In the summer between my Grade 11 and Grade 12 years (the same summer I started my business), my parents took us to Europe. For almost three weeks, we traveled through Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, France, and England. For years I had dreamed about Europe, specifically seeing the coast of Italy and the city of Paris. It was an incredible trip, truly the trip of a lifetime–so thankful for my parents and the value we’ve placed on traveling in our home. Not many girls have their seventeenth birthday dinner on Montmartre. I came home from Europe in August a different girl. Yes, I was seventeen and no longer sixteen, but it more than my age had changed. I saw God’s incredible hand in creation–art and culture and food and people!–miles away from my hometown. Maybe it was simply coincidental timing, but looking back on little seventeen year old Jamie, I really do see my heart for God growing through those travel experiences.
Fast forward four years later. I traveled all over Canada and the United States for photography work and conferences or heck, any excuse to visit industry friends I had made all over. Even at seventeen, I knew Europe would be more than a one-time deal for me (I was a dreamer. And I am a dreamer.) but I never knew when and under what circumstances my “someday” return would be. Until the Spring of 2011. My dad was going on a Missions trip to Zambia with our church, and in order to use his British Airways points, needed to fly to London earlier than the team. His plan was to tour alone for 2-3 days, meet up with the men, fly to Africa. I asked if I could come. I could hang out with him; and when he left for Africa, I could stay for a few days in London by myself and fly home. Or… maybe I could find a travel partner (sometimes easier said than done) and continue onto Scotland and Ireland.
I emailed Kristen and said, Hi. I know this is crazy. But I want to see Ireland and Scotland. And I don’t have anyone to go with. And I know it’s a big expensive trip and I know you’ve been traveling a lot and probably don’t want to come, but if you do, great, but mainly I thought you might have some ideas of who else to ask. She emailed back, YES. I’M IN. I was very surprised. But in hindsight, it makes so so so much sense. God has the best plans. A few months post-email, Kristen and Caleb start dating. We left for the United Kingdom one week later. Now, less than two years later, she’s married (read her blog here) and pregnant (read about that here) and would be in no shape to hop around the U.K. with me. We had a window of single-travel-happy years together and gosh-darn-it, we used them WELL.
In all seriousness, those 3 days in London (with my Mom and Dad) and 9 days in Scotland and Ireland (with Kristen) were… incredible. Incredible is a weak word to describe 12 days full of laughs and adventures and food and walking and photographs. As part of my winter project line-up, I designed and printed this Blurb book of our time together. And as a Christmas gift, I customized one for Kristen (complete with a collage on the last few pages of ALL her iPhone photos she snapped non-stop, girl barely picked up an actual camera–actually don’t think she brought one) and mailed it to her in Maryland.
I want to share the printed album with you and therefore give myself a legitimate excuse to reminisce. So here we go. One of the best parts of our travels was the amount of writing I was able to do. I wrote almost 2 hours a day.
PS. I plan to blog about all albums seen in the first photo.
P.P.S. Books were printed at Blurb.Com // As mentioned in the last paragraph. Buuuut, judging by emails and comments – it seems to have been overlooked! Enjoy!