Not all those who wander are lost.

-J.R.R. Tolkien

I have written about the why’s of my creative pursuits in photography over the years, but I am not sure I have specifically attempted to answer this question. I thought I should spend a few moments here and attempt just that.

Some may not have read other attempts I have made to answer this, plus I should not be so naive to think this can be answered once and that’s that. This should be given thought on a regular basis. Not just because motivations change but it should be a basis for keeping true to oneself. Never forget the reasons you love something. Same can be said towards others. Never forget why you love someone.

Moments can be fleeting, time can drag as syrup down the side of a winters Maple. Both seem to be at opposite ends of the same time spectrum. A well known fact to anyone who has ever attempted to express themselves in a creative manner.

The why of this at times seems very simple, it fills a void in my life. What void exactly I can not say with certainty. But a void all the same, this I am certain of. We all have voids of one form or another. I am in no way an expert in such an area but I know this to be one of the truths of life nonetheless. One of the great challenges of life, if not “the” greatest challenge is to live a life fulfilled. Fulfilled with happiness, joy, well being, contentment, to name just a few of what seems meaningful to me personally. How does one, or in this case, how do I go about that?

I am fortunate in one regard. I have found a way to instill these meaningful qualities into my everyday life. That is not to say my life is any different than others, but obviously each of our lives are acutely unique to each of us. There is a key to a life fulfilled I believe, a small magic potion if you will. This potion can be, but does not have to be complicated and is best if it is as simple as possible but approached with the utmost seriousness.

To describe it in one word seems overly simplistic, even naive possibly, but I will try nonetheless. Belief. Belief in something that is greater than ourselves. An understanding that I am not the center of the universe. Not the focus of attention. Not the one that has all of, or possibly any of the answers. A simple yet strong understanding that I am what I believe.

I may be simply trying to say, find what you love and live your life according to that witch you love. Make it part of you every day, a priority, one of the reasons you get up in the morning, and the reason you smile throughout the day. Last and certainly no least, make it the reason you stay curious about life.

You must now be thinking that photography does these things for me. That is not the case. Photography is not the reason I feel these things. It is the reason I need that allows me to go out into the world in search of these things. I could roam around aimlessly and possibly stubble accidentally on these feelings of contentment. But that would be like driving with no destination. Which in itself is somewhat ironic for me to say since many may think that is exactly what I do. But simply is not the case. I may travel to places with no set destination but that does not mean I am without a purpose. It can summed up well with the quote previously mentioned from J.R.R. Tolkien: “Not all those who wander are lost”. A line from the poem All that is gold does not glitter.

I have no doubt that I could write on this subject ten times and word it ten different ways. I think that is the point when I say, make it the reason you stay curious about life. The key, the potion, I mention is not a one size fits all. To make it even more desirable yet difficult to achieve, the key, the potion does not stay the same. Life changes, our motivations change and thus the purposes behind our contentment must change.

No need for me to keep rambling on with this subject. The need I have now is to wander. Wander with excitement, knowing I am not lost.


Thankful Pursuits | ©Brad Mangas

Winters colorful sunset from the shore of Lake Perry. | ©Brad Mangas


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