Anyone who has ever followed the path of their heart, not the normal path, knows it's not easy, and there are days you even hate it, for how much you love it.
I was my daughter's age when I decided I wanted to be a writer.
Me, in the Colorado mountains.
As any writers and artists know, there were many days and years when I felt depressed, trapped and angry -- that I didn't make an easier choice. I remember one day, crying because I could not pay the bills, thinking that being a writer was the most selfish thing I could do as a mother, because it brought me so much joy but at the expense of my daughter's comfort.
This morning I woke up to this happy face and felt like I was looking into my own 5-year-old eyes -- wide with excitement about the chance to travel and see all kinds of different things, to see behind the scenes, explore inside and out.
My daughter, age 5.
It took years, but now I realize that it's worth it -- it's always worth it to stay true to your own dreams, even if they are hard at times. And there is a valuable lesson in teaching your children to do what they love.
It might be one of the most important things to teach them, actually. That's the key to fulfillment. Our passion is our purpose. That's why it chases us.
I share these pictures and stories, these adventures in travel writing, as a celebration of my youthful dreams that are now my daughter's reality, and as a reminder that if you keep driving long enough on the weird and bumpy road, you will always find joy and adventure. Then share it with the ones you love.
Bettie Anne at Mesa Verde, age 3 and age 5.