I had to end my New Zealand journey with these images…the ones of the people. I wish I had had time to get shots of everyone, but logistically we just didn’t have time for all that scrambling. I’m grateful for the images of everyone that I was able to get! Landscapes are gorgeous and inspiring and have their own place in my heart…but relationships are what drive me to do what I do every single day. Capturing people is my passion.
What wonderful people and friends I met! All of them have become a true blessing in my life, in their own way. Sure, I’ll never forget the adventure NZ gave to me – but more than the beaches, more than the mountains….more than it all, I’ll always remember:
Stacee, the way her laugh filled up the room and made everyone want to be in on the joke with her. How we fangirled over Sarah Dessen and awkward Harry Potter Party photos….when we sat in a restaurant full of people and she said, through tears of laughter, “I’m so glad you’re here,” and it felt like the most important thing anyone had said to me in a very long time, and healed something broken in my heart.
Mandi, and us getting locked out on the front of the boat at Milford Sound when it got up close and personal to the waterfall, and, after getting completely soaked, she turns to me, her entire backside and whole head dripping wet (and me not much better off): “I thought that was going to be more of a light sprinkle.”
Ashley, sharing her incredible love story with me as we lay on the beach together, and being completely inspired by not only her year away from the love of her life, but the year spent in absolute service and selflessness – and how that beginning to their relationship shapes and molds their marriage even now.
Tyler, he must be the world’s most patient man, spending 2 weeks driving a van full of women around the countryside. Justin Bieber cranked up, group Youtube night in the living room, chasing sheep with the drone, and trying to keep up with Caitlin while also not making everyone in the car throw up.
Hope, and hearing the personal struggles she’s gone through to get where she is now. You know, the heartaches none of us could ever guess, without hearing it ourselves, and being more impressed with her and the role God has played in her life than I already was. I also loved just being a part of the group that witnessed her first tattoo, first bite of salmon, and yes, seriously, her first hamburger!
Kat, and hiking up from Cathedral Cove with her and gushing over the Hunger Games and Divergent. Experiencing her joy for life and people, her devotion and commitment to her marriage and her faith. Not to mention, she is seriously SO good at what she does! Do I need to remind you of the bouquet she whipped out of NOWHERE??
Nat, crying in the tiny bathroom space of our bunkhouse, hugging over the sink and laughing at our shared emotional-ness. Realizing just how freaking smart she is, and also realizing our upbringings are much more similar than I ever could have imagined. Her view on life is so unique, so different – it’s completely inspiring and refreshing.
Stacey, learning her story, being totally blown away with her bravery and sense of adventure (5 weeks of traveling foreign…by herself….) and now thinking of her every time I see a rainbow – or a bow & arrow. “A bow can only be pulled back so far before it is shot forward again,” she told me of the tattoo on her forearm.
Lauren, hiking barefoot on sharp tiny rocks to the highest possible cliff we could find was probably the best idea we had all week. It made me so happy someone else was just as crazy hungry for adventure as I was. Also, not being able to find the gas tank cover on the rental car. But mostly awarding me with “Most Likely to Make You Cry With a Blog Post.”
Bri, bonding over Harry and Manuel (remember, our horses?), and also just being so impressed at her ability to keep up with everyone while being 10 weeks pregnant!!! Like seriously, when I’m 10 weeks pregnant, I consider myself lucky if I get out of bed. She will forever be a serious kick butt trooper in my mind.
Caitlin, our fearless leader and my #womancrushwednesday all day every day. If I weren’t, you know, married and a mom to two boys, I’d be following this woman around everywhere she went. I love her crazy driving, her nose piercing, and the memory of chatting quietly at the helm of the boat sailing through Milford Sound. Not to mention she took these amazing headshots of me, which is making me crush crazy hard on film right now!!
Renee, I JUST can’t say enough wonderful things about Renee. She just made me happy to be around her. She was always making me laugh, you know…by doing things like jumping off the roof for her “paragliding” adventure.
Steph, bunking with her the entire trip, and just loving her absolute confidence in life and herself. Chatting late into the night about when her boyfriend will propose (he didn’t wait long after she came home!!!), and making up the perfect man and perfect proposal for Caitlin. Also, ordering two pizzas with Bri on accident and just eating them both anyway (okay, I helped…)
Erica, quietly discussing our views on life as we walked around Lake Hayes. Asking each other questions with open hearts and sincere desire to just understand know each other. Her openness about a personal heartache in her life. Sitting on her bed and feeling just as comfortable in silence as we did in conversation.
Kim, K-Wow! Seriously, the most excitement for travel I’ve ever witnessed. Kim is such a faithful follower of Christ, and His light shines through her every action. People are naturally drawn to her and want to be around her because it just feels good to be around someone that kind and in tune with the Lord’s will. My favorite moments with Kim were my final hours of the trip – talking with her one on one just before boarding my plane back to Salt Lake.