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I was blessed to be born deep into the heart of the rugged, beautiful, and isolated Central Appalachian Mountains.  To working class parents who taught me how to find, create, and photographically capture beauty all around me.  I learned that the most valuable things in the world are exploration, discovery, learning, and connection.  And those things don’t take money – only imagination, curiosity, and a little courage.

My mother and big brothers were the outdoor adventurers and risk-takers.  My uber-quiet father tagged along, reluctantly, hiding behind his camera to remain detached and observant. I’m grateful I inherited a little from both sides.

Growing up in such an isolated and economically-challenged area, one is taught how to be practical, self-sufficient, and resourcefully creative. Becoming first-generation college graduates was expected. So was choosing practical career paths that would ensure a stable future. And we did. And we succeeded.

But the creative side – that passion to pursue nature, adventure, and cross-cultural experiences -never dies.  The desire to see what’s around the bend and to push oneself to take on new challenges, to continue to grow and to learn, never wanes.

I never thought I would choose to share my personal passions in a public medium. (I’m actually pretty shy, like my Daddy, and love hiding behind my own camera.) But, over the years, I’ve been touched by how my privately-shared experiences and photography have inspired friends to find their own paths of discovery.  I started making “cheat sheets” before their trips and found myself compulsively in the same teacher-mode, with them, that I am with my own small-business clients.  And so, I’m putting this “out there”.

If having stumbled upon this, you find new travel ideas, tips, and a little boost of encouragement, I will be even more pleased.  I am especially hoping these posts touch those of you who are – shall we say – entering the second half of your life.  As I approach the “Big 6-0” soon, I want to encourage other solo mature travelers to quit waiting on the right time, the right amount of money, the right traveling companion……STOP waiting.  Do it now.  No matter what your budget or your travel preferences, there IS a great travel opportunity out there for you right now. Just start.