best of 2016 | travel + culture

When I was in 8th grade, my English teacher, Mrs. H, decided she was going to give the class a single word or phrase to describe their personality. While some of my classmates got words such as "rambunctious yet caring," "studious + articulate," and "extremely inquisitive," I will never forget the way she described my personality. Thirteen years later, it still holds true, and I'm starting to think Mrs. H was a psychic dressed in an oversized purple cardigan with her adorable grey bob.

"Places to go. People to see. Things to do." That was how she oh-so-accurately paraphrased my personality. I vividly remembered my frizzy-haired, 8th grade self, with way too much black eyeliner on give her my unsure but semi-confident response of "Hmmpf interesting," then contemplating privately how much I was totally digging the way in which she described me. 

There is no doubt that 2016 was a constant on-the-go year, full of paces to go, people to see, and things to do. It was exactly what was needed to keep the inspirations flowing through my mind. The year started out planning a trip to Kunshan, where I'd be working on a series of short VR documentaries for Duke Kunshan University (soon to share the final two!). After that, a trip to Paris, a move to Dallas (along with the trials + errors of that come with learning a new city), a jaunt to Nashville, Las Vegas + around Texas, as well as taking in the state my heart calls home, North Carolina (during, arguably, the most beautiful month of the year). 

With these travels, come many lessons learned, much time getting to know who I am as a freelance photographer + as a person, in addition to how this career path plays into my relationship. Jerry + I know that travel is inevitable and that missing each other dearly is an unfortunate side effect. However, I'm fortunate enough to know that I have the most supportive husband when it comes to conquering my goals, traveling the world, and telling stories of the people who inhabit this planet. It's even better when he can come along, not only to be my human pack mule, but to experience these amazing cultures + share these experiences with him (even if he does roll his eyes every time I try to make his portrait). 

Here's to a great big world + seeing more of it in 2017 (because there is always places to go, people to see, and things to do)!

Happy New Year!