There are lots of little things that can easily be recognize as very "Haley" traits. The small habits, quirks, and tells that are very....me. These small things speak to what I like, how my mind works and what my personality is. Things like:
- I love thunderstorms.
- I do not like to share a side of fries.
- Blue ink pens are superior.
- and I'm really not the person to go to if you need directions.
But there are some things that make up who I am, in a major way. Pinpoints that really tell my story, boulders that make up my being, or could be my "Islands of Personality" if this were the movie Inside Out. These markers truly make up who I am and they are the larger parts of my story:
- My start in Fitness
- My photography hobby
- and my love for travel
Fitness is something that found me when I didn't really expect it to. I wasn't very much of a high school athlete (does winter track count?), I'm not a very sporty person, nor would I say that I'm a very physically talented individual. Yet, in high school I was a top student in gym class (this is so embarrassing), I had great energy, I enjoyed putting in good effort, and I kept up with the boys on mile run days. On top of fitness, I also had the same knack for Health and Biology class. I loved applying myself, science just makes sense to me (Econ, however, does not), and I genuinely loved learning about health, nutrition and the body.
So, when it came to choose a major for college, I just went with what came naturally to me, fitness, health & wellness. I graduated from Towson University with a B.S. Degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Health Science. I then spent the next five years turning a fitness degree into a career. I earned my personal training and group exercise certifications, I worked in fitness centers teaching classes, training clients and cleaning down fitness equipment. As the years went by I managed fitness departments, designed wellness programs, served in managerial roles and finally in 2020 I earned the role of Fitness Director and was managing an entire fitness center and fitness team, all on my own!
March of this year brought that all to a halt, however. COVID-19 resulted in the closing of the fitness center I was managing and soon after, I was laid off and quickly went from a Fitness Director to unemployed.
Fitness is a large part of my story, it's my education, my career and it's ultimately the cause of my photography business.
I had never planned to turn photography into something more than just a hobby. In fact, photography was only introduced to me as a natural pairing for travel. Growing up, my parents would take photos of day-to-day life throughout the year (Christmas morning and birthday parties), but mainly the camera was always brought out whenever we went on vacation. My first introduction to film was when I was a kid, my family would take a trip each year and I was always given a Kodak disposable camera to use to save the memories. Soon after, travel & photography came hand-in-hand for me and I always found myself snapping photos of landscapes and of my family.
I traveled a lot in high school, throughout the U.S. and over to Europe a couple times, my camera was always with me and I started to get better at the craft. Photography for me as always a part of the travel, it was to document my experiences and was always just for my pleasure. And yet, as I grew so did my skill for this art form and it soon became a very "Haley" thing to take pictures.
And, when you are the friend who is known for taking pictures... you start to be ASKED to take pictures.
Which is exactly what happened to me! After college, my friends started celebrating more and more milestones - proposals, engagements and weddings. All of which, I was so honored to be asked to photograph and soon later, I was encouraged to start running with...
Travel might be what I am most known for...I am usually elsewhere. I'm not sure what it is, but something within me needs change, needs to wander, needs to go discover. There was a time from 2017-2019 when I was taking a trip once a month and visiting Europe multiple times a year (Italy, I genuinely cannot stay away). I have some incredible experiences that I can share, from chasing the northern lights in the Artic circle to climbing castles in Austria, all of which are magical moments that I crave more and more of.
Travel is a side of me that is fearless and free. I love to be as light as my suitcase and as mobile as the next train station that I can find. I think of the people that I have met, the cultures that they have shared with me and the history that I have walked through, and it's my most prized "possession", the intangible. When I am traveling I push myself through fatigue, language barriers and unknown roads, I try to catch every sunrise and say yes to every dessert, making the most of what Earth and this life has to offer.
Some might think it's excessive, to spend my savings on exploring and to travel as much as I do. But I can't help it, exploring is what I love to do and I'm hooked on signing up for my next adventure...
it's just one of those things that makes me, me.