WEEK NINE

Grown ups can go on field trips too. This week I was at huge photography workshop in Santa Barbara, California. They didn’t really want you to call it a conference, or a workshop, so they called it Field Trip. Essentially it was 400 creatives taking over a campground on the coast. The days were full of classes that ranged from education to kickball and the evenings were full of dance parties. A couple of mentors had recommended that I check it out and when I realized that I was already going to be in California in the van, I immediately signed up. 

I had connected with other Field Trippers via social media before the event and one person had advised that I shouldn't take classes with photographers that I really liked or admired because I would end up hating them. He was right. Well, half right, I really don’t hate anyone. But it is definitely enlightening to meet your heroes in real life. They look like these brilliant picture-making humans with beautiful wholesome lives on their Instagram accounts when in reality they might actually suck as a person. I had to unfollow a few favorites after this week, just until I can swallow my judgements and go back to seeing them as artists instead of pretend BFF’s. 

I stayed in a cabin during Field Trip and actually had a really hard time being far away from the van. I have organized everything I could ever need into all of the little compartments so to try and pack to be away was more difficult than I expected. I also struggled with sharing a living space with so many others after being secluded by myself for the last month.

A big push was to be super social and make a million friends which as you get older, gets so much more difficult. I tried to hone in on why I was struggling with being around so many people. I am not particularly shy, and I literally LOVE everyone (minus the guy that yelled that I was an idiot for not using my blinker today, I don’t necessarily love him) but what it really narrowed down to is the comfortableness I have with being solo. I actually caught myself just walking away from people standing next to me because I needed to use the bathroom, or was searching for more brownies. Like I was so in my own world and my own needs or wants that I struggled integrating myself with others. Or communicating that I was stepping away instead of leaving people standing there by themselves. And if I walked away from you, or didn’t respond to anything anyone said, I apologize, this is obviously an area of balance I need to work on. I am proud of my independence, but I also need to not be a hermit loner. 

It took until the last day for me to really realize how many friends I had in fact made. When I started saying goodbye and realizing that there was a small chance I would not cross paths with these people again in the near future, I started to get heavy. You have all of this fun and make all of these memories and now I am just going to drive back to the corner of the earth I came from. K fine. I have met some of the greatest individuals on this trip that I know will be friends for a lifetime. Y’all remember Nett, the woman from the Kroger parking lot on Day Three? We still email on a consistent basis which makes me feel crazy blessed. I had amazing friends and family before I left Michigan and that list keeps on growing. 

Just a little more than a month left on the road. Next week, the Grand Canyon, and then back up the coast. 

Meghan KindsvaterComment