Life update, or something


I’m currently writing from my bed back in Davidson with my new bunny love Winnie on my lap.

Today has been spent packing, reading, and preparing for yet another summer in Asia. When asked why I keep going back there, all I can think of is this — I’m seriously hooked on the continent. I have been entirely in love with the continent since I was seventeen and I cannot imagine my life today without that early introduction.

Already, I can feel that this summer will be incredibly different and yet, somewhat familiar. Packing for several months abroad is far more enjoyable than daunting these days and the only thing I really dread is lugging all my camera gear around with me everywhere I go.

One of the main reasons this summer will be different is because of all that is going on in the two places I plan to spent my time  – Thailand and Burma. I somehow managed to book a flight the same day a coup started in Thailand and while I am a little worried that it will alter my plans, I know that this experience will be unforgettable and I feel ready for most anything.

I head out on Wednesday and am terribly excited to spend time with Amirah before heading to Thailand.

The past few weeks have been incredibly rewarding and I am so thankful for all the work I have been able to accomplish and take part in (including an amazing experience at CPJW in Eastern, NC just a week ago! *More on this coming soon!).

I cannot seem to wrap my head around the idea that it has been a year since last summer’s adventures. This time last year, I was in Rishikesh at an ashram and spending a good deal of time in silence.



This weekend was a glorious mix of sitting in dark rooms and playing outside under the bright sun.

Full Frame documentary film festival consumed my Thurs-Sun activities and it was entirely worth it. I walked away from the weekend feeling so overwhelmingly inspired and ready to take on the great world of documentary work for the rest of my days!

These days, I’m focused on making plans for the summer and trying to finish the school semester with ease and care. I found this image from the Taj in Agra this morning and it seems fitting for how I feel under a rainy Monday sky and a day spent sitting in front of a big, silver computer.

Happy Monday, maybe, if you’re up for it, try something new!

A trip to the fish market | Bapatla, India

IMG_7018 IMG_7025 IMG_7034 IMG_7027 IMG_7047 IMG_7048 IMG_7060 IMG_7056 IMG_7054 IMG_7063I woke up this morning and all I could think of was this place.

It’s so strange to know with all your heart when you belong somewhere.

I found my place when I was 17 and I’m still dreaming of it even now. Going back to Bapatla this summer with Mom was a true dream come true and I am so glad I have memories like these to always go back to.

One late afternoon, Johnson and I went to get fish. This is what we found.

These are the faces I’ll never forget and the place I know I belong.

One. Two.

varansi window

One thing at a time.

That’s the motto these days! Without my lists, no telling where I’d be right now. I’ve had a hard time even remembering what day of the week it is. . .

But, overall, I really can’t complain. The weather is gorgeous, the coffee is good, and the sleep is everything sleep should be.

“The soul is the same in all living creatures although the body of each is different. ” – Hippocrates

My practice these days

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Last night, while driving to go film fire and smash old tvs, I was asked the question

–> “What are you most excited by in life these days?”

I immediately knew what it was.

–> Yoga and mediation.

That is what I am looking forward to and excited by in life right now. Cold fall and winter (*just cold weather in general) severely effects my personal practice. I have an impossible time keeping myself warm and moving in layers is frustrating to me. When it gets cold, I tend to make excuses. I find other distractions rather than make the time to do what I really want to do.

This past summer, I enjoyed the heat and practiced whenever and wherever I could. And I miss that.

My body craves it. It always does, but like all seasons in life, I am struggling to find what I want out of my practice. When I start to think like this, I realize I have a long way to go still. A practice isn’t about wanting, but rather, living.

And that is what I am committed to right now.

–> living it. breathing it. being it.

Abby’s recent quest for fitness is entirely honorable and I so look forward to doing yoga with the family in a few days! (*P.S. Abby, no one is terrible at yoga. It is impossible to be terrible at a practice that’s all about your own body and the way YOUR body works!)

“At various points in our lives, or on a quest, and for reasons that often remain obscure, we are driven to make decisions which prove with hindsight to be loaded with meaning.” – Swami Satchindanada

Most of all, these days, in the midst of trying to stay warm, school distractions (*exams are heavy upon us now), and concerns about my future, I’m working on meditation. Working on staying focused. And most of all, working on practicing appreciation.

So far, I’ve found joy in my practice these days and in doing the same, simple, yet powerful routine.

[*Note: I DO sometimes wear a bindi and DO practice yoga while in India and Nepal. And have been more than encouraged to do so while in both places by friends and family there. That said, I do not do either to attract attention while there. When I practice, I practice in quiet]

Bright blue sari

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My Mom is a rockstar. She not only spent part of the summer with me in India, but she also looks stunning in a sari. The other night, I wore a sari and it had been a long time. As always, remembering exactly how it works was a challenge, but thankfully I had help.

While visiting Bapatla this past summer, I brought out the sari Niti gave me in Kathmandu. The girls had a field day playing dress-up with Mom and got on my case for not having nicer clothes. They kept wanting to brush out Mom’s hair (and against her better judgment, she let them) and paint on a lot of makeup. The outfit wasn’t complete without fresh jasmine in her hair and a handful of bright blue bangles around her wrists.

When they were finished with her, they couldn’t stop saying how lovely and Indian she looked. And I agree. My Mom can rock a sari.

Fortress in the sand

IMG_0018 IMG_0024 IMG_0020Lately, my head and heart have been a lot of places but here. I have been thinking a lot about Mexico, Rajasthan, and Indonesia.

This week I have been to two performances that have changed my life (and I do not say that lightly). My little world rocked, tumbled, and fell and a lot changed what I thought I knew about humans and human nature.

On Monday, I went to see the Manganiyar Seduction and let’s just say I found myself wanting to live and stay in Memorial Hall forever, listening and watching, wanting to dance.  It was entirely magical and most of all it reminded me of how magical the place they call home really is. . . Rajasthan is out of this world and I’m ready to go back one of these days (soon). It was the India I imagined as kid (camels, turbans, bright colors) and I felt like I was living in a hot, fairyland in the desert.

This week, despite all of the life-altering performances, has been challenging to say the least. Thankfully all I needed was Wednesday. And some Amirah, some sun, and some fancy water.