What have I been doing? I jumped off my jumping off point, meaning I left my last job before having another one in place. Something I honestly never thought I'd be able to do. After spending the last few years working hard and saving my money for vacations that I didn't have the time to take, I realized I had enabled myself to take the time to think about what I wanted and needed in a career, where I was going, and how to get there.
After spending so much time focused on short term in my job, it's fair to say that the world had shrunk. I'd spent so much time focused on marketing one product, to one group of people, in one area, that I struggled to grasp that there was something bigger going on outside of my world. My job was a jumping off point for something bigger, but while I was there, I couldn't imagine what that could be. I couldn't measure my skills outside of what I was doing at that exact moment. So I jumped.
I went home first, as one does. It had been 5 years since I had last been to Alaska, plus I had a nephew to meet. It was difficult to believe so many businesses and restaurants that were there when I was growing up still existed. After seeing the turn over in Seattle I couldn't believe there was still a place where small businesses could last 30+ years.
My sister and I drove around Washington state. I've seen more of Washington in the last few months then I had in the past 7 years combined. I went camping for the first time on Lake Crescent, scrambled up cliffs to look outs, kept my distance from the mountain goats, and fell a few times.
South Korea may as well of been another planet. Before I actually went there, the idea seemed so distant. When I was working there was never the right time to take several weeks off to see another country. Knowing I was nearing the end of my recovery period, still mapping out what skills I had and needed to develop to get the career I wanted, a big trip seemed like the perfect way end the summer.
Why hadn't I ever gone hiking before? But really, why? At first it was probably because I didn't have a car. Later it was because my days off never quite matched up with anyone else in my life. I've always appreciated managers understanding that two days off in a row is always the best, even if they couldn't be on the weekend, but it did make planning impromptu camping trips rare.
The Olympic Peninsula is probably my favorite, rain or shine. I keep going back, already looking forward to taking a glamping trip next summer. I have an intense blog post you can read about my last trip there if you're interested. My sister and I went around the state to find things we'd never seen before. We hiked the ridge down along Lava Canyon in Mount St. Helen State Park, and then down the 10 ft ladder when the trail ended. We ignored some ominous memorials along the trail up to High Rock look out in Mt. Rainier National park. We saw mountain goats! My sister slipped and grabbed some nettles to avoid falling into a stream. I slipped and and almost lost my camera lens to avoid falling into a waterfall.
I have a hard time thinking of myself as a photographer. There are people out there that do this for a living exclusively, have all the gear, and create art every day. I've had a DSLR for a year now, after finding a stellar deal on ebay. I have just one lens, but make the most of it as I continue to try to justify getting more.
I got my camera to take better pictures for the bakery I was working at before, the holidays were approaching and it was time to up the Instagram game. After leaving I turned my lens to things other than baked goods. Food photography comes naturally at this point, but it's taken some more time to figure out how to take photographs of everything else. I've been taking pictures while traveling and hiking but also for several events in Seattle.
I wasn't going to stop working just because there wasn't anyone paying me anymore. Like I mentioned before, my world had to shift before I could understand what I wanted and needed out of my career. Marketing a bakery is one thing, and marketing a blog is completely different.
I started adding more to this blog when I had more time, not understanding that there was a huge network of people that did this to make a living. The marketing skills of this niche is incredible, they basically rule pinterest.
I had to decide what photography meant in my life. Again, I still don't necessarily think of myself as a photographer, but it's a skill that ever marketing professional needs to have a grasp of, to at least identify an effective image. Maybe someday when I have a collection of cameras and have taken all the photography classes I've been wanting to take, I'll be more comfortable admitting I'm a Photographer.
Marketing myself became a priority. Again, it was this network of bloggers that made me understand that I am my brand, and even though I'm not selling anything, I still needed a brand identity.
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