December is a month of parties, holidays, family, friends and lot of eating and drinking.
I also like to take time to reflect on my year, see where I have come from and what I have achieved, along with looking forward. Planning on what I'm going to do next year, what I'm going to accomplish and experience.
It's been a massive year for me personally and professionally. When I look back at my calendar and see everything I have done - it really does show I like to 'do', and 'rest' is something I put on the 'do later' list.
My fave memories of 2017...
One month in Tasmania
I've always dreamt of travelling around Australia in a van. This trip was a taster. And let me tell you, it's a great way of life. One month in Tasmania is not long enough, but I got to see a lot - for fun and work. I had about six commissioned shoots while there, which was a perfect amount when travelling and acting 'tourist'.
A bucket list item of mine was to go for a ride in a helicopter. So when I was asked if I'd like to photograph an article about a winery tour via helicopter, of course, I said yes. I felt very much the VIP arriving at each cellar door by private helicopter while tourists clicked away at us with their cameras. The views over the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu area were impressive too - I especially loved cruising along the coast spotting dolphins.
Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail hike
The negatives? I did it in winter, froze and got wet. The positives? Wow, an amazing walk. One of the best I have done. The landscape changes enough to keep me entertained, and there is lots of clifftop walking with amazing views of the ocean to keep me in a trance of zen.
It's always been a dream of mine to be a Tourism Photographer. I can now own that title comfortably. I've worked with many tourism operators this past year and loved how I can help their business grow. One of my dream weeks consisted of being flown out to two locations for shoots on different days. Being paid to travel. I love to go behind the scenes, and these two jobs were very much that.
Presenting a photography workshop for tourism operators
SATIC asked me to give a workshop with MadPants Media on photography and videography for tourism operators. I had a ball explaining, and showing, our attendees how to get better pics with any camera. I love to help, and the satisfaction of seeing something 'click' for people is immense.
Catching unbroken waves
I've been surfing for a few years, but this year I tried to get out nearly every week. It's made me a (slightly) better surfer, and now I can get out the back and catch the unbroken waves. I've been dumped, but that is becoming less frequent as I learn what and when to catch waves.
Learning bachata and continuing my salsa
Another activity to feed my soul. And something that I've wanted to do for many years, since experiencing dance in Brazil in 1998. And of course, I was always the Dirty Dancing tragic. I describe dance as my moving meditation. But I'm yet to let myself be totally free when dancing - I'll make that a goal for 2018.
A way of helping regional tourism, discovering new places and creating. I've travelled to the Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Flinders Ranges and Clare Valley for these tours. Local businesses can take advantage of no travel fees, a range of packages to suit budgets and free social media pics. I've loved exploring our beautiful country and helping businesses along the way.
La Bomba latin dance project
Last year I did a solo exhibition called Salty Girls - telling the story of women in the SurferGirls group. This year I wanted to continue with another big interest in my life, and tell its story. I decided to focus on dance. The idea of telling the story of La Bomba through her students came to me - and I didn't turn back. It's the biggest personal project I've ever done. The first shoot was on 1st September. So far I've worked more than 60 hours and photographed 28 people. This is my last week and I have four more people planned to photograph. Then the retouching and exhibition prep begins.
So, always believing that I need to 'one up', here it is...
I hope in 2018...
to make mistakes. This means I'm learning, trying new things, making new things, pushing myself and changing my world. It's growth; it's life.
My family and friends are healthy, succeeding and living their purpose too.
I know in 2018...
I am going to succeed. In everything I do. Movement and progress is the success.
I'm going to live life my way. At the end of the day if I'm not making myself happy, then I'm not doing it.
Cuba is waiting for me! Another bucket list item. And I am grateful to be doing it with my dance school.
I will continue to show the world off to the world - inspiring people to get out, explore and learn. Learn about life, respect, culture and people.