Just five or six months ago, I remember sitting down to write out the big announcement that we were leaving Boston to travel the world indefinitely. As soon as I hit "post" I felt like we'd crossed an invisible demarcation line, as if our lives had just entered a new phase; a phase that came with the sometimes exciting, sometimes daunting certainty that everything was about to be different. But in truth, our lives didn't change when we hit post, or when we sat down with our respective parents long before then, or when we started putting aside money, or even when we boarded our Lufthansa flight bound for Rome in September. It changed in about the fourth or fifth week of nonstop travel, when it really started to sink in that we weren't on a short stint vacation, but adapting to an entirely new lifestyle.
I know I've mentioned this in the past, but Porter and I both had the extremely fortunate opportunity in our childhoods and adolescences (is that the plural form?) to spend a lot of time in "all-in" experiences. What I mean by that is that we both went to summer camp for most of the summer. Later, Porter worked for his camp and I got the chance to go on a study abroad program where I lived on a sailboat with eleven other people for three months. Later still, I went back and worked for that same company overseeing teens on an environmental and educational missions trip in Ecuador. That seems like such a little thing, footnotes in our bigger stories, but I see the foresight my parents and Porter's parents had in investing in those early camp and later college experiences, and I know it's a debt that's never going to be repaid. During those long July days, whether I was eleven years old up in Maine at camp or later, in the Amazon, a much older version of myself, up at one am laughing with the other staff about a toad that sounded so much like an alarm clock we'd all woken up and checked our phones, I was completely submerged in in-the-moment living. Every day was jam-packed, every day was different, and moments just felt different; life felt different. The former felt bigger and more meaningful, the latter felt infinitely more authentic. Summer camp was the first time I remember truly thinking to myself, okay, this might be idealistic, but if I can get this in-the-moment feeling back and take the good and the bad that comes with it in my real life someday, I'm going to. As I got older and had more of those sorts of experiences, my determination became more resolute.
Life in-the-moment is always going to look different in adulthood than it did when you were a child or a teen or even in college. I think a lot of people quickly give up on chasing that feeling because of this simple fact. Once you're a "real adult" the responsibility you have over yourself and your finances and how your life turns out is a whole lot heavier than in those early years. You have concerns and worries and anxieties, and those aren't going to disappear usually (and probably shouldn't, for the most part) no matter what lifestyle you undertake. But that doesn't have to mean you can't retain that every-moment-matters feeling you remember having once and loving. It just means you have to be willing to adapt. For example, unlike being a kid or even a counselor, when a flight gets delayed or cancelled altogether you can't sit on the airport floor playing Gin Rummy for hours on end waiting for an adult or higher-up to tell you what your next move is. And, being adults, those frustrating situations that seemed like kind of a fun wrench in the mix way-back-when can irritate you pretty quickly if you don't learn to roll with the punches and adjust your expectations.
That was the biggest lesson for Porter and I during the past three months, and once we hit that fifth or sixth week of travel and were running on a little bit less beginner's adrenalin and realizing "okay, this is life now." Sometimes living this kind of every-day-is-an-adventure lifestyle caused arguments we knew we wouldn't be having if we were at home in Boston (many) and causes you to question just how good of a person you really are if a few long days causing a lot of frayed edges makes you irritable or impatient or cold. But mixed in with all of that, obviously, were all the moments and experiences and photos we've shared on here; all of the full days and the long days and unpredictable days and oh-so-welcomed occasionally predictable days. In three months, we've lived the equivalent of an entire year's worth of memories, and probably grew closer as friends than we could've in a half a decade working at different day jobs.
Almost equally important, we realized just how deeply we love what we do. There could be days when I know Porter probably wanted to be about a half a mile away from me (at the closest) and we still never took a day off shooting, simply because, however tricky and frustrating photographing can sometimes be, we love it. Even better, we started to realize that our mission to expose and educate this audience on ethical fashion, what it is, what it does, and why it matters, was starting to really take hold, and that the response was increasing daily. Our biggest dream, after all, is not just to travel and take photos, so many people are already doing that and while it fulfills their personal definitions of success, we knew from the start our path was going to have to look a little bit different.
We love the humanitarian element of what we share as we go, we love connecting with brands that are invested in the lives of good people, and we love the pride we feel from finding those brands and knowing we have a platform that might be able to help them in some way.
So, back to the "what's next" element of this post that was promised oh-so-long-ago when you read the title and decided to click it: not shockingly, we're leaving in about a month's time for another leg of travel. This one will last about six weeks and take us to about six different countries, but the bulk of the time we'll be in Dubai, The Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Oman with two European stops at the front and back end of the leg. The goal we're working toward is being able to travel to these countries and also include an element of service. In an ideal world, we'd like most of our trips in the future to have a service-minded focus, and to work our photography into that direction. We'll be dipping our toes into what that will look like on this leg, and without giving too much away, it's by far the part of the trip that I find the most exciting. We'd also love to be more heavily involved with visiting a lot of the international artisans the brands we partner with employ as we go from place to place, so that we can really share the nuts and bolts of how the sustainable fashion industry is serving communities across the globe.
So, little picture: we're in the prepping phase for another whirlwind trip, and big picture: we're focusing this trip on growing toward what we'd like this platform to be a year from now: a place with service-oriented travel routes, beautiful locations marinated in the ethical fashion movement, a portal to find clothing and brands that are serving a bigger purpose, and (because this is why I started a blog in the first place) an account of our every day lives.
When our flight landed in Boston, (and when we headed out to NYC a few days later) walking around, we felt like we could kiss the ground. I have to extend a special thank you to Lufthansa Airlines, here, for partnering with us early on, when the idea of traveling and spreading the word on sustainable brands was just that, an idea. Not only did they fly us to and from Europe and let us explore Logan's new Lufthansa lounge, but their team checked in with us as we were traveling, just to say hey. We've found that companies that pursue a conscious purpose are backed by people who pursue the same in their own lives, and Lufthansa is just one of many examples. If you're in the business of caring about the planet, or caring about the humanitarian needs of your supply chain, you're ultimately in the business of caring, and that kind of ethos I believe seeps into everything from customer relations to in-flight experiences, to, for some companies, the energy of the clothing item you can hold in your hands. The gratitude I feel for getting to work with people that have the same values we do is deep. Their belief in us motivates us.
I said this on Instagram, but that feeling of returning to your home country is indescribably sacred. I'm so grateful we not only love where we grew up, but both have a strong pull to explore our own country much more depth (hopefully this summer). If you have any can't miss spots in America, let us know. We've seen embarrassingly little of our own home country!
As always, thank you for following along. We're so excited to record another leg of travel here with all of you.
Anna Lisa & Porter
* Thank you to Lufthansa Airlines for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts & opinions remain our own.