Holi Festival ’18

Friends! I don’t want to type too much because the photos truly do all the talking. I had the absolute joy and honor to be a part of Memphis’s Indian Holi Festival. My sister and I drove out to the Indian Cultural Center & Temple. Upon arriving we were swept into the dancing and greeted with color-chalked hands. The whole day was filled with absolute joy. We danced together for hours, throwing color in the air and on each other. There were incredible performances by local dance groups as well. We didn’t want to leave!  On the way home my sister said, “I just loved that each person was covered by the beauty of color because they had been touched by others.” It really resonated with me. Community is so important; the presence of people that love you, laugh with you, challenge you, and fill your life with joy. I will never forget Holi Festival 2018. Thank you to the Indian Cultural Center & Temple for hosting this beautiful event, and thank you to everyone who welcomed my sister and me into every moment.

Fabrice + Katia | Lyon, France

This pair! What a memory to have! Back in April, I spent some time in Lyon, France visiting friends. While there, Kelly and Dave’s friends were excited to take some mock wedding photos. So they got all dressed up, and off we went for a short time in the city.

Fabrice spoke little to no English. Katia spoke English well and Kelly helped with any hard translations. Honestly, we just laughed the whole time. It was such an incredible experience to explore a city like Lyon. I couldn’t have asked for a more sweet and in love couple. I gave them questions to answer to each other to spark reflection over their relationship. I couldn’t get over the way they looked at each other, every touch with care and love. I didn’t want the session to end.

Exciting news! They just welcomed a sweet son into the world! Hope I can go back and visit one day.

Solo Travel | Experiencing a City

Experiencing a city is a challenge. Especially when time is short. So why put the pressure on yourself? Why feel the need to be the tourist who sees all historical sites, the instagram-worthy modern coffee shops, the infamous restaurants, and the classic tours.

Forgetting to sit still on a trip can make it all a blur. Kind of like your wedding day. Unless you stop and breathe it in, you will likely say “I can barely remember anything! Still the best day of my life!” Which in the long run isn’t a bad answer, but personally, I LOVE remembering the details, the random excursions off trail. I hope on my wedding day, I can have moment memories that build the day, not flashes of events.

So when you take a weekend, a week trip, or longer, I challenge you to pick and choose what is most important to you. Do you ACTUALLY want to see _____ or do you just want a photo in front of it. Often, I find myself saying “i don’t know, i feel like i’m SUPPOSE to go there cause like I’m HERE?” When in England, I stayed in a northern city with close friends. London is a 5 hour drive from their home. I spent a bit of time asking myself if I should ask to go. I mean, I was in England (right!?) , and 5 hours isn’t even that far! I opted not, because I knew I would MUCH rather spend hours in their home, drinking tea, exploring their stomping grounds. I would much rather make memories laughing while attempting golf, getting brunch down the street, and going to a high tea room in an old hall. Don’t get me wrong, London would be amazing, but this trip, it was just me. I began to lose the sense of urgency to SEE IT ALL.  I plan to go back. I’ve been twice in the same calendar year, so why try to see it all and not take a breather? I hope I can continue to travel often in my lifetime, and I expect I will go back to England with a friend or friends one day who will want to take London on!

There is something so special about not using a map after a few days in a city. I spent around 6 days in Lyon, France this April. I had a European phone plan with quite a bit of data left, so I face timed some friends while around the city. After the first two days, I had gotten to know the area, the short cuts to the rivers, my favorite bridge or two to cross, my favorite spot to sit and read. It was so exciting to virtually tour my best friend around a city that now felt like a new comfortable home.

So my top “planning” tips to visiting a new city:

  1. Instead of booking a trip with the intention to see as many cities in 3 weeks that you can, consider taking on 2 cities and a town maybe. Spend a longer time in one place to truly experience the culture, the set up of the city, the food, and of course, the people!

2. Prioritize your MUST see tourist attractions, and eliminate the ones that you are going to simply out of obligation. Its YOUR trip, right?

3. Consider wandering around the city without a map (also have a note of your address… and maybe a off-line map app to get home. haha)

4. Read and write where you want to – on a step, on the ground, by water where ever you just want to be. Don’t feel guilty for that time. Allowing yourself to stop and take in your experiences will let them sink and hold. Take note of the little things. Weather, smells, sounds, people you see.

I have loved the trips I remember LIVING in the city, not simply touring it. Take the challenge, give yourself elbow room on your next trip.

Get lost in the city, try some crappy coffee you spent a little too much on, dangle your legs over a river, breath in the fresh air, and let the city settle in your memory.

Sunday afternoon after church exploring the local market for a smoothie.

One of my favorite nights in Lyon. I had eyed a spot on this one bridge a few days in a row. The weather was perfect. I just scooped myself up there and read my travel journal. The bustling city around me while I wrote in more memories I made that day.

Taking an evening off exploring and doing some well needed Friends night. Everything is so new and sometimes just a lot, its nice to have something familiar like netflix.

Take selfies. Haha you won’t regret it. Its the solo-travel way.

Snack away.

Germany | The Simple Life

germany 2-16I’ve been thinking about Germany a lot this week. How much the Lord used that time to calm my spirit. There was a lot of quiet moments. My days were made of simple things like grocery store visits, little bakeries, and mini road-trips to castles. I miss more then those mountains, I miss my little family there. Alice and Garret took me in, and Brooklyn learned (slowly buts surely) that I wasn’t going anywhere for a while. Within the first day of arriving, I was sick in their guest bathroom for hours. Sweet Alice took care of me, got me ginger ale, called doctors for help. I couldn’t have arrived in a better place. Still thankful neither Brooklyn nor Alice got sick. Honestly I huge part of that time was just relaxing. Traveling alone for the first time, I didn’t feel pressure to go see all the tourist spots. I didn’t need to leave the house every day. I felt such a peace to just sit at home, looking out the window, sippin and chillin. I watched Friends for days; it was wonderful. I went over for tea with Alice to her best friends house. We planned a little roadtrip to Holland I’ll be posting a little about soon. But really, I just lived life next to them.

Today I am feeling so thankful for my in that little village. The Lord provided a beautiful home, family, and world to enter in on for a short few weeks. Love and miss you, Alice & Garret. Cannot wait to be in your home again. <3 You’ve always been family, but even more now, you are dear dear dear to my heart. Praying for you always, and missing another home of mine.

Wanted to share a couple of my favorites from my first week in Germany:

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Kristi Blackwell | Pensacola Sessions

Kristi Blackwell. She’s more then stunning. Her eyes are the gateway to her fierce spirit. Her smile is the sign of her joyful heart. She exudes kindness. Her words are filled with love. The presence of a earnest soul is evident when she joins a room. She is constantly seeking wisdom, soaking in the world, and pouring out encouragement. She loves Jesus so much, and He is all over her life. He has written every part of it, and I cannot wait to watch it unravel. So so so proud of this beautiful lady. <3 Kristi, you are a priceless friend. Thank you for letting me be apart of this year, and capturing a few images that only touch on your beauty. Cannot believe I have been able to see you so many times already in Pensacola.

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