Hey What's Up Hello

I’m McKinley. I’m an adventurer. Photographer. Life long learner. Budgeter. Creator. Self proclaimed comedian. Dreamer. Over thinker.

This is a travel diary.

This is a love letter.  

This is me. 

So... Why haven't I started a blog yet?

So... Why haven't I started a blog yet?

So, why haven’t I started a blog yet? I ask and get asked this question all the time. I’ve travelled all over the world, I have so many stories to tell, so much advice to give, and thousands of pictures to share. So why haven’t I started a blog yet? The easy and seemingly obvious answer is that I’m lazy. I’ve tried writing blurbs and blog entries millions of times, and I’ve even written some stuff that I like, but the minute I try to set a writing schedule for myself, the whole process starts to feel like work. The somewhat less obvious reason for not starting a blog is that I’m a perfectionist, and not the kind that works really hard on something until it’s perfect. I’m the kind of perfectionist who wants to be the best at something the first time I try it. This obsession with being the best dates back to 1995 when I was learning how to tie my shoes. I couldn’t do it the first time, so I stopped trying. Plus, it was the 20th century, they had invented velcro and I just didn’t think shoe laces would be around much longer. From that day forth, I’ve been what can best be described as a lazy perfectionist. When I have ideas for stories or drawings or businesses, I see the big picture, the end product, the dream. I have a hard time accepting that in order for anything to become the best version of itself, it has to go through many changes, it has to grow. Nothing is perfect upon creation, I know this, and yet, when it comes to the blog, I didn’t want to start because I knew it wouldn’t be perfect. It would be gritty, and ugly, and no one would read it, and it wouldn’t get me free accommodation at luxurious hotels overnight. For years I stunted my own growth because I was so focused on other peoples success. Those blurbs and blog posts, and stories and experiences, all just sat in my computer collecting digital dust, waiting to be used while I spent my time scrolling through Instagram and reading other peoples blogs, trying to figure out how they did it and how I could break into the scene.

I wanted a differentiator. What would make my blog different? Why would someone read my blog? I thought if I could answer those questions, I would finally be ready to dust off those stories and buy a subscription to Squarespace. But then I realized the real reason I never got around to starting the blog wasn’t because I was lazy or a perfectionist, or some twisted combination of the two, it was because I was afraid. Any form of self-expression is incredibly personal and when we put ourselves out there, publish our thoughts and feelings, we’re opening ourselves up for ridicule. I was terrified of people judging me: my writing, my pictures, the fact that I had a blog at all. I was scared people would see my flaws and point them out. I was afraid that I would put a lot of heart and hard work into something that wouldn’t succeed. I was afraid of what people would think of me, the real me.

In a lot of ways, this fear is at the very core of everything we do. It’s why we wear the clothes we wear, eat where we eat, work where we work, and happily pay $10 for an organic, locally sourced, non GMO, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, fresh squeezed celery juice… because everyone else is doing it. There’s safety in numbers, and as long as you’re hanging in with the rest and the best of them, you’re not failing. We’re all trying to be better than average, move up in the world, keep up with the Joneses and the Kardashians. Our friends’ successes sometimes feel like our failures, and when they stumble, it almost feels like we’ve been bumped up a bit. We know where we stand by knowing where everyone else falls on the scale. But do you know what the problem is with this very popular form of measurement? It uses other people as increments. And people aren't simple or stable enough to be measured on a fixed scale. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others in order to make sure we are where we should be. We are so obsessed with being the best out of the group that we don’t even know how to be the best version of ourselves. 

I’m incredibly guilty of this. I have always measured my value by how well I stack up to my peers. Am I as smart as they are? Lets compare GPAs and find out… Am I as pretty as they are? Maybe if I cut bread out entirely I’ll lose those last five pounds… Am I as successful as they are? My pay checks aren’t as big, so no… I realized recently that I’m not entirely sure how many things I’ve actually done that are just for me, simply because they make me happy. If I weren’t from the US, would I have even gone to college? If I weren’t from San Francisco, would I worry so much about my career? If I weren’t in my relationship, would I be traveling? What do I want? What matters to me? It might seem trivial to some, but I’ve been having a hard time differentiating between decisions I’ve made for myself, and decisions I’ve made to be who society wants me to be. I started to feel completely lost and confused, not entirely sure how to move forward in my life. And then I was granted the incredible opportunity of being stripped of everything I own, removed from the comforts of every day life, and thrown into the abyss that is the Australian Outback. With little more than books, a journal, and a couple of friends to entertain and distract me, I started to get reacquainted with myself. I started asking, “What do I want to do with my time? What brings me happiness? Where do I find the most fulfilment?”

It turns out that I love to write, and that I love the things I write. I love writing passages in my mind, memorizing and transferring them to paper when I get home. I love the way my voice sounds on the page. I love my run on sentences and poor grammar. I love being introspective. I love feeling like I’ve finally figured out another one of life’s secrets, and I want to share it. I love the idea that my words might resonate with others. Most of all, I love that I don’t give a fuck what you think. As Natasha Bedingfield famously sang, these words are my own, and while I hope you enjoy them, find meaning in them, like and share them, the fact that they are my own is finally enough for me.

I also love traveling and taking pictures and giving unsolicited advice I probably have no business giving… So look out world, because There She Goes Again, the blog, is here. It's gritty and ugly and far from the best version of it’s future self, but it's authentic and creative and personal and mine. It's not a lifestyle, fitness, fashion, or travel blog. It will just be me, my experiences, memories, and lessons learned along the way. It will be my adventure diary and my love letter to the world. At the very best, it will be an expression of who I am, where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and an inspiration to others. At the very least, my mom will read it.

Wherever you go, no matter the weather, bring your own sunshine

Wherever you go, no matter the weather, bring your own sunshine