A year ago I left my full-time job as a newspaper photographer.  I didn’t know where I was heading, but I knew I needed to figure out where I wanted to go personally and professionally.  I had spent the past seven years running from assignment to assignment.  I needed to stop and ask myself how this work was contributing to my life.  I took classes, I traveled, I developed new professional relationships as a freelance photographer that allowed me the time to shoot and ultimately do all these things on my own terms.  Back in July, I attended a street food photography workshop in Mexico City with photographer Penny De Los Santos.  I needed to feel inspired again.  We made pictures throughout the city’s streets and markets, tasted delicious food, drank mezcal the way true Mexicans do, and shared life stories and goals.  Penny gave us honest words of encouragement and advice in moments when she sensed us feeling mentally and physically exhausted.  Immersing myself in a city with its 20 million people was overwhelming and intimidating, as each of us went off to make pictures.  I navigated my way through the city and its language barrier and I was quickly reminded of why I photograph—to see the beauty in the world and try to make connections with others.  I look back fondly on this past year of new beginnings and I am thankful for all that I have learned, all the people who I met and worked with, and those who have trusted me with my camera.  I look forward to navigating my way through this coming year with an open heart and mind, continuing to remind myself why I photograph.