I wrote this for myself, so yes, this is fairly self centered, but I genuinely believe that this is a healthy exercise for everyone to do for themselves at the end of the year. We live such fast paced lives, that it’s nice to slow down and actually acknowledge all of our achievements, and the progress we can make in just 365 days. I wrote this as a self reflection exercise, but decided to share it publicly because I believe vulnerability in storytelling is the biggest catalyst to human connection, and this is a pretty raw depiction of how much chaos can be going on underneath the highlights we see on Instagram. I’ve been challenging myself to be more transparent and open, so as difficult as this to be this vulnerable, I know it’s important to release fear of judgement. I love when I can truly connect with people, hear their stories, their struggles, their dreams their fears. Our stories are what bring us closer together, so this is mine. I hope to hear yours sometime too.
Started 2018 with the intention of traveling the world. I hadn’t really gotten a grasp on how to effectively run my own business yet, still had never left the country, and was pretty f***ing broke working a part time job as a cocktail waitress at a bar. I was blessed with the challenge of breaking both my external hard drive and my laptop in the first week of the new year. It was a blessing because I got to completely start over with my business. I learned a lot in 2017 and was ready to leave my past fears and failures behind, to trade them in for the success I always envisioned in my business. So I set my intentions. I said I would travel the world, I said I would finally build the successful business I always wanted to. I was scared, and I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I realized I wanted to completely pivot my business. I shifted my branding from creative fashion photography, to focusing on my true passion for the outdoors. I let go of my fear of the unknown. I embraced the journey. I took a road trip back to Moab to reconnect with nature. I produced a women empowerment workshop and panel with fellow badass female entrepreneurs. I quit my job at the bar because the boss was hiding from paying me, and was blessed with a very special act of kindness from a truly amazing human. In March I decided to finally take a road trip up the west coast through the Pacific Northwest. Had no idea how I was going to pay for that road trip, so I decided to teach myself how to pitch brands. Made my first pitch packet ever, and worked with 10 brands for my first collaborative project ever. I messed up a lot of those collaborations due to overcommitting myself. I learned A LOT about how to create more effective collaborations with brands and fellow creators. I produced and hosted my second adventure film festival: 14er Film Fest 2.0, completely selling out the event in celebration of all the amazing adventure filmmakers and athletes who I am so grateful to call my friends. I got to speak on my first podcast. I discovered my passion for plant based foods, and executed my first brand photoshoot in Colorado. I learned the value of gratitude, the value of true self love.
I spontaneously bought a one way ticket to Central America out of impatience to see the world. I photographed my first wedding. I photographed the red carpet release of Supertroopers 2. Ironically didn’t learn what Supertroopers was until the middle of the event. I organized a brand collaboration in New Mexico that hit almost every road bump possible, but again left me with many lessons. I got to speak at a General Assembly workshop. I got scammed out of lots of money in a traumatic experience the week before I left for Central America, and didn’t tell anyone because I was embarrassed. The aftermath of this event proceeded to last the entire year. I threw a “bring your own avocado” party the day after that happened, made lots of guacamole, and put on a smile for all of my friends. I left for El Salvador. I learned how to surf, and fell in love with the ocean. I learned the importance of balancing all of my fire with flow. I faced my fears, experienced a very low point, and infinite high points as I backpacked solo through El Salvador, Panama, and Costa Rica. I met many incredible humans along the way, and reunited with old friends at the end of my trip. I learned the importance of communication, of human connection, and the importance of love, especially when times are tough. I learned the value of stillness and resting. I learned more about myself than ever before.
I returned from Central America, went backpacking in Colorado. I got my first set experience helping production on a documentary filmed in Boulder this summer. Solidified my passion for filmmaking. I got a life changing job offer, told everyone about it, and then it slipped away out of my control. Learned that I should keep my mouth shut about things until they’re finalized. I bopped on over to California to help out with the second annual California Cliff Cruise, I reunited with old friends, and met some new amazing humans. Extended my stay in California to spend more time with said humans. Left for Canada the day I got back from California. Spent a week in Canada experiencing some of the most beautiful views, epic cliff dives, and transparently - some of the most confusing and rattling relationships and circumstances that I had experienced in awhile. I had a mini breakdown from spreading myself too thin. I learned that I felt inauthentic to my true self when I was traveling so much and not taking enough time to rest. I pressed pause for the first time in way too long and finally returned back to Denver to face my fears and demons in long-overdue stillness. I put my head down for a few months and focused only on my personal and business growth. I learned that I had done a lot of things I’m not proud of this year, because I was out of alignment with my purpose. I learned how to forgive myself and move forward, with only good intentions. I learned the importance of stillness and rest - again. I learned the value of love, human connection and relationships - again. I learned how to stop wasting so much time worrying about what others think about me.
I got the opportunity to creatively direct and write voice over for an adventure video collaboration that made me more excited about my work than any project I’ve done before. I re-solidified my passion for filmmaking. I took a fall road trip to one of my favorite places in Colorado, with some really great friends, and finally experienced what true freedom feels like, taking a trip where I didn’t put any pressure on myself to work. Found a new hot spring. Reconnected with some old mentors, connected with some new mentors, and got inspired by dozens of adventure films at film festivals all over Colorado. I got the opportunity to do media coverage for the Banff Film Festival, and spent a week photographing some of the most inspiring filmmakers I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. I re-solidified that my truest ambition in life is to become a documentary filmmaker to make a positive impact telling stories with purpose. I took a solo road trip over thanksgiving to go camping in Moab. I discovered how empowered I feel when I’m fending for myself, and re-discovered the freedom of disconnecting completely and losing yourself in nature. I discovered how passionate I am about healing our bodies and minds through plant based food, and started a new media agency for connecting natural brands with nature, in collaboration with a really great friend. I solidified my desire to give back, and discovered that brands and creators can have a powerfully positive impact when we work together to create change.
I started writing consistently again. I started practicing yoga and meditating every single day. I started making time for creative passions. I learned how to climb, I fell in love with running again. I learned how to truly take care of and love my body and mind. I continue to learn to flow with the circumstances and embrace the unexpected, striving to live freely, with authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability. I reconnected with old friendships, learned that everything is temporary and fluid. We always have the power to pivot, to rediscover, redefine, and reframe our perspective. I ruined some relationships, repaired some friendships, lost some people, and created some amazing new connections. I found groups of humans that inspire the shit out of me every day. I built my business to be bigger than I ever have before. I realized that instead of frantically growing my business , I could pour energy into growing myself, allowing the business part to grow more authentically. I’m still learning to work smarter not harder. I learned to love the joy of musical expression and dancing, and learned to embrace the freedom that comes from letting go. I learned everything is temporary. I learned that I am resilient and strong. I learned how to open up to abundance and flow, to surrender to love. Most importantly? I learned how to fearlessly be myself.
2018 has been a wilder ride than I ever could have imagined, but when I look back, I don’t regret a single experience. They have made me into the person I am right now, and I’m pretty dang proud of that. I have so many goals and projects in the future that I’m freaking stoked for, and we’ll be starting 2019 off with a wild adventure throughout Asia. I am so grateful for all that I have experienced in 2018, and there are so many big things (and more lessons) to look forward to in 2019… but for now? I’m grateful to be exactly where I am at the moment. Grateful for the people and experiences who taught me lessons, no matter how painful they might have been. I’m so grateful for all of my amazing friends, business partners and humans who make this life so wonderful. I’m grateful for the opportunity to create the reality I want for myself, to use each day as a fresh start. I’m grateful for this crazy magical unpredictable colorful life - we only have one, so I’m pretty damn stoked to be living it.
Huge thank you to the many incredible humans who have supported me, inspired me, sharing opportunities and experiences, there are too dang many to list, but you know who you are. Huge thank you to the many brands and agencies who prioritize sustainability and have provided incredible support with telling these stories this year.