Sometimes I wonder if taking hundreds upon hundreds and thousands of pictures for myself is honestly necessary. Half the time I forget about them and they’re all stored up on hard drives that are just collecting dust. I’m so bad about printing pictures and albums— even though I beg my clients to with their pictures. Do I really need pictures of the same view at sunrise, mid day, and sunset? Or do I really need pictures of the food I ate for lunch? Half the time I get looked at like I’m absolutely insane when I’m in public taking pictures climbing on top of everything just to get a better view (more often than not by my husband— love you babe haha) so really, is it all that necessary??
But then theres that day where I pull out those old hard drives and next thing you know hours have passed where I’ve just been sitting here, scrolling through image after image, smiling to myself, all those memories rushing back to me of being in those places— so yes, it is necessary. I do it for the same reason that I do it for other people— I want it to feel like I’ve gone back in time, years and years ago, to that exact place, with those exact same people, and those exact same feelings I was feeling at that time.
I have been so fortunate in my life. I sit here and think about all the things I’ve been able to accomplish, all of the places I’ve gotten to share with my incredible husband, all of the relationships I’ve formed and friendships I’ve been so blessed to have made— sometimes I have a hard time believing that there has been this much good in my life and if we’re being honest, how in the world did I deserve it all.
I get to pull out these old hard drives (hopefully they’ll be in albums soon), for all of my kids and generations to come— and share the stories of how at 3am as the sun was rising and the sky was all purple and pink, I got to hike up a mountain, holding on to ropes and crossing logs, to sit on a cliffs edge and soak up mist from a 650 foot waterfall cascading down a canyon as thousands of white birds flew around it. I get to show them a time that their dad and I were able to run around the Swiss alps at 5,400 feet above sea level and watch the sun set, and about that one time that we rode 3 hours nauseous and exhausted, having just overcome food poisoning, on a bumpy and crammed bus in the dry desert of Africa to go see a three tiered waterfall and let monkeys climb all over us.
How blessed are we.
So here is only a glimpse into the pictures that I took on our most recent adventure to the Canary Islands, Morocco, and Malaga. This is one of those trips where it honestly wasn’t all smiles and easy going— more often than not when people are traveling they don’t show the downsides to it all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining AT ALL, I would take food poisoning, heat exhaustion, lack of sleep and everything in between to be able to travel like this always. But with the travel comes all of that stuff— especially to places like Morocco. There comes food poisoning and nausea, delayed flights and sleeping in airports, massive migraines, throwing up on the side of the road, language barriers, poor hygiene (not always by choice), and all those things that we are so used to having back at home— and not having it at all. But that’s honestly the beauty of it. We are able to take a step into other peoples lives, who know no different, just for a split second. And we’re able to remember how blessed we are— and how much we shouldn’t take for granted. We’re able to meet new people from across the world, learn of their lifestyle and their kindness, and they’re all so kind— all of us taking and leaving little pieces of those places and those people everywhere we go.
This trip wouldn’t have been possible without our friends Logan and Caleb. They’re the whole reason this trip happened and the whole reason these memories were made. They dreamed up the dream of starting up a home goods shop, where they were able to give back to these communities that they visited and bought goods from. I was so fortunate to be a part of documenting the beginning of Merchant Collective— the interactions and relationships made over in Morocco through all of the purchases made, I got to be a part of and it was so amazing to see so much heart and soul put into this dream of theirs. I don’t do it justice— explaining what they’re all about— so head on over to www.merchantcollective.com to learn about how they are giving back to the communities they visit all over the world— and how they’re turning homes into safe havens all around them. Love these two humans with all my heart— and forever am grateful for their example, their perseverance, their selflessness, and unbelievably pure hearts and love for those around them near and far.
A little summary on each place we visited before I lose all of your interest to continue on to the pictures— I’ll be surprised if you made it this far!
Canary Islands— The tiniest of all islands part of Spain, but closest to Africa. We spent our time in Gran Canaria— and it was incredible. So clean, and the people were so inviting and friendly. We spent some time at the Maspalomas Dunes along the ocean as the sun set, at one of the biggest and most breath-taking gardens, and on black sand beaches with the waves crashing against the shore.
Morocco- the most incredible place— the main reason for this trip. This is where we spent most of the time gathering goods and building up the beginning of Merchant Collective. Stacks and stacks of hand stitched rugs, carefully crafted pottery, handmade leather poufs, bags, and journals— all perfectly made by the incredible artisans within Morocco. We stayed in the coolest Riad (Shukran), met the kindest humans, got food poisoning and felt consistently nauseous 5 out of the 6 days, rode 3 hours on the bumpiest, hottest, and most crammed bus to hike back to a waterfall in the middle of the desert, bought way too many rugs and poufs, ate way too much cardboard pizza because we were too afraid to eat anything else, but then had some of the most amazing meals out of tanginess, and spent most of our days getting lost in the Medina— the best thing to do.
Malaga— We originally just had a short layover in Malaga, until we started looking into it more and then decided to turn that layover into a 3 day stay. And I’m so happy we did. Southern Spain is hands down one of the most breath taking places you could go. We spent our time in Malaga and exploring Rhonda, and already we want to go back. We stayed in an Airbnb with the most incredible view of the country side, ate fresh oranges on the daily that we picked out in our front yard, and walked along ramparts of a breathtaking castle overlooking the entire city that dates back to the 10th century.
So first up, Gran Canaria—
Then on to Morocco—
And last but not least, Malaga, Spain and everything in-between.