I have met many people of varied backgrounds, cultures, races and religions in my fortunate life of traveling on planet earth. Man or woman, “good” or “bad”, rich or poor, I have learned so much from so many. But some years ago I met two very wise men from the Amazon jungle – one from Colombia and one from Peru. They, more than anyone else, taught me these things, and not in any particular order of priority:
- Be grateful
- Love yourself for who you are
- Accept responsibility for your own actions; stop blaming others
- Give more; desire less
- Don’t take “it” personally
- Be grateful (did I say that already?)
These last several years I have spent a lot of time deepening my spiritual path. I did not go seeking it, necessarily. It more or less sought me. One of the greatest lessons to come out of this work has been the importance of following the heart rather than the head. The heart always knows best.
And so it was with my heart that this blog was started. It provides a glimpse of me – through my eyes, the lens of my cameras, and the words I share.
When you clicked on the About link were you expecting to read the type of biography that is written from a pedestal and extols one’s limitless talents? Some talent I may have, but none of it is limitless and certainly not worth extolling. But if you need to know more about me, allow me to offer this:
- Born with the smell of manure glued to the inside of my nostrils in a small farming community in southern Pennsylvania where the Amish still shop at the local grocery store.
- Played my older sister’s Beatles, Beach Boys and Rolling Stones records (behind my closed bedroom door) when she was out on dates with her boyfriend.
- Was involved in everything in high school from band to chorus to theater to student council to track to even escorting the homecoming queen.
- Graduated from a small liberal arts college in southern Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology. I thought I was going to be a theater major until I forgot my lines on stage one night during a performance of Moliere’s Tartuffe. I scared myself right out of that consideration.
- Entered the Peace Corps for two years. Didn’t have enough of living in a thatched hut with no electricity and a pit toilet, so I extended my service for another two years.
- Graduated from a small international school in southern Vermont with a Master’s degree in International Management. It has been my home in the United States since 1986.
- Started practicing yoga and have not stopped for over 30 years.
- Adopted the most beautiful little girl and the biggest gift of my life. She recently turned 24 and is currently serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the city of Philadelphia.
- Worked for a U.S.-based international not-for-profit company for 13 years while living in southern Vermont.
- Moved to Thailand and worked with Burmese refugees for two years.
- Moved back to Vermont and continued to work in international development assistance with a private sector company based out of Arlington, Virginia. Traveled throughout Southeast Asia, East Africa, the Middle East and the Caucasus.
- Became a certified Reiki Master.
- Worked with melon and pomegranate farmers in southern Afghanistan for a year assisting them with expanding their regional exports.
- Moved back to Vermont, hopped on my motorcycle and photographed and wrote my way around the United States for three months (you can see and read about it on this blog).
- In 2014 I worked as the head of a humanitarian response team in western Myanmar (formerly Burma). My most recent international work has been as a management advisor with an international peace center in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia in 2015/16.
- … and to this day I have a sweet home in the mountains of Vermont where I live when I am not trying my best to lend a helping hand somewhere on this earth.
Thanks for stopping by! It is my sincere hope you will enjoy the images, voices and words you will find on this site.
With a warm heart, Stephen