I am sitting in the Punta Cana airport right now, delayed six hours, perchance longer. I'm supposed to fly into JFK airport, but due to the recent activity in Chelsea, my flight is likely to reroute... again. A Dominican woman with coral lipstick on her teeth is shouting into a busted microphone. Each gate is overcrowded with pissed-off hungover honeymooners who are trying to return home. It's loud. It's chaotic. I'm spent. But despite the circumstance, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. This is what I'm supposed to be doing. I am 765.8 miles south of Cuba, 883 miles north of Venezuela, just east of Haiti & a 14 hour ferry ride west of Puerto Rico. And I am writing my 4th journal entry about adventure. If only you all could feel my inner electricity right now! My spirit is humming.
Let's rewind to 14 days ago. I was packing 340 pounds of photographic gear to cover a conference-type gig in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Charging batteries, clearing memory cards, memorizing my shot list... taking the steps to have a successful work trip, yet I felt very withdrawn. I frequently write down my goals & whenever I feel lackluster about the moment I am in, I refer to my old journals & reflect on my past writings to see if I've strayed from them. I already knew why I wasn't 100% enthusiastic about this international assignment & it was the content I would be shooting. I really did not want to fly all the way to a Caribbean Island for event photography. I wasn't photographing culture, the beautiful local people or a politically charged riot, so I had become bummed about the trip before I even arrived. In attempt to reignite my sense of purpose, I flipped through a notebook from 2012 to find two goals written in bold:
- Visit another country at least once a year for the rest of my life.
- Be a traveling artist.
That was all I needed to see to shift my perspective on this travel blessing before me. Like, who gets bummed about going to the Dominican Republic? All because Nat Geo wasn't sending me & I wasn't shooting for a travel magazine, I had allowed myself to feel negatively about my progress. How dare I place a speed bump on my own destiny! I was being paid to leave the country with a camera (or three)... HELLO... that checks off both of my goals at the same time!
I am so very thankful for the timing of that humility check, for I had an amazing 10 days in paradise. I spent every second doing what I love. I had some really long days, but I rose with the sun, which energized me & prepared me to share my shine everyday. I experimented with new lighting scenarios & camera techniques, specifically cinemagraphs (flickering below). I pushed myself creatively & had some time to set new goals, which I hope to look back on in 2020 with a smile. It's important not to judge your own journey, for you may block a blessing that has come into your life. I may not specifically be a Nat Geo photographer, but I am a traveling artist and I know that where I am right now is a stepping stone to where I'm going.
I send my love, wishing you fortune & favor. May you live the life you deserve & acknowledge your progress along the way.
Goal-Setting by the Sea. September 2016.