The little island of Manhattan has been my home since I was newly 18. With nothing but two suitcases, $2,000 in savings and a dream to be on the Broadway stage, I came to New York thinking I would live there forever. Little did I know that 4 years and 4 months later, I would pack my bags and leave with a new life plan. A few weeks ago, I decided to pack my backpack to see the world. Picture

What I’ve Been Up To

I needed a change of environment. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to connect with my family. (If you didn’t already know –  my dad and my close grandmother passed this year. To say, I need to go back to my roots is a serious understatement.) So. While at work, I called my mom and my boyfriend and told them I was leaving New York for good. Just like that. When it’s time, it’s time.

The past few weeks I’ve been subletting my apartment, selling my furniture, and canceling my NY State health insurance, and that’s when it all hit me: I am actually leaving.
Change is so scary. Despite it being the best decision for me, it really is terrifying! Putting all of my precious belongings in boxes is weird. Saying goodbye to my book collection for four months makes me nervous. Renting a storage unit? Ugh, I don’t even want to think about it.
And yet, it all feels so right. Why is that?
The other day, I bought a ticket up to the Empire State Building, stared out over the city for the longest time, pointing out all the spots and memories I’ve made in each little neighborhood and watched the sun go down over the Hudson. I got teary-eyed, no doubt, recalling the incredible adventures, stories and mishaps during my 4 years growing up in this playground.
“There was the off-broadway theatre I worked at for two years…that park over there is where I discovered how much I loved photography…..that street there was where I had my first, real, dreamy kiss….I reached my goal of receiving my Equity Card there in that building…hm that was the restaurant I met my boyfriend, Alex…there’s our movie theatre….there’s my apartment…”
Saying goodbye to things always makes me weepy. I embrace change, and man, do I love switching things up! Why are goodbyes always so hard?
I’m nervous to leave my little comfort zone, but I often find that comfort is an enemy in disguise; I would rather live the dangerous, exciting and challenging life, giving me opportunities to grow and expand as a spirit. To say when I am an old woman, looking back at my life, “I lived. And I did everything I could have ever wanted.” And with that comes a decision: to pack up your stuff, go to the top of the Empire State Building, and say goodbye to a city you loved.Picture


Going Forward

Being 22, I feel like the world is my oyster and I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ll live like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. I’ll write and photograph and travel and help animals and women along the way. Come December, I am embarking on a journey with the sole purpose to photograph, write, and connect. I’ll be visiting Paris for two weeks with my boyfriend, followed by a 5 day trip to Colorado with my friend Paige, a 3 day train ride through the Rockie Mountains and California, a 4 week stay in California, 6 weeks photographing in Indonesia, and finally a move to Washington D.C.It sounds like a lot, right? All in the span of 4 months.
My hope is that I’ll continue learning and experimenting with photography, specifically a documentary-style, while capturing the culture, environment, and natural wildlife in the places I’m visiting. It’s also my goal to write every day, something one never truly finds time for in such a hustling city of survival like New York. I’m excited to adventure, explore and connect with people from around the world. Backpacking Europe solo last year, I met so many incredible friends and free-spirits I really resonated with. It’ll be fun meeting fellow creative gypsies like myself.
To wrap it up, I’m really excited to continue my passions for photography and writing, and I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures and images with you here. I promise this adventure won’t boring.


Embracing Change

February 8, 2017


Comments Off on Embracing Change


Receive my latest blog posts via email

Get access to the latest Simple Joys blog posts as soon as they're posted!

I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through my lens and my pen. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I'm inspired to share the light around me. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

Hey there!

meet the blogger



Check out all my favorite photography gear, travel must-haves, resources, books I love, business hacks and so much more!

let's read 'em!

Studio Updates

from helena

Sign up for my personal newsletter where I share writings and photographs of what I've been learning lately and the simple joys of daily life. Think of this as a personal letter from me to you - but in email format! 

keep my posted!

Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.