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Ready for Takeoff: The Start of an Adventure

 

To explain how I got here, I guess I should start from the very beginning. Fair warning, this gets a little ranty and deeply personal.

Waaaaay back in 2014, my best friend and I decided we wanted to visit Europe (as one does sometimes when you’re 18 and starting college). That whole adventure and everything that went down is a story for another day.

At the time, a lot of people had pointed out that it would be the perfect moment to start a blog of sorts, and while I agree it would have been pretty perfect, back then -at least in my social circles- the idea with social media was still very in-the-moment. There was no such thing as #tb or #tbt, and posting after the fact was considered cheating.

As a teen traveling abroad for the first time, I had no cell service, barely had WiFi, and my photographic companions were an iPhone 3G, an iPod Touch, and a ”decent” Sony point and shoot that decided to crap out on me ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE TRIP.

I think this was the most salvageable picture from the entire trip.

All in all, it would be quite hard for me to not only post constantly and consistently but also post good pictures. So, I brushed off the suggestions, forgot about the blog, and enjoyed the trip while simultaneously panicking about my lack of pictures (and therefore, in my head, memories). Looking back, I still can’t tell if it was the ”right” choice or not, but let’s pretend it was.

Fast forward to January 2016, and at that point, I’d had an Instagram account for about half a year and was about to begin an International College Program at Walt Disney World, which was my absolute dream ever since I have use of my memory.

I’d be there for six months, it would be the perfect opportunity to start a blog, right? My experiences as a Cast Member, the places we went, the parks, the rides, the food, everything felt like a good opportunity. And it was, but as it usually goes, everything happened too fast and once again, the idea was abandoned. 

I was, however, dead set on not forgetting anything about this amazing semester, and I wanted to keep friends and family in the loop, so I somehow managed to turn up a half-decent picture for (almost) every day, posting them along with some small recap of the nonsense that had gone down.

Even something as simple as that proved a bit challenging to my procrastinating self, giving me my first real taste of what running and maintaining an actual blog would be like.

Time passed, and my last semesters of college took up 90% of my time. Most of the activities I partook in during this time would have been the perfect material for my future project, but I was too busy balancing internships and finishing my thesis to even consider it. As always, though, my little Instagram corner persisted, filled with everything I did in my spare time. This of course consisted of the things I wanted to talk about most: food (lots of it) and places.

Once I graduated came that existential void I feel most of us have experienced at one point or another. Sure, I studied what I loved best, but what was I supposed to do now? Jobs in my field were not known for being well paid, and I didn’t feel like going back to any of the places where I had interned, the one exception being Walt Disney World. I put it in my head that I would make it back, and set February 2018 as the date. In the meantime, I still had to work until that day came. Fortunately for me, I had one standing job offer from a couple of semesters ago when I stumbled upon this adorable little dairy close to my house. A place, by the way, I only discovered while hosting a great friend of mine and his wonderful boyfriend who visited me when I was having an existential crisis after being dumped by the love of my life. Funny how things happen.

It was a low-paying job, but it was enough to maintain myself and I enjoyed it immensely.

My main responsibilities were giving tours of the farm, organizing cheese tastings, and handling any contracts for hotel, convention, and school visitors. Of course, being a very small business (there were like six of us), I also ended up doing sales, product photography, flyer design, and even milking the sheep. You’ll never know all the things you can do until you work at a micro-business or start your own. This job also sealed my fate as cheese lover and future cheese connoisseur.

Eventually, February 2018 came around and it was time for me to start a Cultural Representative Program at Walt Disney World, working in Attractions. This time it was for a full year. You might think this was the time I finally started my blog. Nooooope. We worked insane hours and whenever I was off I just wanted to rest and make the most of my time.

lol, I was so happy

Before I left for sunny Florida, my brother was sweet and thoughtful enough to gift me a camera, so even though I didn’t start writing, I dove in headfirst taking pictures of everything that I came across.

No good reason not to photograph this.

 

Friends and family still insisted on the blog, but there is only so much we can share as Cast Members. What would become of it after I finished my program? Would that be it? If I was going to do this, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to be able to provide good content. And I for sure didn’t want to change focus after my year was over; that would be a betrayal to my readers who were in it for the magic.

People who know me, who were following the blog for me probably wouldn’t mind, but then again, if I was going to be investing time in this, I’d at least want to reach more people than my immediate circle. I promised myself that I would start a blog once I found my voice and my place, my plans, and the value I could bring.

What finally pushed me over the edge was leaving my job at WDW and not knowing what to do next. For once in my life, I had no plans, no clue to the future, nothing. I never planned anything after that. I was left with a blank canvas just dying to be colored on. It was both very scary and very freeing, having no path, no direction.

I started helping out with my family’s business and would travel with them quite often, going places I never would have thought about on my own. There I was, taking all these pictures, visiting new places, collecting memories and experiences, thinking up tips and ideas, and I finally felt ready to start actively planning what I would do. Around the same time, the possibility of moving to Spain to study a Master’s degree popped up. That was it. I was not about to waste an opportunity, not again.

And who would have known? That all these little, seemingly unrelated things would eventually lead me to this: a project I love with everything in me, that somehow allows me to put all of my passions together in one place. Something that keeps me on my toes and never lets me rest in the best possible way. I still have existential crises once a week, wondering if I’ve chosen correctly, which of all the options the future has for me is the one I want most.

I only wish that you find something that inspires, moves and makes you happy too. Even if you’re scared, or feel like you’re going to fail, just do the thing! If it is something you love, something that you’re willing to put hard work and lots of effort into (and believe me, you will have to), it’ll pay off. The world is a mess, life is too short, we don’t have time to not be going after what we want.

For five years I’ve been playing with this idea, and it finally put down roots. I’ve had lots of ups and downs (and still nearly not enough), and I think I’m starting to find my way. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I’m still not 100% sure where it will go, but I am sure it will be something amazing.

When was the last time you did something just because you liked it? Do you have any projects that you’ve postponed but have been wanting to start up again? Let me know in the comments.

AWM

P.S. I’d like to thank all the people who played a part in getting me up and running, with their unwavering support, feedback, and cheers. You know who you are.

 

Based mainly in Colorado. Loves cheese, rain, and starry nights. Can usually be spotted in the wild wearing a Spirit Jersey and balancing two cameras. Often laughs and cries at the same time.

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