Known only to my wife and I, I proposed to my wife in Dublin just six or seven months after I met her (that is before I went to Iraq for those keeping tally.)
I never told anyone where or when I actually proposed to her, mostly to protect myself from my parents who had just dealt with me and my calling of a previous wedding just a year prior. I did it with a plastic ring while we sat on couch in her flat after we had had dinner. I couldn’t afford a real ring at the time, and as I recall she had to help me pay for my flight to Dublin.
I wanted it to be simple (with my previous fiancé I proposed to her in CBGB’s after an acoustic rendition of her favorite song by her favorite indie band, it took a long time to plan to coordinate, but even with all the flashiness, love, and the just plain bad-ass-ness that went into it, it never felt right.) I told my platoon that I proposed on the top of Kilimanjaro while I was on Mid-tour leave (I have pictures to prove it!) And my family thinks that I proposed on a trip to South America that I took after I got back from Iraq. My family just could not understand why we got married so soon after we “got engaged.” This note should be news to them. But hey, when you know….you just know.
We ended up getting married in a hot air balloon over Napa Valley almost a year ago. (as you may have noticed my wife and I are a little different)
I can tell you, there is just something about Ireland that is just magical (ironically it is also the only place my Contax II has ever produced a negative worth a damn, so I am going to say it is more than magic, more like divine intervention.) There is a painted sign on the inside of the Guinness Factory that took a picture of on my first visit to Ireland, “Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.” By that definition home can really anywhere to anyone.
I have been all over the world in my short time here on earth I have learned quite a bit:
1. Running with the bulls in Spain is much more dangerous that they would have tourists believe before they get their.
2. Though the sun may be up 24 hours a day in the artic circle that doesn’t mean that things are open 24 hours.
3. At Octoberfest the ATMs within a 10km radius run out of money, so you’d better bring cash.
4. Live Octopus will stick to the inside of your throat if you don’t cover it in oil.
5. Camera batteries freeze above 18,000 feet, so keep them close to your body.
6. If you can’t find a place to sleep in Paris and its raining, the Tunisian Embassy has an overhang and no security guards so you can sleep there.
7. Always water proof you ruck sack.
8. Don’t take your wallet to Thiapusam.
But most importantly I learned that everything is just better when you can truly share your experience with another a close friend, a parent, or a significant other.
This leads me to the next thing I wanted to share, or an observation that I have made by talking with my photography mentors: photographers who have been in the business for a while have the most amazing way of viewing the world, explain its little idiosyncrasies, and making life make a little more sense than it did before I talked with them.
I think the reason for this clarity has to do with the fact that everyday photographers share their experiences with their subject, and for that day their lives are intertwined. Photographers make so many friends, so many close connections in their work; it is hard not to become wise beyond their years.
That is why I just love talking with experienced photographers. I always leave the conversation with a view on something that I had never had before. The best experience I had on the workshop was talking with Joe and Drew in the bar in KK, though they caught me a bottle of wine into the night, it was just amazing to hear stories that didn’t have a damn thing to do with photography. I felt like a kid, I just wanted to sit cross legged on the floor. It is the same when Joe posts a blog that is not really photography related, but from the heart, the kind that my wife I and talk about for weeks after he publishes it.
Through Joe’s use of words, actions, and expressions anyone who has ever met him can’t help but realize how much he really loves and care about his staff, his friends (of which he has many), and his family. I think that is the truest definition of a citizen of the world, one that can travel so much yet remain so grounded in the fundamentals of life.
I hope to attain that someday.
All the best,