Lessons Learned in 2017

by Fire Girl Jess on December 29, 2017

I stood at the window today, watching the snow fall onto the bare trees lining the Gallatin River, and pondered the past year. The events of 2017 have been anything but expected — it’s been a bit of a topsy-turvy year; I’ve emerged with a few more scars and a plethora of lessons learned (or confirmed).

Thanks to everyone who made these lessons stick. Several years ago, I never would have dreamed I’d be looking back at a jungle SUP expedition in the Amazon or a curious, earthquake- and typhoon-laden exploratory fishing trip to Hokkaido. More and more I’m reminded that the adventures are balanced by the people you undertake them with, and at the end of the day it’s not the solo trips that stand out starkly in my memory, but the long, cold nights walking Martha’s Vineyard beaches with friends, bumpy jungle roads undertaken in the back of an open-bed fright truck with laughing friends and pre-dawn morning hunts with my brother.

Life’s about learning, and 2017 brought plenty of lessons (some harder than others):

  • Always pack the passport. Trips lead to more trips.

  • Pack enough bug spray – and treat your clothes with all the chemicals. It’s better than flesh-eating tropical diseases.
  • Coffee makes the world go ‘round.
  • Tokyo airport seafood Yaki Udon is legit.
  • Japan’s regional airline Air Do serves legit butter potato soup as a drink option. I’ll now be forever disappointed in Delta’s drink cart.

  • Language barriers really aren’t barriers. Smile and make it work.
  • Writing will always seem like some kind of odd magic. Filling blank paper with words is immensely satisfying.
  • Fishing is universal. Regardless of location, regardless of language.
  • Stand-up paddleboards make legit fishing photography platforms — the ability to freely move boat-to-boat is a game-changer.

  • Never leave the camera at home. I literally dream about witnessing something incredible and reaching for my camera, only to realize it’s not on my shoulder (had this same dream last night, actually).
  • Look at opportunities outside your self-defined boundaries. A new industry, a new client. Push far outside your comfort zone.
  • Value your good friends. They’re hard to find.

  • Get everything in writing. At least twice.
  • Don’t waste time with people who don’t value your work. Life’s too short for that shit.
  • The hard decisions become surprisingly easy when you just make ‘em.
  • Write goals down. In five years you’ll be doing stuff you’re only dreaming of today.
  • Put the hours in. Prioritize wisely… there are only so many hours in the day, and at some point you have to choose what’s really important.

  • Always eat the local food. Even if it’s unrecognizable.
  • Be selective in burning bridges. Sometimes things loop back in the strangest — and best — ways.
  • Always travel with a water filter… there’s some nasty stuff out there.

  • Keep a notebook and a pen handy at all times. Ideas strike at weird moments.
  • Sleep helps.
  • Don’t be an ass… nobody wins.

Thanks to everyone who made this year exciting — from awesome new clients to steadfast old ones, to folks who simply stop by at a trade show to people who take the time to email a note. None of this could happen without the roster of awesome clients, anglers, and editors who are patient enough to put up with “the girl with the camera.” You all make it worthwhile.

Here’s to 2018!

Tags: Jess McGlothlin Media

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Flint_Cpn_nau December 31, 2017 at 11:00

Honest post. It’s refreshing. Not many people in this world see what they want and put the work in. Keep it up.


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