2019 drew to a close with a quiet week, a much-needed interlude for rest during the slowing of life that comes with the holidays. Despite a degree of uncertainty, this year was kind to me.
The synopsis is this: I left my city a year ago to spend winter on the road, not knowing where I would land or whether I would have a career when I returned. I drove across Washington and Oregon, following the coast as far as I could go. I saw the giant Redwoods, spend the New Year in San Francisco, traipsed through Vegas, hiked around Joshua Tree. Orange County became my home for a month, a quiet space with the kindest hosts just a short drive from the ocean. After, I headed to the southwest.
Arizona mystified me, the mesas and Saguaros so unlike any landscape I've spent time in. I returned with a catalog of photographs, a small library from the many collaborations with artists that I met along the way.
The homecoming was rocky, but I was driven to rebuild from what I had left in Seattle, reminded that I never stopped loving my city.
Starting over had to begin somewhere. I found a new home in an old brick building with arched doorways, hardwood floors, and a little faery nook for a bedroom. Returning to the same city, I promised myself to learn to live differently than I had before. I wanted to cultivate a space where every object had meaning - to own less, but value what I owned more. My scrappy belongings, a sentimental hoard-pile, got culled down to almost nothing. It was my first venture into minimalism.
I had another year of stable full-time freelance. There were fewer weddings, but I felt much more deeply connected to all of my clients. I photographed families and leadership conferences and intimate elopements on family farms and mountaintop engagements. When the summer came, I left my camera at home and spent a week in Puerto Rico with my best friend, accidentally stepping into a revolution during the protests. After, San Diego stole my heart again when a very dear client flew me out for their wedding. I ventured into other creative spaces too - from painting to graphic design. It felt good to learn, to accept being a beginner at some things.
And then the season wrapped, just as a I turned thirty. It was a day spent surrounded by my closest friends, a reminder that I was happy to have a home worth returning to.