Hello! I'm Steph. A northeast Wisconsin based, multi-passionate wife & mom that loves the outdoors, exploration, artistic expression, physical & mental wellness, cooking, and creating. My mind is still when my hands and feet are busy, and this is a place for me to bring it all together.
From a young age, adventure and creativity fueled me. Growing up dreams of being an artist, photographer, and world traveler constantly danced in my head (ok, and a dolphin trainer too!). After college I was well on my way, with my own photography business and freelance graphic design work, but societal expectations nudged me toward a different career path, one that led me into a corporate sales career for security and stability. Now, after 15 years in that world, I'm instead paving my own path, and embarking on a journey that has been on my heart all along.
What was the final tipping point for me? Well, let's just say life sure has had a way of presenting its challenges over the years that's led me here. I first experienced profound loss when my mother passed away about 2 months before giving birth to my oldest daughter in 2009. This was a pivotal moment in my life. It was the most incredible blessing of life, paired with immense pain and loss of another.
I surely didn’t take the time to grieve, and I poured everything I had into my photography business and newborn daughter. “Work”, no matter the kind, was always a distraction for me. If I stayed busy, there wasn’t time to feel hurt or pain. But listening to the nudge of society and what I “should” do, I decided to put my creative passions aside and instead embarked on a career path that promised a steady paycheck, benefits and a sense of stability. I’ve been working diligently since, climbing the corporate ladder and achieving success by external standards. But deep within, there has been an ever-growing void. A constant whisper of unfulfilled dreams and stifled creativity.
Life took another unexpected turn when the shadow of chronic Lyme disease began to take hold. It was a stark reminder—a whisper from the universe—that health is fleeting, not to be taken for granted. Amidst the struggles, it became a turning point, urging me to appreciate life's fragility and prioritize well-being like never before. In that journey, amidst uncertainties and battles, I found resilience blooming and a new-found understanding of the value of each and every moment and the importance of good health.
But, most recently, it was the tragic loss of my only, older brother to his battle with mental health that was the final tipping point for me. Losing him in the way we did, was the last drop in an already full cup of emotions and completely shattered me. It brought me into my own downward spiral of grief, regret, deep sadness, anger and overwhelm. Knowing that I wanted to make a difference in the mental health space, I transitioned my career to be a part of an organization in the mental health field, but no matter the "industry", my own mental health continued to falter with the pressures and demands of the corporate world still looming over me while I was focusing on my own healing.
Life is too precious to spend it feeling uninspired and disconnected from our true selves. Isn't it?
So, with trembling excitement, I finally took a leap and left the corporate world behind me (eek!). It was time to embark on a journey back to my soul.—A journey that will bring together my passions for creativity, expression, exploration, and the craving for a close, like-minded, in-person and virtual community. I hope by finally living out my truth I can inspire you to do the same and we can be on this creative, expressive adventure together. Your own sense of peace, purpose and connection is so damn important. You know what you need, sometimes you just need the nudge, a bit of courage, and support to help you take the leap. For those that have been that for me, you know who you are and I am forever grateful for you. I hope I can also be that same beacon of light for others who may be feeling the way that I was.
So what's in a name?
The name Camino Creative Arts & Adventure also holds significance, embodying my vision of transformation, inspired by the Camino de Santiago...a renowned pilgrimage I've dreamt of (ok, obsessed over) since my time living abroad in Spain in 2006. The name isn't just about a future pilgrimage; it's about my personal journey to rediscover joy amid challenges, much like the Camino itself. Camino Creative Arts & Adventure is a pilgrimage of the heart and soul...a voyage of healing, self-discovery, and reclaiming authenticity, together. It's the transformation of grief into purpose, joy, and fulfillment.
In a literal sense, the Spanish word “Camino” means the way, the walk, or the journey. While I envision the Camino de Santiago someday as an incredible journey, taking me through breathtaking landscapes and ancient towns, I also know it will be paired with physical and emotional challenges I will need to endure. Much like this journey, or Camino, back to finding myself, and my journey to joy once again.
Camino Creative Arts & Adventure, to me, has become a pilgrimage of the heart and soul, a journey of healing, self-discovery, and the reclamation of our authentic selves. The weight of grief and loss has lightened, and has been replaced by a renewed sense of purpose, joy, and fulfillment.
In regards to the Camino de Santiago, I promise I'll tackle that adventure someday (and I hope you will too!).
For now, I'll continue on this creative, adventerous, incredible Camino of life with you all until the time comes that I can trek on the actual pilgrimage.
I look forward to being on this journey to joy with you.