Why do I do this?

I had my doubts. Sometimes, when times were tough. That’s when it comes. When I’m feeling discouraged and unmet expectations take a hold of me. When people were telling me what to do and what not to do, I asked myself why I do this. What if quitting college to travel and follow my dreams was a big mistake? What if this turns out to be a big failure? What if I never reach my ambitions? What if? All the questions and doubts swirling in and around my head consuming me.

I thought of all of this, when I was at an airport in the Philippines. I thought about this when I was broke, in the middle of my backpacking trip. I had canceled my trip back to California, because I felt like I wasn’t done. I wasn’t ready to go just yet. I felt I needed to learn more. Yet I was caught in my worries.

Then I took a deep breath, put my earphones on and pressed play, closed my eyes, and thought of happy moments.

When a boy finally sees a girl that he loves at the airport. The way you feel when your favorite song plays in your car, as you stick your arms out the windows and make airwaves. When you find freedom riding in the back of a motorbike, and smile at the world flying past you. When a girl lights up when she gets a text from someone she likes. The light rays beaming through the clouds when the sun sets, leaving everyone with their words stuck in their throats. The look on a groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time. And the way a father looks at his daughter, when it’s time to let her go. The first hug after a fight. The laughter of children who have nothing, yet smile like they have everything. The moment after meditation, or after clearing the clutter of thoughts in your head, when you look at everything as if you’re seeing the world for the first time. The way a person’s face lights up when you do something nice for them. When the raindrops shatter on your bare skin, and you look up at the liquid bullets shooting down on you, and you smile. An old couple dancing together, laughing as if they were teenagers again. When a surfer smiles, the moment before they catch a good wave. When you’re sitting on the side of a boat with your feet dangling over the wild sea. When you look up at the stars, and your troubles fade away.

I opened up my eyes. And just like that, I came back. And so I asked myself again, why do I do this?

Photography is my life. It’s in everything I do. Everything I see. Everything I touch. Hear. Feel. Everything. It’s in me. It was in me before I even learned how to work a camera, because this is how I see everything with my eyes open and closed. There’s so much beauty in this world. So much bliss and love to experience. There’s magic in between these moments waiting to be seen and captured. And it’s my purpose… to show people. To remind them of the infinite beauty that is life. To inspire them and make them feel alive.

This is my dream. And despite all the struggles, I will never stop chasing it. The struggles, failures, and mistakes will make me into who I need to become in order to live my dreams. I will never stop doing what I love, what makes me happy, what makes me feel the most alive. And to not follow my dreams because of fear of failure… that would be the greatest failure of all.

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31 thoughts on “Why do I do this?

  1. Thank you for writing this. It inspires me to be courageous and believe in the choices that I have made. Life is so much more than my job or the money I make. Thank you!

    • Hi, and sorry if my english is bad. I wish to ask. What can I do to reiecve your autographed photo? If I have to send a fanletter to you, will you let me know an address for you in Australia. Please, it will make me so proud if I’m the lucky one.Have a nice day michelleYours sincerelyAnni Pia Jensen

  2. Never, ever let go of this – your conviction and your reasoning is so clear, it won’t fail to guide you. Keep believing in you art. We sure do πŸ˜‰ xx

  3. Made me tear up, again. Thank you, thank you. For the past few days, I’ve been hearing the same message, on chasing and pursuing your dreams, that there is no impossible dream (yes, I’ve been literally hearing a version of what you wrote every day for the past few days).

    I hope to cross paths with you someday, and properly express my gratitude. πŸ™‚

  4. I recently returned from my own wonderings through India, after putting my education on hold and leaving all but my most precious behind. Him and I hopped on that plane and were met with an assault. There were moments, where we sat, physically broken after a vehicle accident, with not a cent to either of our names, looking at each other and were ready to scream and go our separate ways. There were the most indescribable moments of pure magic that entwined our beings together in ways I’m still coming to terms with.

    Two weekends ago, I went to my school reunion. Such powerful, beautiful women were losing the life spark in their eyes, gazing at computers, getting up at 5am to be in traffic for 2 hours and arrive at work only to spend the rest of the day-light until 6.30pm working, to pay off cars, and homes. When asked what I was “doing with my life” I felt economically inadequate but wealthy beyond measure as I spoke of a few of my experiences. For a moment, I like to believe that I glimpsed glimmers of wonder in their faces, but those were swiftly replaced by “Well, I want to work for a few years before I travel somewhere… I was so lucky to have gotten my job straight out of university, I may as well get some experience…”

    Never trap yourself like that. Keep on keeping on.

  5. I only stumbled upon your blog many 20 minutes ago & I’m hooked. Reading this gave me goose bumps & was yet another post of your that made me cry. I don’t know if it’s the fact that you’re a fellow photographer/blogger or the simple fact that lately I’ve had too much on my mind & thus have way too many emotions running around my head right now. Whatever the case may be, I know exactly how you feel. This is currently where I stand in my life. I’m actually a photography major (finally) after taking time off from school. The more time goes on the more I want to just run away to some far off place & stay there. I hate the feeling of being trapped or scared & right now it’s kind of consuming me. I’d love to end up traveling with you lol. Not to sound creepy….it’s just a kindred spirit thing & you seem like the perfect person to explore with. Please keep these beautifully written posts coming. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Kass! Thank you so much for your sweet and touching comments!

      Sounds like we are kindred spirits, and your situation sound a lot like mine over a year ago when I was still in college. I never worked well with structure and that feeling of being trapped. Especially if it’s for something I’m not remotely passionate about. So I created my own path, it’s tough, but it’s worth it because I’m doing what I love the most.

      I wish you create that same path for you as well.

      And as for traveling I’m taking my van out for a month or so and camping across California, Oregon, maybe Arizona and Colorado. Then I’m planning on going to Hawaii in the winter. And backpacking all over Asia for several months again next summer. So who knows if you keep me updated on your whereabouts we might just cross paths πŸ™‚

      To beautiful days,

      • Stephanie,

        Wow! Too funny (funny ironic, not haha) because that’s exactly where I am. I moved back home to Southern California a little over two years ago & I feel I needed to be here for this time, but that time is coming to a close. I’m actually in the middle of job hunting & prepping for a move (which is a huge leap of faith) back to the SF bay area. I’m working on being up there the beginning of September so we’ll see how that goes. I’d definitely love to keep in contact with you though. πŸ™‚

        To amazing travels,

  6. Pingback: On personals goals: “She turned her can’ts into cans, and her dreams into plans.” | infinite satori

  7. Scott,I don’t think I had a chance to meet you at Northern Voice, but I am grtfeaul for your comments regarding what you have read on my blog. It has been a challenging week, and being reminded of the common experiences we share as humans, and the things we learn from each other when we take the time to listen, was exactly what I needed to hear.Your thoughts on the potential depths of authentic expression held by blogs are so true, and this is the reason I keep blogging, and the reason I blog so openly. I take a chance and put my hat into the ring, and if I am all alone there, then I blog for myself. But when others throw their hat into the ring as well, then we have relationship, and then we have community, and then we are not so alone anymore.You are welcome to link any time.Also, thanks to for calling this post out to me.

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