It was a whirlwind of a trip, and it’s been a whirlwind since I got back from Adventure Always in Long Beach.
But I just have to share….
As it is with most beautifully challenging and impactful experiences, I find it hard to put into words the three days that made up Adventure Always.
After my first Beloved Collective conference, I quickly learned that these are ‘my kind of people’. It may sound strange but it seems that the people that are drawn to Beloved are the kind of artists I could spend lots and lots of time with. Nearly everyone I’ve met within this community are authentic and passionate, kind-hearted and compassionate. Many are doing so much more than making portraits, or “doing photography”. Some are literally changing the world with the stories they’re sharing, and the dreams they have to leave an impact on other’s lives. This year, the Beloved Collective conference turned opened up to more than photographers, but artists of other mediums as well. We heard from Brian Andreas, who brought me (and I think many others) to tears with his stories and words. We watched an incredible video (once it is released to the public I will share it!) made by my friend Calvina, who has poured her heart into developing her photography in a way that will impact other’s lives forever…and even work to end slavery and oppression in our world.
Ash and Jeremy Parsons blew me away with their raw stories of brokenness and their challenge to live life as it is- A GIFT. I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the crowd after they shared. I highly recommend checking out their “never give up” stories of heart-ache, hope, and deep deep love. The conversation they ignited the evening they spoke was one that I believe had the capacity to change people’s lives in a big way. I’m so grateful for that hour with them. We also got to hear from my friend Liz Arcus, who always inspires me to reach for big dreams…and especially the kind of dreams that have the ability to impact other’s lives. We also heard from Jonas Petersen, Ryan Muirhead, and some awesome instagrammers like @thuglifforevs, @seacannon, @carmynjoy and others!
(here are a few iphone photos from the trip…)
My friends that I shared a room with on the Queen Mary also made this trip important for me. Melissa, Scott, and my new friend Sarah. Melissa took the risk in the beginning during our Beloved Collective morning and shared her heart, her fears, and encouraged us to go towards what makes us weak in the knees. She braved the fear of speaking in public and inspired lots of people, including me!
Some important things I took away and I know will continue to impact me in some way :
Kristen Kalp talked about how to love your life by creating “a business that lights you up”. She asks “What would be the most fun right now?” She also shared these tips that I believe she lives by and encourages others to do the same: * dwell in impossibility * delight yourself * know what you’re not * fight perfection * embrace fear * out-do yourself *
My friend Josh Solar shared about gratitude and making a life of thanksgiving. He encouraged us to write letters, to notice the gifts we have in our lives, and to not take those for granted. If you haven’t heard of 1000 Gifts or Ann Voskamp’s blog A Holy Experience, gratitude is all over it! He shared some great quotes including this : “The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything.” -Albert Schweitzer
Of course Jesh always has words upon words of wisdom, and I usually find myself either frantically trying to write waht he’s saying or just sitting and soaking it all in. One of my scribbles in my notes from the goodness he shared over the course of the week: ”to be an artist is to be a maker of history” is something that could change the course of our work if we really believed and took this seriously. He also asked the question; “What drives you Wild?” He pushes others to a place of dreaming big, of going beyond what they may think are their limits into a space where magic can happen. I love that.
It was such a joy and a gift to be at the first annual Adventure Always! I’m so so grateful to each of the people who shared their hearts…that really is the most important thing in what we do. It’s not about the money. It’s not about being the best photographer in our city or state, etc…
It’s about love, connection, authenticity, and making history by making the world a better place.