Well, here we are. The last day of 2018 and I’m still trying to understand where I went wrong. Not to say that 2018 was a bad year, but holy shit, I just got my umpteenth rejection from a film festival for the short film I shot in 2017, The Unlost. So, you know, I’m just closing out 2018 with the bang that I brought it in with. And that was a showing of parts of my film, The Unlost, at Sundance… so yeah, suck it! I was invited to share snippets of my film that showcased Idaho to help entice films and film producers to want to create film in our state of Idaho. I made some connections, exchanged business cards, and was able to add “I showed my film at Sundance!” to my list of most-exciting-things-that-ever-happened-to-Steph-ever. Some days, that is a very long list. Some days, it’s pretty much just Sundance. I kid. Life is what we make of it and my life has been wonderful; including and not including 2018. I’ve been through some amazing moments and some really stupidly hard shit, but I’m still kicking and adjusting my life to prepare myself for more, more, more. I’ll save you all from a recap of the last 38-years, and only focus on the last year, this amazingly frustrating year of 2018.
In January, my bestie Katie, and I traveled to Sundance to share our film, The Unlost to a group of random filmmakers from around the US (possibly the world). It was well accepted and the event was so.much.fun!!! I am so happy that the two of us made that trek together to experience film AT SUNDANCE!
In February, I traveled to Rome for work. I spent a week there shooting printer training sessions. Then, since this was my first business trip that I wasn’t also going to school at the same time, I took two extra days in Rome to explore!! I went to Vatican City with a coworker and had a most wonderful time learning about the history and understanding the Catholic faith, of which I was sort-of raised by my grandparents on my dad’s side. The following day, I took myself to the Colosseum and the Roman Forums. I spent the ENTIRE DAY exploring, experiencing, and feeling all the history. Truly, if you want to experience history, GO.TO.ROME. No words, or photos, can explain the energy - you have to experience it for yourself.
Within less than a week of returning from Rome, I found myself onstage for the first time since 2003. It was for a play-reading that was hosted by a local group called Surel’s Place. I got to act, on stage, for the first time in years! And that damn theatre bug struck so hard. I haven’t auditioned for anything since then due to time (maybe more on that later), but OMG I remembered my love for the theatre and how much it means to me to step out on that stage in front of an audience and do your thing. I was so happy that night.
In March, I went to Cambodia with the Wassmuth Center for their Pedals and Packs program. A group of us, about 17 total, delivered 200 bicycles and backpacks to school children so that they can continue their education. Most kids in Cambodia drop out of school after 5th-grade due to the distance they have to travel (sometimes over 15 miles) and what they have to travel through, still-active land mines. Giving them bicycles keeps them on the streets, instead of in the mine-fields, and enables them to get to school faster. So, I spent my 38th birthday giving kids the gift of education. I can never write enough to express what that trip did to my life. On our return-trip, we spent 12-hours in South Korea. Four of us adventurous travelers left the group and hit a South Korean market for the afternoon. We almost missed our train back to the hotel to catch our bus, which would have taken us to the airport to catch our flight back to Boise on time, but we made it, because that’s what we do. And we had such an amazing time. I hope to some day make it back to South Korea, but if I never do, this 12-hour stint was the perfect way to experience that world.
Two weeks after I returned from Cambodia, I found myself in Vegas for NAB (National Association of Broadcasters conference), in April. This was my fourth year, if I’m remembering correctly. I love attending NAB, but the juxtaposition between a 3rd world country and a bunch of rich filmmakers in Vegas laying down money for the newest piece of equipment was overwhelming. So, I got a tattoo. Because, what else do you do in Vegas when you’re still trying to recover from an amazing humanitarian trip to Cambodia?
In May, I started mentoring a young high-schooler from Emmett, Idaho and started seeing my personal trainer. Both of these incredible people have changed my life in many different ways. My mentee, Kaitlin, has reminded me what it’s like to be hopeful and ready to take on the world. My personal trainer, Mark, has given me the gift of love. Before him, I hated my body, I hated myself. I’ve lost 15 pounds of the 20 I gained while I was in school, since I’ve seen him, and he is the highlight of my week. After my Frodo and three cats, of course. Today, I can honestly say that I love my body.
June was “fairly” quiet, with several film showings of various non-profit videos I’ve created for both the Wassmuth Center and W.IN (Women Innovators). So, while it was a quiet travel month, it was filled with film and success!
In July, I went back to San Francisco, after moving away in 2003, to visit family and celebrate the life of my dear cousin (we all called him Uncle) Ron. I loved being back there - it was a good city to live in and a place that I miss dearly.
Throughout July and August, I had the utmost pleasure of working with Jayme from the Idaho Saint Bernard Rescue to create a #letyourrescueshinechallenge video. For an entire month I got to chase big dogs around with my camera. Who ever gets to be that lucky?! Dogs! Filmmaking! I was in a state of pure bliss.
In September, I flew to Portland for less than 24 hours to see my young cousin off to college and surprise her mom! It was an incredible trip and we had so much fun. Cousins, that’s what life is all about. I returned from that trip on a Sunday morning and within a few hours, I was hosting a BFUG (Boise Film Underground) film showing. We threw this event together in less than a month and I am so proud of the team that came together to make it happen. Without going into great detail - we saw a need for film and executed to great success. Boise film is where it’s at!
At the end of September, I flew to Palo Alto for two days to shoot an interview for my job, then flew from there to San Diego, to shoot video and photos of an event for work. It was such an awesome week of California dreaming and shooting and by Friday night I was back in Boise for a day before heading off to Atlanta, Georgia for work. I spent a week in that awesome city shooting video and even had the chance to meet up with an old friend over drinks at a local bar. Atlanta surprised me with a multitude of eventful nights.
Two weeks later, in mid-October, I found myself in Houston for a few days, again for work. Although when I first started this job back in January of 2015, I was told there would be minimal travel, I’ve had the blessed opportunity to travel around the states and even through Europe. I can’t wait to see what travel 2019 brings me and where I might end up next.
October’s business trip was not my last travel of the year, but only the beginning of my personal travel! In early November, I headed back to Seattle for my 20-year high school reunion. Oh boy, was that a trip. I saw people I hadn’t seen in 20-years, and people I’d seen within the last year. It was a trip, to say the least, of memories and lost opportunities. From Seattle, I took a plane to Hawaii for a family reunion that I, and a few other cousins, organized for the ohana. It was such a wonderful time filled with family, laughter, and song. I truly cherish that time spent and will do my best to carry on the Hawaiian love that was shared that week.
I returned to Boise from those two locations and thought the travel was over for the year. …until I got drunk one night and purchased a ticket to New York. This was not a place I ever thought I’d visit, nor was it ever really on my radar as a place I should visit. But holy shit.
My life is forever changed.
I love New York. I love everything about it. I fell in love with the city, the people, and the culture. And to be honest, these last few weeks of 2018 have been the hardest of this entire year. I’ve lost relationships this year, like seriously been told to walk away and never return. Those were hard weeks, months, and moments to deal with. I’m exiting 2018 still dealing with the disastrous effects of broken relationships. My heart has been ripped to shreds more this year, than any year previous, but those haven’t hurt as deeply as coming back to the Boise reality, while knowing that a life, a life that I WANT, is hovering out there in New York city.
I leave 2018 with a lot of hope for my future and extreme gratitude for the amazing experiences that I’ve been blessed to be a part of this past year. I have lost so many friends and family over the year due to various bullshit, but I have gained so many more amazing relationships. I’ve loved hard. I’ve lived hard. I made 2018 my year of growth and the start of transition. Who knows where the hell I’ll be at this time next year, but I do know that travel abounds, love abounds, and adventure awaits.