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Crystal Ball
A new year is always a time for reflection, and this year, for whatever reason, something percolated to the surface from more than a decade ago, when, on a bit of a whim and the recommendation of a friend (whom I respected for not being a flake), I went to visit a psychic. I thought at the very least, it will be entertaining, and even though my skeptical ‘Spidey-sense’ was tingling, I tried to keep an open mind.

As it turned out, this was much more of a girl-chat than a séance, and although I don’t remember much of what this woman told me, I do remember one piece of advice she offered with respect to relationships: “If you want to keep a relationship strong and growing, find something you do together that fulfills you both.”

So, what does this have to do with travel, you might ask. Read on…

It has been years since I shelved that psychic’s comment, but it came back to mind recently after a trip to Northern Ontario with hubby Henk, where we were hiking some of the region’s most beautiful trails on a whirlwind 4-day, 5-trail circuit. In the midst of all this traipsing around the province, I had a revelation about ‘that thing’ Henk and I have begun to embrace as a couple. “Aha!”, you might be thinking, “hiking is the thing that you both love to do!” But you would be wrong. (In fact, I’m not much of a hiker at all normally.) “Travel, then!” you say, but you would be wrong again. (Well, not totally wrong, as I’ll explain.)

Henk hiking Cup & Saucer Trail

Hiking the Cup & Saucer Trail, Manitoulin Island

What I had discovered is that one of the ties that binds Henk and I is a creative one. Which took me a bit by surprise, and here’s why: I always thought that I was the ‘textbook’ creative person in our relationship, given that I had the job in advertising that required me to think and execute visually; I had the background in fine art; I was the one who painted canvases; and I was the one who always picked the paint colours in the house! Even though I knew Henk was creative in how he thought and solved problems in his work as a design/builder, his ‘creations’ were not the kind of things you put on a wall – they were the walls themselves.

It turns out that I married a very creative guy, and I have our shared love of travel to thank for that discovery. Because it was through launching Grownup Travels, that I discovered a way Henk and I can both express ourselves creatively: I do it through my storytelling and curating of content, and Henk contributes his talents as a photographer, capturing and creating images that I have neither his unique eye nor his technical savvy to produce.

Henk at White Sands

Henk shooting the dunes at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

My vision is my own, of course, and I do shoot my own photos, too, but Henk sees things in a way that I often don’t, and he has the patience that I lack for capturing certain images. Take some of his long-exposure night shots, for example, like this one taken in the Serengeti in Tanzania:

Tanzania Serengeti moon

Moon and stars over the Serengeti, Tanzania

Or this one of the milky way, taken over a lake near Sudbury, Ontario.

Long Lake Milky Way

The Milky Way on a calm night in Northern Ontario

While I may appreciate the stars, I don’t have the patience to capture them! Fiddling around with exposures and apertures is right up Henk’s alley, and he’s more than willing to reshoot something until it’s perfect. It’s not uncommon for him to spend 3 hours outside capturing the rotation of the earth around a single point in the sky. (I’m usually inside sleeping, of course).

And cold doesn’t stop him either, as evidenced by this image of a random stretch of barbed wire covered in hoar frost, which looks like it’s been painted, not photographed.

Caledon frosty barbed wire

Hoar frost crystals on barbed wire fencing near Caledon Ontario

Henk’s even been known to wade into a river at dawn to get the perfect shot – like this one of Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona.

Oak Creek Canyon Arizona

Oak Creek Canyon’s dawn reflections, Arizona

Before Grownup Travels, Henk had always been into photography to some extent, but now he has taken this hobby to a new level – and given us a shared purpose whenever and wherever we travel. We consult on what imagery is needed in order for me to tell the story, I get his advice on my own camera settings (here’s where his techie knowhow comes in really handy!) and he lets me shortlist the images after the fact and choose the best of the lot (my advertising background comes in handy here).

Bagan, Myanmar

Misty mornings in Bagan, Myanmar

I always thought launching Grownup Travels could be an answer to my own ‘what do I do after advertising?” question. But it looks like what began as a labour of love for me has become both Henk’s and my “baby” – and as it grows, it allows us both to grow creatively as well.

Looks like that psychic was onto something after all.

Kissing shadows

TIP: If you’d like to see more of our photography, browse the gallery pages in the main menu at the top of the site, or you can follow our Instagram feed, or Like our Facebook page.

 

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