A few years ago, Aaron received an old Nikon film camera as a Christmas present from his grandmother. Since then it has been a travel necessity for us. Film has given us more thought behind each shot, as well as patience for developing the rolls. To our surprise, it has been much easier and more affordable to shoot with film overseas than in the U.S., where film has become quite hard to find and pricey to develop. I came across these amazing expired film shots by Tamara Skudies. These nostalgic shots were taken with Kodak Ektachrome 100 Plus film, capturing the essence of the Austrian landscape. WOW.
As we were above the clouds flying over Sri Lanka, I couldn’t help but wake up to the brightness flowing through the window. I was a bit delirious from the long transit, and admittedly hung over from celebrating Songkran Festival in Thailand just hours before we had to board our flight early that morning. Only now was it really sinking in that we were about to be in a whole new rabbit hole. This quote has become a daily mantra for me in moments of homesickness, or nostalgia. Because only with an open mind can we achieve an open heart. Being porous during moments can be a vulnerable feeling, often times scary, yet, it is these moments that will teach you how to fly.
“Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation on the cycle on birth, death and re-birth. Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.”
It’s hard to put into words how powerful this movie is. The entire thing is presented without dialogue, encouraging your own inner interpretations through an hour-and-a-half of breathtaking imagery combined with mesmerizing music. For me it was yet another reminder of just how little I know or understand about the world. I keep thinking about birth in the sense of location, and how it dictates the entirety of a person’s life. Their beliefs, religion, perception will depend entirely upon which hemisphere, continent, country, or tribe a person is born into. Of course they could change their location at any given time, but the origins will always be there. And for many people, what they’re handed at birth will be all they ever know. It’s a humbling thought to realize that ultimately we have no control.
This time last year I was working full-time for a cool little design shop in Austin. The environment was laid back, the work itself was fun, and I couldn’t have asked for a better boss or co-workers. I understood how fortunate I was compared to most people having a job that I absolutely didn’t hate, but still, I had an over-consuming feeling like there was something else I should be doing. I found myself waking up every morning looking forward to the weekend, and time after time I realized that the week had flown by…then a new month…and then a whole year had passed. I couldn’t believe how fast time was moving and how many days I spent wishing I were somewhere else.
The greatest perk of being a designer is being able to work with headphones on and listen to music throughout the day. When I needed a break from music I would listen to lectures from Alan Watts and others to get my brain stimulated with things other than design. I came across this short video montage that uses an audio snippet from one of Watts’ famous lectures and it really struck a chord. It made me ask those questions and reach deep within to understand the simple truth that I could do anything and go anywhere I wanted. I shouldn’t be living 5 days out of the week with this feeling like I was wasting my time chasing money. Although I enjoyed my job, I knew I was only in it for the money just like 99% of the people in this world that work. I knew that I still wanted to design, but the thought of being tied down to one place was root of my discontent. I wanted the freedom to pick up and go if I wanted to or to extend my stay longer if I loved the place. This video along with a few other influences led me to talking with Charmie into taking the big leap — stop chasing the dollar and start living as we truly wanted to. We may not have as much money now as we did when we both had full-time jobs, but we’re content and happy. Somehow small projects keep coming in here and there and they’re keeping us afloat. It makes me think of something Tina Roth Eisenberg said at her SXSW keynote speech, “When things keep falling into place, that’s the universe telling you to keep going.” We’re now somewhat living the way the majority of the world does. Living day to day not knowing where the next dollar is coming from. It’s such a thrilling experience and right now I wouldn’t want it any other way.