Cross-Country Move, 6x9 photobook

Cross Country Move Photo Book: Introduction

This is the first post in a series about the photo book I made to document our cross-country move from Southern California to Indiana. You can view all of the posts in this series here.

I grew up in Southern California. My dad was in the Navy. Aside from the 5 years I spent in Seattle after I married, I lived in the San Diego area all my life. My whole existence has been on the West Coast and, like most Pacific Ocean snobs, I had long viewed the Midwest as some sort of curious wasteland. A place where people once lived, but moved on. I imagined it as one giant used car lot. A flat landscape of corn and wheat occasionally broken up by an abandoned factory, where things we once made were now being made somewhere else and the people who made them were desolate and lost.



Yes, there was Chicago (parts of it amazing—other parts war-torn, segregated, suppressed, sad). And maybe there was Minneapolis. But that's the Upper Midwest. That's different. That's not Cleveland. That's not Kansas City. St. Louis. That's not...Indianapolis, where I now live. (Okay, I live close. In a small city that sits on the northern border of The Big City. But work with me...).

I've never lived anywhere that feels this much like Home.

I don't mean home in the sense of where I come from. San Diego is that home. Adobe rooftops, marine layer, carne asada burritos, flip flops, jogging, traffic, beach cruisers, skateboards, veneers, implants, avenidas, mesas, and calles. That is home. But San Diego has never felt like a place I belonged to. It felt like a place I came from. It's as familiar as the mole on the back of my left hand, but feels no more a part of me than a glove covering it.

No, I mean the sense of Home in that I have arrived at a place where it feels like I've always belonged. The chattiness of the people. The old and worn things. The history. The green, everywhere. (In all my life I have never known there was so much green in the Midwest. From the fastidiously manicured lawns to the canopy of trees enveloping the streets, green is everywhere here. San Diego is blue and brown. Green is hard to find.) This place, from the moment I stepped off the plane to visit last fall, has felt like a perfect fit.

And it didn't let me down when we sold our home and moved across the country to live here. Nine months in, our circumstances have changed more than we could have imagined, but that hasn't stopped this place from wrapping its arms around me and pulling me in tighter.

Mushrooms in Indiana Somewhere in Kansas |


We came here because I had a job. And that job was moving. The opportunity came. I explored it. 

I said yes. We prepped. And prepped. And staged and prepped. We sold our house in a day. We packed.

Papaya Way House 2014 | Somewhere in Kansas |

We visited Indiana for the second time last February. Five inches of snow fell that first night. We found a home to rent. We got ready. We packed. We drove. We moved. We saw so much. I documented it.

Nine weeks after my arrival, the circumstances changed. I no longer had a job. I can't talk about it. Priorities shifted. I was expendable. Papers signed. Desk packed in boxes. Security badge turned in.

I went Home.

Two weeks late, I had a doctor's appointment to investigate some changes I was noticing in my body. Eventually, I'd learn that I need surgery.

I have had surgery before. That is why I need surgery, again. Complications. The body, like life, is complicated.

But, the story of my body is still writing itself. I don't want to dive into it in this post. Instead, I want to share with you the ways I documented and created a photo book about our cross-country move from California to Indiana.

Here's a few images from the finished book. Up next, I'll walk you through the initial design and talk about why most of my photo books will be 6x9 trade books from Blurb for the foreseeable future.