It’s December 1st as I start to write this. I’m in Sacramento, California and just a few short months ago, I did not expect to be here.
Coincidentally, I mentioned to my sister in January that it would be very cool to be with the family this year for the Christmas holiday. You see, because of jobs, traveling, and moving to another state, I physically been with my whole family on Christmas Day in eight years.
That’s quite the streak if you ask me.
In that discussion with my sister, I spoke while I was celebrating a birthday on a hike in Wanaka, New Zealand. I knew that in late October of this year, both my brother in law and sister would be celebrating their 40th. (Happy belated birthday!) Our father would be celebrating his 60th in mid December. (Happy early birthday dad). And finally, my 30th would come mid January.
To me, spending a portion of December celebrating all of those birthdays and a Christmas seemed like the perfect combination! I spoke that idea thinking that I would have a job by then that would pay me enough to afford a round trip flight to California.
Less than two months later, I was enclosed with 27 of the best people to be stuck with during a global pandemic. Stunningly, I didn’t know a single one of them more than a month before we spent lockdown together. Yet somehow, it was perfectly splendid.
Once the locked ended in New Zealand, I started working. Putting my talents to work for various companies, I was taking my photography to anyone who would look at it. A local wine bar said yes to hosting an exhibition for my art! I found my way into a conversation with a member of the board of directors at the Art’s Centre in Christchurch. After the discussion, we agreed to photography studio operated by me. A studio of my own! What a dream come true.
Once I found out I needed to leave New Zealand, it was less than 12 hours that I had a fully fleshed out plan about leaving the country. It didn’t come easily. I spent plenty of time thinking and feeling the stress of booking a flight quickly. I received two potential offers for sponsorship on a working visa and therefore staying in New Zealand. But, just like I mentioned, earlier in the year I spoke my desire to be with my family this holiday. I had a feeling that I would need to be here. My sister was having a baby, and I would very much like to be present for that.
The idea was come stay with my family through the holidays, then head back to my home in Denver for my birthday. I would search continuously for a job in Alaska, because my next adventure is to be the Pan American Highway, something I’ve spoken about with friends previously.
Now, as I mentioned, I find myself sitting in my sister’s living room in South Sacramento, fully intent on staying in the area until summer; much longer than my original plan. I’ve started a job as a studio photographer. It’s not my studio, but it’s a studio nonetheless! I’m excited.
I was fortunate to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Within a few days, I’ll be spending my first Christmas with the same loved ones. As I mentioned, it’s the first time since 2012. I don’t know if Santa brings presents at my age. Nevertheless, I’m excited.
As you know by now, I have The Live From Podcast which debuted last week! It’s thrilling for me to create something fresh and new. It’s one thing I didn’t find myself committing to until a friend said, “What are you waiting for, hit the record button now.” Truthfully, I’m excited.
So, to answer the question ‘what IS next?’ Well, right now, to be honest, the answer is both simple and complex, simultaneously. Part of the answer is I don’t fully know. The other part is I’m going to live out the plan I spoke out in January.
Right now, I’m going to be right here.
I had some great things going for me in New Zealand. However, things changed, as they do. Now, I have some different great things going for me in California.
But I still have my eye on that Pan American Highway…