Many years ago, when I was still practicing law, my company transferred me to London to live. It was the first time I was living in a country away from my parents, the first time I’d traveled away from my home to make a new life. Because I was moving away from everyone I knew, I decided to start sending out email missives every few months or so — I called them “London Logs” — describing what my new life was like, living as a single woman in London, and traveling all over the world with my job to places like China and Dubai and Nigeria. I honestly had no idea if people who received the emails were just automatically trashing them; however, after about a year of sending them out, I coincidentally received a couple of emails from people I didn’t know.
“Hi,” they said (more or less), “you don’t know me, but I’m a friend of your friend X. She always forwards me your London Logs and I love reading them. Could you put me on your recipient list?”
It was, I suppose, my first real experience writing: even though I was a lawyer and wrote contracts on a daily basis, I had never considered myself a creative writer by any stretch. I was analytical, after all. Math and logic were my things — not writing. But I discovered I loved it.
The same was true for photography: I bought my first camera a few years earlier, and after a quick tutorial from a friend who was a professional photographer, it had become my constant companion. I took it everywhere with me on my business travels and tried to make a point on every trip to set aside time to explore with my camera. My office at work was known to have tons of black and white photographs all over the walls. Photography was a passion, and something I was never going to give up.
A couple of years later, in 2004, I discovered my very first blog. I was intrigued: here was a medium where I could publish writing and photography and express myself. Back then, there was no such thing as “monetization,” or “ad networks”–the purpose of a blog was simply as a tool of self-expression. I quickly began my blog–Chookooloonks–where I’ve written and shared my images since.
Four years ago, I gave up practicing law and began writing and shooting full-time–and I’m convinced this is what I’m meant to do. It hasn’t been easy, and it has required me to constantly define how I do what I do (I mean, I’m a photographer who doesn’t do weddings, and a blogger who won’t snark about celebrities), and to be honest, I’m not sure how to categorize my work. But I do know that even if I went back to practicing law, I’d continue to write and photograph. It’s what I’m meant to do, and I’d continue to do it even if I had to squeeze it between drafting contracts, for no pay.
Today, I came across the video below and it resonated with me deeply, so I thought I’d share. Please watch, and then ask yourself: what would you do if money didn’t matter?