Born and raised...
in Florida, I grew up between West Palm Beach and a small town outside of Gainesville. I was fortunate enough to experience both city and country life. It taught me about acceptance and opened my eyes to racism, the importance of education and travel and the value of a life spent on your own terms.
My first flight over the Mississippi was to Yellowstone National Park. I was just shy of 23 and had never seen snow or mountains like the ones that would amaze me in Wyoming. I took this image on my last evening there – I thought at this moment that I might just create a life different than the one planned for me. The perfect light faded as I walked away.
Pushing boundaries in Yellowstone
I hope everyone gets to have that one person who challenges everything they were raised to believe in. For me, Gary was that person, challenging my thought process, my beliefs, my fears. It was one of the most frustrating friendships I have ever had, but it was also the most beneficial. He fell somewhere between a best friend and a father figure. I am eternally thankful to him for helping me push my boundaries little by little.
Feeling at home in Arizona
After traveling abroad for the first time in early 2013, I realized how little I understood about my own country. I didn’t realize that we had a culture until I saw how prevalent it was in Thailand, where people obsessed over the “American” way of life
I spent the next few years exploring as much of the US as I could through small road trips. The Southwest was my second trip that year: I fell in love with it the moment I reached the desert. Those stars, the sun and those endless, unique landscapes – I couldn’t get enough.
Seeing growth in Seattle, Washington
The summer of 2013 I drove on US1 from Seattle to Los Angeles over a two-week span, a trip I could do again and again. Maggie and I were roommates in Orlando, Florida when she became pregnant with Una and now I was getting to see her as a mother. I fell in love with her art before even meeting Maggie – a few of her pieces still hang in my apartment bringing me daily inspiration.
Seeing Maggie’s growth allowed me to see my own, we had known each other so long ago when we were both different people living different lives.
Wide-eyed in California
It was my first trip to the West Coast and I was stopping at every opportunity to take a picture. I wanted to ingrain these places in my mind and dream of them when I returned home to New York. I had never seen beach and mountain collide as they do on the West Coast of the United States – it took my breath away. The two-week road trip wasn’t enough; I knew it was the start of a love affair, one that may never stop.
Special spot at Rockaway
Since I’m from Florida I have a soft spot for the ocean. It’s the place I go to think and make big life decisions. Sometimes I go to collect shells, listen to the waves or to photograph visitors. The beach never fails to bring me the healing I’m looking for. No matter where I travel to, the ocean plays a big part in my planning.
Power of perception in Morro Bay, CA
A small beach town between San Francisco and Los Angeles – as you drive through the town you notice a beautiful massive rock which sits at the water’s edge, overlapping with three towers from the water plant. I drove up a steep hill and stood on the rental car’s roof to get this image.
To this day it’s still one of my favorite instant film images I’ve taken - it shows the power we have over perception. When you can take something like a power plant which destroys the planet yet can still see it in a beautiful light.
Loneliness of Travel in San Francisco, CA
Traveling alone can be difficult and lonely. I remember sitting in the rental car after taking this picture feeling defeated and misunderstood for reasons I no longer remember. But this is exactly why I choose to do these trips alone. You can’t truly understand or love another until you truly understand and love yourself. Dig deep and travel alone.
Wanderlust in Oklahoma
I was a timid child, scared of old people; I stood close to mother and sister. I was expected to stay at my mother’s side. I was expected to stay in the same place my entire life and get married and have children.
I've been asked what brought about my wanderlust; there is no reason I should have it. Perhaps it’s because I moved out when I was still in High School and have moved 29 times since I was 17? Or was it those first trips to New York and Yellowstone where I was able to feel the effects of travel? Or perhaps it was because I met someone at who encouraged me to pursue these things? Whatever it was, I am grateful I found this wanderlust—I am all too scared of the person I would have been without it.
Getting yelled at in Gainesville, FL
While attending photography school in Daytona Beach I visited my friend Gary in Gainesville. We walked about town taking pictures. This helped me get comfortable with approaching people. Gary used to ask, “What’s the worst that can happen?” It wasn’t a rhetorical question—he actually made me answer. This question helped me pursue what has felt scary throughout my life—a question I still ask myself when I hesitate.
This was the first time I was yelled at for taking a picture without permission, but I would not have captured this moment had I asked first.
Never fear homesickness in Scotland
I spent most of July 2014 traveling around the UK, spending time in Northern Ireland, Scotland, London, and Wales. While traveling, I always rent a car, and sleep most nights in it to save money, only staying in a hostel when I desperately need to shower. This was one of my sleeping spots with the best view of Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Every trip I have taken has lasted longer than the last. I keep thinking there will be a point when I will get homesick. But even on my longest trip at 6 months, I was never homesick nor was ready to go back when the time came. There is something about living on the road, out of a bag, that feels like home.
Around the world in Northeast Oklahoma
I had a five-hour job in Fayetteville, AR, but ended up getting stuck there for an extra 36 hours. Not having anything to do but hang out in a hotel, I decided to rent a car and explore. I got a cheap haircut and drove through Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas for the first time.
I know many photographers who have been around the world but have never had the opportunity to see it - a mistake I wanted to make sure I didn’t make. Step back and take time for travel– you will never regret it.
Finding New York in Florida
One of the girls my sister went to school with had a mural of the New York skyline put on her bedroom wall for her birthday – I was there when her parents revealed it to her. It was as if I had never heard of New York City before, I certainly had never thought of living there one day, but in that moment it became my dream to live there too.
This was my third visit to the city and I was falling more and more in love with it with each visit. It felt like home in a completely different way – a sense of freedom I had never experienced before. My feelings about New York change often. I hated it in the months leading up to a six-month trip I took in 2015 and now I’m beginning to love it again after having been home for four months.
The more I travel...
the more I see its power and its gifts. Travel is uncomfortable–discomfort leads to growth. My biggest fear is to remain stagnant. Learn to live simply, travel often and push your boundaries at every opportunity. Love the skin you’re in and continue to discover who you are. Many people have negative responses to my travels but I remind myself that it’s only their own fears they are reacting to: don’t ever allow other’s fears to weigh you down.