Today is my thirty-first birthday! And like most birthdays, I have spent this one away from home. Seeing that my birthday is in August, it has always been a struggle to celebrate at home. When I was younger, it always fell in the middle of Girl Scout camp; after that, it was cheerleading camp. There were a few years in college, though, when I had the opportunity to celebrate with my family as we were home for the break, but usually, we were all working. Gifts have always been a thing in my family, but now it’s mostly money and a phone call. My mother, however, has always liked the tradition of gifting us with activities such as plays or concerts because it’s what we enjoy doing together and go any chance we get.
I always buy myself a gift. Because why not? If you can afford it, then you should. It hasn’t always been this way, but even a new book counts, in my opinion. This year, however, I ordered myself a new lens. It was costly and something I would never think of buying, but after my first season in Antarctica, it was an investment in myself I was willing to make. My 16-80mm and 35mm lenses have always done me justice because I have always worked in portraits and travel photography and never needed anything else. But now, after joining the Lindblad and wanting to get more into wildlife photography, I knew I had to upgrade my equipment. So I bought the new FujiFilm XF 150-600mm f/5.6-8 R LM OIS WR lens. Since it just came out in July of this year, when I ordered, it was out of stock, and I was praying that I would have it before my next contract in January when I’d be heading back to Antarctica.
As I am still on my second contract, we are sailing from Alaska, US, to Vancouver, Canada, for the shipyard. The ship will officially be a year old next month, so it is our last chance to get any work done that is still under warranty. So we will be spending eight days in dry dock. So currently, we are without guests as our last voyage ended in Alaska. My coworkers are amazing and did surprise me with a birthday cake which I always appreciate because cake is always a good idea.
But to go with my one birthday gift, which surprisingly arrived today, I decided to give myself one birthday challenge. Since turning thirty-one, I have made a list of all the goals that I would like to accomplish, and still at the top of my list is to start a blog. I have always kept a journal and posted things on social media for my family and friends to see, but I feel it is time to do more. My family only gets bits and pieces of what I am doing, and I would like to change that so they can feel more involved and follow along where I travel. This year alone, I have already made six different trips! Yes, one was for my sister’s wedding but the others my family couldn’t travel with me. So to kick off thirty-one and accomplish a new goal, I will challenge myself to 365 days of writing. Thirty has been a dream; I can’t wait to see what thirty-one will bring.