A former travel magazine editor, 29-year-old Midwest native Jess Hoffert is taking a 6-month break from the cubicle life to become immersed in the colorful culture of Southern California.

Video: Five-ish months in five-ish minutes

Video: Five-ish months in five-ish minutes

I've spent a good number of hours the past couple weeks sorting through hundreds of photos and video clips on my iPhone, choosing ones to include in the documentary I'm creating about Príncipe de Paz church. As I watched, trimmed and edited these clips, I realized just how many different experiences I've been blessed with since January. Yet, I've never found myself feeling overly rushed or spread too thin. It's been a nearly perfect balance of go-time and down-time, social time and solitary time. 

The 18-minute documentary (which I'll post on the blog when it's finished) is focused on the church, its history, the people who make it such a vibrant community, its place in the community and its vision for the future. That's a lot to pack into 18 minutes, so while I do the narration for the film, I've kept my personal experiences and insights out of it (that's a whole documentary on its own). 

Now that the editing is mostly complete for the film, I'm left with hundreds more photos and videos that didn't make the cut, mostly because they focus on more of my personal experiences and adventures. But I still wanted to create something as a memento for myself that captures these last five-ish months and the special people who have helped make it one of the best times of my life. This was a quick edit in iMovie, so it's not super polished, and it actually goes backward chronologically, so you'll see the most recent footage first. I hope it gives you a sense of the beautiful, colorful, soul-filling time I've had here.

The Little Free Library that could

The Little Free Library that could

A jolt of reverse culture shock

A jolt of reverse culture shock