After months of internal debate, I've made the decision to explore my next career options. Since so many are asking and the plans are complicated (and still largely unknown) I figured this is the best way to get those who are curious in on the conversation. This will probably be the only thing I ever blog directly focused on myself; from here on out, this space is where I'll be posting my adventures, general observations on how hilarious Canadians are, and stories.
For the last two years, I've worked as a hybrid Copywriter/Photographer for Supportworks, Inc. in Omaha, NE. I stood alongside an incredible, talented team of individuals who not only made me laugh until I cried on a daily basis, but who pushed me to be my best. I genuinely love these people.
That said, this decision was not easy, but I know my heart and it belongs on the trail.
My last day at Supportworks is March 31st, 2017 At that point, I will be taking off for some much needed outdoor R&R in Wyoming/Utah/Colorado for--you guessed it--some climbing and general backwoods roughin' it. Mid-April, I will be in Chicago for Whiskey Fest and then catching the train home to Michigan to see family before driving west to California, then north to British Columbia.
I'll be in Canada from May until October helping run a lodge up there. It's a magical little place hours off the grid called Chilko Lake. Come visit if you can. We'll take care of you!
After a summer full of working on my feet again, I'll be back in Omaha to pick up where I left off on freelance work (I'm already booking for the fall so lock in a date now if you're on the fence).
After that, and this is the bit most people seem want to know about and the part I know the least, I'll be honest: I don't know.
Right now, the plan is this: get back into Omaha and HUSTLE. That's kind of my thing; work insane hours for too long, then coast until I have to do it again. Paddle hard and fast, hit the breakwater. Go with the flow.
Long term, I have one goal only: win a Fulbright fellowship. Specifically, this one https://us.fulbrightonline.org/fulbright-nat-geo-fellowship.
If you don't know about Fulbright, the gist is that it's a highly competitive grant (much like a Rhodes or Watson scholarship) for those who are deeply passionate and driven on a specific subject. Mine is visual and verbal storytelling.
And I want this...so badly.
When I graduated in 2014 from The University of Michigan with a degree in Linguistics (focused on ESL) I was initially interested in the Fulbright program due to it's ESL teaching grants; however, life has almost forcefully pushed me toward pursuing photography and I can't ignore the signs. I chose Linguistics as a more "practical" degree, even though my dream since I was seven has been to travel the world and tell its stories. I was in love with National Geographic--maybe obsessed is a better term?--and growing up, I pored over the adventures of both fictional and non-fictional adventurers.
Discovering that this grant exists and within the frame I have already been looking is too perfect not to hope for and your support as friends, co-workers and kindred spirits means the world to me (maybe literally). I couldn't have done this without all the love that's been sent my way by you all. Every step of the way there was someone telling me that this is my calling.
So without getting too far into the emotional weeds, I'm doing what I said I would.
I'm jumping head first into something weird.