American Summer: Life, Liberty & Courage to Pioneer

Posted on July 4, 2013


Stephanie Carnes_RootsHaving grown up in the mountains of California and Idaho as a young girl, I am amazed at how my upbringing continues to direct my current path.

Beyond my family built home many miles from any sign of pavement, I used to explore my surroundings on foot and by horseback. It wasn’t uncommon to spend hours wandering down abandoned logging roads that led me to old mining territories, often with my mother as guide. And it was at these destinations where we stopped to explore together.

We found evidence of broken down cabins, pieces of blue-green glass, and on one especially lucky excursion, we even discovered a hand-carved obsidian arrowhead. But the remains were the lesser of the rewards. In the process of unearthing history, we were also unearthing greater treasures: life, liberty, and the courage to pioneer our own paths.

Those early rural roots not only gave me a healthy curiosity and ability to take on new challenges, they instilled in me a set of values that will continue to lead me forward. Respect and help others. Guard the land. Steward resources. Create beauty and value. Consume responsibly.

One quote that has stuck with me from All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy is this, “The country lasts forever, and people ain’t but for a while.” It reminds me to care for my surroundings while they’re under my watch, cast aside worry, and embrace my loved ones each moment we’re together.

This summer I’ve had the pleasure of returning to my old stomping ground, a gold mine of places and people who love me and I them.

Stephanie Carnes_PlacervilleFor more pics of my journey from Idaho to Oregon to Arizona and then on to NYC this fall, find me on Instagram @stephaniecarnes.

Happy Independence Day!