Hi there. I’m Cindy Giovagnoli.
I am a photographer and writer and soaker-inner of life. Wife to a tremendous man. Mom to a fluffy dog.
I am a paradox who obstinately resists the concept of mutual exclusivity. I’m a social introvert. A homebody who craves travel. I have one foot rooted in my garden and the other on the gas pedal, restless to see the world and then figure out a way to share it. I am a type-A achiever who doesn’t buy into “should” or “supposed to” or someone else’s definition of success. I think that it is more than possible to have a conversation about mortality that is punctuated by peals of hysterical laughter.
I learn lessons the hard way and sometimes have to learn them more than once. I’d rather pick the wrong road than be hit by a bus in the intersection of indecision. Over the years, it’s come to seem that all roads eventually lead forward anyway, so long as they are traveled with an open heart and a willingness to say “YES!” when opportunity sidles up and offers to open a door.
I have guided rafts down rivers and inner-city teens through deserts and I am bowled over again and again by the healing and expansive power of feeling small in the great and wild wilderness. By how standing on the edge of a canyon or in the shadow of a mountain can teach me about what it is to be connected, to be a part of something endless and inconceivable. How the simple and sustainable cycles and rhythms of nature offer lessons in patience and balance, life and death.
I am a survivor. Of cancer, of a random act of violence, of a truly broken heart, of my own bad choices. To witness the resiliency of the indomitable human spirit is a sacred and miraculous thing to behold. I am consistently staggered by the courage I see in people and their ability to reinvent themselves over and over and over again as they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and jump back into life with as much vigor and commitment as ever.
I am curious. Inherently and insatiably curious. Why? How? Will you teach me? In a world so filled with culture and beauty and art and ideas, I routinely lament having a single lifetime to take it all in. 80 years, or 100 years, or 300 years, it still seems woefully inadequate to the task. Everything is interesting. Fascinating, really. Your visit to great aunt Gertrude? Tell me about her life, your relationship with her. Let’s talk about relationships in general, the incredible interactions and responses and triggers we all experience when it comes to family. The science of emotions. The psychology of connections. The history of a bygone era. You were stuck in traffic? Have we chatted about city planning? Sustainability? How asphalt is created? That this highway began as a farm-to-market road? Boredom seems just plain wasteful. And I simply can’t abide waste.
So. What does this all mean? It means that I have a hilariously and delightfully messy resume to go hand-in-hand with my hilariously and delightfully messy life. That between guiding rafts and surviving cancer and graduating from law school and hitchhiking across the country and asking question after question and hearing story after story, I’ve learned a thing or two.
Mostly, I’ve learned that I want more. More exploring. More conversations around dinner tables and over coffee and on overnight trains to faraway places. More adventures that go hideously awry and lead down paths I could not possibly have planned. To people I could not know I would love. More challenges and more growth. More ways to share and connect, whether through images or words or some skill I have yet to learn. More openness. More unencumbered joy. More acceptance and empathy and compassion.
I’ve learned that there are almost always more questions than answers. That the mundane is often the grandest adventure. That real trumps perfect every single time. I’ve learned that rivers translate to mountains translate to travel translates to people, that seemingly disparate experiences feed and strengthen and illuminate one another. That at the end of the day, to do genuinely good work, whether for pay or for life, all that is truly required is sincere and earnest interest, close attention to detail, an open mind, and the willingness to work crazy hard.