Story time! In July of 2011, I was living in Hermosa Beach, California. My parents flew out to visit me for a few days, and I used their visit as a good excuse to go see a part of California that I hadn't seen before. We headed up to Big Bear Lake, which is where many people from the Los Angeles area go skiing and snowboarding, but I had heard it was beautiful at any time of year, and I figured it was a pretty drive to get there. I was right. We had a good day, saw a lot of things, and near the end of the day, we were all tired. We checked in to the Motel 6 I had booked for us, and my parents wanted to lay down to take a nap. That sounded pretty good at that point! I almost took a nap as well, but I made a last minute decision to take a walk before it got dark out, with camera and tripod in tow. I found a boardwalk along the Stanfield Marsh, and checked out the beautiful sunset. I had lined up my camera to take a photo of just the marsh and the mountains, and suddenly I decided to change my angle to include the boardwalk itself. The ensuing photo came out great, and I was very excited about it. I posted it on Facebook and my website and received a good reaction. Time went by and one day I heard from a woman named Sierra who worked at the Big Bear Lake water department. She had found the photo online, and she asked me if she could use it on their website. I said yes, and they put it up. It still can be seen to this day at http://www.bbldwp.com/ She also signed up for my email list, and bought some prints of other photos from me as well. We chatted a bit online, and she seemed like an interesting person to know.
A couple of years later, a woman named Kim, who works at a real estate office in Big Bear Lake contacted me, and she wanted a large canvas print for one of their offices. While I usually have prints shipped from my printing company to me first so that I can approve and sign them, based on their budget, that became cost prohibitive, so I had the print shipped directly to their office.
Today I returned to Big Bear Lake for the first time since that day in 2011. First, I tracked down Kim to meet her in person, and headed to the office where the print was hanging and snapped this photo of it. I also had dropped Sierra a line, and we met up for lunch. We had a really interesting conversation, ranging from my past travels, to my future travels, to her life, and to the drought that Southern California is experiencing. I had talked about how I often stay with various people at their houses on my trip, and she even invited me to stay with her and her husband some day when I'm passing through the area again.
I really enjoyed the afternoon, even though I should have planned to have more time there. I look forward to spending more time in that area some day, whether it be a few weeks, a few months, or a few years from now.
It's funny how that one photo led to me having new friends in this random little town in California. And it never would have happened if I had decided to take that nap! I'm not sure what the moral of this story is, but it never ceases to amaze me how such seemingly minor decisions can change my life.