Just You & Me
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Minimalist or Materialist?

This past week has definitely been one of reflection. Often, it is very easy to claim that I want to live a life of minimalism. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that I’m drowning in a pile of stuff. On the weekend I road tripped to Clear Lake to help my parents move out of our family cottage. Hardwood floors were put in and gaudy light fixtures and curtains removed. I found myself wishing we could stay. It’s funny how quickly my brain can return to it’s materialistic state. 

To me minimalism isn’t about getting rid of everything, it’s about getting rid of the items that no longer add value to my life. These items hinder my potential. It’s about understanding the tradeoffs. So yes, it could be argued that a family cottage is value adding. It took me the weekend to realize that it’s not about the building. It is the place and the people that have added value to my life.

Here's a shoot I did on the weekend with Alexa. She adds so much value to my life, I will keep her ;) . I'm looking for people to shoot portraits with. Send me an email if you'd like to get some free portraits. (my contact info can be found on the "Me" tab). 




Gloria De Dios

A year ago. 

Sometimes I wish I could hand out free plane tickets so I could literally walk you through a story. There are things I’ve seen that I fall short on explaining with words. Seeing poverty first hand really screws up a person. Actually, I would argue that it makes a person sane. Seeing poverty made me realize I had been ignoring part of the world. 

In 2015 I had the opportunity to partner with Impact ministries. It was amazing to see the hope Impact is bringing to the communities of Tactic, Guatemala. 

My Photographic Memory

The technique has improved, but yet the art has worsened. “We’re now less likely to spend evenings huddled around a leather-bound album revisiting our own images then we are double tapping others’ on our lunch breaks” - Rachel Evan Lim. When I look back at my photographs I want to remember moments, people and conversations. 

Thanks Aislynn for these portraits, you’re forever logged in my photographic memory ;)

Priorities


You can live your entire life wishing you would have acted, living with regret. I have heard this thought in a series of forms. I think it's inspiration begins to dull amongst the reality of what life actually demands. Whether you're married or you have kids, there comes a time in which your own happiness becomes an after thought. 

If you're young like myself, you have plenty of time to grow up so explore your dreams now. I want to also reverse this statement. If you're older maybe you are running out of time. A wise woman challenged me with this concept of time once. I will forever treasure her for that wisdom. It is up to oneself to decide what his or her every day will look like. 

If you limit yourself, you will limit your success. The first step is to dream, ignore whatever stands in your way. I read a magazine article on a business man who always entered into new fields. If he was unfamiliar with a field it meant he didn't know its boundaries and its restrictions. He was then able to dream bigger than the experts of said field, granting him success. Don't limit yourself. 

My take is that life is a list of priorities. Some people burn themselves out making work their focus. I highly doubt that I’ll ever be rich, but wealth is something I’ve never desired. Passion, travel and God fall at the top of my list. Yes, I’m 20 years old and I live with my parents. My expenses are low and I own more than I should. Call my outlook foolish. Please tell me I’m a kid who doesn’t understand the adult world. I’ll grin and tell you I’m joyful, and I feel loved. Even some the richest people fail to find love and joy. Maybe I’m doing something right.

Hey, I’m a Travel Bore

Buying an iced coffee is eventful if I’m not in Winnipeg, but instead I'm sipping it along the Amsterdam canals. To come home and have to explain nine weeks of days, of moments to anyone is ridiculous. Chances are you’re not interested in hearing 63 days of me drinking coffee, getting on airplanes, and reinventing my iTunes playlists. Quite frankly, even I couldn’t listen to myself talk about every story and memory I have from Europe. One of the best and worst parts about travel is that memories are almost impossible to describe effectively. Like many people I will die trying to make you understand. I will forever drone on about my young years spent swimming in waterfalls and hiking down sinkholes. 


I hope you enjoy these pictures of my 2016 travel highlight reel.



Switzerland



I will have you know we were in Switzerland six days and every day it rained. Trudy and Andrea kept apologizing for the "bad" weather. I just laughed as I'm one of the few people I know who loves the rain. The way I see it is the rain is the perfect excuse to visit all of the best cafes in Switzerland - often eating four desserts a day and drinking four rounds of coffee. I'm not exactly sure what made me fall in love Switzerland. Maybe it was Andrea, or Trudy and Theo. Maybe it was the fact that I ate four desserts a day. Even as I look out the plane window I see snowy mountain tops poking out from the clouds. I could happily live the rest of my life here. Now I'll let Alexa tell you a little bit more about our stay as after all we got to stay with her family.

- Brooke

 It was beyond incredible getting to see my mommas hometown - the small little town, with a rather large beautiful home. I'm forever grateful for the wonderful family and friends that took us in. Trudy and Theo were beyond generous and didn't let us pay for anything. They took us out for many rounds of coffee and dessert, they took us to see the mountains, and the small town Lucern. It's always super nice staying with people while travelling because they feed you all too well. We arrived to chocolates on our pillows, followed by two servings of dessert, and yet coffee with more dessert later that day. We had delicious homemade food (zopf, rösti, and bircher muesli). We even had one dinner with Andrea that included about 15 different cheeses and some potatoes, apparently that was a Swiss meal.  We will definitely be replicating that supper when we get back home.

Although the weather was beyond crappy, leaving that place we all said we would one day learn German and move there.

- Alexa

Santorini




What we did:
- Oia
- Fira
- Catamaran: Red beach, White beach, hot springs
- Kamari/ black sand beach
- Rented ATVs

What we ate:
- Gyros
- Chillbox (frozen greek yogurt)
- Tzaki
- Greek Salad
- Chicken souvlaki

What we learned:
- Oia:Very touristy. You can go cliff jumping here
ATVs are tourists main source of transportation

Alright Santorini, not sure I have the words to properly describe you. One thing we can all agree on is that Santorini is a very magical island. We were blessed to have a superb host who organized and set up absolutely everything, making our stay as enjoyable and easy as possible. We arrived late the first night, and in the morning awoke to a view a photograph cannot do justice. We rented ATVs for the first two days which was loads of fun and very handy. We headed to the black beach, and let me tell you black sand is killer hot; especially when we are unprepared and don't bring towels - oops. We finished the day with some unreal food; having gyros that were only two euros, and some frozen greek yogurt for dessert, we truly were in paradise.

The following day we woke up and headed to hike a mountain. I absolutely hate climbing up hills and am not sure what inspires me to always keep climbing. We then headed to the beach one last time and then to Oia for dinner. We heard that they had the best sunsets... apparently all the tourists got the same message as we were all crowded at the edge of the town to catch the best view of the sunset.

To end our time in Santorini we headed for a day at sea on a catamaran. I don't think Brooke really knew what she was signing up for as she gets a little motion sick. Actually, I don't think anyone of us really knew what we were signing up for. I think we pictured something more like being on a yacht for the day, but it was something more like a sailboat. To say the least it was supposedly a calm day on the water and the entire day it felt like the boat could have capsized. We saw a white beach and a red beach, we got to go into the hot springs, and snorkel (there are no sea creatures in Santorini, honestly).

We met some awesome people while we were here between our host Markos who was super helpful, a couple from New York on the catamaran, and our neighbours at the Airbnb from Boston.

Santorini had stellar sunsets, vivid views, fantastic food, pleasant people, wonderful weather, and much much more. Santorini very much so felt like a vacation to the max and it was beyond difficult to say goodbye. It is safe to say that Santorini has been added to all of our future vacation destinations.

Much love,
Alexa
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