Today's Treasures

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About Me

 

Hi there and welcome! I'm a San Francisco photographer armed with a Nikon and a case of wanderlust. When I lost my job, I decided to embark on a journey, both literally and reflectively, to capture what people treasure most in life. Read more about my story here...

 

Up-to-the-minute updates

What We Treasure in India: My Goat  

A warm and fuzzy post to start the work week. Learn more about my stop to a small village in Rajasthan, India. Read more here...

New photos of India have been added to the photo gallery. Click here to experience what I consider to be one of the most stunning landscape in the word!

 

 

Inspirational Quotes from Leaders & Readers

  

 

 

 

 

Countdown Calendar

Thursday
Feb232012

You are so Beautiful (Vous etes si belle)…

Beautiful: adj. 1. Having qualities that delight the senses, especially the sense of sight. 2. Excellent, wonderful.  3. The one word I’ve decided to master in the language of every country I visit, because hey, everything is beautiful to me.

One of my favorite takeaways from the National Geographic Travel Photography conference I attended a few months ago came from San Francisco-based photographer Catherine Karnow. Wherever she went, she learned the word 'beautiful'. According to Catherine, if you’re armed with a smile, a camera and the word 'beautiful' (as in beautiful photo), you’re going to go places.

So this week I’ve been learning the words 'beautiful' and 'smile' in multiple languages. Funny how just even saying the word smile can put one on your face…try it out for yourself!

  • Icelandic: beautiful: fallegur (feminine); falleg (male); smile: brosa
  • French: beautiful: beau, beautiful photo: belle photol  smile: sourire
  • German: beautiful: shoner, shones foto; smile: lacheln
  • Portuguese: beautiful: beutif, bela foto; smile: sorrir
  • Danish: beautiful: smuk, smukt foto;  smile: smil
  • Spanish: beautiful: bello, hermosa foto; smile: sonreir 
  • Hungarian: beautiful: szep, szep foto; smile: mosoly
  • Japanese: beautiful: utsukusho; smile: egao
  • Dutch: beautiful: mooi, mooie foto; smile: glimlachen
  • Romanian: beautiful: frumoasa, frumoasa fotografie;  smile: un zimbet
  • Swahilil: beautiful: nzuri, nzuri picha; smile: tabasama
  • Vietnamese: beautiful: dep anh, smile: mim cuoi
  • Malay: beautiful: cantik, foto cantik; smile: tersenyum
  • Hindi: beautiful: sundara, sundara tasvira; smile: muskana

Hopefully armed with my Nikon, smile and the word 'beautiful', I'll be able to capture qualities that delight the senses....

What other essential words would you learn?  

Monday
Feb062012

Lost in Emotion

I must admit, I wasn't ready for this. Despite the last 3 months spent prepping, talking, dreaming (and losing sleep) about this idea of mine, the moment I made it "real" I was overcome by emotions. Overcome by joy, support, excitement and yes, the dreaded terrifying, don't-look-under-the-bed because-there-may-be-monsters sort of fear.

The support and encouragement I have received over the past week has touched me immensely. Every comment, email or offer of assistance from friends, friends-of-friends and even a few strangers has helped me feel I am on the right path. It's also helped me realize that I've been fortunate over the years to meet such an incredible group of people that I truly love and cherish. Which is perhaps where some of the fear comes from - there's a desire not to let people down, not to let my friends down, not to let myself down. 

While on the exterior, I've tried hard to tell myself that everything will work itself out, the truth of it is I don't know how everything will work itself out.  Of course, there's the security-minded part of me that worries a lot. I'm a middle-aged woman with no safety net. Will I run out of money, find a job when I return, be forced to sell my house, my car and give up my coveted parking space? (Some may laugh, but those in San Francisco will appreciate.) 

But beyond the fear of failure is the fear of not living up to one's potential. What if it is wonderful beyond my dreams? Could I give up my day job? How will it change my life when I return? Will I want to return? Am I really ready to accept it being (gulp) successful? 

And yet the fear that keeps me motivated is the fear of regret. I don't want to be lying on my death bed or in an office cubicle in a year from now, kicking myself for not doing something 100% authentically "me". Darn it, if I fail and the world rejects me, please let it be for the real me.

As I sort through the emotions of the past week, I realize it's okay to have fear. Maybe the best course is to live in the present, place it in perspective, and take small steps to work through the doubt. After all, small steps are what got me here. First I shared the idea with one friend, and then with a few friends, and before I knew it, strangers. As I became more confident, I made small decisions to support the dream. I turned down potential job opportunities, traded nights out with friends for nights working on the website, and spent money to support the project versus money to support my lifestyle. Before I knew it, I was committed to its completion. It wasn't always easy or comfortable, but it moved me forward in the direction of my dream. 

Que Sera Sera means whatever will be will be. For the next few months, I'm going to practice doing exactly that: living in the moment, taking the ups with the downs, and allowing myself to acknowledge my doubts, while taking those tiny steps closer to my goals. Yep, take that fear.

In the meantime, I am so thankful for all the support, love (and patience) of my friends. After all, a safety net isn't a bank account, a real estate investment or lucrative stock options. It's people that support you and stick with you through it all, good and bad, even when you're hiding from scary monsters...

Fear can be a scary thing. Share your comments. Tell me how you conquer it.

Wednesday
Jan042012

A Job Ends, A Project Begins

About three years ago, I got this crazy notion that one day I'd be traveling around the globe doing something. Now exactly what this "something" was, I had no clue. Being the logical, scientific mind I am, I dismissed this notion as part of an active imagination. After all, would wouldn't want to travel the world? Who was I to have such dreams? And even if I did, what would happen to my career, my house, my friends, my fill-in-the-blank? While I'd like to say I remained open to the possibility, I buried it like a old t-shirt at the bottom of my laundry basket. And then June 9th happened. 

Around 10:00am, June 9th 2011, 200 anxious employees crowded into a sterile white conference room overlooking the San Francisco Bay to be told that our company was relocating to New Jersey and that most of us would not be relocating with it. The "most of us" included me. 

Over the next several weeks, I began questioning, "What next?" I've always been the sensible one, choosing stability and career over creativity and whimsy. But where had that gotten me? Where had it gotten any of us?

Everywhere I looked, I saw the signs of a shift. Everything that we were taught should make us happy obviously wasn't, or couldn't. The economy hasn't recovered, abandoned McMansions are turning communities into ghost towns and fewer and fewer of us are choosing to get married. If our jobs, our homes, our institutions no longer provide a sense of fulfillment, what does? 

And then one night, while walking home from yoga class, the idea came to me clearly. It was as if all the self-inflicted complexities and doubts about finding one's life purpose had been unraveled and summarized in three simple sentences: 

~ Travel the world ~

~ Take photos of what people treasure ~

~ Share these stories and images with others ~

What We Treasure is my project where I will travel the world and take photos of what people treasure most life.

What insights may we gain by seeing what's important to others? Does what we cherish change depending on our socio-economic, political or geographic location? What do we truly desire, seek and collect? What, in turn, do we learn about ourselves by revealing what is most precious to us? I hope my project will uncover some of these answers. My project starts when my job ends: June 30, 2012. 

For years I have relied on facts, statistics, the tangible. For once, I am relying solely on intuition and trust. I hope that you will help direct me to places I should be and people I should talk to. Maybe you'll let me take a photo of what you treasure.  I have no set expectations, other than to learn what is important to other people, capture it and share it with others. I am committed to allowing the project to develop organically, in whatever direction it leads me...

So join me, laugh with me, share your stories with me. Together we'll build a new vision of what matters most. 

Thanks for stopping by, and hopefully coming along.

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