was successfully added to your cart.

Features & PublicationsPhotography Resources

Featured: Beloved Collective Magazine, Volume One: ADVENTURE ALWAYS

We’re so incredibly honored to be contributors among so many talented artists in the first issue of the new Beloved Collective Magazine!  Being featured and asked to create a small write-up for the event sparked a lot of memories from last October. We wanted to share a little part of our story with you.

In early October, we set out for a conference that we knew little about. It was going to be part of our Four Year Anniversary Celebration (We got married October 24, 2009),  we planned on starting in Long Beach with Adventure Always & then rent a car and drive up the coast, stopping in Big Sur & ending in San Fran. We were VERY excited for the adventure and out of all of the “planned parts” The Adventure Always Conference was the part we knew least about, and therefore, we really weren’t expecting much from it. We heard about it from a photographer friend , and since it seemed to fit in with our anniversary trip, we thought it would be a good place to start.

A month before our trip my Nonno took a turn for the worse. He had been battling cancer for the last few years and it had finally came to a point where he didn’t want to fight anymore. The Hospice nurses said he had less than 4 weeks left. We were set to leave in exactly 4 weeks. Leading up to the trip, we spent every day at my grandfather’s house soaking up stories, looking at old photos & providing support for each other.   In the back of our heads, we started to lean towards canceling our upcoming trip.

Adventure Always Beloved Collective First Issue

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 preset

It got down to the final days before leaving and everyone, including my Nonno,  insisted we had to continue with life as planned. We were leaving Buffalo under less than ideal conditions. My Nonno was in his final days of battling cancer and we knew he could pass at any moment. I  felt strongly in my heart we should cancel the trip. It did not make sense to go on a 10 day “adventure” knowing my grandfather would pass at some point during the trip. But under everyone else’s advice to continue on, we set out. 

We were dropped off at the airport and after an hour of waiting, I looked down & noticed my diamond was missing from my engagement ring! The whole ring was intact, but the diamond was gone, as if it had been plucked right off the band. We had never insured the diamond because we thought it was sort of silly to do so, but I guess in that moment, we both looked at each other and knew it was gone.  We started to look around the airport for over an hour  with no luck.  We decided to give up.

I walked over to security to report it missing & he took me around the areas one last time and said he’d call us if it showed up anywhere. He said that the cleaning crew had just come through so it was most likely swept up by then… I took this as a BIG sign to NOT get on the plane. I already have an immense fear of flying, and with that paired with Nonno being so sick,  it was if someone was screaming at us to STOP! Don’t Go!!!  

I walked away from the security desk and my phone started to ring, It was Brian, “The plane is leaving, we have to get on now or never.”  Signs are big. I decided we weren’t going.

And then, I felt an immense energy inside tell me say:  “Look down, one last time”.

 So I did.

And there, right by my feet, in the middle of the airport speckled floor was the stone.


A sign.

Everything was going to be fine. 


We got on the plane, headed out and arrived in Long Beach at around 11pm PST. We went straight to bed in our cabin and awoke at 4am to a phone call from my mother letting us know Nonno had passed.  Feelings of sadness & regret that we had made the wrong choice to come started to come tumbling back in. I knew we shouldn’t have left.

We started canceling our trip backwards. First San Fran, Then Big Sur, and then we got to the conference. We couldn’t get a hold of anyone to cancel or reservation (everyone was already setting up for the conference). So we decided to attend one day, introduce ourselves and and then we’d head back to Buffalo the next day. It was near impossible to find a same day flight anyway. After we attended the first Beloved Collective part of the conference, we received a phone call that the wake had been planned for October 24th (our anniversary, of all days), and that we’d be fine staying for the conference and returning home that morning to attend all of the services.  We knew that Nonno would have wanted us to continue on, so we did.  We truly did not know what to expect.

Adventure Always Beloved Collective First Issue

Fast Forward to October 23rd, 7pm. We sat in the long beach airport awaiting our flight home, discussing the impact we felt and how we felt moved on an emotional and professional level. We knew things needed to change when we got home & we couldn’t wait to begin.
We returned home…a few days passed…the wake, the funeral & then life started to happen…and, well… we went back to our normal routine, changing what felt like nothing.

We felt let down with ourselves knowing we wanted to make change and yet we couldn’t seem to set ourselves in motion.

Over the next few weeks we relived the conference through other photographer’s blog posts, online forums, and quick browses through our notes from the conference. We’re beyond thankful for these reminders that have brought us back to the conference and to a place of knowing there is still something asleep inside, waiting for us to make our changes.  Knowing this has got to be the first step to change, right?

It took us a while to want to post anything about the conference because we were scared that we are the only ones that have fallen back into the way things were before we left.  But heck, we’re shared anyway:  GreenWeddingShoesShawPhotographyCo._0050

Since writing that post, we have come to a realization that everyday is an adventure (or at least an opportunity to make one). We have set goals that we continue to work at every day and have come to honor the journey of reaching the goal IS the adventure we want to be on. Most of our goals don’t have a deadline, they are continuous and never ending life long adventures. 

Here are a few of the things we’ve been working on these past 6 months: 

  • get out of our house & away from our computer as much as possible
  • hone our craft & find clients that match what we want to share
  • travel & explore new places as much as possible 
  • put our relationship before the business and making time for us 
  • create images that are important rather than images that are “good.”  Important ALWAYS wins
  • empty our home, closets & life of things that hold us back
  • stop comparing ourselves to other photographers and started concentrating on what we have to offer
  • make better food choices
  • consistent yoga practice
  • work on photo experiments to help us find our voice & style
  • wake up by 5:30 am
  • be grateful. be patient. be forgiving
We’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the trip.  It’s hard to put into words the mixed feelings of that week, loosing our Nonno & experiencing something so full like Adventure Always with heart.  And not to mention, while at Adventure Always, we met SO many wonderful & encouraging people who had lost great & important things in their lives and yet were there,  standing strong, connecting, sharing & still working to heal & live their lives as full as possible. 
It has been the encouragement we needed, a reminder: all is right, right where we are.