Adventure is defined in many ways. Some people say that being outside of one’s comfort zone is an adventure. Dictionary.com defines it as: “An unusually risky undertaking with an uncertain outcome.” One could also argue that life itself is an adventure.
So, it is with great excitement that I am starting a new phase in my life; a new life journey; a new adventure! Unlike my past travel adventures, this will involve less physical risk, yet I will certainly be outside of my comfort zone. For the past five years I have been in a transitional period―basically in limbo―as I muddled through the challenges of being a caregiver. Hmmm…I guess by some definitions, that could also be called an adventure.
During 20 years of my life, I was fortunate enough to realize many of my travel dreams by working in two industries that made it possible for me to travel extensively: private yachting and private aviation. I worked as a crew member on private yachts, off and on, for about 10 years. My unconventional career made it possible for me to work for a while, then leave my job and go on extensive independent journeys. Then I moved onto private jets, where I worked as a flight attendant or “corporate inflight manager” (as I prefer to call it) which was both exciting and very challenging on many levels. It gave me the opportunity to literally travel around the world and combined my love for travel, flying, and food & wine (private flight attendants organize the catering). It also gave me the opportunity to photograph and write about my travels―something I have been enthusiastically doing now for over 20 years, albeit only as an interest.
Five years ago, my husband, Ashton, and I were faced with a reality check. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia, and it quickly became apparent that, as an only child, I needed to step up to the plate. We underwent a major lifestyle change and—to make a long story short—moved from South Florida to the Philadelphia suburbs. My mom lived with us for 4 years, until recently, when we realized that she needed more care than we could provide at home. So, although we managed a couple of trips during the past few years, I had to put away the suitcase for a while, and life changed dramatically. I certainly don’t regret our decision, and am grateful that we were able to provide my mother comfort and joy during this latter chapter in her life.
I’m also grateful that this difficult time coincided with the rise of social media and that I was able to maintain a connection with the outside world via the internet. In addition I was fortunate to connect with other travel lovers—photographers and writers―via Facebook and Twitter. As anyone who has been a caregiver knows, it’s a draining job and you end up placing your own life on hold. I think this is especially difficult for those of us who have a natural independent and adventurous streak. I often felt guilty for feeling frustrated in this role, which was quite unnatural for me.
It has been 5 years since I had to make the decision to leave my jet-setting job to fulfill my filial obligations. I now find myself in the unusual but welcome position of having the opportunity to try to achieve my lifetime photography and writing goals. So, I guess I am yet in another transitional period (life has many).
As begin this new phase of my life, I am launching a new photography business and website. Consequently, I had to come up with a name. I felt that ‘Xplore724’, which I have used for various purposes, no longer applied to me―and hasn’t in quite a while―as it implies that one is constantly traveling (although my birthday remains 7/24)! So, my new brand is “Bela Geo Images”, and my new photography website is: http://www.belageoimages.photoshelter.com. Please note, have also changed my Twitter handle from @Xplore724 to @BelaGeoImages. I hope this doesn’t cause too much confusion.
This will certainly be an “unusually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.” But, as my personal history has proven, I have taken on a lot of risks and adventures!