Before I go…

It’s 12 am Wednesday morning and I leave for Boston in a few hours. I’m tired, exhausted actually, but the energy that is surging through my body is uncontainable right now. I can’t sleep. I just can’t because my journey, literally around the world, starts with this first flight to Boston.

Life has been all over the place the last few years. I was in love with a wonderful man, but my father had just been diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of skin cancer. I became his full-time care giver and we travelled across the state one to two times a week to see his specialist. Eight months later I was blindsided with the doctor telling us there was nothing else they could do but keep him comfortable.  My dad was going to die, and it was going to be soon. I watched as this disease took over his body. I watched as it clouded his mind. I watched as it took away the man who will forever be the standard I compare every other man that enters my life to. I felt such an ache and emptiness when he left this world, but was so completely thankful that he was reunited with my mother. She was his joy, his life, his love and after 6 years apart, they were together again. That thought was what got me out of bed, what drove me to make arrangements, what gave me the ability to smile, settle accounts, breathe, navigate probate court, and most recently, sell my childhood home.

After nearly a year without both of my parents, something started to stir within my soul. I NEEDED to go do things, see new things, and really experience life. To me that meant travel and to start checking things off of my bucket list.

First up was storm chasing. I have always loved storms since I can remember. As a child, I was scared of them and I’d sleep in my parent’s room on the floor, but I would always position myself right under the window to watch. The rumble or crack of thunder excited my heart. That feeling never went away. So, in April 2016, I flew out to Denver and put myself in one of two vans of strangers and went on my first storm chasing tour. I was hooked. I saw four tornadoes on the first day. I did my best to hold back tears when the elephant trunk shaped tornado touched the ground, a tear or two may have escaped, but I don’t think anyone noticed. It was magical.

I came home to Grand Rapids, MI and couldn’t shake the feeling that this was not where God intended me to be. Everything felt foreign and strange. Even my 4 year relationship. It was hard to admit to it not being right. I’ve never been the one to walk away before, but I knew for the both of us to have a chance at happiness it had to happen.

I ended up going on another storm tour with Silver Lining Tours traveling all over the midwest for two weeks. Months later that was followed by a tour with Southwest Photography Tours to experience the monsoon season in Arizona. I’ve now witnessed around 24 tornadoes, experienced softball size hail, been in awe of amazing and monstrous storm structure, and watched big, bright, and branching lighting bounce back and forth from the clouds to the ground.  I also made some wonderful friends from around the world. They are my people. They get me. They are some of my favorite things about those experiences.

So while I was traveling, on average, 500 miles per day to catch storms, I had also been following Kristen Bor who writes the Barefoot Theory blog.  She is an amazing and adventurous woman who travels, hikes, camps, etc. by herself a lot of the time. I love that. I identified with her spirit and attitude of not letting the fear of doing something alone stop her from doing it. I noticed on her blog that she was traveling to Kathmandu and trekking to EBC (Everest Base Camp) and was inviting her readers to join. WHAT!!!!!??? I didn’t know you could do that. I have been in love with climbing/climbing stories/mountains since I went out west in 2009 and spent a month and a half surrounded by them. I love watching documentaries on Everest, K2, Meru, etc. I think I have the spirit of those folks, just not the actual ability (not yet). So seeing that this trek was happening, and with someone I look up to, well, I  knew I had to go. I agonized over the decision for a few weeks, but finally sent the email saying I was committing to it (mentally and financially) after having the draft sitting in my outgoing mail for a week. And just to ease your mind, we are NOT climbing Everest. My group will be hiking to base camp and getting an eyeful of one the most beautiful things you can see on earth. Golly Miss Molly I am stoked!!!

After signing up I started to think that I should travel before the trek. I mean, I’ll be traveling past Europe to get to Nepal, so why not? I made a list of countries I had to visit and realized I really wanted to commit to this as well, but I would need to sell my parent’s house to do so.  That was a very difficult thought. Not having a home, my parent’s home of thirty-some years, was unimaginable. I also had to admit to the hard truth of me not needing an old 3 bedroom house with a lot of acreage anymore. It went on the market and was closed on within two months. It was meant to be and I was moving towards blazing my own path in life.

In a six day whirlwind, I was moved out of my home, had most of my belongings in storage, and living with my friends. It was nice to be back in a full household. I loved spending my days editing photos side-by-side with one of my dearest friends. It felt like we were back in the Photography Program at Grand Valley State University. I thought I’d feel more displaced, but this change has felt really good.  I’m really excited for God to reveal what he has planned for me. Don’t get me wrong, there have been difficult moments, but overall, I’ve never been happier.

Anywho, just thought I’d get you up to speed if you have no idea who I am, you know me but we haven’t talked in a while, or you know all of this and more and you’re just being a good friend and supporting my adventure!  I hope to post frequently…we’ll see how smoothly this all goes.  I will be posting to Facebook (Marcella Jo Photography or my personal page), going live at times, and trying Snapchat out (I have only ever watched people, never done a video). I managed to widdle down my photo equipment to my 5D Mark III camera body and two lenses (16-35mm and 70-200mm), as well as a few filters, CF cards, lightning trigger, cable release, Canon Powershot S100, and my brand new baby GoPro Hero4 Black.

Hope to reveal more of the goof that I am in coming posts and show you what life is like while being on the road for 2 months! Sorry this is so wordy and without photos. I wanted to get something up to introduce myself. I’m very visual, so photos will be much more present in the future!

Have a great rest of the week and thanks for taking time out of your day to see what’s up with me!

Much love!



2 thoughts on “Before I go…

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