I’ve talked some about the changes this year has brought for me, I feel like I’ve been given a new lease on my identity. It has been a wonderful and transformative experience, I get to examine all the things about myself that have played out negatively in my past and start working to change them. As you might imagine, trying to identify your negative personality traits is a daunting task in itself, much less actively starting to try to change them and myself in the process. I have decided to believe that I can be the person that I want to be if I am willing to work hard enough and believe in myself.

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I really need to get out of my comfort zone and away from people to be able to get in the right head space for this, fortunately I’m on the West Coast right now and there are endless beauties to explore. I’ve spent the last few weeks exploring the Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forests of Oregon before heading back down to my little sanctuary of Northern California.

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It’s funny how my mind works, I really want to get away from it all and see everything that the forest and ocean has to offer but there is always a part of me that wants to stay connected to my community. My hope is that this blog will be that connection. I spend all my days thinking about photography, how much I love it and how it is one of my greatest goals to live in that life and become better at it.

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I had thought that I kind of knew where I wanted to go with photography, but I’m learning every day that I really have no idea yet. I’ve known that I loved to travel (to the tune of almost sixty thousand miles behind the wheel this year) and have a long list of places that I go over and over again. There are so many amazing destinations in the American West and I know that there is a lifetime of things that I have yet to see.

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For me photography is the great escape from the reality of daily life. I can make an image that takes me out of the space that I’m in and sometimes takes me somewhere I couldn’t even travel in my life. Yesterday, I just wasn’t feeling great, there was an unidentified weight that I just couldn’t shake, so I took a couple hours out of my day to find a space that didn’t look or feel anything like the place that I had been in and dove in. Just giving myself the opportunity to look at things and think about things a little differently really lifted the weight from my shoulders. The beautiful Northern California Coast certainly didn’t hurt either.

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I turned thirty-nine last week. I didn’t expect any big meltdown or anything, honestly I’m just happy to have made it this far. I finally talked my dear friend Jeff into heading into the woods with me for a super fun camping weekend at one of my favorite secret spots within a couple hours of Portland up in the Mt. Hood NF. It’s actually pretty rare that I get to physically share my love of the outdoors with my friends, though I truly love sharing my thoughts and experiences with you all on this big wild internet.

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Lately I’ve been becoming more and more interested in photographing people. It’s not something I ever thought I would like, mostly because I never liked having my photo taken. I love the candid moments in our lives, I feel like it’s the only time we can really be honest with the camera.

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My sister, her boyfriend Jason and Jeff’s girlfriend Katy showed up later that weekend to hang out and help me celebrate my slow decay. We had a grand time sitting around the fire and just enjoying each other’s company and the change of the seasons.

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One of my favorite past times has always been trying to familiarize myself with my surroundings. I feel like this started when I was young and scared and just had an internal urge to be able to escape danger if I needed to. The idea of wanting to know where I am and what is around me has evolved over the years and now I just want to explore every nook and cranny of the world. I love looking at a map and knowing that I have been somewhere or actually being somewhere and knowing how to navigate myself on a map.

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I feel like we are only touching the surface when we drive to our little pre-determined outdoor destinations, no matter how grand they may end up being. I want to get away from the highway, road, and trail. I want to see the things that most of us never get to see.

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Please remember to reach out! I would love to hear from you. If there’s a spot you think I should check out, you’d like to spend an afternoon shooting photos or just want to chat, post a comment here or send me a message on Facebook. Oh, and please follow me on Twitter and Instagram @roadlyfe to stay in the loop! You can also email me at adam@roadlyfe.com.

All words and images © Adam Smith 2015.

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Author Adam Smith

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