Out of the Wild

This post is the second part to my Into the Wild article talking about my solo journey westward for a few weeks as I learned more about myself and this beautiful country I call home.

So 4000 miles and 52 hours of driving later, here we are. I’ve barely gotten a moment to breathe between unpacking and shooting portraits, but I’m already gearing up again to head out to Colorado on Monday. I just thought I’d take a minute to talk about my journey and some things I though were worth sharing.

I’ve always dreamt of just riding off into the blue sky, nothing but open road and opportunity ahead of me, so when I set to make plans for this trip, I intentionally left a lot of gaps in the timing and locations. I knew the basic cities I wanted to visit and that was about it. I gave myself two weeks, a budget, and a carful of non-perishable foods. I just expected to fill in the blanks as I went along, writing my own story while I was living it. Though I ended up spending more time with people that I initially intended, by all intents and purposes, it was a solo trip. Of the 14 days I was gone, I spent 8 of those sleeping in my truck or at shared Airbnb to save costs.

I would definitely say the biggest personal realizations happened on the road alone. Driving through the desert canyons with only the moon to guide really puts life into perspective in a way that meditation alone hasn’t enabled me to do. One of my biggest goals on this journey was to becomes less reliant on the presence of others for happiness and I would say I attained that, or at least an idea how to. The notion that happiness comes from others is totally self-inflicted and not true in the least, I came to realize. It’s all internal, with others helping draw that out of you through interactions.

Additionally I wanted this to be a bit of a test to see how I liked “life on the road.” Stated more tangibly, it’s been on my mind lately to take some time to trip extensively either around North America or Europe and support myself by freelancing remotely and through the goodwill of others. I really think it would be beneficial to do so from a self-growth perspective - I learned and retained a lot more behind that wheel than I have from the formal education of my past. How am I expected to learn and absorb the teachings of others if I don’t truly understand myself?

On a different note, I was pleasantly surprised that my truck held up quite nicely to all the abuse the road threw at it. From the icy plains of Wyoming to the blistering LA heat, I never had a single component break. My own technical issue seemed to be startup issues camped at Big Sur, CA, but I believe that was just caused by poor fuel grade, so I’ll brush that under the rug for now.

I will definitely say that that trip gave me a taste of a lifestyle I greatly desire: one of constant movement, exploration, and adventure. I’ll surely be doing more of these semi-brief trips in my future and will post more about them here.

Honestly, Not for Everyone

So, as many of you may have heard, Nebraska just came out with a new slogan: “Nebraska: Honestly, Not for Everyone.” Just going to leave that here for you to ponder over for a minute. Keep in mind this slogan is designed to try to attract tourists and visitors to this fair state. It… doesn’t seem to do a good job at that from first glance.

Though I’ve lived here for a grand total of six years now and have made more of an emotional investment here than anywhere else I’ve lived, I’m not a Nebraska native, but I will always stick up for this state when others talk bad about it or are misinformed. When I say this slogan I was at first confused, then sad, then motivated. First off, to the small Colorado studio (who shall not be named) who created this campaign, I think you’re stating the obvious. You could tack on literally any person, place, or thing before “… Honestly, Not for Everyone” and call it a day. Lazy marketing if you ask me. But that’s besides the point as obviously there was enough people in our state capitol to approve the campaign so we can’t point fingers here.

Then, I was saddened. I feel like lately Nebraska has made some great strides into becoming an inclusive location to live and work. Sure, we don’t have any sprawling metro areas like LA or NYC, but we make up for that by the amazing quality of people and sense of community you get when you move to Nebraska. Here, there’s no judgement. Everyone is seen as human and you help a neighbor out instead of trying to one-up them. It makes the state such a pleasant place to live in, knowing the whole population has your back and you got theirs. Seeing such an exclusionary tagline made me feel like we took a step backwards from all the progress we’ve made and broadcast that to everyone around the world. The slogan has undeniably been drawing attention, but not the kind Nebraska deserves.

Finally, motivation kicked in. Me, in addition to the hundreds of other creatives that call this state home, have really pushed to make Nebraska the place we see it has the potential to be every day through our work, interactions with clients, and how we go about our daily lives. Sure, maybe Nebraska isn’t for everyone, but what is? I just want my state filled with great humans, positivity, and, of course, Runzas. I won’t let a five-letter phrase take that away from me nor will anyone else who truly calls this state their home.

So for those of you who truly don’t believe me, I implore you to come down and check out Nebraska for yourself. For whatever it is some think Nebraska is lacking in, we make up for it in amazing people, our communities, and some Midwestern manners that might even shock a New Yorker.

Belonging

Ever since the first year of my life I’ve moved, on average, once every two years. This has been by my family’s choosing, of course, but hasn’t come without its fair share of struggles. Though there’s been both ups and downs to this kind of nomadic lifestyle, I want to briefly touch on two topics that have been weighing on my mind lately and have prompted me to splay my thoughts out in this post: friendship and belonging.

Whenever I move somewhere new, it feels like a fresh start: an open invitation to make myself out to who I want to be and create a community around myself that reflects my values and that I can rely on. So often I take my friends for granted: they have been there for me when business issues are weighing heavy on my mind and also when my favorite artist comes to down and I need a concert buddy with an hour’s notice. With that said, however, I would say there are two types of friends in my life: “superficial” friends and lifelong friends.

Superficial sounds like a harsh word to describe someone I would truly call my friend, but my definition of that is of someone who shares common interests me, but I don’t feel like I connect with on a deep, emotional level. I rarely get pretty deep emotionally with many people regardless, but I want to be sure the person I’m discussing what’s on my mind can empathize and hopefully even offer some advice, solicited or not. That brings me to lifelong friends: those select few in my life who I know get me on a level deeper than just a mutual love of Tycho or ramen and know when I’m not feeling 100% (and vice-versa).

The thing is, however, I don’t have many lifelong friends at all… that’s not for a lack of amazing people in my life, either. I think it’s self-inflicted and plays into how much I feel I belong in a community. With the constant knowledge of my next impending move always on the horizon, I feel as if I have a fairly strong apprehension to make deep emotional roots in a community and “drain” my emotional mote, so-to-speak, allowing potential lifelong friends to enter my life. I think that it’s no coincidence that the majority of my life-long friends have known me since I was young. My youthful state of mind then was less risk-adverse and was more open to possibility. I would like to think the same is true of myself now, but after some introspection, I’m  afraid not.

I’ll be moving for my Praxis program in just a few short months now and have decided that I’m going to build a bridge over my protective emotional mote for the little while longer I’m here. Though it might take more time than I have here to totally drain the apprehension I have left, I can start by allowing more people into my life and saying yes to more connections that I have been. Even though I might be hurt in the process, there’s only one way to find out.

Don't Say There's Nothing to Do in the Doldrums

Finding motivation has always been a unique challenge for me. I seek it out in various ways, from pushing myself when my peers succeed to having an intrinsic drive to manifest a concept (be a photo project, app, etc.) to just digging deep to find some meaning in my work to proceed with developing it. With that said, however, there are points in my life where all might be going swell: clients are coming in, I’m hitting deadlines, and I’m getting great reviews when all-of-a-sudden… Wham! I get slapped in the face with a wave of existential nihilism and, at least for the time being, lose motivation to work.

This has been a pattern throughout my entire teenage life and has always been a blessing and a curse for my work life. On one hand, as I touched on earlier, the sudden dread and notion of worthlessness of my work compels me to drop the ball and cease continuing with editing this girl’s senior photos whereas on the other hand the lack of implications if I fail, knowing any damage is contained to this instance of my life and that I have, when given a healthy dose of perspective, nothing to lose pushes me forward.

Crop the photo a bit, increase exposure two stops, export.

Wham! A contradicting wave hits me yet again. It says “Hey ~ what’s the point of editing this girl’s seniors… you have limited time in your life and she probably won’t look at these photos a year from now anyway.” I think. Both points are probably true but before I could even think of a counter of my own…

Wham! “Noah. Listen. You’re already 19. You’ve lived 20% of your life already and have nothing to show for it. There’s kids out there who already have sold apps to Apple by the time they’re 19 and you can’t even finish editing this senior session.”

I feel like I’ve been uppercut from multiple directions. Everywhere I turn there’s signs telling me I’m going down the wrong path. It seems like there is no way out of this conundrum. This reminds me of a song from my childhood…

At this point it seems I’m stuck in the Doldrums: a seemingly inescapable place of bleakness and gloom. I’m quite familiar with this place as I’ve spent many days here, pondering my existence and dreading the work to come. This is a life of complacency, laziness, and boredom. I feel even more choked than when I was being twirled around by the fleeing existential thoughts. I need to escape.

It turns out, for me, what’s worked best to find my way out of this dreary place is a combination of fear and reward. To hoist myself up and give myself a bit of a slap in the face, I remind myself that the only thing worse than being stuck here is the repercussions of not following through on the work I set out to do. Angry clients, poor reviews, and rushed work at all things I’ve had a taste of in the past and frankly, to me, it’s nightmare fuel. I can take criticism for sure, but a client who is upset just because I couldn’t keep my promise gives me a knot in my stomach. This puts the latter to get out of the Doldrums in my reach.

To climb that latter out, however, I remind myself of the rewards of finishing my work. A stress free day, payout, and the time at the end of the day to work on passion projects motivate me to put the pedal to the metal and grind out whatever it is I need to do that day.

Though this cycle might be unhealthy if kept up due to the undue stress that seems to accumulate with each successive trip into the dreary pit, it’s a system that seems to be working for me. Perhaps you frequent the Doldrums as well… what are your ways of getting yourself out?

Focus

Focus is something I struggle with every day. I think it’s both a blessing and a curse: it allows me to see plans and ideas through but it also holds me back from moving on to new projects and concepts. I always wonder to myself: am I spending too long on this project and is this project really what I should be pursing right now?

To me, time is the most precious thing we have and wasting it isn’t an option. In hindsight I would not say that time spent possibly “beating a dead horse” of a concept is wasted time, primarily because I don’t think there’s been a time in my life where I’ve done that, but, as I see it, the amount of perceived progress on a project has an exponential inverse relation to the amount of time spent on it. For example: you might feel extremely productive getting a website set up, building an MVP, etc during the first few weeks of a project, but as you iterate and build out features and spend hours fixing bugs, it seems to me like the time isn’t being spent as efficiently as possible.

This is foolish, I know, as it’s not productive to keep creating new projects every few weeks and dropping them, but it still doesn’t help me maintain focus on arduous projects completing the “grunt work”, so-to-speak. I’m no stranger to following through on projects for months on end, but that doesn’t mean that I maintain the same level of interest or excitement as I did when I first started working on the concept. So I’ve done some thinking and I’m going to list off a few things I think that I’ll start implementing so that I see more projects through to the end.

Verbally Commit

This might annoy my friends and family, but I think that telling people what I’m going to do will force me to follow through if I like it or not. Having someone else there that is at least aware of my intentions might provide some motivation to finish.

Create Lists

I want to start creating physical task lists for projects. That way I will be able to see my process in a more quantifiable way. Of course, I’ll need to keep up on adding more tasks and removing them as I work on aspects of a concept.

Provide Updates

Similar to the first point, providing updates on the progress of a project to groups like social media followers will give me more reason to follow through. Possibly, even, they would provide feedback on what I’m doing and what I could improve on.

Remind Myself

Remind myself of how good it’ll feel once I’m able to push the site live, hit publish, or whatever I need to do to finalize the creation and share it with the world. I feel like this is the best source of intrinsic motivation.


A downside of a curious mind is that it constantly wanders. I need to allow my mind of roam free at times but learn to put a leash on it when the time it right, not pulling too hard but still ushering it in the right direction so that I have some fruit at the end of the journey.

Why I Post to Unsplash

For many photographers, when they distribute their photos they would prefer to have some sort of monetary compensation for their work, which is totally understandable. You can’t really pay the bills in exposure, if you know what I mean. With that said, however, I still think it’s important to give back to the community by providing some Creative Commons work on websites such as Unsplash.

I’ve been posting to Unsplash for a few years now. If you don’t know what the platform is, it’s a free-to-use photo sharing site that allows photographers to post photos with tags and Unsplash helps designers and anyone who needs stock images find them! It’s a really smooth system, and if you photos are good enough, Unsplash will even feature them on the home page.

This might sound like the photographer is not getting much out of this while the users coming to download the free photos are reaping the benefits, which might be true in some cases, but in my experience I’ve seen my photos all over the internet from MSN to FastCompany to Business Insider to PopSugar and ad campaigns for companies like ScholarshipOwl and Clearasil. Not only is it rewarding to see your work using like that but also it allows you to include those as portfolio samples.

In one case, even, a t-shirt printing company that produces for a large European fast fashion store reached out to me to ask if they could place my image on one of their graphic tees. Now, not only is my work on over 35,000 shirts, but they also compensated me as well and I now have a great relationship with the company with more work coming out in the future.

I’m not saying to go into this with the hope that your photo will be sold internationally, but this goes hand-in-hand with the concept that you get out what you put in. I think by giving back to the community not only are you making the world a better place but you’re setting yourself up for success in the future as well.

Why I Drive a Land Rover

Land Rovers - the name embodies adventure, exploration, trail-blazing, and decades of amazing history. The Land Rovers of today have changed quite a bit since the first Series, but a lot has stayed the same. Here’s why I love my always-breaking, gas-guzzling, dinged-up Land Rover LR3.

We’ve Shared Adventures

Though this one isn’t distinct to only Land Rovers, any car that you travel tens (or hundreds) of thousands of miles with really can grow on you. I haven’t went so far as to name my car (surprisingly) but I can tell you that I’ve been in some pretty sticky situations and the Land Rover has gotten me out of every single one of them without ever needing to call for help. My truck has crossed deserts, scaled mountains, crawled up rocky washouts, and has lived to tell the tale.

At this point the LR3 feels like a trusted adventure companion: someone that I can always rely on, that I put my confidence in, and I know is always down to explore.

It Breaks. A Lot.

From their inception, Land Rovers have never been tied to the word “reliable” unless “not” is plastered before that word in the sentence. I carry a full-stocked toolbox with me everywhere I go just incase something goes wrong (hint: it usually does). From a leaking air suspension to a broken alternator to a dirty throttle body to a sagging headliner (all in the past two months), it’s forced me to familiarize myself with the inner working of the truck so I’m able to fix issues as they arise.

As many have joked before, Land Rovers make even going to the grocery store an adventure because you never know what’s going to break. Taking them to an actual Land Rover dealership is pricey and time-consuming, so people like myself often just resort to sourcing parts and fixing them theirselves.

It’s Big

Being six foot three, I’ve always had a hard time fitting in sedans. So when I traded in my Chrysler 200 for the Land Rover, I just assumed all SUVs had that much space. Definitely not true, I came to find out. Even with the second row of seats up, you still have 44.5 cubic feet of storage space to pack whatever your heart desires. Personally, when traveling long distances, I’ll stow the second row put my air mattress in, giving me enough room to actually lie down and not feel squished.

Of course, there are some downsides to the size. You’ll start to notice if you have a roof rack on, almost every parking garage is off-limits and tight parking lots are a lost cause. Since buying the truck I’ve become somewhat of an expert in parallel parking and locating open street parking. Who knew?

Cupholders.

If there is anything the LR3 is lacking, it surely isn’t cup holders. The vehicle has eleven of them. Eleven. That’s over five times what my Chrysler had. You don’t know just how much you need cupholders until you don’t have enough of them. Don’t ever take them for granted.

It Goes Anywhere

With 4-wheel-drive, low-range, grappler tires, HDC, smooth-as-butter power steering, Terrain Assist, and a raisable suspension (you heard me right), I’ve never gotten the truck stuck, and I’ve done some pretty eyebrow-raising things with it. The closest I’ve ever been to being stuck was when I was teetering on a rock on a trail in Colorado. Two wheels were off the ground and the other two could’t get traction. I thought it was done for, but just then the Land Rover made a beeping sound and raised itself just enough to allow me to slip off the rock.

After looking into it more, if the vehicle detects it’s stuck on a rock it’ll raise the suspension past the highest user-enabled level temporarily so you can get traction on all wheels. Brilliant.

It’s Honest

This one is probably the most subjective of the bunch, but I with LR3s are just honest vehicles. They forgo all the glam and shiny-ness of cars of the same era and focus on utility, capability, and comfort. I’ve seen plenty of Jeep Wranglers decked out with huge wheels and a crazy lift-kit, knowing well they had never seen a rock once. LR3s, on the other hand, seem to look best dirty.


I have a bit of a Land Rover love affair, sure. But can you blame me? If you ever get the opportunity to drive one (or even purchase one yourself) tell me about it in the comments!

Book Review: To Shake the Sleeping Self

I don’t read many books. Typically any books I read are because they are assigned or required for some reason. It’s not that I don’t like books… I often just can’t find the time or don’t make time to sit down to read. This time was different, however. My friend and mentor Wyn Wiley gifted my a book by an adventurer by the name of Jedidiah Jenkins (as he notes himself in the book, quite a sing-song name). The subtitle for the book is: A Journey From Oregon To Patagonia, And a Quest for Life With No Regret. Sheesh that’s impactful. So I began to read the book. And finished it in three days.

Jedidiah has an amazing way of writing that really pulls you into the narrative and makes you feel like you are along for the ride with them. His timeline of the journey is eloquently woven in with flashbacks and stories that supplement the story perfectly: one of adventure, self-discovery, exploration, and introspection. Few books I’ve picked up before have given me as much motivation as this one has, forcing me to do some reflection on my own life and see what I can do to make sure no time is wasted.

Perhaps this is because I can relate to him on a number of levels, being a free-spirited, gay, adventurous photographer raised in a Christian household Jedidiah’s story is one I can connect with, even decades apart: one of internal struggle and a need to find out what this life is about. And though the idea of a quest to find out answers to questions like “Who am I?” and “What are we here for?” sounds so cliche and over-done, I’ve come to realize that there aren’t many people who actually put their money where their mouth is and follow through with their plans. Though one might not need to bike to Patagonia to discover what life has in store for them, hearing this story can be empowering to anyone of any background.

Overall, one of the best autobiographies/travel journals I’ve ever read.

You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.

Make Travel an Investment

You could go up to many people on the street and they would likely agree that putting money in education is an investment. People often make the connection that the more education you have the more successful you’ll become, likely measured by the amount of annual income you pull in. I would say, however, there is an equally valuable investment you can make in yourself that could teach you even more than formal education: travel.

When I say travel, perhaps, images of over-the-top partying, Cancún, and late mornings come to mind and while all of those things are find and dandy, that’s not quite what I mean by travel in this instance. If travel is to be an investment, you have to go into your trip with that mindset. Go with friends who encourage you to push your comfort zone or, better yet, go by yourself. The idea might sound daunting at first, but solo travel is the best way I know to get in touch with yourself and truly prioritize the experience-gathering of the trip.

If you truly want to get the most out of travel, going the extra mile is critical. Wake up that extra hour early to see the city before rush our. Walk to the cafe instead of taking the subway to experience all the people, sights, smells, and sounds on the street. Like the famous scene with the blind man in Amélie, make a mental note of everything you pass, forcing you to consciously evaluate it and experience it, instead of just passing it on by. You might be surprised by what you find.

This does not mean that travel has to be any less enjoyable. Perhaps you are not a morning person and getting up early during travel sounds like complete nonsense. This is when you need to be open to other forms of happiness and break out of your comfort zone, opening yourself to new things. The whole point of traveling as an investment is to expand your worldview and gather new ideas and interactions to add to your bank of knowledge.

That’s not to mention what I feel is the most valuable thing you can get out of solo travel in particular: introspection. Being truly on your own in a new place with a different culture instantly makes you more dependent on yourself… you start to better identify emotions, gain confidence, and become more self-reliant. Speaking from experience, travel has made me realize that I am too dependent on others’ company as a source of happiness for myself. It’s also allowed me to see what I can do in order to be at peace with being alone. Quantifying exactly what that means is not something I’m sure I can do, however I do know that since I’ve been traveling more, being alone is not nearly as scary a proposition as it used to be for me.

In only 36 short hours I’ll be leaving for my longest time away from my friends and family: a three-week solo journey down the west coast and back. Though I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous at all for this, I was hardly able to sleep the other night with excitement. Here’s to coming days of early mornings, new faces, and lots of soon-to-be-had memories. Read more about my trip Into the Wild.

Travel can bring about wisdom, perspective, friendships, knowledge, enlightenment, and happiness. Those are all extremely valuable and all absolutely worth taking the financial and time investment in yourself. Resources spent on honest, open-minded travel are never wasted, opening doors to innumerable possibilities and experiences.

Where I Find Inspiration

Good artists copy; great artists steal.

- Picasso

Agree with this infamous quote or not, it’s true that all artists, whether they realize it or not, are influenced by the work of their predecessors. This extends through all disciplines of art, from songwriting to photography to painting. I often get asked where I find inspiration for creating new scenes for photography or editing styles for video, and I think the answer is more complex than I even realize myself.

On a conscious level, I know that when I am looking for new ideas for shoots I often turn towards creations like album covers, other photoshoots, music, music videos, and even objects in stores that catch my eye. I might combine multiple ideas I have and I’ll throw ideas I don’t use into a document that I can reference later when I am feeling drained of inspiration.

Sometimes, even, seeds of concepts are born through pure happenstance — moments of inspiration. Perhaps it might be an accidental click of the shutter. Some of my favorite works have happened by experimentation and randomness instead of “conscious” effort or inspiration, however that begs the question: is any “new” concept original?

Personally, I think not so much. Even if you are making a conscious effort to not adhere to an artist’s work or style, you are still being influenced by them by definition. The simple act of viewing one’s creations subconsciously implants the memory of it into your creative process therefore influencing you. Wether you decide to go with the mainstream or not, any small exposure to outside influences can change the way you create.

If only uses a small diopter and pays attention to a small community, it might appear that someone is quite original indeed. However, if one widens their scope it becomes evident that their idea is quite common. This is especially evident after the advent of the internet, making it easy to research ideas and concept across thousands of miles and transcribed decades of the human experience.

Of course, you’ll always have some element that is new or changed from what has been done previously. This is the definition of innovation. We might never find two snowflakes that are identical, but there are only so many possible ways they can form. There might be some overlap of creations and concepts, but that should not scare us away from experimenting and testing new concepts.

Why I Joined Praxis

I realized that even though I am already a fair amount into an apprenticeship program known as Praxis, I never really went in-depth on why I decided to join the Praxis program instead of going to college. Perhaps now, though, I can supplement my choice with my experiences two months in and give some honest feedback about what I’ve picked up on so far.

So before we truly begin, let me state that joining Praxis was definitely a last-minute decision, but one that had been in the works for some time. Let me explain… I knew most of my life that college wasn’t the right choice for me. Though I like to consider myself smart, I don’t thrive in a structured educational environment and I much rather prefer (and gain more from) an environment that encourages exploration, creativity, and free thinking. College, in my opinion, creates the guise of giving you those things, but it’s only because the restrictions from the high school environment are merely lifted a bit, giving you a taste of what life can truly be like.

The thing is, though, that I was already enrolled at a university and paid my deposit, with class approaching only weeks away. If I found out about Praxis even a week later than I had, I likely would not be here right now, typing this post…. I would be in a dorm studying for the chem test with my friends tomorrow. Luckily, however, I was able to put my name in for Praxis and crossed my fingers that I would be accepted into the program. And after a few weeks of writing, interviews, and emails, I was beaming with pride when I received a message that I had been accepted. That very day I got a refund for the deposit (with a bit of work) and un-enrolled from the university.

The months since have been a whirlwind of excitement, adventure, and self-growth. I’ve taken advantage of being able to work on Praxis modules remotely (coupled with the fact that I’m a freelancer) and traveled as much as I’ve been able to. As I noted in my About Me video (that I had a blast filming in Colorado), you are very limited in where you can go in college.

With that said, however, the Praxis advisors warned us about FOMO from seeing our friends in college having fun and studying together. I’ll admit that there are times I wish I had the luxury of having the next four years planned out for me and a regimented schoolwork schedule in place, but it’s a double edged sword. Part of the beauty of Praxis is the fact that I don’t know what I’ll be doing in a few years (let alone a few months) and the sense of adventure and excitement I get from that is worth it alone.

I also feel “safer” being in Praxis than if I was just going straight into the workforce… I know that amazing Praxis team and my cohort has my back and we’re all in this together. Not to mention that I’m learning a lot of skills that are important to have in the industry that I just wasn’t even aware of before. Those two things, coupled with a supportive family and great friends has really made this whole experience amazing.

As to why I decided to join Praxis, as I touched on earlier, I need room to create and express myself and colleges (even the most liberal) put limits on what you can do, but with Praxis is initiative-based which means I’ll get out of the program what I put in. I see myself as a self-starter and intrinsically motivated to perform, so Praxis only appears to be part of the natural progression of my career path.

In all, the past few months in the program have been as blast and I’m so happy I decided to go this route. I’ve already grown so much since starting and I know only more amazing experiences are in store for the future.