I was sitting at the table in our RV working at my computer in the quaint coastal town of St. Mary’s, Georgia. Another RV pulled into the space a few sites over. This arrival would not normally of aroused my interest, but shortly after parking a willowy brunette emerged with her two giant dogs and started to set up to wash her RV. I had to go introduce myself and ask about the URL decal that ran across her upper windshield “JOURNEY IN FOCUS”.
I walked over and introduced myself to Fran. It was the beginning of a friendship. Fran is a professional photographer that had decided that life had more to offer and made a plan to change the direction of her life. It took some time and definitely determination but she is living her dream. I’d describe her more to you, but it’s better to hear her story in her own words.
Some might wonder (those who weren’t privy all along) what started all this. What would possess a single middle age woman to give up a perfectly comfortable home, her business and most of her worldly possessions for a solo, unplanned journey across the country in a motorhome??
It’s really a long involved story, but I’m compelled to share it, at least in brief. I can’t say there was a precise moment when I knew I needed a drastic change in my life, but for years I’ve been haunted with the feeling that we, as a society, are on the wrong track. We’ve lost our footing, our “grounding” with this earth. That connection seems like it should be an innate part of the human spirit. It appears that our connection to nature… to our natural surroundings… has recessed a bit more with the passing of each generation. For the longest time I’d been shaking my head… zooming through my days… and thinking “This is just WRONG! Life is a GIFT and we are all wasting it, scurrying around like little rats in a maze!” I refuse to believe that we are meant to live our lives in such a way.
In addition, although I achieved much success and reaped many rewards in my career as a photographer, I became very disillusioned by where the industry had taken me. The economy was not the only culprit. Technology played a bigger hand for me. Not only did it bring photo buffs out of the woodwork and into the “professional” realm, more importantly it changed my workflow tremendously. I was no longer in my “groove”, and was spending far more time at one of 5 computers than I was creating art from behind my camera. In addition, one of the key ingredients in my success was the personal connection I developed with my clients. How do you develop a truly personal connection via the internet?? For years I tried embracing this change. (Huge kudos to those who have and are happy there! This is not a reflection on you!) That’s what we’re taught to do right? Embrace change. It’s not like I’m inflexible or incapable of change. (I guess I’ve proven that! ) But I asked myself one day, “Why should I?” When I’m so displeased with the change that was forced into my life, why should I feel the need to embrace it? Instead of embracing, and conforming to these changes, I’m choosing to embrace my ability to MAKE a change… to find my way back to a life I feel passionate about! For years I’ve longed to simplify my life substantially, it was just a matter of finding the right time and method for doing so.
In the mean time I had to honor the promise I made to myself after my divorce six and a half years ago… to hunker down and maintain a rather sizable and burdensome property, my daughter’s home since she was four, until she graduated from high school and headed off to college. With blind faith I started purging as that time was drawing near, and clearly things are happening as they are meant to because I went into contract on the sale of my home the week she graduated from high school, and handed off the keys one week after she started at UNT. (I love and miss you my sweet girl! Thanks for riding out those brutal waves with me!)
So why the Winnebago? I had no precise destination. The Northwest (still home to me) has been tugging at my heartstrings for years, but then what? Re-establish my portrait business? As much as I love creating beautiful heirloom portraits I have no desire to be anchored to another studio, even if it is on my property. Frankly, I have no desire to be anchored to any property for awhile. I’ve always been filled with a sense of wanderlust, and completely enthralled by the beauty of our world. It’s never ending, and I’d be happy spending the rest of my life taking it all in. After the successful release of my book, The Dogs of Central Park, I decided I’d like to work on more books in a series. After much pondering I realized I had no reason to be anchored anywhere for now, and many reasons to be mobile… with MY dogs. An RV, which I had never dreamed of owning by the way, was the perfect means for doing just that!
No fan of technology and now I’m blogging??? I know… still hard for me to believe sometimes. The blog began as a way for family and friends to keep tabs on me. It’s basically a diary of my travels and a way to share my images along the way. I wasn’t expecting the interest that has developed in my journey, and it’s that interest that compels me to explain better why I am out here… on my “journey of discovery.” The focus of my journey is not just photography. It’s a spiritual journey as well. It’s about seeking peace and balance. It’s about healing and rekindling a fire and passion for life. It’s about letting go… of stress, of things, of the burdens that keep us trapped, unable to truly enjoy this amazing gift of life. Mostly it’s about living life fully and celebrating the blessing of each day.
(For more insight see the Feb 2 question posed by Brent Donaldson, and Fran’s response below.)
To see more of Fran’s beautiful photographs or follow her blog just go to http://journeyinfocus.com