It’s been a few weeks since I stood in the middle of the airport in Houston, Texas and waited to board my plane to Ecuador. Bodies passed in a blur. Feet scurried toward their destinations. Luggages dragged behind grudgingly. Despite the pace of the environment I braved the ocean of people, propped my camera on my tripod, stood still and looked straight into the lens. I still remember the discomfort that ran chills through my body, the stares that burned hot on my face, or the thoughts that made my stomach clench tight. I rode through those excruciating seconds of my life because I desperately felt I needed to capture something important. I needed something to remind me just exactly why I boarded that plane, why I chose to live away from my family for eight months, why I decided to hold off a year of college, and why I risked my own comfort for failure, misery, hardship, and everything else that comes with this journey.
The upcoming year will never be easy. There will always be lessons to learn, fears to conquer, or roads to discover. And when the reasons become too dark to see and the tunnel seem endless, I’ll look at this picture and remember that discomfort never last more than a moment. The wave of discomfort washes away, the thoughts waste away, and the stares wear away. In the end, what’s left is enlightenment. As I stood still as people rushed in all different directions, I realized how oblivious we are to the opportunities and experiences that escape past us. My reminder for the next months is to slow down, confront the conflict inside, and come to know life intimately.