I went back and forth on whether or not to start posting some personal pictures and adventures on this blog.What I landed on was that relationships are a huge part of our business. Couples choose to work with us not just because of our work, but also because they connect with us in some way. The best way for you to know us, especially as our destination wedding numbers grow, is for us to post a bit about what goes on when we aren’t on the clock! If you know us or follow us (Claire) on Instagram you know how important travel is to us. We feel the most fulfilled and the most at peace when we’re on the road. We love discovering new places, or re-visiting some of our favorites on the path to something new. One of the things that was super important to me was that we didn’t stop traveling when we had kids. Now it hasn’t always been easy but I’ve always promised to be transparent about the process, especially as a business owner. While I understand that majority of our target client base may not have children yet (so may not care about that part), most eventually will and maybe they’ll look back and remember the hilarity that is our traveling process. Or, I’m just writing this for us and that is probably OK too. 😉
I’m featuring 3 separate trips over the course of 2 years. One while I was pregnant with Rowan, another while Rowan was 5 1/2 months and I was nursing and then the last trip I am pregnant again and running after a toddler. I hope we get a bit better at taking pictures while we are out and about traveling the world. It gets a bit tough with the tripod and self timer but we’ve started to get the hang of it.
In 2015 we got the amazing opportunity to shoot a wedding in Madrid, Spain and then another wedding in Puerto Rico the following week. So we decided to make it an extended European/international vacation. Only hiccup being that our fertility treatments finally decided to stick (yay) and I became pregnant right before the trip. So here I was 9 weeks pregnant on my way to the European adventure I had always dreamed about professional and personally and all I wanted to do was literally throw up all over it. Our itinerary was Paris—>Nice—->Madrid—–>Dublin—–>PuertoRico. This trip was wonderful and tricky.
Tips for those traveling while pregnant. 1) Snacks, snacks, snacks. I had to eat something every hour or things got a bit dizzy. 2) Hard candy to suck on for the plane ride. 3.) Drink more water than is comfortable to drink. 4) Sleeping when your body tells you to. 5) Have the most patient spouse ever, that knows you better than you know yourself.
Paris was lovely but we had mostly dreary weather and considering some intense jet lag, I felt extra horrible the days we were there. But we still got this super touristy shot at the top of the Arch de Triumph of the Eiffel Tower! We stayed in the Latin Quarter and LOVED that area. We’ve stayed there two more times since that first visit. <3 OK so Nice will always have a very special place in our hearts. We have been a lot of places but very few places held the calm that Nice held for us on this trip. We both felt relaxed and at home. I think that if we ever looked into buying real estate abroad this would be the first on our list to consider. We stayed in the Old Town part of the city, near the promenade and the beach where we could walk to absolutely everything. Which we did, everyday. The market is something I still think about. Fresh fruit, fresh herbs, fresh tea all sorts of fresh breads. Oh the smells. Regardless of how crappy I felt, that always put me in the very best mood. I drank the tea I got there for well over 6 months when we got back and I still miss it. If anyone is heading to Nice, let me know. I have an order. 😉 We stopped very quickly in Dublin. I ate all the fish and chips. Seriously. I had seconds every time. My great grandmother is from Ireland so it has always been a bucket list item to go and check it out. We only were there for 36 hours so we didn’t get to make it up to Donegal where my family is from, but we still made it to the coast and it was just as beautiful as I always thought it would be. Definitely will be back. Oh and Dublin has the most beautiful flower boxes. I strongly believe in flower boxes. Fast forward about 12 months and we found ourselves back in Europe. This time in Italy bound. Our first stop was in Florence. Barrett and I usually choose to fly separately for a bunch of reasons but that usually leaves me with el kid all alone. In this case flying with a 5 1/2 month old internationally alone proved interesting but over all pretty enjoyable. I actually have Go-pro footage of our set up it but I haven’t edited it yet. I tend to rock the less is more theory when it comes to traveling with kids. No we didn’t bring a carseat or our bulky stroller or a million toys. I wore him in my carrier the whole time through the airport. I brought a piece of faux leather that he could kinda roll around on the airport floor, a few things for him to gnaw on and that was pretty much it. He was shockingly content. For those that follow along with my life, you may know that my kid doesn’t sleep. That remained to be true on this trip but with so much to see and do he stayed pretty content in transit. Added bonus, if your kid doesn’t sleep, then jet lag has no affect.
Florence was wonderful. We stayed at an adorable AirBnb over looking the Duomo and it was so fun to look out and see such grand architecture while we sipped wine and had bread. The best food we had was probably a truffle pasta we found from a stand in the market. We tend to lean toward street food, most times it’s the most authentic and less tourist driven. I have so many videos for this trip. Maybe while I’m on maternity leave I can do some video editing.
Tips for traveling with an infant while nursing: 1.) Babywear as often as you can. Seriously such a life saver/ time saver. There was nowhere we couldn’t go and we didn’t have to worry about whether or not we fit somewhere. Europe is old, it does not have excessive ramps and elevators to accommodate stroller systems. 2) Drink more water than is comfortable, traveling is super dehydrating. 3) Back to the snacks. Seriously I don’t know how people travel without snacks. 4.) Don’t worry if the baby is fussy. OK so this is a personal thing but I love going to Europe because I feel like they treat kids as less of a bother then sometimes we do here in America. I know I’ve been super self conscious in the past of Rowan crying or being hungry if we were in a restaurant when he was young. It was super refreshing to see how much they didn’t care in Europe, especially in Italy. They called him Piccolo (little one) and loved on him. It gave me such beautiful perspective. 5) Use public transport when possible. This goes back to convenience. I had no intention of traveling with a carseat and I have no interest in trying to figure out all of that when I’m in another country. Trains, planes and boats work just fine for us.
Then we headed south to Positano. via train to naples and then ferry from Sorrento. (Note: Don’t do this with a bunch of stuff and a kid. Just pay to have someone drive you from Sorrento to Positano.) Positano really is as beautiful as everyone says it is. We stayed at Hotel Pupetto which is actually a bit off the beaten path in Positano and we LOVED it. It’s a quaint little hotel but it has its own beach which is nice. There was nothing that I treasured more than getting up in the morning, having cappuccino looking out over the water when the sun came up with my men. A lot of the “desired” hotels are up at the top of the city coveted for their views. For us walkability and the ability to take Rowan to the beach whenever we wanted, even if it was for a few minutes, won out. As an added bonus, we happened to stumble upon the yearly fish festival for the town. All the boats pulled right onto our beach and set up fish fry stations and live music and it was quite a party. Was so fun to be a part of. The food was great, but a bit more touristy driven which was fine. I’m pretty sure we rounded off this trip back in Paris, but didn’t take any pictures because we are slackers. BUT we stayed in my favorite boutique hotel to date. Lapin Blanc in the Latin Quarter so that is definitely worth documenting. We decided that we wanted to squeeze in one more Europe trip before Rowan turned 2 (and was no longer free airfare). This time we decided to do Edinburgh, London and Paris. Barrett had never been to the UK so we thought that would be a perfect place for us to go and adventure. So traveling with a toddler not the same as traveling with an infant. I feel like maybe in retrospect, as awesome as the trip was, it would have been wiser to go somewhere a little more low key, than huge cities. The whole “is my kid running head first into traffic?” is a bit more stressful than I would like on vacation. Especially when I was pregnant again, about 20 weeks or so. However, Rowan did remarkably well. He is pretty resilient, as many kids are, and adjusted great. We just didn’t get to do a lot of sit down restaurants because his attention span wouldn’t allow it for any time except the morning.
Edinburgh was first up and we had remarkably fabulous weather. Sunny and 60s. Another festival we stumbled across, was Fringe Music Festival. We didn’t realize it was going on, because we are super hip like that. It was a bit ironic since we couldn’t party or hit up any of the shows but it was fun to walk around and the city was definitely bustling with energy. I got to do my history nerd things and go to Edinburgh castle. I loved it, the boys were less thrilled. We also hiked up Arthur’s Seat. Or as far as our umbrella stroller would take us. We visited the same park every day to let Rowan run out some of his toddler energy. I loved it because there were rowan trees everywhere you looked. Felt appropriate. How you carry a toddler who doesn’t want to cooperate. (not our stroller.) Next stop was London. My very favorite city in the entire world. It was also fun to go around and do some of the touristy things Barrett hadn’t done yet. Day trip to Oxford was fabulous. I highly recommend the 2 hour walking tour. We stayed in the Notting Hill/ Hyde Park area of London which we thought was going to be super quiet but little did we know another festival was following us! Carnival! We didn’t participate fully for the same reasons we didn’t in Edinburgh but there were so many pop up shops and food stands to explore. Super fun. We also stayed across the street from Kensington Gardens, which was so fun to visit every evening and let Rowan run around. Last stop, back to Paris for the 3 time in a little over 2 years. We love this city. We specifically made the stop so I could have my birthday present, which was spending the day at the Palace of Versailles. I have to tell you this was the most perfect day for me. We had amazing weather and Rowan was in a great mood. I spent the whole day fully present, which I feel like I’m not always great at. I could have stayed there for a week. Thanks for following along on all our adventures!!! Back to your wedding/photography related programming! XO