How the mountains made me do it

I may be 15 years late, but I’ve finally decided to join the world of blogging. I never thought I would be a blogger, but evidence shows this might be a way for me to share the one thing I have been passionately trying to share – inspiration.

Many of you have found me through the unfortunate theft of my teardrop camper and home, Birdsong. While I am grateful for the silver lining of countless new friendships, I do not wish to be remembered for – or followed because of – an event that could have happened to any unlucky victim.


Me and Birdsong. Photo by Corey Bradford.

I am more than the theft of my trailer. I am a soul who seeks to inspire betterment within others. To create a desire in others to find their own strength within themselves. I want to instill a sense of urgency in people to take action to create their own happiness in their world – whatever that may be. The only means with which I have to do this is through the one thing I am most passionate about, photography.


Photographing sunrise in Big Bend National Park. Photo by Chris Bennett Photography.

When I create an image I want to share more than a beautiful scene. I want my image to last more than a fleeting moment of pleasant beauty in your day. I invite the viewer into the experience of the moment. Share with me the thoughts that were going through my mind, the weather on my skin, the smells in my nose. Let these visions help to clear your mind, organize your thoughts, and put your dreams into perspective.


Not just photos, but moments, I share. Photos by Mandy Lea.


The image taken the morning I found my path. Photo by Carolyn Morehead.

This perspective is exactly what I realized one year ago. As I was watching the sun rise over the Grand Tetons, I suddenly understood that I was the only one who was going to find my happiness. A happiness that I could think of nothing better to do with than share. Literally, upon gazing at the mountains – the mountains made me do it. The mountains made me leave my life of comfort and security to set out for the unknown.

Following my dream has been both the best and the hardest thing I have ever done, and there is no reason you can’t do it too. I challenge each one of you to ask yourself “why not”? And most importantly, make sure your answers are reasons, not just excuses.

With all of that said, I know you are waiting to hear “the rest of the story”. I simply dread recounting every moment in text… and luckily I don’t have to!! I met one of the most wonderful people on my journey, Janine Pettit of Girl Camper. Janine has a wonderful podcast on which she interviewed me and gave me a chance to answer some of the questions I have been asked a million times over the past two months. And today, she has posted it! Grab a cup of coffee (seriously) and give the podcast a listen.


Me and Janine Pettit at Little Guy Worldwide’s Tearstock!

And finally… Please welcome my new travel companion, Phoenix! Together, Phoenix and I are bringing photography, camping, tiny living, adventure, inspiration and optimism to all we encounter!


Me and Phoenix on our first day together, the day we left for adventure! Photo by Rustin Gudim.

Facebook: Mandy Lea

Instagram: @mandyleaphoto




  1. Reply


    July 19, 2016

    Mandy… I Haven’t listened to ‘the rest of the story’ podcast yet but on my way to make that coffee to enjoy while listening.
    THANK-YOU for the inspiration and for sharing your travel adventures through your INCREDIBLE photography! LOVE your work and creativity!


    • Reply

      Mandy Lea Photo

      July 20, 2016

      Thank you Debra!! First, enjoy the coffee, I’ll make a cup now two. Second, enjoy the podcast! I’ll make something else soon 🙂

  2. Reply

    Addis Walker

    July 19, 2016

    Couldn’t watch the podcast since I don’t have an iPhone. Love your blog. Just keep on having fun, it will continue to inspire others! Addis

    • Reply

      Mandy Lea Photo

      July 20, 2016

      Hi Addis!! There should still be an option for you to listen to it. You can download it or just listen to it through the browser window. Send me a FB message if you can’t figure it out and I’ll try to help <3

  3. Reply

    Holly Page

    July 20, 2016

    I did discover you through a share about your loss, but I stayed because of the beauty you share through your eyes. Some days of my life I have to accept that a fleeting moment of beauty is all I will have but that is enough to get through.

    • Reply

      Mandy Lea Photo

      July 20, 2016

      This is very well put and a great point Holly. I’m so glad you stuck with me and I’m honored that I could provide even a small moment for you <3

  4. Reply

    Pansy May Cress

    July 25, 2016

    Hi Mandy,
    I need to figure out how to listen to your podcast because I don’t have an iPhone.
    I am so blessed to have found you due to little guy campers and FB.
    I am looking forward to learning more. ..

    • Reply

      Mandy Lea Photo

      July 31, 2016

      Hi Pansy! No problem! At the very bottom of Janine’s page that I link to are a few links to listen. One is for iphones, but there is another that will let you listen on your computer. Let me know if you still can’t find it!

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