Be True to Yourself

“You gotta figure out who you are and what you are and what you’re here to do. Once you figure that out, all you can do is do it. To not be true to yourself is the worst of the bad choices.” – Jon Krakauer

Tuckerman's Ravine, Mount Washington, trail, trail sign, White Mountain National Forest, White Mountains

For weeks, I have been trying to write this blog post. It isn’t easy, but it has to be done, and since I can’t seem to figure out a more elegant approach to the subject, I think abrupt and unsweetened honesty will have to do. I quit NatureScapes.Net. There, it’s been said.

For more than four years, I have worked for NatureScapes.Net as editor, forum moderator, assistant, and more. I have traveled, taught workshops, ran exhibitor booths at events, communicated with the whos who of nature photographers via email and dinner dates, and then some. It has been a beautiful, glorious journey that has taken me halfway around the world, taught me a tremendous amount about the nature photography industry, introduced me to inspiring people and new friends, and earned me a little more name recognition in nature photography circles. For that, I will be forever grateful.

There were a lot of things I enjoyed about working for NSN. I loved the people I worked with – Greg, Tara, Jamie, and Erin were fantastic, supportive, communicative, and fun. I was given opportunities to travel, photograph, and network with other photographers. I had the freedom to work from home, or anywhere really, provided I had a reliable internet connection, which meant I could travel, make up my own hours, and live wherever I wanted.

Giving all of that up was not easy, but it was absolutely the right thing to do. I am a people person, an outdoors person, a save the world, tree hugging hippie-at-heart type of person. I love kids and young people, and I love teaching. Money has never been all that important to me, and I love working in non-profits and education. I feel more comfortable bringing low income inner city youth with suspect grammar into the woods than wealthy retired lawyers on safari. I also feel they need me more. Relationships and community are important to me, and my friends are my world. I love being outside and being active. My best memories are those where I was huddled under a tarp playing with grubs in a downpour or jumping on a trampoline, flinging spoonfuls of peach pie from a bag at friends. Without these things I wouldn’t be me, and I wouldn’t like me.

I don’t know what comes next, but whatever it is, it will enrich my life more than hours behind a computer screen. It will be fulfilling, and involve being with real people in real time making a real difference. It will make me happy, and I will like myself better because I’m pursuing my dreams and following my heart’s desire. And although I’m not sure down what path that may lead, I know I’ll be moving in the right direction.

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7 Responses to Be True to Yourself

  1. Kari,
    Good Luck in what ever or where ever your future leads you
    Myer

  2. Jeff Sinon says:

    I wish you good luck on whatever path you find yourself on.

  3. Tom Reichner says:

    Kari,
    That is an extremely well-written blog post! Thank you for taking the time to so articulately explain why you stepped down from NatureScapes. Now it all makes sense!
    PS: I never realized that NatureScapes paid people to work for them – until I read your post I thought that all those involved with NSN – yourself included – were there on a volunteer basis.

    • Kari says:

      Hey Tom, NSN has a few paid employees, but nearly all of them are non-photographers working “behind the scenes” and are not a regular presence on the forums. Most of the NSN affiliated moderators, contributors, product testers, etc are all volunteer. I worked for NSN as a part-time paid employee doing editorial work and coordinating content for the Articles section of the site, as well as helping out with some side projects.

      I definitely needed a break from NSN and the world of online, digitized interactions with others. I like people in person so much better, and I’m much much happier doing what I am doing now!

  4. Brooks Tyler says:

    The modern world does not give people enough time to “stand and stare” at “not much happening”, presenter Kate Humble has said, as she argues wildlife programmes are popular for their “ordinary things”.

  5. Bud Cline says:

    I am just now seeing this blog post after visiting NSN for the first time in about a year. I only saw one of your images so I guessed you had moved on. I am glad to hear that you are now doing more of what your passion is. I too left NSN (Moderator, Digital Creations) when I decided that what I really wanted to do was be a volunteer Ranger in the C&O Canal National Historical Park. I am starting my seventh season in the Park and could not be happier. I spend much less time at my computer or more in the Park interacting with visitors. I wish you all the best in your new ventures. Keep on shooting – I always enjoy seeing you work! Bud

    • Kari says:

      Thanks Bud! It’s amazing how much happier I am now. Day to day, my job is so much more fulfilling. I’m around people, staying active, and doing things I love to do all while making a difference. Photography will always be a part of me, but my life honestly feels so much richer and more free these days. :)

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