5:52 - 'I left my heart in...'

The LensProToGo.com 52 week challenge keeps marching forward. For February's first topic, the scope was expanded a bit. 

This week we are going to get to know about your favorite place. The place you’d want to go back to the most…where you left your heart. This photo can be a previously taken photo as I know, for me, the place is hundreds of miles away and there is a .09% chanced I’d get there to shoot this week. This week we are more interested in the description of why that place means so much to you.

Ha! Little do they know that I've made major life changes (including leaving my job of 11 years) in order to cut back on the travel. Because my favorite place is my home, and while I've always made a point to enjoy whatever I can out of my trips, I really, really would generally prefer to be sitting in my worn out jeans on my own couch. 

Even so, I took on the spirit of the challenge, and looked back through some of my favorite trip photos. Which brought me to another problem. That of being a crap photographer with a cheap camera. Some of the best moments/trips we've ever taken were lost to shitty film, not having a camera on me at the moment, or just being too lazy to get things developed (back when people still did that). 

Still. A couple of shots/trips stood out. I thought about using this one, from a trip in Scotland we took to celebrate our 10th anniversary. 

But then I stumbled across this one from the same trip, which I liked even more - the whole trip was on horseback, riding from pub to castle to bed & breakfast across the Scottish Highlands for a week (with more than a little bit of whiskey and haggis thrown in). 

This picture seemed to capture the week.

That really was a great trip, and a place I know that we'd go back to gladly. (and did several times, in fact, during the years we lived in the UK, though without the horses). 

Still, it's not quite right. There were trips to Italy, Ireland, Egypt, India, Mexico, and others, as well as plenty across the US. At last count, I've hit 42 of the 50 states. And while they were all their own kind of fun, I wasn't seeing a lot of photos that felt quite like I had left a piece of me there, and wished I could jump through the film to get it back.

So I got out the box of old photos from the read-only part of my house and flipped through a few. When I saw the right one, I knew it immediately. If there's any place I left my heart, it's right here. (Note: I'm the little one in the center). 

That's my grandparents' house in Blue Ridge, GA, circa 1980. It wasn't fancy, or faraway, or any kind of exotic (unless you consider pork skins and moonshine 'exotic'). And I'm sure everyone has those memories. But mine stand out. They glow. They form the core of who I still am today. They provide a model and a challenge to create that same sense of warmth and welcome for my family today. 

That's where my heart is. And where I hope it will always be, in some way.