4 months, 3 weeks, 5 days
spent away from home in 2017
122 hours 12 minutes 17 seconds
spent wheels up in the sky over 25 flights
in a car on road trips
14 states, 6 countries
Growing up my dream was not to travel the world full time showcasing the stories and beauty of people and cities in my own backyard or even thousands of miles away. That thought was a universe away from me. At 12 I picked up a camera for the first time. As a 20 year old kid, I landed my “dream job” and learned that maybe the life I had planned for myself was too insecure, too small, for what I was created for.
I grew up a fearful, insecure and shy kid who was glued to his mom’s leg. If you would have told me I would talk to people for a living I would have ran away freaked out. It seems my life has been God slowly coaxing me out of my shell, one small but risky step at a time. I look back now and I am a different person, but somehow becoming who I was always meant to be.
Comparison is a subtle way to compromise your dream. Even now I still find myself dreaming with limitations or comparing myself to others some days.
Comparison held me back from believing that I was worthy of the life I was meant to live. And my own insecurities, false responsibilities and self-sacrificing mindset held me back from fully understanding and stepping into what I am capable of if I put my spirit and brain to it.
I’d always heard that traveling would help you find yourself. It’s true, I’m a testament to it and I'm growing in gratitude for these opportunities. But to remove the veiled perfection ... it’s not as glamorous as people make it out to be. You see the amazing locations and photos and smiles, but what you don’t see is the challenge to pay the bills on time or the endless hours in front of a computer sending cold emails and late nights to secure work. Not to mention facing fears head on that you’re not good enough, talented enough or you don’t have enough followers, likes ... whatever may have you to do this.
I've put my foot down against these fears, doubts and worries so I can move forward confidently into the new thing God is doing in the earth, that we are all apart of by the way. You are enough!
I've come to grips with my own flaws and weakness in the past 2 months and become a stronger, more humble and confident person because of them. With an insane year of travel behind me, I look back and realize how much I’ve changed in a short spurt of time.
You may have been wondering where I've been for the past month or so. Yearly, I like to disconnect from my work to reevaluate and reestablish why, what and how I do what I'm called to do. I feel more clear, healthy and more connected to my purpose and even my craft.
My goal moving into 2018 is to live with greater joy, to believe for more, to create with greater excellence and to love more generously.
Here’s a few photos and highlights from last year.
Look forward to blogs about each.
- Fears of not being good fade when you face them head on.
- I would rather you disagree with me than agree to save my feelings.
- A deeper understanding of identity and calling comes from taking risks.
- You can’t live life alone for long.
- If you don’t seek solitude it will find you.
- Loving is about giving more thank you take.
- It’s necessary to value your work and say no to clients that don’t.
- Life is meant to be lived 1 step at a time. Sometimes those steps are HUGE leaps other times they are a small shuffle.
- You can live off a much smaller wardrobe than you think.
- Quality in friendship is always better than quantity.
- Gratitude is an offensive weapon to anxiety.
- Travel is great, but it’s hard to beat local community.
- Extend grace not just to others, but to yourself as well.
- Failure doesn’t exist, it is just learning.
- A window seat is a great place to dream … and to disconnect.
- Keep your eyes on the ball and not the score, so you can extend grace instead of expecting perfection.
- FaceTime is a gift from God.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have friends across the world, to travel and do what I love, and to do it all with some of my best friends. But I’m also equally grateful for the uncomfortable and painful things I’ve faced. I’m better because of those experiences.
I’m also grateful for all the people who helped, hosted, drove and supported me in 2017. Indulge me as I get emotional.
Thank you Len and Ingrid Zoeteman for hosting me in Calgary every visit! You two are personal heroes of mine. Not to mention your incredible family. And thanks Mama Z for being my second mom and those great chats over tea!
Thank you Bobbie and Emily McDaniel for always hosting me in OKC. You guys are my family!
Thanks Molly Brown for always inspiring me to want to move to Tennessee every time I visit and for always showing me and my friends the hidden beauty of Tennessee’s waterfalls and food!
Thanks Steven and Ally Wallace for hosting me in Houston and becoming close friends in the process!
Paul and Liz Brandt for making me feel like family in your home with the biggest Ukrainian feast ever, for driving me home and for teaching me the value of the journey! I love you guys!
Planetshakers, The Giving Keys and Daystar, thank you for helping my dream of visiting Australia a reality!
Raj, Josh, Dan, Dumisani for all those amazing Israel eats and Jewish experiences. Honored to be apart of your family!
My Norwegian family, Bestafar and Taunte Marion, for welcoming us into your home in America and Norway! I love you both immensely. Also thanks for thise hilarious FaceTime calls!
Papaw and Thelma for helping us walk to end Alzheimers!
Della, Karen, Leah, Elinete, Kelley for being my second moms or more like cool aunts!
Kamilla Tellefsen for our addiction to Kvikk Lunsj and for not leaving us behind at the Fjord!
Jillian Miller and the Avil Hotel team for the amazing birthday and dance party for Scott in Wyoming!
Penn and Lady Penn for having the comfiest couch in all of San Diego! Love you guys!
Parker and Jessi Green for showing me true discipleship and the meaning of peace.
Phil and Esther Leclerc for always pushing me into dreaming bigger.
Thank you Joseph Kiefer for always being arm in arm with me in this crazy journey of life.
Conan Head for being the best flight buddy and putting up with me on the longest flight I’ve ever been on! 17 hours to Australia!
Scott and Jessica Bakken for bringing us all together.
Chantelle Carlson and The Blue Bronna Team for showing me the true meaning of hard work, team and humility during Socality Camp. Lives were changed because of you!
Socality Campers, my new friends, for letting me show off my crazy, totally sober dance moves. And Dave Jongerdon for forgiving me for dancing on his van.
Grace Matthew and the Matthew Family for hosting me in Sydney and for showing me the power of prayer and hospitality.
Luke Walker, Kurt Bingham for being my Australian Family and for showing us the beauty of your country!
Rachel and Josh Brown for believing in me and Socality and giving us the opportunity of a lifetime!
Jamie Out for actually making me funny.
Tyler Smith for hosting me in LA and for always falling asleep during our nightly prayer!
Dirk, Caleb J., Samuel L., Vince M., Andrew S., Andrew B., JM, Greg S., Blake C., Stephen H., Andrew W., Tyler G., Jeremy B., Wes D., Jonathan O., Jared L., Landon B., Graham B., for all of the incredible advice, wisdom, lunches, coffees, FaceTimes, prayers and encouragements. I’m a better man because of y’all. I couldn't ask for better men to look up to.
Caleb and Emily Alba for showing me my missed calling as a dancer and for being a listening ear.
Jared Whitney, Jon Sweet, Tanner Wendell, Dez Duron for the craziest road trip of my life.
Tyler Barnes and Caleb Voth for hosting me in Tulsa and being total Cowsters.
Jess Fleming for taking a chance on a young photographer like me!
Josh Tolle for welcoming me to the top of Sarrail Ridge with a warm smile and more food! and everyone else who became instant family after that crazy hike. And those two girls who gave me some of their water on the trail!
Davey, Jonathan, Matt, Donna, Lauren for being an incredible team who serve and sacrifice selflessly everyday that most people will never know or see.
Shea Tellefsen, my sister, for putting up with the craziest roommate you’ve ever had!
Mom and Dad for supporting, encouraging and giving counsel on all my crazy ideas.
YHWH God for in your loving kindness showing me a greater revelation of your grace daily. This is all for you.
And thank YOU for reading, supporting, liking, sharing and recommending my work.
New perspective may have come over the course of 4 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days, but the real change hit in 1 moment. One word from God did what years and years of traveling could never accomplish.
Let's do this!
Here’s to 2018.
Paul Tellefsen is a storylistener, photographer, videographer, writer and speaker. His mission is to explore and connect our world by finding spaces of solitude in otherwise busy destinations. Through the exploration of the less-exposed places, Paul's ultimate vision is to encourage a more digitally disconnected yet personally connected society.