Deep Thoughts from 2016

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I am a photographer and writer passionate about the outdoors, meaningful travel, and living deliberately. I hope to use my platform online to show the beauty and complexity of the world we live in, and to encourage genuine connection to the outdoors, culture, people and wildlife.

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When I started this blog two years ago, it was hard for me to imagine what it would become. I just set out to share– and as it turns out, that was worth something. Because I’m here, still writing, and still sharing it.

I’ve done these Deep Thoughts posts for the past two years (here’s 2014 and 2015), so in keeping with that tradition, here are my personal reflections from 2016.


This year, I thought a lot on what I really require– in jobs, in relationships, in what I really need in order to live comfortably. I saw that I often over-compromise. I want to be the best at everything: the best employee, the most supportive friend, the person who wakes up the earliest and stays up the latest to work on their passion project.

For me, a lot of that isn’t healthy. In order to bring out the best in myself, I actually have to set firm boundaries instead of being a pushover. I have to be a bit more thoughtful about what I say yes to and when I say yes to it.

Having boundaries does have to mean that you are closed off– it can mean that you know yourself well enough to identify what works for you, and to stand for those things.


My followthrough record in 2016 isn’t as good as it could have been. I said I’d do things that I simply did not have time or energy for. Showing up for me means being vulnerable– in being honest and humble to bring out the best in myself and in others. It also means asking myself if I could have done better, and committing to that goal.

I am proud of how I have showed up in some arenas. But there were failures, too, and they were on me. It’s on me how I show up in my friendships, it’s on me how I show up for my clients, it’s on me how I show up for myself. These are decisions I have the power to make, and that I must make, in order to be effective and bring 100%.


I tried to do a lot of things this year– and I still am doing a lot of different things. And I wish I had another lifetime to pursue all these passions I have found, but I can’t do everything and I can’t be everything for everyone. I also can’t please everyone with my writing, my beliefs, or the things that I create both on and off the internet.

In pursuing my greatest dreams, I know I will turn people off. I have to be fine with that. And in this pursuit, I also have to be fine with quitting jobs that I love. I have to be fine with saying no to coffee dates that I’d love to go on. Because I can’t be everything for everyone, and if I tried to do that, I’d be ineffective at the things that matter most.


I gave a lot of advice online this year. And I didn’t always listen to myself.

We are fucking wise, y’all. You are fucking wise! Listen to yourself. So often, we undervalue our own rules of life, and for some reason we think they only apply to others but could never fit into our own situation. Many things I dealt with this year could have been dealt with sooner and better had I listened to my own advice and given myself enough credit to do so.


I’m a big, big dreamer, and my head is in the clouds constantly. But I need to remember that while I’m enjoying the view up there, my feet are also on the ground. Big dreams require little details in order to thrive. They require steps, planning and logistics. If done right, none of those things take away the magic of the dream. But still, they must be done.



Thank you for being a part of my story. Feature photo by BC Serna.

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  1. What a great practice! I should do more of this – reflecting on what time has come and gone and how I used it as opposed to always looking ahead. I especially like reflection #3. I plan on reminding myself of that a lot in 2017 as I keep pushing forward toward my goals.

  2. Mitch says:

    Great post! I can relate on so many levels and appreciate you putting it all out there. I’m a fan.

  3. GJ Seth says:

    It all makes sense now. We would get along really well in the real world.

    Have you ever read the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill?

    • Thank you!! I have read bits and pieces of it but could never get through the whole thing. A good read?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, I think it’s necessary for everyone, especially people like us who have big ideas, goals, and dreams. I read it a couple years ago and it sat on my shelf since. Just recently I listened to it in my car (YouTube has it) and I understood it with a lot more clarity. I want to begin implementing what he writes about. We have nothing to lose, and plenty to gain.

  4. Lynn says:

    1 and 3 are really true for me. I have a tendency to admire anyone who is hugely passionate and successful in what they do, and then I think I should try that too. But no, no I should not. It’s hard for me to rein it in and focus on what I am truly passionate about, not what someone else said is awesome.

    • I so relate to that! When I am focused, I feel unstoppable. I get suuuper stuck if I can’t decide what to focus on. Thank you for sharing and wishing you a wonderful (and productive) 2017!

  5. Ulla says:

    I love your mind Erin, your thoughts and the way you get messages across, such an inspiration!

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