Things get weird
Carolina - New Orleans - Austin
Hi. If you've found yourself at this blog post you are in for something a little different than my usual. I mostly publish my wedding related work here, but this is a new subject. Something very personal. This summer my husband, two of our best friends, and I embarked on a 3 week journey across America by car. We went all the way from South Carolina to California by car, from the east coast to the west. It was amazing. It's been a few months now, and I've finally had time to start editing through the photos. I want to share these photos and memories with you, dear internet, simply because I want to. This process is a joy for me, to create simply for myself and my tastes. To relive, to remember, to really savor the experience we had.
Andrew (my husband) and I came up with the idea for this trip one winter Sunday when I was feeling particularly restless. South Carolina feels very caging to me sometimes, and I get stuck feeling like I'm missing out on all the rest of the world has to offer. So we got to talking about all the areas we wanted to see out West, nervously came up with a scheme that seemed too good to be true, and shook hands on it. I remember that moment perfectly, crystalized in my mind: holding Andrew's hand firm in mine, looking him in the eyes with both question and affirmation, almost daring each other, saying "okay, we are going to do this." Later, when our plans were more concrete, we invited two of our favorite people, Grant and Taylor, to come with us. They happen to be dating each other, and eager to adventure out West as well, so it worked out conveniently.
I thought that traveling for almost a month straight and seeing so many amazing sights would quench my thirst for adventure, but I was wrong. In fact, our trip did quite the opposite. The more I saw, the more I wanted to see. The farther we went, the further I was inspired to dream. I thought that traveling would ease my restless heart, fill it up and send it back home content. But instead, it made me want more of life. It made me realize I have so much more to see. Every new experience, no matter how rough or awkwardly learned, made me that much more enamored with this crazy life, and eager to know it more fully. I guess that is what traveling should do, give you a new experience, enlighten you, make you want more from life. That is surely what this trip did for me.
In the words of Josh Ritter, "Mama says that I was born hungry, but I woke up one morning not long ago and found that I was ravenous."
So in these photos and words I hope you'll find some really beautiful shots, but also know that you will see some very ridiculous moments. I hope you will get to learn and experience, but I also hope you will laugh (because my friends are funny). I hope you will enjoy what you see, but also know that I took these photos and wrote these words for me. And I hope this will inspire you to want more from life too.
This was the very first photo of the trip. Probably still somewhere in South Carolina. I gave Andrew my phone and had him take a photo of the whole gang in our little rental, whom we lovingly named Anna Belle Leigh. She was a great although tiny car. Our first day we drove from South Carolina to New Orleans. We got into the city late in the night, took a stroll around the Bourbon Street area, and I promptly decided I hated the whole place. Don't worry, I didn't hold that judgement for long, but if you've been around Bourbon Street and have even a tiny sliver of a heart you can probably understand what I mean. It just bummed me out to see so many people stumbling around in a drunken haze while really young strippers tried to call us into their bars. We were exhausted from 10 plus hours of driving, so we went to sleep and started the next day early. First, we explored the old graveyards, which immediately lifted my spirits (weird sentence I know.)
Grant dared me to get into an open grave, so naturally I did. So far no ghosts have tried to get revenge for my disrespect. After that we strolled the streets, hung out by the river, and even walked through the casino and tried our hand at the slots (to no avail).
Grant got stuck.
It rained a few times that day, so we sought shelter in a small bookstore that was home to a cat who was pretty indifferent to us.
When it stopped raining we went outside, but then it started raining again, so we took shelter under one of the many porch/patio structures. We didn't realize we were sitting outside of a shop, and it didn't take long for someone to ask us to leave. But it was a good nook while it lasted.
Then came my favorite part. We started walking through the Bywater neighborhood, and man did I love it. There were so many painted houses, so many colors and textures, strange decorations like skulls and hanging mannequin heads - I felt inspired and overstimulated all at once. We walked for miles but it was so fun because there was so much to see.
We looked through this fence and found something odd.
"Where are these hobos walking to?" you might be asking yourself by now. Well my inquisitive friend, we were traveling to the end of the world. The end of the world is of course only an endearing name given to a levee that you can climb out onto. We walked miles to get there so we could watch the sunset as the ships came into the harbor. It was more than worth it. We climbed a small metal tower and got a perfect view.
I love a good sunset as much as the next photographer, but what I really love to capture is my friends as they experience it. Watching all the colors and moody light wash over them, the sun painting them shade by shade with the dying light, all the splendor reflected on their faces - that's where the real color show happens.
In that strange little building we found some old boxing gloves taped to the end of pvc pipe, so we had a duel. There were also some attempts at climbing made, but the structure was pretty rusty so it was short lived. Overall I think we walked close to 13 miles that day in New Orleans, so our next day in the car to Austin was a welcome rest. We stopped somewhere in Texas during our drive and I took a few shots around a gas station.
Honestly I didn't take many photos in Austin. I really really love that city. Andrew and I went there for our honeymoon and I just have the best memories. We were really excited to go back to some of our favorite places, and I guess I was too busy listening to live music, paddle boarding down the river, and dancing at honky tonk bars to take photos. Things got weird. But that's Austin for you. I did get a few at random coffee breaks in our Airbnb and Joe's outdoor area. After that the only photos I took were when we saw another spectacular sunset over the Colorado river. We climbed a random cliff on the side of the highway, drank Lone Star like real Texans, and watched another beautiful sunset.
We left Texas the next day. Just outside Austin we saw something that made us pull over. There was a HUGE longhorn standing in a field, and the driveway next to the field said "State Park." So we figured why not explore? Through a little reading we learned that the place was the farm and home where Woodrow Wilson grew up. I don't care too much for history, but I sure enjoyed playing with the horses.
Then Taylor almost dropped her shoe on my face.
So after Taylor tried to climb the old windmill and got stung by a couple wasps, we headed out. We were traveling overnight through the hills and plains of Texas to our next adventure: the desert. Stay tuned my friends.