Last year at this time, I sat at the kitchen counter and thought about what I wanted from the year 2013. The words that came to mind were "A Year of Change".
Reflecting upon the past year, I can say with confidence that it has certainly been a year of change. From travel in the States to travel overseas, I finally got the courage to leave the protective 'nest' that's been my home for the past eight years.
My first trip to Chicago in July I stayed with friends I haven't seen in over 12 years whilst my last trip in November to Scotland and Ireland I saw my favourite band perform and met new friends with whom I hope to keep in contact for years to come. Indeed, this year has been a most memorable one. "When you least expect it" are words that ring true as I reflect upon my travels.
Summer brought me to Colorado where I attended the Colorado Photography Festival. The workshop I attended with Dan Ballard at the Garden of the Gods was one I will forever keep in mind as I continue on my journey of photography. Dan opened my eyes to a new way of looking at the world. It's all in the details. The other workshop with Russ Burden brought about a friendship with a fellow Virgo who lives in New Jersey and someone with whom I still keep in contact.
In this day and age of technology and social media, it's much easier to expand one's circle of friends. There are a couple of people I've met online in previous years with whom I had the pleasure of finally coming face to face. Two of these ladies I had known through my online business - one being a supplier of the yarns I purchased for my hand knit newborn photography props and the other a photographer who purchased those finished products. After four years of communicating online, I was happy to meet these two ladies face to face - one in Chicago, the other in New York.
There were others with whom I had connected online earlier in the year but, unfortunately, never got the chance to meet during my travels. Life is interesting and unpredictable and you might never know why some chances come along when they do and others simply fade into a distant memory.
The highlight of my travels was my 3-week journey to two countries I've never before had the pleasure of visiting - Scotland and Ireland. First it was Scotland, then Ireland, then back to Scotland before extending my journey another week (from the original two) and island hopping back to Ireland. These visits came about solely because of my desire to see Depeche Mode in concert - a band I've only once seen in 1988 at the Rose Bowl. A band that I had grown up with since my teenage years. A band that I could have easily seen in the States - even here in Austin at the ACL Festival - but one I chose to travel across half the world to see perform.
Some things this year I wished I would have completed. I had intended on documenting all three weeks I spent abroad in November. However, as life would have it, circumstances came along where I found it difficult to keep up with the writing and photography - from a lost Internet connection to a desire to simply enjoy the moment.
Other things sadly dropped off to the wayside. June was the first time I had stopped photographing on a daily basis. After that, the desire dwindled coupled with a failed computer which meant the photographs I did take remained on numerous memory cards still to be downloaded and backed up.
Reflecting on both the successes and failures of the past year, one can begin to envision the changes one hopes to make in the new year. It is only with change that we grow.
I'm not one to believe in resolutions as they start out well-intentioned but somehow dwindle as the months pass by. Instead, I choose to take the time to write down on a piece of paper how I imagine life will look this time next year. A paper that will be sealed and opened this time next year.
2014 is almost here and will be dubbed "The Year of New Beginnings" as I start a new chapter in my life.