Driving down Route 66 in a bronze BMW with a broken air conditioner. The air feels hot and my throat is dry. We're passing through an empty town with rundown motel signs. As we stop at a gas station to get some water, a huge green dinosaur made out of stone at this rock shop welcomes us weary travelers. Thrown back to my Flintstone childhood memories I follow its tail to the inside of the shop.
It’s dark and a beam of sunlight shows the dusty golden particles that float in the air. It smells like earth and iron. There are big crates of rocks in different sizes and colors. I pick up a little carbon black rock. The rock is sharp and edgy but the inside feels smooth. And so here I am in an abandoned town that once was packed with tourists staring into a sparkly carbon black rock where the history of the universe can be found.
We drove for hours, listening to a long audio recording about Existentialism read by this very cool professor. He made us sit on the edges of our car seats and yell the occasional "WoW" to each other before rewinding to whatever blew our minds. I was always in search of something - who I was and what I wanted. I thought such a complicated answer had to come to me with thunder and lightening. But it was in moments like this, driving through vast of lands and being in awe at the same time, that we found ourselves in each other. It’s no wonder we are best friends today.
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, Rome 2012
It's my last night in Rome. Kids are jumping and circling around big blueish soap bubbles. It is a fun theater play filled with laughter and joy. Then there is this girl. She picks up her dog and comes to a complete standstill while the soap bubble slowly moves in front of her.
For me, this picture symbolizes childhood innocence and the way of seeing the world with magical wonder. Do you remember when we were young and just did what felt good to us? We created things freely, solved whatever got in our way, and when asked by the grown-ups how it would turn out, we would just say 'I don't know, but it's going to be great.' We are able to use hope, and we can try to use it when life has obstacles and becomes unbearably unpredictable.
I used to be insecure about my photography, and I believed that with no education in art, I didn't deserve to be out there with other great photographers and artists. Over the years, I've learned that expressing myself in any art form isn't about being "correct." It's not even about me. It's about wondering about questions in life. It's about creating an imaginative world for you to explore together with me.
So while you are here, looking at this picture, what comes up? What do you think, feel, and wonder? We can ponder questions about wonder, fear, and doubt. And maybe after a while, things become a bit more understandable, and we feel less alone. Who knows where your mind will take you? I don't know, but it's going to be great."
Key West, 2013
Equanimity in India is “to see with patience”. Seeing what’s there with evenness of mind. Being grounded in presence of the extreme.
I was blown away by reading the first paragraph of Shantaram. From the top of my head it was similar to: “It wasn’t until I was chained against the wall that I realized I was free. Free to choose to hate or free to forgive, and this gave me a universe of possibilities. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life”.
And then Viktor Frankle who learned while being captivated by the nazi’s that between the stimulus, things that were happening to him, and response, his reaction to them, he had more freedom than the nazi guard who was torturing him.
Stoicism teaches us how powerful the mind can be. We can’t control what happens in our lives, but we can control our perception of it.
I went to church when I was nine years old and I was taught the Bible parables. Around the age of 14, I began wondering about the meaning of life and I started to get interested in the universe.
"What do you mean there are more suns? Wait, we have how many galaxies?" It was wild, and my perspective changed forever. I never went back to church. It didn’t matter much because I learned another important lesson... We don’t have to believe in a God directing the universe; we just need to stop believing that we are in the center of it.
On our way to Glacier National Park, we stopped to see our good friend comedian Rich Hall who lives in Livingston, Montana. After a fun time of catching up, the next morning we got up early all excited to make it out to the park… We were not even three miles out of town and this beautiful but very unfortunate deer jumps out of the bushes right in front of our car. We slammed the brakes but it was too late. We hit the deer by its back legs and it stumbled off into the bushes. We felt terrible. Our car was wrecked with smoke coming out from underneath the hood. We managed to make it out to the nearest car garage only to learn that it would take a week for the needed car parts to arrive.
That was the end of Glacier. We were so bummed out. But clearly, fate had decided differently because it turned out to be the greatest week ever. We spent the rest of our time at our friend’s ranch pretending to be real Montanans chopping wood and watching out for rattlesnakes and bears. Word got out in this tiny town that we were stranded and we got invited to people's homes. We met some of Livingston's finest artists and writers. Every night of that week we drank local craft beer and shared our stories around backyard bonfires.
Tom and I had so many road trips together. Just us in our old bronze colored BMW 540i. We crossed the USA seven times. This photo was taken somewhere in Arizona. The trucks were becoming our travel buddies, the one thing that felt familiar cruising unfamiliar landscapes. I like this photo because it has the tiniest reflection of us in our car.