What is Wandering Well?


There is a stirring, a rustling in my soul; a predisposed propensity for curiosity and wonder. I’m not entirely sure where it comes from, but it’s long been there.

I grew up in a small town in Southwest Missouri, and by the time I moved away for a job out of state in 2002, I had only been on an airplane a couple of times. Upon arriving in Nashville, where I currently live, my work began to take me on a fair amount of domestic travel. In mid-2006, in preparation for some international work travel, I got my first passport and left the country for the first time later that year. 2 years later, that passport was completely full, and my life was completely changed. 

Though I continued to have a fair amount of in-country travels over the years that followed, it was 10 years and a lot of life later before I would leave the country again. In March of 2016, an unexpected job loss inspired a last-minute, 5-week solo adventure throughout Scandinavia. With a fresh new passport in hand, I set off on a soul-searching trek through the nordic wonderland that left me changed in many ways. That experience was truly the catalyst that brings us to today, and the site you are viewing, right here, right now.

The valley to Seljavallalaug in Iceland.

To date, I have visited 26 countries on 5 continents. Even now, looking at those numbers seems so minuscule when I consider all that they represent: the people I’ve met, the culture I’ve experienced, the beauty I’ve witnessed, the friends I’ve made, the stories I’ve heard, the city streets I’ve walked and the stars I’ve gazed up at from all across the planet. Every moment has left its mark on me, and I am not the same person I was before it. 

One of my favorite quotes is from French novelist Gustave Flaubert, who wrote:

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” 

How profoundly true. It has been my experience that the journey to understanding my place in the world is often the journey of discovering the world in which I’ve been placed. I am most alive when I am out somewhere in the world, in a place I’ve never been, seeing things I’ve never seen, and becoming the person I have yet to be. It is in these moments when I feel incredibly small and can gladly and humbly fade into the background of the mystery and the wonder that is surrounding me. I am deeply grateful for all these experiences and how they continue to shape how I see the world and my place in it. 

So then, Wandering Well. 

To “wander well” is to be grateful, humble and curious. It is gratitude for what is, humility to wonder what else may be, and curiosity to seek it out. Wandering Well is a mindful exploration of the world, both the world inside us and the world around us.  

Wandering Well is a mindful exploration of the world, both the world inside us and the world around us.

On the surface, Wandering Well is one thing. But if you look deeper, it is about many things. Yes, much of what I’ll share here is in the context of travel, but ultimately, travel is a metaphor for how I see the world around me and my place in it.

These 2 little words and this concept have deeply shaped me over the last few years and this site is one of the results of that journey. I took each of the photos you see here because they represent some aspect of how I see the world. Each of them tells a story, of what I saw, how I felt, and what I heard when that scene was looking back at me on the other side of the lens. And if you look close enough, perhaps you can see, feel and hear it, too.

I am excited to begin sharing my photography, experiences, and stories here. I hope that while you’re here, you come across photos that tell stories that resonate with you, and that you might want in the spaces of your own world.

I’m glad you’re here.  Let’s wander well together.

Gloria Crosby
Gloria Crosby

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