European Road Trip 2013

So this post is about 10 months late.  Last summer we went on an epic, almost 4 month road trip, in a camper van around Europe.  We had decided that it was time to abandon sunny Florida and move on to something else and while we figured that out we took the opportunity to do what we love most – travel.   Of course, we took thousands of photos, and had really good intentions to get them sorted and posted, but then we got distracted with moving out to China.  I did manage to scan and post all the Polaroid photos I took, but it seemed to take some convincing to finally get the digital ones prepped for the web.

While on our road trip, Eliot did an amazing job of keeping a journal of each day, and everything we did.  Nothing too fancy, but just where we were, where we camped, and briefly what we did that day.  This was to later help us remember which photos went with what place.  For my birthday this year, he actually managed to make a map, using Google maps, of our entire journey, along with his short journal entries. So this prompted me to sort out the photos, and we then worked together to add the photos to the map. It was a laborious task, but in the end, I’m really happy we did it, and we now have a visual map of our entire trip, complete with stop overs, what we did, and photographs.  Please feel free to check it out.  And for coming all the way to this blog space, I’ve added in a bunch of our absolute favorite photos.  They’re arranged by country, rather than order, because in many cases we dipped in and out of different countries, but if you head to the map you’ll see the order of events.

The photos below were chosen because they might have been a favorite moment (like cycling up the Col de Corobin), or a day that was awesome that sticks out in our mind, or a photo that one of us just loves because of how it looks.  That being said, there’s a few iPhone photos as well.  If you wish to see the Polaroids I took, go here.

England :: England bookended our trip, it was our start and finish, our home away from home.  Its a place that is always full of family and friends but seeing it from the freedom of the campervan we got explore and experience it in a different way from normal.  Spring was just coming and we could have easily spent our whole trip here.

Wales::  We were only in the misty Welsh hills around Snowdon for one night on our way from Bristol over to Ireland.  Despite staying in one of the most bizarre campsites of our entire trip we went out and explored the beautiful village and met some of the local woolly residents before heading off to Dublin.

Ireland ::  Giants, spectacular cliffs, friends in Dublin, kissing the Blarney Stone, endless rolling green countryside, windswept moors, the craic and the occassional Guinness.  Ireland did us proud.

France :: Another place we could have spent more time.  A week sailing with family and a trip down the West coast were never enough. Everytime we needed to plan another stage of our trip, and weren’t sure which direction to head in next, Eliot would always suggest we just head back into France.

Spain :: Gorgeous rolling hills. Brand new highways cut into the mountains with no one else on them.  Small Mediterranean fishing villages, and meeting Salvador Dali’s personal photographer. Spain was spectacular.

Portugal :: We are lucky to have family here. Eliot’s gran lives in Portugal, and it gave a good excuse to go back to see this majestic little place. Hookah in Porto, cycling in Evora, and mojitos in the evening with Eliot’s grandma.

Italy :: Everything you hear about Italy is true.  I’ve always wanted to go, but felt like there was a lot of hype around it.  A bit of a cliche place.  However, I am happy to put my hand up as being wrong.  There is something absolutely magical about Italy.  From the arts, to the food, and the culture, there is no place like it.

I could do a whole post separately on Venice ::

Germany :: Although being a bit difficult from a vegetarian standpoint, was awesome.  We actually spend quite a bit of time ducking in and out of Munich, as we had friends come to meet us there on two different occasions.

Austria :: Mostly we snowboarded and cycled here, but we also had an amazing couple days in Vienna.


Czech Republic :: Munich to Prague with a good friend. Spent a few days in the countryside as well, hiking in a national park.

Sweden :: Our last big trek up north, before heading back to England.  Sweden is beautiful, and definitely worth a trip back.  Got to hang out with my cousin and her fiance in Stockholm as well as taking engagement photos for them.

And if you made it this far, you may as well go and see our entire map.

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Married :: Mike & Sara

This wedding was a much welcomed event.  After being in China for three months, not photographing any weddings, it was really nice to get back into, and remember why I love doing this.  Although it made me miss it in a serious way.

Let me just say, it is incredibly humbling when a couple wants me to photograph their wedding so much, that they bring me to the far away place that they’re getting married.  And yet, a ginormous compliment as well.  Travel is in my bones, and if I get the opportunity to be in a new place while photographing what I love, I will always make that a priority, and do anything I can to get there.

This lovely affair was set in one of the most beautiful places, Jamaica.  Mike and Sara brought their family and closest friends, far away from their LA home to be immersed in sandy beaches and sunshine for the week during their wedding.  There’s something to be said about having a destination wedding.  Although, I can attest to that fact that it is not easy planning a wedding from afar, there’s an intimacy and focus to it that is difficult to achieve in other ways. Everyone is on holiday, so naturally more relaxed. You have your best allies with you, who are happy want to help to make sure you have the day you’ve planned for.  You celebrate everyday leading up to the wedding, and the party keeps going until the end of the week.  It brings your favorite people together for the best of reasons, and people from different parts of your life, who didn’t  know each other before, go home as friends.  And probably the most special thing about a destination wedding, is that it is fondly remembered, not only by the couple who got married, but by each person who was there to witness it.  Mike and Sara, you guys did it right, and I know you felt the love during this week.

This little flower girl wanted her mom in all the photos with her.  Sara found a clever way to get her to pose with everyone.Could you ask for a better backdrop to say your vows?Such an amazing day, and an amazing party.

Hawaii, England, Washington, Oregon and now Jamaica.  All places I’ve traveled to to shoot weddings.

If you feel a connection with my photos, and love what you see.  It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re getting married, just CONTACT me.  I know what you’re thinking, bringing in a photographer from somewhere else is going to be soooo expensive.  But let me tell you, being given the opportunity to travel while also photographing weddings, makes my heart sing, and I will do anything I can to try to make it affordable and easy for everyone involved.

Sara is someone who I knew back when I was in high school.  She was a couple grades older than me, and went to a different school, but we were good friends.  I hadn’t spoke to her in years, but we stayed in touch on facebook.  Naturally, I had to get a photo with my old friend on her wedding day, on the beautiful beach in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. ::

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Turning 28

My 28th birthday was really wonderful.  It landed on a Thursday, so the weekend before my husband planned a trip for us to go to Hong Kong to celebrate.  Compared to mainland China, Hong Kong is like going on a little European holiday.  It was nice getting a little break from the craziness, eating great food, and drinking delicious wine.

On my actual birthday, the 3rd of April, I woke up at my normal time, 6:30.  Yes, it’s early.  However, I’ve gotten really used to it and I love being awake early with the whole day in front of me.  And I can drink my coffee slowly, watch the day begin from our 10th story apartment, have breakfast, and my fresh squeezed juice (normally carrot, apple and ginger these days).  When I knew my mom would be home from work, I gave her a call.  We chatted for about an hour.  After that, I began my day.

In the beginning, I had a lot of anxiety about coming out to China.  I wondered what I would do with my time, if I wasn’t working.  I worried about getting lonely, spending days mostly by myself.  I worried about Eliot, and his state of mind, working every day in a Chinese factory.  I worried about the stress it would put our relationship under.

But my time here in China, despite not working, is being very well spent.  I have focused my energy into learning Chinese, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as taking extra care of my body.  I exercise at least 5 days a week, and incorporate yoga into my routine as well.  In the afternoon, I normally go to the local market and pick up our fresh produce, and make a plan for dinner.  I might meet a friend for a walk, or grab a cup of coffee.  My mind is clearer than its ever been. Mentally I’m in a good place, physically I have never felt better in my own skin, and I’ve never felt closer to my husband and secure in our relationship.  This whole experience has proved to me to be very worthwhile.

Although I miss running my business, and meeting with clients, and making beautiful imagery, I am so grateful for this time.  I know it won’t always be like this, but I feel really fortunate for everything I have right now.  This is a feeling I haven’t felt in a long time, if ever.


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