“Different places on the face of the earth have different vital effluence, different vibration, different chemical exhalation, different polarity with different stars: call it what you like. But the spirit of place is a great reality.”
~ D.H. Lawrence
I’m happy you found your way to Here. I graduated from Montana State University with a degree in English Literature and have a background in photography and Anthropology. Which will become evident throughout this site. I’ve worked for a publishing company and owned a bookstore for nearly a decade. Additionally I have a background in cooking as a passionate home cook, as well as having spent some time in a professional kitchen. I’ve had several other occupations along the way including now working as a freelance writer. I am a passionate advocate for organ donation, having received a liver transplant in 2011, mental health, and zen meditation.
What brought me to this point in my life?
I was born in Missouri, but grew up in Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman is truly situated in one of the most gorgeous places on earth. The travel bug caught me early and stuck. I was lucky enough to be born into a family that travelled quite a bit. I would spend part of my summers in Northern Virginia around Washington DC, and supplement that trip with trips around the area to such places as Colonial Williamsburg, Gettysburg, the Chesapeake area, Philadelphia, Longwood Gardens, and Washington D.C. of course among others. Most of our trips were tied into history and museums. Something my friends at the time thought sounded awful compared to their week at Disneyland or wherever, but I loved it. My grandfather on my mother’s side was the director of one of the Smithsonian museums and that quest for education and knowledge was instilled in me from a young age. I can’t thank my family enough for that. Nothing made me so happy as being dropped off to spend a day at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum while the adults visited other places.
My family complemented the trips “back east” with trips around the Montana region. I grew up with day trips to Yellowstone National Park, the headwaters of the Missouri, Grand Tetons National Park, Virginia and Nevada City, etc., as well as a summer vacation to Glacier National Park, one of my favorite places on earth. I was also blessed to grow up in a town with one of the best history museums in the western half of the United States. I lived in the area north of Seattle for a number of years and now reside in Jacksonville, Florida. I’ve lived a few places in between, but in general you either need mountains or the ocean for me to call it home.
After college I lived in the Seattle area for a few years and traveled the Pacific Northwest pretty exclusively with trips from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. I also traveled back to Montana several times to visit family and explore my old haunts. After returning to Montana from Seattle in the year 2000 I visited France for the first time in a two week whirlwind tour. Later that year I would relocate to Paris enrolling in Speos Paris Photographic Institute. After school I returned to Montana and owned a bookstore for the next eight years, doing photography on the side. This eight year period I invested myself in building my business with very little travel. I missed the travel something horrible, but loved my store.
In 2009 I faced the struggle of my life, I was diagnosed with end stage liver disease. A year later I relocated to Jacksonville, Florida as a patient at the Mayo Clinic. I was placed on the transplant list and ended up waiting nearly a year for an organ to become available. This ordeal gave me a lot of time to consider what was truly important in life. I swore to myself that if I survived I would not waste my second chance at life. I finally received a transplant at the end of 2011. Since then I have worked hard to build my body back up and split my time between Florida and Montana. Living in the South I have truly learned to love it’s many varied cultures, histories, and cuisines.
In 2017 another challenge arose as I was diagnosed with throat cancer. I would go through a seven week treatment of radiation and chemotherapy. It has been a relief to be in remission and cancer free. As difficult as my physical health challenges have been the much more all encompassing and difficult challenge has been with mental illness. For years I self-medicated to cope with my symptoms which directly led to my need for a liver transplant. I’ve been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, ptsd, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder.
My goal is to eventually take a three month trip to Japan and live in Kyoto. I am drawn to artisans of the food culture that still make their product in the most pure form honoring traditional methods. In the case of Kyoto I am drawn to those that labor to make tofu, miso, and katsuiobushi, then of course there is Kyoto’s long history of Zen Buddhism and its 2000 temples and shrines. Besides Japan I am drawn to the area of Southeast Asia: South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand in particular. I am passionate about France and hope to return there as soon as possible.