It’s been a very long time since I last blogged. When I was young all I wanted to be when I grew up was a writer (well also i wanted to be a geologist!)… but then I discovered photography as a teenager & I basically never looked back. The problem with this little scenario when it comes to blogging, is that even if I’m feeling creatively charged with my photography & have tons of photos to post, if I hit writer’s block then I am quite literally unable to create a blog post. But today, the wannabe geologist in me is telling the aspiring writer in me to get up & remove that giant rock of doubt & procrastination, join up with the avid photographer in me, and get a damn blog post up already!
So this post is going to end my very long streak of not blogging. Thank goodness.
Unlike on most other trips we take, we brought a friend with us… our dear friend Matt & his companion van, Donnie. Basically, I took one million photos of Matt because he is not jaded by my camera in his face like the “others,” so I guess I should just preface this by saying… introducing Matt McDonald & Donnie!
Michael told me several months ago that we needed to have an epic vacation this summer, what he called our “last captive summer” with Madeline; meaning that this is the very last summer that she actually has to vacation with us, and after this year she will no longer be ours alone. After this year we have to share her with the world, and anything we want to do as a family will be in direct battle with what Madeline wants to do as an independent adult. Trying to wrap my head around that one, but shit… I’m super thankful to Michael for recognizing this need, and for encouraging me to block off two weekends in the summer so that we could pursue this idea… something completely unheard of when I’m in the business of photographing weddings that primarily happen on weekends in the summer. Michael has this way of reminding you what is most important in this world, even if just for a moment or for a summer, and for us it was that the importance of a family vacation preceded the importance of anything else that we could possibly have going on… even (especially!) work.
We met Matt serendipitously one year ago (you can read the story here… please do!), so it seemed just as serendipitous that Matt just happened to be planning to pass through Washington the exact same two weeks that we had decided to take off… we found this out very shortly before our planned departure, which coincidentally was a planned departure to who knows where! We knew what dates we were leaving, but we had no idea where we were going to go! So after many texts & phone calls with Matt, we finally decided to keep it simple & head over to the Olympic Peninsula… with plans of just seeing where the road would take us.
And boy, did the road take us. It overtook us. Forever. We intentionally mapped out our trips each day so that we had equal parts hiking, surfing, swimming, fishing, & relaxing throughout the week, and we searched for where we’d camp each night. We used the handy Delorme map that showed us roads we wouldn’t have otherwise known, and we’d be rollin’ deep through the woods & over the mountains & onto the beaches, hoopin’ & hollerin’ all the while… at times we felt like we were a bunch of wild kids, part of a wild rebellion to just be happy. Not just happy, but a rebellion to be ecstatic & to be completely satisfied, all at once. We met the challenge of the road with reckless abandon, and with full spirits we aimed for nothing, with everything we had. We didn’t pay for camping the whole time we were gone & had the most ridiculous spots you could imagine–oceanside, riverside, lakeside, parked on the beach & waking up to the tide almost rolling right into our bed, on top of a mountain, parked in the middle of an abandoned road–all of which made freedom feel even more tangible. Occasionally (about twice?) we had cell service over the nine days that we were gone, and from the photos of our campsites that I posted I was inevitably asked where/how we were finding these spots.On our last night of camping, I posted on instagram, “…this photo was taken on FR29, literally in the clouds and as high as the road could go. some friends have been asking about our camp spots, and what i can say about them is that in order to find each one it took a decent amount of driving around, dumb luck, and hopeful intuition. so if you’re a little dumb, lucky, hopeful, intuitive & enjoy the road less traveled, well… the world is yours for the taking, my friends!”
That about sums it up.
I want to tell you about all the weird & rad things we did & saw & the amount of expletives we couldn’t help ourselves from & the million times we screamed with amazement & about the fish we caught & ate & the glacial “showers” we took & the maybe illegal trails we found that led to places you would not.even.believe & the amount of dreaming/drinking we did & the times that howling at the moon just seemed reasonable & the strange friend encounters we made, real & imaginary… and I want to bore you with the details of where we were & what we did, but I’m just going to list them at the bottom of this post & if you want further information, feel free to comment or email me, and leave the rest up to your wildest imaginings. Because what I really want to bore you with are the details of what I’ve learned from Michael to be the most important details. The stories that we create & the lives we choose to live, and the things that we can learn by letting go of our fear of talking to strangers or our fear of not having every last step that we’re hoping to take planned out. The importance of being intentional with what you take & what you give, and the importance of learning to just be… this, among so many things, I learned from Matt. When Madeline entered my life so long ago, all I said to her was, “it’s you & me. we’re in this together, just you & me.” When Michael walked into my life, I fell in love with him against all that was logical or “right.” When Matt parked across the street from our house with his aura the color of adventure, we said, “let’s be friends.” None of this makes sense, but it doesn’t have to. None of our trip made sense, but from it we each learned something new about ourselves & about each other every single day that we were together, we learned that nothing can be trusted so you may as well just learn to wholeheartedly trust your instincts & your intuition & your self, and we learned that being together was the most important thing at that time, in that place.
And we learned to just be dumb. Just plain old dumb. And it was the best week ever.
places we went… but only some of the places because i want you to adventure out on your own & just be dumb about it too! crescent lake // neah bay // hobuck campground // shi shi beach // strait of juan de fuca // lake ozette // second beach, lapush // hoh rainforest and be sure to check out the instagram collection of our trip by searching #donnieandpriscilla !!!