Photography · Travel

The Sunday Slump

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Sunday Slump: (noun)
Feeling as though adventure is nonexistent, only dreadful work awaits your future.

The Sunday Slump hits like a brick wall. It might not even hit on an actual Sunday. I feel the overwhelming sense that the day or week will not be my cup of tea. I want to curl up in one of the vibrant hammocks I saw in Belize and wait until the work I have to do walks away. There are no travels in my future, just work. And not the good kind. I get the sleepy, bored, anxious feeling. Knowing that all I want is to go and explore. Climbing mountains, sleeping beneath stars, listening to the crickets and birds as they call out to one another. Staying in one place creates an uncomfortable feeling for me. I feel that I’m wasting time, not seeing the wonders of the world.

Capturing these moments when I do have a chance to spend time in nature is calming for me. These times I feel closest to God, and am amazed at the beauty He has created. When I am in these Sunday Slumps, I’m able to reflect back on those times, edit the photos, and revel in their beauty.

Almost every single night I wish that I was instead sleeping out underneath the trees, starlight in my eyes.

Instagram connects me back to this world. As I scroll through my feed, I am reminded of all of the beautiful places that are attainable to me. It’s encouraging to hear from so many photographers, @michaelflugstad, @adventureconwards, just to name a few, that it doesn’t cost much a lot of times to go out and explore. It’s about saving costs, and focusing on spending time out in nature. Watching their vlogs as well is an even better way that connects my ideas with realities. To see people my age out there exploring the world is inspiring. They’re putting in work to make sure they meet their goals, and explore the world at the same time. These are the type of people I often look up to.

I’m sure I will look back on this time in my life and be grateful for it. Right now though it can be difficult. I want to feel the wind through my hair as I roll the window down, the car bumping through the backroads of the Badlands. For now I’ll have to settle for my hair getting messed up on the way to class. Finding the motivation to work on school can be challenging at times, but I know my goal of graduating will help me work hard.

My next step is planning trips for the future. I’m hopeful they will occur sooner than I think. Let me know if you have any suggestions on places in the Badlands to hike to or camp at!

IG – @grateful.grace

Grace

Current IG Favorites-

@zacharymatenchuk

@nwnatives

@stevestrehl

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Photography · Travel

I Yearn to Travel

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Bumpy road, old tires rumbling over the rocks. Bright morning sunlight streaming in through the windows of the Creamsicle colored VW bus. The white lace curtains swing back and forth as the bus rocks in motion, chugging up the hill. I glance over at my speckled grey Australian Shepherd, lounging on the beat-up passenger seat next to me. Her snout leaning out the bus window, inhaling the dusty road. Her eyes intently fixed on the passing cactus, searching for small rodents to hunt. My hand reaches for the radio dial, turning it up as the sweet guitar plucking reaches our ears. 

This is what I dream for. To spend my days traveling, going to places like Zion National Park, Mt. Rainier, or Yosemite. I yearn to explore and see with my own eyes the places that I’ve heard so much about from Youtube videos, Pinterest pins, and how-to articles telling me the best ways to camp or where exactly to travel to.

There is so much I want to see in this world. A plethora of back-roads, mountains, rivers and streams, cultures, food to shock my taste buds, the list goes on. I have a hunger, a craving, to explore. I dream of the day I can live out of a van, welcoming all of the struggles that come with it.

I struggle with being content in the “now.” Being in school, working towards my degree, is a wonderful privilege I have, that I am extremely grateful for. But there’s always the part of me that wishes I was traveling, exploring the unknowns of the world. At least, they’re unknown to me. I want to hike up to the mountain peak to see sunset, or wake up in the early morning hours. To brush the dew off of the tent as I slowly unzip it, the only sounds the birds awakening, sip warm cider, and watch as the orange brilliance rises over the horizon. These moments, I have imagined in my head. I’ve seen them in movies. Now I want to experience them for myself. To see if it’s really all what they say it is. Because I believe it’s every bit as wonderful as I’ve imagined.

For now, I create lists, Pinterest boards, and hang wonderful photography images up in my room to inspire me. I will get there. It might not be right now, but some day.

IG – @grateful.grace

Grace

Current IG Favorites:

@andrewtkearns

@adventureconwards

@garrettsuper

@thiswildidea

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I’m not that girl

I’ve never been the girl that everyone wants to include.

I’ve never been the girl that everyone vies for my attention.

I’ve never been the girl that’s completely comfortable being herself.

I’ve never been the girl that says hi to every new person she meets.

I’ve never been the girl that’s good at including everyone in conversations.

I’ve never been the girl that’s the life of the party.

I’ve never been the girl who enjoys going to parties.

I’ve never been the girl that everyone includes in their plans.

I’ve never been the girl who laughs in the face of fear.

I’ve never been the girl who makes weird things cool.

I’ve never been the girl who all the boys want.

I’ve never been the girl who everyone wants to look like.

I’ve never been the girl who can flirt properly.

I’ve never been the girl who can plaster on a fake smile and pretend everything’s great.

I’ve never been the girl who’s the leader of her group of friends.

I’ve never been the girl who’s had a concrete group of friends.

I’ve never been the girl who can bond with someone over the simplest thing.

I’ve never been the girl who stands out in the crowd.

I’ve never been the girl unafraid to enter a crowd.

I’ve never been the girl who says, “Pull over, let’s go dance in the field of flowers!”

I’ve never been the girl who doesn’t doubt herself.

I’ve never been the girl who assumes everyone likes her.

I’ve never been the girl who’s comfortable with her weight.

I’ve never been the girl who breaks all the rules.

I’ve never been the girl who keeps friends close even when far away.

I’ve never been the girl who’s smile can brighten the day.

I’ve never been that girl.

Most days I want to be.

I desperately, wholeheartedly, want to be that girl.

Life looks much simpler and more wonderful on that side of the hill.

I want to become that girl. But I know I cannot change.

 

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Be Joyful

Life isn’t perfect. Days can go by and you feel as if nothing can go right. This week was the second week of classes, and I was already feeling overwhelmed. It’s not that I couldn’t handle the amount of work; I could. It’s just that I didn’t want to. I just wasn’t emotionally or physically ready to put that much time and effort in to my education again. Man, do I sound spoiled. I get to go to college, and get an amazing education, and I’m complaining about it.

Part of it isn’t the school itself though. I almost look forward to going to class. Because that means routine. I get up, get myself ready, walk out the door, walk to class with hundreds of other students, and sit in class amongst my peers. I get to interact with others without having to force myself totally out of my comfort zone. It’s not that I’m shy, it’s just that I feel uncomfortable walking up to a stranger and starting a conversation. That’s part of the reason why I don’t have 20 million friendships from last year. But I have some good ones. Unfortunately, I’m one of my friends that lives the furthest away, meaning I go home less, and stay at school more on the weekends. This leaves me with a lot of free time. When Saturday morning roles around, I definitely don’t want to start getting down to business and whipping through my homework; even though that’s what I should be doing.

So last night, Friday, I made a plan for myself. I would not spend my Saturday morning in my room mulling around, maybe cleaning up, or getting ready for a lone-Target run via the bus system. At 9:30 this morning, I slowly opened my eyes after sleeping in for the first time in a week. I allowed myself one Casey Neistat video, then promptly rolled out of bed. A quick swipe of mascara and concealer and I was a fresh face. I packed up my backpack, threw on cropped leggings and a hoodie, and I was out the door. I felt fearless, free, not afraid to take on the world! I strived confidently, knowing where I was going, not ashamed of being alone.

ok…I have to admit. I wasn’t 100% confident, or 100% fearless. But that’s ok. I was doing it!

I was on my way. I was taking care of my own happiness. I was taking charge, not allowing myself to be stuck in the dark depths of sadness and loneliness just because my friends didn’t want to go out or they went home for the weekend. Stopping by the local farmer’s market to admire all the fresh vegetables, have a bite of corn tortilla with pineapple salsa, and to pick myself up a dazzling bouquet of flowers, I was proud of myself. I even saw a friend on my walk over! I give all my glory to God. I would not have been able to do it without Him. I knew that He was with me, and that the only acceptance I needed was His. I wasn’t afraid of anyone’s judgments if they saw my walking by myself. I was creating my own joy. That’s the most important part. Now here I am, sitting at a cafe with my smoothie and flowers, admiring the local festival happening on the street in front of me. I’m off to explore! Maybe I’ll see more people I know, or maybe not. The important thing is that I did it through Him. I found my joy. Go out and find your joy! Don’t be afraid to be joyful, just because others don’t want to join you. Your happiness is important.

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Am I alone?

College. In those six letters an idea has popped in to your head. Whether that be partying at a frat house, meeting a ton of new friends in classes and the dorm rooms, to kissing a random guy you just met. There’s a ton of scenarios that could’ve ran through your head, but they’ll all include one thing: people. College is all about expanding your horizons and meeting new people, finding out new things about yourself and realizing that there are so many different perspectives in the world.

As a current college sophomore, I must tell you, I did not have the “typical” freshman year. It was not weekends filled with parties and mornings groaning because my head was pounding. It’s hard making friends that don’t want to do the typical party scene. People in my hall – the loud ones – were the ones that went out, so I didn’t see the girls that were choosing to stay in, because they were already hidden in their rooms, or had gone to friends’ rooms to do the same thing. In class I would sit by someone new, sure, and introduce myself. But sometimes it wouldn’t get very far past a polite conversation about where they’re from, or what the homework was for the class.

Eventually I met a few girls who liked staying in. But some of them like to go back home on weekends, one of them transferred schools after a semester, and another has other friends she likes to hang out with. I didn’t want to start clinging to anyone; it wasn’t like I had claim to them. We have only been friends for such a short period of time. So there are some times that I would just sit in my room on weekends, my roommate would be out, and there I would be, deciding on whether or not to watch netflix, clean my room, or just go to bed. It wasn’t a very happy time in my life.

So now I’m a sophomore. Things should be different, right? I should’ve made a whole bunch of friends, have one or two best friends who I could tell anything to, that sort of thing. Well…that’s not exactly the case. Yes I know more people. Yes I feel more comfortable with myself than ever before. But the fact of the matter is, I still don’t want to go out and party. And at my school, it’s a little uncommon to not want to.

I’m the type of girl who wants to stay in and learn Alphabet Aerobics by Blacklicious. (Hey, if Harry Potter can do it, why not give it a shot?) I’m the type of girl who wants to stay in and watch Youtube videos to try and learn more songs to play on my ukulele. I’m the type of girl who wants to stay in to work on perfecting my bullet journal. I’m the type of girl who wants to stay in to be able to wake up early enough to go to the local farmer’s market. I’m the type of girl who wants to stay in to go watch the stars as they unapologetically shine for the world. I’m happy with who I am. Truly. I just wish sometimes that I didn’t feel so alone.

I’m always looking forward to my future, leaving college, getting married one day, having my own kids; and maybe I get wrapped up in it too much. But I know that I am not for the typical college scene. There’s more for me out there. It’s just not very fun to me. This year it is my goal to meet more people who share my interests. Because nights like these when my roommate leaves to go meet some friends who enjoy going out, and I’m in my room, deciding whether to re-watch Friends for the 6th time or start the new season of Young & Hungry, I feel alone. I feel like I’m the only one who feels like this. I know I’m not. But it doesn’t help when I don’t physically see those others who also feel alone.

In the end though, I know I’m not alone. God is always with me. It may not help much sometimes, but it is reassuring. One thing I’ve always heard is that God has 3 answers to your prayers: “Yes,” “Not yet,” or “I have something better in mind.” When I’m praying to God, asking for him to bring amazing people in to my life who know his overwhelming grace and goodness, I know that He is giving me one of those three answers. I may feel alone at times, but God always walks ahead, next to, behind, and with me. He’s there to listen to me and understand my pain. I’ll leave you with this verse.

 

Deuteronomy 31:6
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, 
for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."