One of the things that I’ve mentioned to a lot of people that I have met on the road is how I planned to write a little bit about switching out of “Auto.” It has been a metaphor on my mind since before I started the trip, and here I am, finally getting it down.

I’m out there taking photographs with my camera on a daily basis. One thing that I always do is keep my camera in “Manual” mode. With doing this, it means that I have to take the time to set my settings to take the photo that I want. I have to pay attention to the small details in order to capture the image that I want. I switched out of “Auto” because I wasn’t getting the desired results from the photos I was taking. They were either coming out under or over exposed, never quite right.


One of the things that I realized, was that it was a great metaphor for my life. How often did I get stuck on “Auto” in my day to day life? Every day, falling into the same routine. For 2 years, I was commuting 150 miles per day 5 days a week for work. During those drives I would just zone out and not really be present in the moment. The same signs, the same road. How much time just passed by? At work, I would sit at my desk working on spreadsheets and calculations, digging deeper and deeper into numbers until all the numbers just jumbled together and stopped making sense.


On this trip, I am always looking for something to photograph, to capture, to share. My mind is present in the changing scenery. Every road leads to something that I have never seen before. Every sign points to somewhere I have never been. This was exactly what I needed to refresh my mind and to give me new direction in my life. I have ideas for myself for what to do when I get home. I feel that I have finally given myself the time to really open my mind to options outside of the box that I had grown accustomed to. I finally was able to switch myself out of “Auto” and take control of my life.


I would highly recommend to you, my readers, friends and family, to take a moment to be truly present in your day. If even for a few minutes. Pay attention to the sounds that you hear, the feeling of your feet pressing against the floor, the smells in the air, the feeling of air flowing into your lungs. One thing that I have realized while on this trip and seeing all the abandoned places is that it goes by too quick. You are alive and your life is precious. Do you have an instrument that you have always wanted to learn? Give it a try: take a lesson or browse the hundreds of videos and resources online. Want to learn how to dance? DO IT! Live your life. Love it. Appreciate it. It’s gone to quick.