I'm like a bird, I'll only fly away. I don't know where my home is..I don't know where Jerome is..

Tuscon, AZ

Sometimes I need to remind myself that I actually have to breath. Does that ever happen to you? I also have to remind myself that when I blink and reopen my eyes ten weeks may have passed. I never really believed all that rubbish about time going faster as you get older..but wait...I'm going to be another year older? I'm not actually 18 anymore? I should have listened.

I feel like there is a direct age that people stay in their minds. Mine is now 21. It used to be 18, but I guess now that I can go to a bar and they won't cuff me when I show my ID has to mean something. There was this one time when I was graduating high school that I really screwed up with my age. I entered into a photography competition and I was pretty excited about it. There was supposed to be this grand prize and a reception and all that jazz. There were also 3 different categories. The day before the reception, I realized that I may have written the wrong age...which means that I would be in the wrong category...which means that I was disqualified. Yes...sometimes in a whir of excitement I forget how old I am and what year it is and other non-important details. That was not a good night.

Anyway..all this talk of time passing..flying really...is in explanation of what I've been doing for the past year. I've been off the grid so to say. Sort of. Actually I haven't really been at all because most of what I've been doing over the summer you can find here: http://templerome.wordpress.com/category/gabrielle-smarr/. This summer I saw the world. Literally. I lived in Rome, hung out with some Scots, drank butter beer, and basked in the glory of the west coast of America. It was incredible.

This little journey opened my eyes to the world. I found out what it really felt like to be out of my comfort zone and learned to create a home out of it. I learned the best way to sit in a van for 16 hours so that your tailbone doesn't hurt and your head doesn't hit off the window. I've also seen Buckbeak in real life and got to eat a chocolate frog. This all started in Italy with Paulo Sherif. Taking graphic design classes would have been a lot more painful if I hadn't been able to work in a gorgeous studio every day. I watched my boyfriend drink countless cokes every day and I created a book that will now remind me of all of the wine and design nights with some of the people that I'll hold close to me forever. There really is nothing like a wine and design night with a little bit of 90s music jams. I saw southern Italy..a little bit of northern Italy..some of that stuff in between, and then I moved onto Scotland.

Scotland is incredible. One day I'll return with my walking stick in hand and scale the hills with all of the fluffy wild sheep. I have this funny (and totally serious) idea in my head that I'm going to take a trip one day to all of the places that I love in the Harry Potter movies. Yes, I am that dork. A lot of it was filmed in the highlands of Scotland. I luckily got to see the little nubs of these and immediately fell in love. There is a sense of accomplishment when you start climbing a hill in a bad mood and get to the top feeling like you're on the top of the world. Which reminds me..who is the best person to travel with? I've talked to a few people about this and I can't seem to find an answer. There were points this summer when I thought I  was going to tear Russell (my boyfriend) on half. Traveling with my parents was pretty similar. Looking back though, I wouldn't have rather traveled with anyone else. I guess it's a given that tension is high in unknown lands. I'm surprised that Frodo and Sam made it as far as they did.

Anyway...Scotland is amazing..rainy...but completely worth it. From there we hopped over to London on a megabus..yes..they have these and they're the cheapest way to travel. Totally uncomfortable and all that good stuff..but cheap. We got to London along with my cold and hung out for two days...one of which we visited Harry Potter Studio. I was in heaven. It was completely incredible and I wish that I could live there. I saw the Great Hall and Dumbledores office. I tried butter beer and chocolate frogs. I even shed a few tears of happiness.

When London was over, we returned to Rome and I met my parents and said goodbye to Russy. We stayed in Rome for a few days and I saw Tuscany. Then we flew to Greece and I got to chill by a gorgeous pool with a neat little dog. Dogs in Greece are pretty amazing..Rome not so much. Italian dogs really don't care that you're anywhere near them, they turn their noses up at you. Greek dogs...they're pretty awesome. They're into the puppy love. So we checked out Santorini, climbed some volcanoes, ate some tomatoes, swam in hot springs and I watched the sun set over the ocean on the cliffs of Oia listening to the National. Success in my eyes.

Then I was ready to come on home to the good old U S of A and start another adventure. My first time photographing a band touring. I really truly hope it is not my last, because it was probably my favorite thing that I did all summer.

Let me just say the west coast is incredible and I want to spend the rest of my life there exploring.

But I'll touch more on that part of summer some other time. What I experienced this summer completely changed my thoughts of home, something that is a key link in my photography work. Now I'm ready to jump back in and finish out my time at Tyler with style. Actually..I'm pretty lacking in style, but I'll settle for a bang.

If you want to check out my images and full blog posts from this summer go to http://templerome.wordpress.com/category/gabrielle-smarr/