, I was with Aminda for the whole trip – so enjoy the millions of photos of her😉
Los Angeles, California.
LA was everything and nothing like I expected. I learned a lot about traveling, blew way too much money my first week away from Minnesota. What I learned: LA public transportation sucks. I love whiskey, PBR is a fine chaser. LA is dirty, but the people are amazingly kind and creative. There is no way a shoot on the beach can end badly. Even if you don’t have a plan.
Then I was off to Europe.
^ Accurate description of how we felt. I had only been out of the country once, to Mexico, with my family. Here I was, going abroad to shoot models (hopefully), stay in a hostel (only the first two weeks were planned, our trip was five) and live. I will never forget landing and getting off the plane in another country having just been in LA 24 hours before. I didn’t have a plug in to charge my phone or computer, my money wasn’t yet converted, nothing. #firstworldproblems. SO underprepared. We had to take a six hour bus ride from the Dublin airport up to Derry, which is in Northern Ireland (whole different country, literally). Sandio’s was the first place we went, actually recommended to us by an Irish bar tender in LA a week before. It was pure irony the bus literally dropped us off there. And possibly fate.
Aminda and I worked to stay for free at a hostel for the first two weeks. We met amazing people, got sick once, hungover twice, drank lots of coffee, ate lots of cereal and toast. Cleaned bedrooms. Slept. Emailed agencies. Cleaned toilets. Slept. Emailed models. Cleaned showers. Emailed makeup artists. Then we took a couple days off work and ventured hours to Dublin, then to Belfast. We shot a lot in those couple days, each of us racking up about five shoots.
Then it was to decide where to go next. As the last few days approached of our time working in the hostel, we had to decide where we wanted to be for the next two weeks before flying out of Dublin. We ended up booking a ferry to London for thirty pounds, and a flight back to Dublin to end the trip for the same price. I was going to be spending my 22nd birthday in London.
We hadn’t slept in over 36 something hours- bus ride from Derry to Dublin was six hours, the ferry ride was four something hours, the bus ride from the coast to London another six. Then we got in a taxi that took us to somewhere that wasn’t our hostel. We had to take another taxi back to where we started. Eventually got to our hostel figuring out the bus system. Of course, the hostel didn’t have our booking- didn’t even have a room that fit the description of our email confirmation. We were beyond exhausted, didn’t have phones to use (we were running off WiFi) and I had a moment of panic, Aminda and I calculated everything, hostels were twice the amount we were expecting… we were talking about flying back home. It was that bad and exhausting. I wouldn’t go back to that feeling, that day, for anything. It got better though. We found a decently priced hostel, in Chelsea, a nice part of town, my kick ass parents lent us money to finish out our adventure and I booked a few shoots. The rest of the weeks are history. We stayed a week in Chelsea, and then stayed in Clapham, which was close to my favorite part of London, Camden. Made more friends, connections and solid shoots through agencies.
The night before my birthday, I was coming home to our hostel from an amazing shoot in Camden, I stopped to get a burrito, there was a bar conveniently beneath our hostel, so I was gonna grab a drink and head to bed. I grabbed my purse to pay for the next couple nights in our hostel, and my wallet was missing. My wallet with all my cash, all my credit cards, my ID’s. Everything. Minus my passport thank god. It was gone. Long story short, after many tears shed, I had to cancel the biggest shoot of my time there, we owed money to the hostel, my bus pass was out of money… the saddest scene unfolded, me walking down the street to a coffee cupcake shop and spending my last pound on a coffee and just crying my bloody eyes out. It was movie worthy. My parents pulled through, wiring me money… again. And then Aminda and our friend Mackenzie brought me out for the night, trying to distract my worried mind. I was in London. On my birthday. With friends. There is nothing more I could have asked for. (besides maybe a million dollars, but I could still use that so…) We flew back to Dublin the next day, wrapping up our trip in the next two days. I was ready to come back to the states simply because I had no money. But I had never felt more elated with the progress I’d made as a person and photographer in such a short amount of time. Aminda and I have a weird connection, she’s probably the closest thing to a sister I’ll ever have. Especially after this trip. She understands me under pressure and frustration, but also at my happiest. I learned a lot about myself on the two month trip. Mostly, that I am so small, the world is huge and while I have more experiences, I know nothing compared to the knowledge that is out there.
It’s like they say, traveling is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer.
I missed Europe the second we landed in Philly. But there was no reason for me to stay there at the moment. I got home to Minnesota April 3rd after being gone since February 17th. Although I had nothing planned, my friend Karrah Kobus asked if I would like to travel with her to host a workshop. April 16th, I road tripped with her to one of my favorite places on earth.
Karrah has always been a huge influence on my life, first when I didn’t know her, and even more so now that I do. We had been friends for a little over a year before this trip, and this trip sealed the deal for me. She’s one of the best people put on this planet. This trip was exhausting and a learning experience for both of us – like driving in Manhattan is scary, Dunkin Donuts does in fact have the best iced coffee and good sleep is under rated… I also got to shoot with a blogger who I’ve been following for years, Rachel Lynch. And I met countless other photographers and inspirations. New York always is magical.
I got home exhausted at 6 in the morning five days after we left. I had never been more excited to see a bed.
I gave the traveling a rest after that… for a couple weeks. Middle of May, I made a road trip down with my friend Jenessa to Kansas to see my best friends graduate from college. It was a quick three day trip, but I made another great friend, and confirmed moving to Kansas in three short months was what I wanted to do. Not for the fun, but for the people who inspired me and pushed me to be myself.
After that trip, I settled into more of a routine. To start making money, I kept working at my local coffee shop job — shout out to The Bean for accepting my crazy schedule for a whole year and then taking me back after two months off. Saved money, worked, and waited. For two months.
Then, I moved.
Kansas City, Missouri.
And I stayed put again.
For a month.
Up next, part 2 of blog post: Living in KCMO. Last travels of the year, Colorado, Arizona, Los Angeles.