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SUMMER RULES is a series where we ask people to share with us how they’re staying safe and sane during this very different summer season; from mask suggestions to soundtrack selections, we’ll take a peek into how others are making these challenging times work.

Today we’re getting caught up with the inimitable Ami Vitale, Nat Geo photographer and Nikon Ambassador; you can catch her (and Rue Mapp, CEO of OutdoorAfro) this Thursday as Nat Geo joins District Trivia for a special Virtual Explorer Trivia Night. (Should be loads of fun, not to be missed!)

While Ami is usually traveling this time of year, she’s enjoying the opportunity to be grounded for a little while, focusing on exercising her green thumb, doing lots of reading and more:

How do you usually feel about summer, as a season overall, and how do you feel about THIS summer, by comparison? 

I’m usually living out of my suitcase, in perpetual motion and I can hardly tell the difference between summer and winter since I spend so much time near the equator. This is the first summer in 2 decades that I’ve had more than a week at home at one time and I’m embracing the stillness! Loving being home!

What is your summer shaping up to look like? 

It’s wonderful to be able to watch things grow and get my hands in the soil. Growing lots of things, meeting local wildlife and reading more than ever. 

Is there anything in particular you’re actually looking forward to this summer? 

It’s an amazing moment to reimagine and reinvent. Trying to forget about the anxiety of lost work and wonder about what I can do differently going forward. 

What are some of your tips for staying safe and sane right now?  

Get out in nature. Hug a tree. It reminds us of how interconnected we all are!

Where did you get your mask from? 

I have 4 masks. For my birthday this year, my closest friends all brought me hand made masks. 

And what, aside from that, has  been your more or less go-to summer uniform? 

The same clothes all summer! 

What (if anything) are you reading right now, and why do you recommend it? (Alternatively, just share a favorite book.) 

The Hidden Life of Trees, The Last Unicorn, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Where do you wish you COULD GO this summer, if there were no restrictions or safety risks? 

Back to Kenya to continue work on a decades long project.

And is there anywhere you’ve been safely going that you could recommend for people who live nearby?  

Go look at the little creatures in your backyard. They are wondrous when you slow down and really observe them!