Sometimes, I look at my life and wonder "how the heck did I get here? THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!"
Seven years ago, I couldn't have even IMAGINED that my life would look like this. I couldn't have told you that I would be a moderately successful and talented photographer who gets to travel the world and meet some of the coolest cats to walk this earth. I could have never dreamed that this industry would bring such incredible and unique people into my life, that will be in my life FOREVER.
About 2 years ago, I attended a photography "conference" called Adventure Always (you can see pictures from that adventure HERE), where I managed to fall into this cozy group of photographer friends. We witnessed other photographers pour their hearts out together, shared meals together, and went photo-adventuring all over the Queen Mary together.
Last month, we gathered together at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.
There was no organized conference, paid speakers, or agenda -- just 8 artists & their cameras, following their bliss wherever it may lead them. Between the nightly hot tub conversations to the "pull over, we need to take a picture on that couch!" drives -- I never wanted it to end. I love these people so very dearly. They inspire me to challenge myself both in my art form and in my business, and I will hold them in my heart until my last breath.
this is my friend Andrew and his fiancé, Bryce.
they're getting married in November. and it's going to be LEGENDARY.
these two hearts hail from Racine, Wisconsin. Katie & Joey, you guys are so damn cool. I still think you should move to California instead of Oregon....
and then there were these lovebirds, Brian & Christina, all the way from Buffalo, New York.
whom I forced to be lovey dovey....... YOU'RE WELCOME ;)
oh yeah, and we found Greg Balkin and his orange jacket in Joshua Tree!
so that was rad.
sometimes running away IS the answer.
especially when 7 other photographers run away with you.
it could be the creative breath of fresh air you didn't even know you needed.
we are The Camp Tribe.
we throw axes, lift logs over our heads, chase sunsets, roast s'mores, hike barefoot, take pictures, and have wonderful camp fire conversations.
this is the first of many more adventures to come......
if I have learned anything in this life, it's that one will never regret listening hard to the quiet whisperings of your heart.
i love a LOT of things on this good earth, but there are few things i love greater than traveling. i have a critical case of wanderlust that i fear will never be quieted. my heart aches to hear the stories of people in all corners of the world, my feet yearn to find themselves on foreign soil, my eyes burn to see everything i can possibly see before they close for good. and so, when my friend kimberly invited me to come visit her in italy, i didn't hesitate. despite my husband being unavailable and barely finding a spare 10 days to escape the chaos of wedding season -- i wasn't going to let anything stand in my way. i needed it more than i could have possibly known.
and so, passport and camera in hand, i embarked on a most memorable adventure.
allow me to take you back there...
here is kimberly's house in which she lives with her airforce doctor husband and beautiful 2 year old daughter:
this is the view seen by stepping out her front door (my heart may or may not have skipped a beat):
a HUGE thanks to kimberly's husband, rocky, for spending his weekend with their daughter and letting us run away on adventures just us girls...
first stop, THIS PLACE:
where we slept like queens and woke to breakfast in the dining hall (and couldn't stop speaking in a pretentious brittish accent)
after running rampant through our private estate's gardens, we ventured onward...
... and landed ourself in Tuscany at what Kimberly so perfectly calls her happy place.
where we once again ran like wildlings through olive tree groves, cameras at the ready.
this beautiful piece of heaven is owned and run by the italian mama everyone wishes they had.
she cooked us a 4 course meal and made sure our wine glasses were always full.
and she has a place in my heart forever.
after many hugs and "ciao, bellas!" we wandered towards the oldest monastery in italy, which happened to be beautifully situated smack in the middle of the oldest forest in europe.
before we knew it, it was home again home again jiggity jig.
the rest of the trip involved castles...
... canals for days ...
... pulling over anywhere and everywhere we saw something spectacular ...
... cemeteries ...
... and this place, Lago di Barcis:
words will never be able to express how intensely my soul needed this time away from home with a kindred spirit.
kimberly, my dear, you are truly one of a kind. I am so incredibly grateful for every conversation and memory we shared.
where are we going next???
There is nothing in this world that I value more than my loved ones. I have been blessed with the most encouraging, supportive, fun family. I treasure every moment I get with them, but this 3 day adventure will forever be one of my all time most-cherished memories. I got to run away to Yosemite with my parents and my 81 year old Nanna -- 3 of my all time favorite people on the planet, some of my best friends really.
It blows my mind that this place is just a 3 hour drive from my doorstep. This place, that people travel from all corners of the world to see, is practically my backyard.