Four sold out workshops
55 people through my mentoring program
86 family sessions
Interstate travel to Sydney, Noosa and Byron Bay
International travel to the US, Europe and the UK
I am one lucky woman, I know this. Beyond blessed.
Full disclosure - right now I'm in a pretty emotional headspace. Last night I was booking some flights for my time in the US in Feb, and while sitting with my diary I realised I will be away from home for 27 days through February and March (home for 8 days between two US trips). It hit me like a tonne of bricks.
Travel has always been part of my big picture, master plan and #goals for as long as I've been dreaming this photography thing up. I remember when I first started dating Aidan and sharing the dream of being "one of those rock star photographers who gets to fly all over the world". This year, I did that. I became the photographer that got flown to LA for a conference, SWEDEN for a family shoot and LONDON for a mentoring session. I became the kicker of all my goals.
I distinctly remember sitting on the porch of the most beautiful Byron Bay treehouse I had booked for my final Life: Unmade workshop in October. I was sitting with my best friend Han, I had only days before returned from Europe and the UK, I'd had a whole two days to be with Archie and my family before heading up to Byron. I was tired and jetlagged. And despite being in one of my favourite places on earth, I said out loud to Han, "this isn't fun anymore. I miss my family. I miss being at home."
What I've realised is, you can't possibly know what your dreams and goals are going to look and feel like until you're there, and it's ok to battle with that sense of accomplishment, and also the realisation that this might not be what you wanted after all. I drowned in the guilt, but I think I'm emerging from that and trying to have some compassion for myself.
A wise friend said to me last night: "Sometimes it takes getting exactly what you have wanted and dreamt of, to realise that maybe the idea of ‘success’ you’ve been carrying actually looks a little different in reality? Either way there is no-way for you to be able to experience what you need in order to calibrate for the future without this happening. Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, have to through it."
In February I will be teaching at our industry's biggest photography conference, Click Away, in Amelia Island, Florida. A dream held by so many, and I not for a second do I take for granted how DAMN LUCKY I am to be on that list of teachers. In March, I fly back to the US to teach at my absolute favourite conference, The Family Narrative.
I will put my whole heart into both, and I will enjoy every second of those experiences. I will make it 100% worth leaving my family for. It will be a pinnacle for me.
But, when I am home (just in time for Archie's birthday), I'm going to be focusing on life here for the rest of 2018. BALANCE is my word. No more travel unless it includes another four airfares for my family. Archie starts school in 2019, and next year I just want to soak him up, this magic child of mine. I want to immerse myself in my family, my relationship with Aidan which keeps me grounded and sane, taking the five of us on a holiday, being present and really IN this. Putting my DAMN phone down.
This is why I will be releasing my Life: Unmade Workshop in an online format - so I can continue to share what I'm passionate about with photographers, but I can have more balance. I feel so good about this decision, and I can't wait to see that part of my business grow. So many people are already so keen, and I want those people to know that this means more to me than you know. By participating in this online workshop, you will be helping me to find my balance and to be more present at home.
I know I should be sharing all of the things I am grateful for this year, as is customary with these end of year posts. But, guys, honesty and full transparency is more my style. It's been HARD to grapple with this.
This year I have been filled to the brim with blessings. Dreams reached that never would I have ever thought possible back when I was a single mum, scraping for change to buy my kid milk and just praying to the universe that a booking would come through.
But my biggest lesson this year is: it's ok for the big picture to change once you're there. It's ok for you to realise everything you dream of might not actually be what's most important. It doesn't make me ungrateful, it just means I've gained some perspective.
My family: they are my big picture, and from now on, where I go, they go. They are what's most important in this life. They are everything.
Here is a photo I took this morning of my magic Archie. The boy who continues to serve as my life teacher. This photo came about as the result of two bribes: 1) he can keep the fairy lights forever and ever and ever and, 2) I have to take him to the shops and buy him a Paw Patrol Surprise Egg (like, right now as soon as I hit "publish" on this).
So, here's to a more BALANCED 2018. I can't wait to meet so many new faces during my time in the US, and I cannot wait for more quality time at home on my return.
Thank you to everyone who made this the biggest and busiest year of my life, resulting in SO much growth. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!
Four sold out workshops