Gatherer of People - Stacy Carosa Host of the Natural Wanderer Retreat

At the start of 2017, I had started to dream about creating a conference for photographers that would combine skill learning and practicing those techniques with real people.  I envisioned it to be big, and lots of practical experiences with others in the industry.  In my day job at a university, I had planned several events and really enjoyed putting together the details to create a meaningful experience. As I started to plan and unfold a big photographer experience, I started to realize that as an introvert, this is not the type of experience that I would want to attend because I would be so nervous to try to 'make friends' at a big event. Even though I felt confident in planning the behind-the-scenes pieces of a conference, it didn't feel right to plan something that I may not have felt comfortable attending myself. I wanted to create something that would make it easy for the attendees to make friends, cultivate a safe environment to talk about the true pieces of owning a creative business, and I wanted to embrace and celebrate the feelings that an introvert specifically has about owning a business. Thus, the Natural Wanderer was born.

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When I started my photography business, I originally wanted to name it Natural Wanderer Photography, but I wasn't sure how that would resonate with potential clients. I think that the word 'Wanderer' was what might turn people away, as it sounded like I was moving along aimlessly and that it might portray that I didn't know what I was doing. Naturally, I then chose my name to start my business with; first, Stacy Marie Photography and after getting married, changed it to Stacy Carosa Photography since it was more unique.  However, the appeal of the phrase Natural Wanderer has never left.

Last year, when I broke down the idea of building a conference and instead started to build the idea of creating a retreat, I thought that the name the Natural Wanderer would be perfect. Mostly because as I walk through the process and learning of owning a business, I find that I often feel lost.  It is a natural feeling that makes an appearance, as we learn to navigate new waters and but our souls out on display. It is natural for us to feel this way, and I wanted to create something that helps others to see that even if they feel lost at time, they are never alone.

One thing I have realized in owning a small business, especially a creative one, is that we are always striving to be visually perfect.  We want social media to be perfect and consistent.  We want to look and act appealing to our ideal client.  We want to show how successful we are so that others will want to work with this.  These are all good things, but not if it starts to weigh on your mind and confidence in a negative way.  The idea behind the retreat is to gather together creative businesswomen to have those real, honest conversations about embracing our imperfections and learning to just be ourselves, authentically present, in our social media and business.  We don't have to please everyone.  We CAN'T please everyone.  What we can do is be ourselves.  If you feel lost even in who you are as a person, that is also something that we will explore.  

Overall, the Natural Wanderer Retreat embodies what it means to love the journey that you are on, whether that is in life or in your business (or both!). We are not perfect beings, but we can love who we are, just as we are. There is just as much reason to celebrate your journey as it is to celebrate getting to your destination or goal, because whether you know it or not, you are learning and growing into the person that you aspire to be.