Once in a while I get the urge to return home to the small town in Iowa where I grew up. It used to be easier to satisfy this urge when I lived I Minnesota. It took only a 4-hour drive down the highway to get there. Now that I live in Washington, a 25-hour drive (or a 3-hour plane ride), I’m only able to go back a few times a year, if I’m lucky.

I got the urge last month as my 29th birthday neared, and hastily booked a flight home. I missed the Midwest snow, missed my mom’s house with my old bedroom and all of my discarded belongings. I missed my cat Chitty, who was my pal through high school. I missed the simplicity of a small town, where it takes 5 minutes to go anywhere and there is always plenty of parking. I missed familiar sights like the A&W drive-in, Swan Lake, and my Grandma’s house with a backyard that overlooks a golf course.

Visiting home got me thinking about what exactly ‘home’ is. I’ve always referred to Iowa as my home, even though I haven’t lived there in over a decade. When I say home, I mean my childhood home. You can always visit home, but will it always feel like home? Will it be just the way you left it when you moved 11 years ago? The main reason I felt such an urge to return was because I wanted to spend time in my old room relaxing. I wanted to feel the way I did when I was younger, when I had no real responsibilities. I guess I wanted to escape reality and go back to simpler times, just for the weekend.

My childhood home hasn’t changed much all these years, except for strange new faces and the Taco Bell that moved in last year. What has changed after all this time is me, and because of that, home will never be the same as when I was growing up. Even though I was back in my old room, digging through my old belongings, I didn’t quite feel the same way I did when I actually lived there.

It’s interesting to look back at where you came from, why you left, and how you got to the place you now call ‘home’. I noticed a pattern when I thought about all the places I have lived. You move from one place to another when you stop growing. Some people can accomplish a lifetime of growing in just one or two places, but not for me. I left Carroll after 7 years when I moved on to better things in a big city. I said good-bye to Minneapolis after 9 years when I decided my life was stagnant and I had finished all the growing I could there. I’ve grown a lot since moving to Seattle almost two years ago, but who knows how long it will be my home.

Images taken at Swan Lake State Park.

I guess what all my rambling is getting at, is that you can never really go back home, not fully, because you change as a person. You move on, and you cannot go back to the way things were. Your childhood home no longer holds the same meanings for you, no longer feels the way it used to. You can visit home and try to runaway from reality (from your job, your bills, your stressors), but you won’t be able to completely return home. And I guess that is ok, because sometimes you are meant to move on. People change, the meaning of ‘home’ changes. But at least you have those memories, and you are the person you are today thanks to those memories.

Have yourself a merry little...

I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Holiday Season! December was a very busy month. Jeff and I almost moved into a bigger space (but pulled the plug last minute), work was hectic (retail + holiday season = lots of long hours and headaches), and I took a three week letterpress class at Pratt Fine Arts Center.

The class was a lot of fun, and was my first official time experimenting with letterpress machines. As a small group we designed and printed two different Christmas cards, which I wanted to share with you (better late than never?).


I managed to sneak a few pictures of the process and have compiled them into a slideshow below with brief explanations.

Jeff and I also did a quick family portrait session in our living room so that we'd have photos to send in our cards. The cats were not having it...

Happy New Year!

Self-awareness through lists

A few months ago I visited a locally owned store, Moorea Seal. They sell unique jewelry pieces, handbags, accessories, and fun paper goods. Recently the owner published a book called The 52 Lists Project, a journal of weekly lists that help with inspiration and self-development. Once I picked this book up and paged through it (featuring seasonally themed lists coupled with gorgeous photography), I knew I needed it.

The self-developing content of this book really caught my eye. I've mentioned on my About page that I'm not a fan of talking about myself. Maybe that's because I'm still trying to figure out who I am. (I do know that I’m a person who finds it almost impossible to write in books or fancy journals, for fear of messing up the pages. So I’ve taken to the silly habit of writing my lists out on a piece of scrap paper and perfecting them before inscribing them to the book.)

'List some of your favorite meals and treats'. As you can see, I have a healthy diet...

'List some of your favorite meals and treats'. As you can see, I have a healthy diet...

The lists make you really think about your life - what you've accomplished thus far, and what you hope to accomplish in the future (List what you would like your life to look like in ten years and List the difficult moments in your past that have shaped you for the better). Some lists are more challenging than the others (I got stuck on List the words that warm your spirit... uh, 'Milo'? 'Donuts'?). I hate to admit that I’ve skipped a few lists because all I could do was stare at them, deciding to come back at a later point. Overall though, it's nice to sit down and sort through your thoughts, and think about what brings you joy.

The 52 Lists Project encourages sharing of your lists, so if you’re participating as well, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

A Photo a Day with Project 365 | Days 1-3

I first saw Project 365 on a few blogs I actively follow. I always thought it looked like fun, and that it was something I'd be interested in doing. Now that A Bird of Passage is up and running, I feel even more motivated to start and complete my own Project 365.

Anyone can do Project 365. There isn't a set of rules to follow, it's simple. Take at least one photo a day for an entire year. Most people like to share their photos on a blog, instagram, tumblr, or other forms of social media. The subject of your photos can be anything, and you can use any type of camera you have, even the camera on your phone.

What I love most about this project is that it challenges you to work on your photography skills, and come up with interesting subjects to photograph. I'll be documenting the camera and lens I use for each photo for learning purposes.

Project 365 | Days 1-3

1 | 365  Milo enjoys a nice glass of wine on Thanksgiving (my other cat, Delta, is a grey blob in the background).

                      Photo taken with Canon 5d mk III camera and f1.8 50mm lens

                     Photo taken with Canon 5d mk III camera and f1.8 50mm lens

2 | 365  Awesome cards and badges at one of my favorite stores in downtown Seattle, Paper Hammer. I LOVE their letterpress work and can't leave the store without a handful of goodies.

                      Photos taken with iPhone 6

                     Photos taken with iPhone 6

3 | 365  A few letterpress prints I picked up at Paper Hammer, and my favorite 'Fucking Brilliant' notebook. I am very much a type nerd.

                      Photos taken with  Canon 60d  camera and f1.8 50mm lens

                     Photos taken with Canon 60d camera and f1.8 50mm lens

So there's my first 3 days of Project 365. Normally I'd like to make one blog post a week showcasing 5-7 days worth of images, so keep an eye out! If you'd like to see more, I'll also be posting images on my instagram, facebook, and pinterest accounts.

Is anyone else currently doing Project 365, or completed it before? Please share!