Today I am celebrating my 2 year anniversary of this blog! Because of this milestone, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about what blogging has meant to me and some of the many changes I have experienced as a result.
Two years ago when I made my first post (https://theperpetualvagabond.com/2011/05/31/today-2/), I was terrified at the idea that people might <gasp> actually look at my work and that for the first time ever I would be exposing myself to both criticism and praise (which were equally difficult for me to hear). At first I just posted here and there, when I felt like it, as I was crawling out of a dark depression and creative stagnation that had lasted for many years. I was not confident in my work, but I did enjoy having somewhere to put it that I could at least reflect upon from time to time. Up until that first post 2 years ago I had not shared my work with anyone in years and this was my attempt at trying to be daring and maybe spark new creativity in my life.
And the amazing thing is that it worked. Less than a year later I began taking photos at Occupy Portland protests and had my photography featured in a number of local and national publications.
some of my photos from that time can be found here:
Also during the spring of 2012 I decided that I would travel to South Korea and Japan and try my hand at travel photography. During that trip my photo essay on Kyushu Island, Japan was featured on Freshly Pressed and suddenly I had an audience that I never expected. In just a few days I received over 10,000 views and hundreds of comments.
This “success” just made me want to work harder and made me feel like there were actually people out there that were interested in what I was doing. So, I kept at it.
I traveled to Spain in August of 2012 to walk the Camino de Santiago and had a life changing experience. I was able to blog about my trip while on the trail (although I’m not sure that the weight of my camera and iPad were worth it, next time I will blog when I get back!).
Many entries from my time on The Camino can be found here: https://theperpetualvagabond.com/?s=Camino
Then in the fall of 2012 I was Freshly Pressed again for an essay I wrote on this journey I have been on to reclaim my life and creativity called: The Swifts, Conflict, Decision Making and Following my Dreams. This one, though, was a bit more difficult for me to see end up so public, as it was extremely personal and I wasn’t really sure I wanted too many people to see it…I guess putting it on my blog was risky, but I never thought it would end up getting so much attention. But, there it was and the response I got was incredible. So many people let me know that the essay touched them personally and made a difference in their lives. I felt so honored to have people I have never met feel impacted by my words.
Also over these past 2 years I have found inspiration as a photographer in my home and around the Pacific Northwest, which I had often overlooked before, but now brings me more joy and beauty than I have known anywhere else in the world.
Which brings be to today. Two years later. I’m happy, inspired, excited about the future and in love with life. I’m not sure that I would be where I am today with these many adventures and personal breakthroughs behind me if it hadn’t been for blogging and my commitment to taking a risk and sharing myself with the world.
So, thank you to each of you that has followed my journey, my photography and my work. Without your support I’m not sure where I would have ended up. I am eternally grateful!
On a personal note, I got married last weekend to the love of my life (which two years ago I would have never imagined was ever possible!). We eloped and took our own photos of the ceremony. Here is one of them:
I’m not sure where there next two years will take me, but I can only hope that they will be anywhere near as amazing as the last two. One thing is for sure though, I will continue to share my photography and my words on this blog and I hope to continue to inspire others to find their own creative voice, whatever that may be!
~The Perpetual Vagabond
On my second day in Japan, I was invited by my Japanese host, Yukari, to a Shrimp Festival on the top of a mountain in the countryside of Kyushu Island. I was a little confused as to why they would carry the shrimp from the ocean up a mountain, just to have a festival, but I was excited about the journey, so of course agreed to go. We were joined by one of her friends from Mexico who was a student at the local University and a couch-surfer from France.
I was told it would be about a 45 minute hike and Yukari’s mother and her mothers friends would be making the journey as well. Unfortunately, it was raining in buckets and while the elders of the group were not deterred, the 4 of us decided to take the “easy” way, by car. The easy way was terrifying and after driving up possibly the most harrowing roads I have ever been on in my life, we finally made it to our destination.
The scene reminded me a bit of a rainbow gathering and I was excited to be somewhere so remote and beautiful. We were quickly invited to all sit together in a private room were a traditional Japanese meal was laid out for us to enjoy, including green tea, rice, pickled vegetables, miso, sake, and fish.
While I was not too concerned about the lack of shrimp at the shrimp festival, one person in the group was. After a confused pause, he said, “So, where are the shrimp?”
Yukari, more confused replied, “shrimp? What, shrimp?”
“You know shrimp? For the shrimp festival?”
“Oh, shrimp! You thought I said shrimp?! No…shrine. It’s a Shrine festival!
So, there we were enjoying a lovely meal on the top of a beautiful mountain at a traditional Japanese Shrine Festival. Ultimately much more interesting and unique than shrimp…