Since my mom has passed away, I find myself thinking a great deal about her life and her legacy. It’s lead me to take a good hard look at my own life. While I love what I do, I feel as though something is missing. I guess I’ve always been the sort of person who has continually searched for my “purpose in life” – that greater meaning as to why I’m here on this earth at this time.
Mom’s passing has rejuvenated this search for me. When I think about what a good, kind, loving and accepting person she was, it makes me want to be like her. But, it feels like there is a piece of the puzzle missing – as if there is something “else” I should be doing with this gift of life.
When I went into photography in my late 20’s, I dreamed of photographing the natural world. I thought I could take beautiful photos of mountains, forests, fields, and canyons, opening people’s eyes to this incredibly gorgeous earth. In turn, I hoped that folks would think more about the world we live in and be more environmentally conscious. This dream lead me to moving to Colorado and photographing the natural beauty there and in other areas out West. While I continue to photograph, I know that this is not the the only thing I am meant to do. I feel like there is “more”.
In 2005 I took my first trip abroad. My eyes were opened fully. I saw other people living life differently – different language, different customs and traditions, different food, different religions – yet, they were the same. They ooo’d and aww’d over babies. They gathered for dinners with friends at local restaurants. They took care of their elderly parents. They went to work each day. And, they went to bed in their homes each night. They argued over politics. And, they fell in love. I realized that people are people – no matter what or where. Complete strangers helped me find my way when I was lost and they offered their hospitality even though they had far less than me.
Becoming a personal travel planner was the next step. Travel changed me and I wanted others to have this experience. We, Americans in particular, tend to have a skewed vision of the world due to our nutty media. But, really, the goodness I’ve seen in people all over the world (and yes, I’ve been to a Muslim country) is something that I think every person (and Americans in particular) should know about – and should experience. Is this my higher calling? To assist folks in opening their eyes and their minds to the world?
Honestly, I don’t know. Sometimes I read about a person who is fighting to end human trafficking. Or I hear a story on NPR about a person who is trying to bring education to girls in a country where it is not the norm. People who are doing great things. And, I think to myself, “why am I not doing something like this?” I’m not sure I’m cut out for being a crusader for a cause, even though I certainly have strong beliefs. Perhaps my higher calling is more subtle – to be more “mom-like”. Maybe I’m meant to give that complete stranger a hug when she needs it. Or perhaps my path is to plan fabulous trips for folks that lead to a new perspective on the world and its people.
I feel as though I’m at a bit of a crossroads in life. What’s next? I’m not stressing over it though. It’s funny, but I just know that Mom will guide me. As I grieve and heal, I know that finding this missing puzzle piece will simply happen…and that Little Mama will have a hand in helping me put it into place.