Waking Up Your Big Travel Dreams.

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Last night I met an online friend I’ve shared hopes and dreams with for over three years now.

It was intense and comfortable at the same time, and it felt totally natural to show her all the things we’ve talked about, or that she’s seen on social media, for years now. The strawberries bursting out in the garden. My kids and their inquisitive eyes and questions. The loft office where I do all my writing and thinking. The pie bar in town, and the cookie shop one town over.

The photos hanging on our walls.

It was a bit of a dream to meet her, and I didn’t think it would happen so soon. It was a dream to show her the life we have made here, and to hear about the one she has made out there. All of the familiar and still exciting parts of this life – the strawberries, the writing, the photography, the love. What was so cool was that she was on a road trip with her husband, fulfilling one of his life dreams to visit a museum in The Berkshires. It jumpstarted my brain and my heart, as I have been thinking lately about the honeymoon I never took with Cassidy and how we’re planning it now. It’s one of the biggest dreams.

If not the biggest dream. It’s Alaska.

Lately I feel like I’ve been waking up my dreams, one by one. I’ve felt like I’ve been on a path of momentum with my career and relationships for the last year or so. Of course I’m afraid of slipping backwards, and sometimes I do, but I’m realizing it doesn’t really work that way. We’re always inching forward, I believe. We’re always on a path – working and figuring things out. I started my blogging business a little over a year ago. I started my photography business about three years ago. I like to play the long game, which is necessary with two young kids, but I love watching my dreams “wake up.” I feel more alive.

Travel makes me feel more alive. And I love to do it creatively, because I can’t go anywhere without my camera. I always hope to live my life on the edge – of my own comfort zone, and of my wildest dreams. Here are my favorite travel photo tips:

1. Get up early. You just never know what you’ll see at dawn, will you? One of my dreams is to get boots up to my waist (does that exist?) and sit with a tripod and a zoom lens in a lake at dawn, just to see what kind of wildlife comes through. By the beach, you can see sunrises. If you’re hiking, rock climbing, or on a mountain, the morning light will take your breath away, just as much as whatever you’re doing does. I firmly believe that to really “get” a new place, see it at dawn.

2. Choose the right kind of lodging. There’s a saying about getting a room with a view, isn’t there? In Ocean City, Maryland, once, I chose an oceanside motel at the absolute wrong time of year for swimming and tourism, (but right for pricing) just so I could sit from my balcony and watch morning dolphins swim by. Every morning, it was like they’d wave as they passed me by. Whether it’s the mountains, the oceans, or whatever else grabs your fancy, consider what you’ll see right from your room.

3. Talk to people. I’m an ambivert, which means I can absolutely thrive off of alone time, or being in the midst of people, and sometimes that changes by the hour. By the minute! When I’m in a people mood, there’s nothing like talking to the people around you. Whether they’re locals, or other tourists, you will be inspired to hear and discover stories taking place around you. You could find a subject right there on your vacation, or find out about a hidden secret or gem to photograph.

4. Change your perspective. I’m all about the bird’s eye view, but I also really love to get low and see what’s above me. I’d say I do that so much, that I have to remind myself to go above, just as much as I go under. And all around. Just LOOK.

5. Don’t stop. Don’t stop traveling. Don’t stop shooting. And realize that “exotic” can be found anywhere. It can be someone’s backyard, just the way your backyard is exotic to someone else. This world is varied, alive, and thriving. There are stories to be told anywhere you look. I love to travel light with the equipment and look for stories everywhere I go. I’m a big fan of filling up the frame, or changing perspective to show something small in a large field. Don’t stop looking at this world.

Something cool, along the subject of travel and creativity, is SToK™ Cold-Brew Iced Coffee, which is simply made for people like me – who need an endless stream of inspiration and lightning bolts. You know I’m picky with my coffee.

That’s because I have to be. I get my SToK™ Cold-Brew Iced Coffee in the refrigerated aisle of my local Walmart.

Look at it. It’s just waiting for you. Whether you’re a photographer like me, or a computer game designer, web designer, painter, or rock climber, you know you often need something to take your hobbies, creative skills, and careers to the next, geeked-out level. SToK™ is that geeked-out coffee that helps you go, wherever you will go. Whether that’s morning moose, morning dolphins, or night-time cityscapes. Whether that’s on the yellow brick road, or way off the beaten path.

SToK™ is slow brewed, like all of my better ideas, and I have a lot of hare-brained ones too! That’s all ok. It’s just pure coffee, with no weird ingredients. They use an Arabica Blend and it’s a Brazilian Blend Flavor profile. And oddly, I had a dream two nights ago that I was in Brazil trying to post on Facebook that I was in Brazil. Perhaps I’ll get there someday. Maybe you will too.

What is your favorite creative outlet? Do you have any summer travel plans?

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  1. I think you know what my big summer plans are with Disney and you just got me so excited once again thinking about it. Seriously I leave in a month from Thursday and cannot wait now. But still loved your travel tips and you know I will be doing at least a few of these myself now next month for sure!! 🙂

    1. Wow, that’s coming up! I think that might be right near Scarlet’s birthday! She would be honored to know you’re going to her special place right near her birthday!

  2. Gorgeous photos as always. I’m not a morning person, at all. Unless its early, early morning and I haven’t gone to bed yet lol. That’s a bit too early for a sunrise, though. The front of our home faces east, I should just embrace one early morning and get out there, I’m always entranced with the colors of the sky and your photo above is pretty inspiring!

    1. I remember after college, I’d stay up all night and then come home as my dad was leaving for work! Ah, youth. I also remember driving six hours home from Niagara Falls because my brother needed his car back by 9:00am. I left Canada at 3:00am and got his car back a minute early. (he wasn’t even impressed!)
      If you should find yourself up early, or up so late it’s early, take a picture! I want to see it!

  3. These are excellent tips, Tamara. Over the last few years, photography is a place where I find creativity and comfort. I am glad you highlighted that the exotic can be found anywhere. So true. Some of my best pictures are from places in my neighborhood.

    1. I love that. I find excitement and stability all at once. When I’m anxious, holding the camera is very grounding.
      And I’m glad you liked my exotic tidbit!

  4. Oh my goodness – what gorgeous photos. If I could stay up all night, every night, I would. I love night time because everyone is asleep and it’s quiet. But, I am always up super early.

    1. If left to my own devices, I sleep past 9:00am! My husband will still be up early – ready to tackle the day. These are only on the rare occasions our kids are away, though.

  5. Love these suggestions! I love waking up early and that feeling of discovery that hits when you when traveling. I am an ambivert too and love meeting people on my travels! That cold brew looks SO good right now!

    1. Ambiverts unite! The cold brew rocks. You know I’m sensitive to coffee but I can stomach it quite well. And it’s fashionable looking!

  6. This looks yummy (and your photographs are always so dreamy. I love how you fill the frame, capture such vivid colors, find the best lighting!). Also I hope you had a wonderful time getting to see your friend and introducing each other to your worlds. I am so stoked to find out more about your honeymoon travel plans and happy that you are able to really DO THIS, at this time in your life. So excited for you 🙂

    1. Finding the light! That’s my thing. I’m not saying I’m always good at it, though. haha. I just don’t share all the photos.
      Alaska is so happening! It was fun to sneak it in this post.

  7. We have quite a few plans for the summer. Texas is one of them and we’ll be there in less than 2 weeks and Disneyland in July/August. I can’t wait! I’ve seen those drinks at Walmart but haven’t tried them. Maybe I’ll pick it up the next time I’m there.

    1. Thanks! Cassidy will be happy to hear because he decorated the deck with that thing you can see in the background and I keep using it for product photos.

  8. Oh my gosh that sunrise picture is absolutely stunning! Holy cow. I want to visit and I want to go on vacation, but we are stuck in town until all of our minor surgeries for our family members are over and done with. Fun summer right? Perhaps with cold drinks and good snacks it will make it all better!

    1. We had to get up so early for that! The colors were off the hook, though. Maine in peak foliage at dawn. Did we see a moose after that? Yes.
      Ugh, minor surgeries. Better than major, though!

  9. I love all these tips! I need to get up earlier. I’m more of a night owl, but you’re right, you can see all sorts of wonderful things in those early hours. And I hope you go to Alaska! I want to go back so much! There are so many things I wanted to see and do that we didn’t get to when we were there, but it was truly one of the most amazing places I have ever been!

  10. My eyes have really been opened to travel in the last few years. Not only do I want it but I pretty much crave it. I am so excited to take the boys all over the world–at least while they still WANT to travel with their mommy ha.

    1. I bet they will for awhile yet! I want to travel right now a lot, especially if we do have a third kid or second puppy, and that takes us away from leaving on whims.

  11. My brother in law loves photography, and his idea vacation is backpacking with his camera and sleeping in tents and getting up at 4am to get the right light and shot. I am more of a “lounge on the beach” type of girl. Love to be out in the sun all day, then shower up around 4 and have a yummy dinner and a glass of wine. No big plans this summer as we went away in april, but I love CT in the summer:)

    1. I think I’m both! Like four days of what your brother-in-law does, and then four days of what you do! That’s what we did in Florida. Five days of theme parking and then four days on the beach. We needed it after the Orlando craziness.

  12. I’m all about waking up early and enjoying the sun rise (though lately it happens so early I’m up after it!). Being awake early helps me make my dreams a reality, and get in some creative time. (Today I actually did some water coloring!).

  13. My bff went to Alaska a for her honeymoon and had an incredible time. They had a blast dog sledding. I plan to spend as much time in the warm air as possible. I think I’m still thawing out from winter.

    1. Ooh, we went dog sledding at the place we got married! It was only a few months before the wedding and luckily, all that snow melted in time.

  14. We’re just getting ready to leave for a big vacation, so thank you for the photography tips. There will be big sunrises/sunsets where we’re going!

    1. I’m excited for you!! My in-laws are going to the southwest this summer and I think that’s somewhere I’d get up at dawn every day to see.

  15. Great photo tips. I love the room with a view. So often, people say the room doesn’t matter, because they aren’t in it that much. To me, it matters a lot! So glad you’re waking up your dreams.

    1. Me too! It’s where you lay your head after or before a big day. I think it matters because I love to wake up and open the window to see a new land.

  16. I made a promise to myself that I would travel more with my camera this year. We are going to Thunder Bay – northern Ontario. Yes my dear, that IS THE Moose country of the world. It’s a 17 hour drive straight, or about 3 days with kids depending on your whining tolerance level. And the lake where we are staying is gorgeous. There’s a waterall nearby. A big one. A bear came to our camp fire one night on our last trip. So yes, boundless possibilities and this time, I will have a camera!

    1. Is it? Is that on file as being true? The Moose Capital of the world? I always wonder if it’s Alaska or Canada (a whole country rather than a whole state of the US) or even Russia or Norway. Or or… help me. I am going to Google right now.

      1. Technically it is a place in Saskatchewan, but I am sure others lay claim to the title Because Of Course tourists will flock to their town, right? Is that just us? 🙂

  17. Excellent tips! Getting up early is a good thing. I don’t always get to do that now because I sleep late.
    Also, I used to think I’m entirely an extrovert or an introvert but then I feel like I’m ambivert. It’s true that it can change! I’m excited for you and your Alaska trip. ♥

    1. You’re like me then! It changes! I could never commit to being just an introvert (so not one) or just an extrovert (also so not one).

  18. Lately, sewing has been my creative outlet. I just wish I had more time to do it.
    I hope you have lots of fun in Alaska 🙂

  19. When I was young I wanted to be able to paint the sunset/sunrise, but I never felt satisfied with the outcome. I always wanted to capture those vibrant pinks and oranges that are in the picture you have above. Love the idea that the ‘exotic’ can be found anywhere. What a wonderful outlook!

    1. I’ve never been good at painting, but my mother-in-law does sunsets and sunrises and I’m always bewildered because it seems so hard to me! Photography can be tough to capture what the eyes see too, though!

  20. Lots of plans for the summer, with my girls heading to camp then a trip to universal studios and hopefully North Carolina. Your photos are amazing and I plan to take many photos to enjoy our adventures.

  21. Ok so I know I’m suppose to be here for STok-Coffee and all, which I will be on the look out for the next time I am in Walmart, but I couldn’t help but notice in your picture that your Walmart sells Caribou Iced Coffee and mine does not 🙁

    1. I didn’t even notice that! How funny. We don’t have Caribou locations. Do you? I did go to one in Minnesota at the Mall of America. I got a caramel latte.

  22. I love to travel however I don’t get to as often as I would like. My biggest trip was a road trip up the East Coast from NC to Maine – it was beautiful and exciting and just wonderful! We woke up early and stayed up late, talked with the locals and explored both cities and seaside towns. I always travel with a coffee maker (i am such an addict!) and I must confess, I have never tried cold brew coffee!

  23. Oh, I am working so hard on my photography, for me I just take as many photos as possible, I think that improves the odds of getting a good picture! I love your description of your stay in Ocean City, that would be heavenly to me…I don’t need the crowds, just the scenery!

  24. Great pics , wonderful suggestions and ideas- thank you! Our camera was stolen on our last trip and we need to get a new one! I look forward to taking pics again!

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