Last week, Laura Foote, my dear friend came up from her Tampa, FL home to visit us here in Augusta, GA. She was not only in town for a week of adventure and rest, but she also was celebrating her first week of being a full time photographer! *Pops champagne!* Anyone in the creative world knows just how hard it is to make the leap out of your 9-5 job and into the unknowns of small business life. It's so worth it, but goodness, it's scary! Instead of feeling that fear, we leaned into the joy of community, freedom and photography and did what any good photographers would do: visit other creatives and bop on over to the lovely Charleston, SC!
The last time I was in Charleston was for the Rising Tide Society Leaders Retreat in February with 85 creative leaders across the nation. No matter the reason for my visit, Charleston never ceases to wow me! It's beautiful and quaint, curious and surprising, and most of all, it's a bit magical. I have been a zillion times, and yet I still feel like I find something new to see, shoot... and eat every time I visit!
Laura & I explored, laughed, shed a few sentimental tears and invested back in our lives and business through a little workcation, and it was such a valuable week in so many ways. I am so excited to share a few photos here and a couple tidbits at the end about our favorite spots, Airbnb and more. A huge thank you to Laura for snapping some headshots of me throughout the week!
And now for my travel takeaways for this amazing mini-getaway:
1. Airbnb is a traveler's dream: My family has always been VRBO folk. Years ago we began renting a home in Hilton Head Island, SC through VRBO and were hooked ever since on staying in homes and apartments instead of hotels. For those of you who don't know Airbnb yet, you absolutely should! People (some with impeccable taste!) open up a room in their home and even their entire homes to renters in amazing cities across the world. From Paris to Charleston, I've experienced some amazing Airbnbs and this one was no different! Any images you see here that look like they could be straight out of a Garden & Gun feature on interiors, just assume they came from our Airbnb. You experience the city from a local's perspective with amazing recommendations from the hosts, and for us, with drool-worthy interiors. Instead of a dingy, dark hotel room, we stayed in a room of our host's home that was within walking distance of all the food, drinks and beautiful streets we could want. And get this... it was only $20 more than the Days Inn a couple blocks over. Plus, they had two Vizsla puppies that we couldn't get enough of. Give me all the furry friends on vacation! I'm so grateful for Laura discovering this gem, and I would take the true Charleston experience over the Days Inn any. day.
2. Workcations are such business fuels: Anyone who has traveled with me before knows that I am likely to stop at any moment (even in the middle of the street) if something beautiful catches my eye. In seasons when "busy" just seems to be a way of life, getting away to seek that beauty in community with other creatives is so life-giving. Laura & I have some uncanny similarities: a love of good food, a mind that lends toward marketing and communications, a faith in His providence and guidance and an itch for adventure to name a few. Another one to add to that list is husbands who are unbelievably supportive and love our photography, but also think we're insane when we want to shoot every single window box on the street. ;) Traveling with fellow photographers not only breeds creativity, but also gives us the freedom to create without a timeline or feeling like we're infringing on other plans. When we needed to catch up on e-mails, we spent time drinking champagne and eating chocolate caramel cheesecake at Carmella's, and when we wanted to take advantage of the amazing light for some headshots, we opted for a later brunch of cocktails, 3 dishes and dessert instead of rushing through photos. But more than anything, being away from the desk and dedicating time investing in our businesses allows us to bounce ideas around, speak life into each other's businesses and be reminded that we aren't alone in this journey. Good things. y'all. I'm already itching for another workcation. Who's in?
3. Good friends have good friends: So many people throughout the week asked how we know each other being from two totally different areas. Well, we met on Instagram, that's how, and Instagram turned into a real life friendship when Chip & I stayed at Laura & her awesome husband, Jordan's, house in Tampa after our cruise. Business and life hour-long phone calls would leave us revved up and ready to go, encouraging texts would remind us that we are worthy and able, and realizations that friendship transcends distance and time if you invest challenged us to really care about more than the little squares of day-to-day life. When in Augusta, we had lunch with Elena of Laurel Avenue and Amy of Amy J Owen Photography after they found out she'd be in town and wanted to officially meet her. Then, on our way to Charleston we stopped in Columbia, SC to visit with one of Laura's very best friends from her Masters program and to spend the evening with our dear friend Rachel Tenny. I wasn't worried once that any of these lunches, slumber parties or get togethers would be awkward or forced. We skipped surface level and got deep... quick. Good friends have good friends, and this week was a perfect example of that. Finding your "tribe" is beyond valuable, and I'd bet they have a pretty good tribe that you'll love too. So be bold in building your tribe, and invest in those friendships and you'll be filled up tenfold, I guarantee it.
Overall, what an amazing week and overnight trip to Charleston. A huge thank you and photo credit to Laura Foote Photography again for any pictures where I'm laughing my head off in my palm tree jumpsuit or getting way to excited about ice cream.
PS: real life when you're trying to take a cute self-timer picture together on a Charleston side street... enjoy. ;)