Where Do I Go From Here?

 

It's no secret that we live in a strange, digital world where real world rules don't apply. We use Instagram to turn our lives and ourselves into a brand. We post public Snapchat stories with the hope that one particular person might see them. We filter our lives on Facebook so that the world can see the best possible versions of ourselves. Over time, this phenomenon has created a sort of toxic vortex of fake happiness that is exhausting and impossible to live up to. For this reason, I've always tried to be as honest and as vulnerable with you as I possibly can. Today will be no different. This one is for those of you who check in on me regularly. I see you and I appreciate you and I want you to know that I'm struggling. (Don't worry, Mom. I'm okay.)

I started Without Roots back in 2016 when I was living in my hometown and looking for a project to occupy my idle mind. I'd moved back to that town after living just outside of New York City and I was extremely disappointed in the fact that I hadn't done anything particularly exciting with my life since getting my degree. I was existing in a town that I didn't particularly want to be in, and I needed something to do. This blog was a thing to do. I didn't think that I'd fall in love with photography and storytelling in the way that I did. This was what made the remainder of my time at home worth living. This was what made me want to do more than simply get by. But then, I moved to Portland and suddenly, everything was different. 

I'm feeling especially restless these days. All I do is work and sleep and work and sleep and it was fine when I was at home and waiting for the Next Big Thing. Portland was that thing. And now I'm here and I feel like I need to take my life in a new direction. However, between working and sleeping and trying to be present in the world, I am constantly exhausted. I have stretched myself so thin that I don't even have time to think about what I want to do with my life, let alone this blog. So that begs the question, where do I go from here? 

I am very, very attached to Without Roots. There is so much of me here. There are so many stories and thoughts and photographs that serve as published evidence of how much I've grown and changed since my first post in early 2016. But for now, I'm going to continue to exist in limbo. I don't know where I'm going from here but I know that there's bound to be changes. I might abandon this project for a new one. I might do little more than take a break from it and get myself sorted out. Either way, you probably won't hear from me for awhile.

But I can promise you this – you haven't seen the last of me.

 

Chasing Light

 

Hi there. It certainly has been awhile, hasn't it? Not a whole lot has happened between early January and now, but I can say that I've got a whole bunch of photographs I'd like to share with you all. As I've mentioned a couple of times in previous posts, it's been tough to find the words lately. Between work and sleep and social obligations, I've sort of lost touch with myself and with this blog and I'm rather frustrated by it. I can't even use the excuse, "I don't have time" because I do have the time – I simply refuse to use that time productively. 

Now that I've become truly settled here and have begun to actually live, I've started to vortex into a mildly anxious state. I'm not unhappy with my life at all, but I've gotten myself lost in the day to day routine and lately I'm starting to feel like I'm not doing anything meaningful. Now, while I could simply allow myself to wallow in that feeling, I think I'd rather try to change my outlook and put in an effort to dedicate my time to the things that matter to me. I think I'd rather chase the light.

The photos featured below are little more than a product of boredom on a long drive on the highway during the prelude to a snowstorm. Light trails are rather fun to capture because you have no idea how they'll turn out. In the age of digital photography, we can see how an image will turn out before we capture it. In my view, this is a fun way to directly interact with the images that I'm creating that creates a sort of spontaneity that you don't really experience with DSLRs. 

That's all I've got for you today, but I do hope to share a lot more of my world with you in the near future. Thank you all for your patience!

 

Monday in the Mountains

 

When Alex and I decided to take an afternoon field trip to Mt. Hood, we didn't expect to make it very far. We headed east nonetheless, hoping we might stumble upon something to do along the way. The further into the mountains we traveled, the snowier it got, until we reached a chain restricted area of highway. Being from New York, it's never even occurred to me to even own chains, but we meandered onward anyway and hoped for the best.

There's something particularly enchanting about embarking on a journey, even a short one, with no set destination. Everything is, in a way, left up to chance. We drove on and on, feeling a bit apprehensive about the seemingly endless trail of cars traveling west toward Portland and after awhile, we decided to turn around and head west ourselves. We joined the never ending car caravan and after about ten minutes of being in a near-standstill of traffic, we opted to pull off the highway and kill some time.

We ended up in Government Camp, a tiny town of about 200 people, and we played in the snow and explored our surroundings for as long as the frigid January air would allow. Once our fingertips became numb, we tucked away into a little bar that felt exactly like those ski town bars I saw in movies as a kid. We were complete outsiders in a town where everyone knew everyone and we laughed quietly about how much it reminded us of our own hometowns. In that moment, I felt a sort of nostalgia for the small town life I ran away from. 

I used to perceive myself as a city girl trapped in her two-bit hometown dreaming of a bigger, better life. But more and more I realize that I'm quite the opposite. Sure, I enjoy being in a city where there's almost always something to do at any time, but I am certain that I will someday find myself setting in a town much like the one I grew up in. Until then, I suppose I'll keep on drifting. Isn't it strange how even the shortest adventures can teach us so much about ourselves?

Golden hour in the mountains holds a special kind of magic, especially when everything is covered in snow. The iridescent glow of the sun reflects off the glimmering snow and paints everything a soft orange. And in the east, the sky fades to a deep indigo and the moon is floating above, waiting for the sun to disappear below the horizon. These are the moments I always long for, when everything is so surreal and beautiful that you can't help but want to notice every subtle detail.

We spent a few blissful moments exploring and playing in the snow beneath the setting sun before the cold got the best of us once more. We dipped into a little cafe and warmed ourselves with hot drinks and sweet treats before we hit the road home. Our adventure may have only lasted a few short hours but it was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits, and it left me longing for countless more days like this.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Everybody's Favorite Season

 

The winter solstice has come and gone and I’m left with little more than the promise of a long winter. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I have a softness for marked days. They carry a sort of significance that other days don’t seem to possess. These are the days that indicate beginnings and endings. These are the days that give me hope for the possibility of something new. 

This year, the lightness of summer seemed to disappear overnight. The once heavy and humid air of summer suddenly became crisp and cool. My world, once green and lush, transformed into an endless sea of reds and yellow and oranges and it led me to believe that maybe autumn days are the brightest of them all. In the past, my autumns were simply a colorful transition from summer to winter, from hectic to reflective. This autumn, however, was different. In a couple of months, my entire life changed. I jumped three time zones, took the road trip across the country I've been dreaming of, and started a brand new life. So far, it has been the most rewarding adventure I've ever embarked on. And while right now, I'm tired in every way imaginable from my hectic work schedule, I am so happy with the direction my life is heading.

Winter is upon us now, though the lack of snow here in Portland makes it feel less like winter and more like an extension of November. The winter season tends to worry me, as it tends to be a season characterized by an overwhelming melancholia that I can't seem to shake until spring rears its head. But maybe this winter will be different.