on expectations + exploration.

Pronghorn Antelope
Unless you count mosquitos or deer bones, that little tiny antelope was the honest-to-god only piece of wildlife we saw in the backwoods of Yellowstone. I thought I was going to be on a walking safari, and there I was. Five days. Thirty-two miles. One animal. 

When it comes to big events, I imagine every detail in advance. Disappointment is bound to come from having expectations like that. Because true adventures are unpredictable. Otherwise, they wouldn't really be adventures.

I had a lot of expectations about what graduate school would be like (cough Wonder Boys cough). And, it's been a challenge to adapt to the realities. I've been thinking a lot about one of my favorite quotes from buddhist monk Pema Chödrön:

"The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought. That's what we're going to discover again and again and again. Nothing is what we thought."

She's right, isn't she? In Montana, I learned the most from moments that were strange and wonder-filled. Moments that were unlike anything I could have anticipated.  The trick was to keep exploring and let this place surprise me. Only then could I surprise myself. 

(photos) on 120 mm film with Diana F+ 


  1. Pema has been getting me through some stuff, too! I'm dying to visit her abbey in Nova Scotia someday.

  2. Wonderful words to ponder over. I like this post a lot.

  3. So true. But sometimes it is so hard to not over think about what is going to happen when you go to this place or that place. But I do try! I really do.

  4. Such lovely thoughts. And I especially love that thought, "nothing is what we thought."


  5. It's so true. Whenever I go anywhere, I plan every detail in my head. Down to what I'll wear, what I'll say, how I'll act. And then I'll get disappointed when certain things don't happen. I've been trying to be better about that, especially when it comes to taking photos and just letting inspiration come to me rather than try to force a moment I envisioned.

    Lovely quote. You always find ones that fit perfectly.

  6. love it!
    i'm not a planner when it comes to my life. contrary to when i'm working. i want details in what i'm doing. but in life...i'm kind of... i wanna jump, then i'm going to jump. and where's the safety net? i'll grab it along the way. but sometimes, the uncertainty of life makes me worry too.

  7. I'm slowly learning to look forward to things without planning them, it makes things a lot more enjoyable when there isn't a ton of pressure to make something go a 'certain' way. Love that quote - thanks for sharing!


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