The New Year began in Brooklyn. I worked a full-time job in the fashion industry. It made me happy up until fashion week came around, which I covered and simultaneously despised. At first, leaving the job seemed terrifying, but ultimately became the biggest blessing in disguise. Although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I knew exactly what I didn’t want to do, and who I didn’t want to work for or with. And I quickly moved forward. I was featured as a Rising Photographer on Dazed Digital. I escaped to New Orleans with Clayton and KT for my first Mardi Gras. I fell in love with the city that I’d heard so much about, and yes, it was just as magical as everyone claims. Met Jac, who not only became a muse, but an incredible friend and partner in adventure. I made many incredible friends this year, but also lost a few. I realized that there’s a twisted beauty in losing friends. It became a reminder to appreciate the gifts which they bring into your life, a reminder that everyone comes in and out of your life for a reason. I worked on a short film, which was fun and beautiful. Spent a few weeks in LA with my brother and Jac. I rented a mini-cooper convertible and found myself staying in the Morning View Mansion that Incubus recorded in (high-school swoon!). Back in NYC, my car became my second home. I found any excuse to escape the city, and did practically every week. I spent a lot of time with my dear friend Derek in his incredibly beautiful home in the Catskills. It became my favorite place to escape, to think, to create and to feel endless comfort. I discovered epic swimming holes, beaches, weird towns in Jersey, and spent a lot of time at home in DC with my family. One of my favorite escapes was living on the most beautiful houseboat in Provincetown, with Clayton and KT. We rocked day and night, watched lightning storms, cooked delicious food, and explored the secret treasures of that little town. I found so much love in both Clayton and KT. They became so much more than friends to me; they were lovers, teachers with the most open hearts, and endless, non-judgmental care. The long-awaited departure from New York to live in The Middle East became more real to me as time passed. Between finding work to save for my expedition, and preparing for the actual move, I hit a rough spot and lost quite a bit of my sanity. My healing involved a lot of acupuncture and long motorcycle rides with a special man. And, of course, my beautiful friends took very good care of me. Kira Madden and I spent countless nights drinking wine, sharing endless knowledge, laughter and tears together. Danielle Redman always opened her warm arms, and we caused trouble all over the city, danced, twerked and watched sunrises. And Jac, my beautiful Jac became a sister to me, always around to escape when I needed it, even on a minutes notice. As the time to leave came close, I prepared by packing, and dancing as I saw fit. I got a week’s notice that I could finally go to Yemen, and I did. But not without trouble. I dealt with bureaucratic drama, which eventually led to me spending an unexpected week in Istanbul. Then, finally, my long-awaited time in Yemen arrived. I spent three weeks exploring the devastating mess my home had become. I treated myself to a few weeks in Cairo, and fell completely head over heels in love with it. I worked on an epic story with a new beautiful friend, Ghazala Irshad. And now, I’m here in Abu Dhabi working on some magic.
This year has been a whirlwind of adventure. I want to say that I’ve learned so much this year, but I know that I’ll be saying that at the end of every year to come. I started this year thinking I knew exactly what I wanted. And now, at the end of the year, I can proudly say that I know absolutely nothing, except for the fact that I’m heading in the right direction.
A happy and safe New Year to you ALL. I hope you find happiness, love and adventure in the year to come.
(Click here for last year’s Year in Review)