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A geographer, a photographer, a writer, reader, learner. A student, a traveler, explorer, chronic napper, doer, builder, procrastinator, adventurer; these are all ways to describe myself but none of which define me. Definitions are dangerous and fickle, they lead to static; that which is static becomes stagnant, and stagnant is what I hate to be. As Buckminster Fuller puts it, “I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb—an evolutionary process, an integral function of the universe.” I like that—to think of yourself not as a person, place, or thing but as an action, a process, something in a constant state of flux, not held by the restricting confines of a definition. Although that is not always me, that is who I always aspire to be—comfort and complacency can conspire to delay my progress only temporarily.

I study geography at the University of Washington. I am 22. I live in Seattle. I have a fascination with place, and that is what grounds me. For my entire adult life up to this point I could never decide on what I found most interesting, what to study in school, what to make a career out of. I was waiting for that moment of epiphany, waiting to find my calling, when it found me instead, cliché as it is. What appeals to me about geography is, I suppose, that I didn’t have to decide on just one thing, photography or design, climatology or geology, sociology or anthropology, all of which I considered at some point. Instead of finding something to study I found a method of study for all the disciplines that I found interesting. That’s something I really love about geography; in most fields you only move one way and that’s closer, more specialized, more focused. In geography, or at least how I understand geography, the objective is opposite, move back, see more, get the big picture, understand how all disciplines interact in complex, fascinating, and unexpected ways. In that way, the world becomes like an impressionist painting. Up close, with your nose in the painting so to speak, the broad strokes and bold colors are uncertain, ambiguous, but in their own way have a lingering feeling of purpose. It is only when you step back that the genius of the artist reveals itself, and if you fail to do so a masterpiece can be reduced to a finger-painting because of your inability to take a step back. My purpose with this blog, and with myself in general, is to step backwards, lest I find my nose up against the canvas, missing out on all the beauty in this world.


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