Finding Your Passion

Lost Boys, Photography & Video, Spiritual Travel — By on March 10, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Growing up near New York’s Finger Lakes region, I spent the summers of my childhood building tree forts in the woods behind my house, riding my bike down hilly country roads on imaginary expeditions, and nagging my mother whenever I was bored.

One summer during our tween years, my mom arranged for my sister, Sara, and I to pick berries at a farm about a mile away from our house. She said it’d be good for us to learn how to earn money. (And, I suspect, good for her to get a little peace and quiet).

So we’d spend hours in the open fields with the sun warming our backs-alternating between popping the juicy berries in our mouths and placing them in our baskets. At the end of the day, we scored brown skin, scratches on our hands resembling a tic-tac-toe board, and a few dollars for our labors. Unfortunately for us, our hard-earned money was easily spent: We immediately pedaled our bikes to a gas station and blew it all on candy. Clearly, what we really needed was a lesson in money management.

For me, that berry-picking summer was only the beginning of a long line of random jobs ranging from cleaning toilets in college dorms, riding the county “Lead Bus” to test city kids for lead poisoning, acting as a makeup artist at a small boutique, and being the sole pizza-delivery girl on my college campus.

Ah, jobs: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, most of us will have to spend the majority of our days working to live. Luckily, I’ve found a career in writing that makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning.

I couldn’t help but think about all the crazy jobs I’ve done after getting an email from a boy named Andrew Huth (well, now a man) that I met that summer picking berries. He was a shy, sweet Korean kid who was adopted when he was eight by a family who lived near my small town of Marcellus. Today Andrew is an amazing photographer who accidentally stumbled upon the Lost Girls while doing a Google search for Peru. Once on the blog, he recognized me as one of his berry-picking partners.

Andrew’s story about taking a risk to leave a safe job to do what he loves was so inspirational, I wanted to share it with y’all (with his permission, of course). And while no job is enjoyable 100 percent of the time (that’s why they call it work!), life is too short to do anything less than spend your days doing something you’re passionate about-whether your work is crunching numbers or raising a child or baking delicious food. So here’s Andrew’s story, along his striking photos of himself, his wife and his travels:

“I wanted to write you because I came across your blog about your travels. There are so many things you wrote about regarding the reasons why you chose to leave your jobs for a year (the top 20 reasons were hilarious) that resonated with me. I didn’t travel the world for a year, but the issues about passion and doing the things that give us life were topics that I could really understand.

A few months before my wife and I got married she was diagnosed with cancer (stage 4 leukemia) and, as a result, we decided to cancel our public wedding and got married in her hospital room with just a few people. It turned out be one of the best decisions I have ever made. For the next 4 years or so our lives were filled with chemo, radiation, marrow transplants and dealing with the results of all those things afterwards.

During that time I made a choice to leave my photography and take a steadier job working at a school district near the Catskill region (photography was pretty slow in the small town that I lived). Well, it’s been a little over 6 years now since my wife got sick and she is doing fantastic and we decided to move to Philadelphia (where she works as a scientist) so that I could follow my passion of working in visual communications.

So I left my job at the school and, filled with uncertainty in my heart, I have picked up my camera once again and, as they say, “found my calling” (as cheesy as that sounds). I’ve done many different kinds of photography, but my greatest passion is to work in the non-profit sector using my photography to communicate the needs, diversity, and richness of our communities around the world. In that vein, I have interfaced with an organization called Compassion International and they are going to be sending me to Korea to do a documentary for them this year. This was one of the reasons why what you and your friends did was encouraging to me and inspirational. It takes guts and an adventurous spirit to leave one’s security (jobs, family, friends, etc.) for the chance to experience life in a larger context than the comforts of your backyard (even though that was Manhattan).

People often end up living within limits that feel safe to them. So in the vein of being a bit adventurous and making a connection I decided to write to you to tell you that I was delighted to have randomly crossed your path (even if it was virtually). Sounds to me like you have some projects coming up that you feel passionate about so I want to encourage you to keep taking the kinds of jobs that give you life. What better way is there to live your life?”

To learn more about Andrew and to view his extraordinary photo collections, visit:

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    1 Comment

  • Teacher Girl says:

    Hey Lost Girls!
    I loved this post and found Andrew’s story inspirational… just as he was inspired by yours. Although the internet has some pretty dark alleyways, it also enables people to make deep connections with readers on the other side of the world, and to change the lives of others. Blog on, girls! I am loving your adventures.