I don't have photos of Alabama right now, so here's Portugal instead.

The photos below are from Portugal, but I'm in the US right now. Actually, I've been here for two weeks as of today. I told myself I'd take more photos on my second trip, that I'd come back with something amazing, but that hasn't happened. For lack of a better descriptor... well, life is happening instead. I've been overwhelmed with other things and so the inspiration just hasn't struck. Something about this trip feels... well, different. Sort of final. It's obviously not final, but for the first time in my life, I don't know when I'll be coming home next (as of now, I'm not planning on being in Alabama for Christmas). Then again, at the age of 22 and 363 days, I feel like I have no less than 4 homes all over the world. I'm not taking as many photos because I get the feeling that I should also let myself learn to live in the moment sometimes.

So, in lieu of photos of Alabama, here's some photos of Portugal.

Connection/loneliness

I've mentioned this here before, but as of this year, I've spent a lot of time thinking the ways in which loneliness can manifest when I travel by myself. Considering that a large portion of my solo travel is spent observing the people around me and the ways that they relate to others, it comes out in my photos. Yes, this is a cliche, but it's still true: sometimes spending time with others can be lonelier than actually being alone. Just as solitude is not equal to loneliness, companionship doesn't always equal fulfillment. Learning how to be alone and learning how to make meaningful connections with others are two sides of a very crucial coin, especially in today's world of social media. Being able to establish genuine communication and connection with others can be difficult.

I was in Portugal over the weekend (more photos to come), and although I was alone, I certainly wasn't lonely. That being said, I did a lot of thinking on the subject (maybe, as I've written before, it comes with the territory of traveling by oneself). Being able to identify when I genuinely need my space vs the company of others has become important to me as I get older. Everyone has their ideal balance when it comes to companionship and solitude, and I'm trying to be as mindful and intentional as possible in order to find my own. So, with that in mind, here are some of my Portuguese observations on loneliness and the strange, subtle forms it takes in both our day-to-day lives and our relationships with others.

Film scans- summer 2017 (so far)

Here are some disjointed dispatches from Florence, where it is currently 34* C and I have felt as though I've just stepped out of a pool for about a week straight:

-Before sitting down to write this, I mopped my kitchen and bathroom. In the time it took me to mop my (very tiny) bathroom, the kitchen floor dried completely. That's at least one benefit of the scorching weather (along with quick-drying clothes).

-Thus far, my chosen method of dealing with the heat has been with gelato and Aperol spritzes. This has also coincided with my own attempt to make the gym a habit again, so I don't feel too terrible about it.

-Somehow people are still wearing jeans and button down shirts in this weather. As a result, I've started to wonder how many Italians forego wearing clothes altogether when they're at home during this heat (air conditioning is not nearly as common here as it is in the US). One of my friends mentioned that her neighbors do this, and I can't say that I blame them.

-Florence really does come to life this time of year. I'm almost a year into living here yet my appreciation for this city continues to grow.

-In the month of June alone, I've seen three different people from my university in Alabama (two of whom are pictured below). Seeing old friends in a new context feels strange, but it's also fun getting to connect over mutual experiences in a completely new environment. I also think I've established a rule that if you stay in my apartment, I'll be a very accommodating host... as long as you agree to let me photograph you. Not a terrible trade-off, right?

-The past two months have been a sort of strange transitional period for me and I'm a little all over the place, both physically and mentally. This isn't a bad thing, though; I've been doing a lot of traveling and taking photos of whatever I want when I feel like it rather than focusing on a project. Shooting like that is liberating, but I'm also ready to come up with some sort of cohesive... something. We'll see what the next few months bring.

Like the above photos, this post is a bit of a jumble, and I don't have anything particularly noteworthy to report. Instead of an insightful observation or major life update, I have a mess of random film scans to share with you all. It's not groundbreaking, but I hope you enjoy them anyways. Maybe next time I'll have something more exciting to report.