The (Travel) Bug

Moscow State UniversityI’m sick, I might even have a disease. The symptoms? If I stay in one place for too long I am prone to want to go on an adventure to some far off land. It really is bad. I mean I have heard people talk about wanderlust but really, this is serious.

The problem is, my wife and I have been living in the same small town in North Carolina for about a year and a half now and I’m craving adventure. We are here because I’m working on my masters degree, with the goal of moving back overseas (we both lived overseas for a bit of time a few years ago). In the time we have been living here we have gotten to do a little bit of traveling and have even had the opportunity to go on a photojournalism trip to the Czech Republic and Hungary. But despite what it sounds like, I think the urge for adventure hits me about every three months.

I’m coming up on my three month mark. I find myself looking at travel photojournalism websites, reading the blogs of photojournalists, and dreaming about being somewhere else. I don’t really understand all of this, I’m wired a bit differently (my wife can attest to that). I don’t know what to do with this urge except go with it!

This weekend we are taking a trip up to West Virginia to visit family and attend a family reunion. I guess this is going to have suffice to the bug for now. It is a road trip and since we don’t have any other trips planned till November, well I’ll take what I can get.

Life always seems interesting, the kind of interesting that is good, but leaves you looking forward and wondering what will tomorrow bring. When I lived in Russia and was traveling around the country to photograph different people groups, or just photographing around Moscow, I wondered what life would be like after I moved back to the United States, but now, I find myself daydreaming of life back overseas. What will it be like? Where will we live? What will the art culture be like there?

I love to learn about how different cultures interact with art. All embrace it in some fashion or another, but what are the intricacies of how they do it? That is what my travel bug is all about, capturing the way that a culture views and embraces art.

Cultivating a work culture

ceo portraitHave you ever woken up in the morning and thought, “I really don’t want to go to work today”? Who hasn’t, I mean really. It is such a common statement, but what if it didn’t have to be that way?

Recently I had the opportunity to shoot for the CEO of a company being profiled in a national publication. As I talked with him about the company, he explained that their top priority is to create a work culture that is focused on family and on people wanting to come to work. He explained how this is a non-negotiable,

“we are trying to create a work culture where the day that you retire you can look back and say your life was better off because they were a part of [the] family.”

This got me thinking, what would it be like to work for that kind of person?

As I sat in his office, going over the publication’s image brief, I realized that he was calling different stores in his company talking with the managers, encouraging them and listening to them as they shared about what is going on in their stores. He was involved and caring. It took me back, listening to how he was intentional with his employees. I couldn’t help but think of employers I have worked for who were far different from this.

Many times, employers seem to approach work from the view of tough love. There is little encouragement and most of the time the only communication you receive is about something you have done wrong. But listening to this man talk to his employees made me realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. Going back to his statement about their work culture, I can see how this is a tangible reality in this company. They not only speak these words, but they make them happen.

“What if…” is a powerful statement. What if we changed our environment to be encouraging while challenging? What if we lifted each other up, challenging each other to higher things? What if we put ourselves in the background and others in the foreground?

What if…