Posts in Travel
Touring the Amalfi Coast
Touring the Amalfi Coast in the Fall - Positano, see more now on Cottage Hill
Boats off the Amalfi Coast, Positano to be exact. See more now on Cottage Hill
Classic Amalfi Coast in the fall, see more of Positano now on Cottage Hill.
Classic Amalfi Coast in the fall, see more of Positano now on Cottage Hill.
Enjoying the beauty of the Amalfi Coast is not exclusive to the spring and summer. See more of Positano in the fall, now on Cottage Hill
Classic Amalfi Coast in the fall, see more of Positano now on Cottage Hill.
Touring the Amalfi Coast in the fall can be just as captivating. See more of Positano now on Cottage Hill
A different look at the Amalfi Coast, see more now on Cottage Hill
See more of the local artists of Positano now on Cottage Hill.
See more of the local artists of Positano now on Cottage Hill.
Glass artist in Murano. See more of this Amalfi Coast feature now on Cottage Hill
Glass artist in Murano. See more of this Amalfi Coast feature now on Cottage Hill
Glass artist in Murano. See more of this Amalfi Coast feature now on Cottage Hill
Walking the streets of Orvieto. See more from this Amalfi Coast feature now on Cottage Hill
Walking the streets of Orvieto. See more from this Amalfi Coast feature now on Cottage Hill
Stunning architecture in Siena, Italy - see more now on Cottage Hill
Stunning architecture in Siena, Italy - see more now on Cottage Hill
Classic Amalfi Coast. See more of Siena now on Cottage Hill.
A secret garden path in Tuscany. See more now on Cottage Hill
A garden sculpture in Tuscany. See more on Cottage Hill
Stunning Wisteria found in Tuscany. See more on Cottage Hill
The most adorable transportation in Tuscany. See more on Cottage Hill.
Walking the streets of Venice, see more now on Cottage Hill.
Walking the streets of Venice, see more now on Cottage Hill.
Walking the streets of Venice, see more now on Cottage Hill.
Classic Amalfi Coast and Venice Gondolas - see more now on Cottage Hill.
Classic Amalfi Coast and Venice Gondolas - see more now on Cottage Hill.
Classic Amalfi Coast and Venice Gondolas - see more now on Cottage Hill.

What could be more romantic than touring the Amalfi Coast with your love? After being gone for nine months, Hannah and her boyfriend chose to travel Italy's beautiful coast not by train by driving.

"I know many people traverse Italy by train, " she explained, "but renting a car just frees you up for so many side adventures."

A photographer, Hannah captured each area they visited - Murano, Orvieto, Positano, Ravello, Siena, Tuscany, and Venice - taking special note the local people, especially artists and perusing through their beautiful work.

"Besides the meals (at one point we would intentionally walking the long route trying to make more room for food), our favorite activity was simply stopping in small towns along the way to watch day to day Italian life unfold," she said.

While we all settle in for a full fall, perhaps we can dream and start planning our own early spring Italian adventure, channeling our inner Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

All Photographs by Hannah Park, scanned by PhotoVision Prints.

TravelKatie O. SelvidgeComment
Travel Guide to Brussels

We love seeing the beautiful images artists take while traveling. Today we are so excited to have Silver Cup Artist Sarah of Sarah Carpenter Photography sharing a bit from her trip to Brussels with us! 

"Ever since my husband and I went to Brussels last summer, I have been daydreaming about it nonstop. When we stepped out of the train station and into Brussels Center that beautiful summer day, I fell in love. The city is diverse and artistic, young and old at the same time. It’s the perfect mix of everything I love about Europe- innovation and preservation.

My husband and I spent the first few days of our 2014 Europe trip roaming around the city, eating waffles and fries, listening to the music festival from our hotel room and taking pictures of any part of the city we could easily walk to. We loved everything about it so much that, after traveling for the next 10 days with my sister and her boyfriend, we took her back to Brussels and did it all over again. We especially made her eat some waffles. Actually, that was the first thing we did because the waffles are to die for. 

I was so excited that we just happened to be in Brussels during the opening of the flower carpet. Ever since landscape architect, Etienne Stautemas, designed the first one back in 1971, the city has put it together every 2 years. This thing is huge and stunning and takes all day to put together.  It is literally a giant carpet on the Grand-Place made of all colors of flowers, and the opening ceremony for it was magical.  Fireworks came out of the center of the carpet, powerful music played.  I think I might have shed a tear or two… or three. If you ever get a chance to see this, you definitely should.   

If I could go back to that city every year for the music, the food, and the flowers, I would. If I could do the whole experience over again every single day, I definitely would."

Photography by Sarah Carpenter Photography :: Developed and Scanned by Photovision Prints

An Irish-Inspired Morning

St. Patrick's Day is one of our favorites of the smaller holidays. As the world starts to turn green again from winter, we get to celebrate the color with the trees and the grass on this special day.

Last year, we shared an Irish-inspired supper with recipes and entertaining ideas for St. Patrick's Day. And this year, we invited Kelly Sauer to share her experience in Ireland with us as her inspiration for a morning alone, preparing for the day slowly and thoughtfully. The first three images are from her trip to Ireland, then the following at RiverOaks Charleston guided by stylist Lacy Geary.

Artistic CreditsPhotography by Kelly Sauer Creative Direction & Styling, Food Styling by Lacy Geary VenueRiverOaks Charleston Florals by Marianne Caldwell of RiverOaks Charleston ModelAllie N, Directions USA DressPrimary New York  Cuffs by Mary McGill Jewelry 
Hair & Makeup by Brittany L. Gerhard Paper Goods by The Little North Sea Studio

My Northern Story featuring Hailey Haugen

American expat Hailey Haugen current resides in Norway. She is a wife and mother, and she documents their life beautifully and thoughtfully through her Instagram feed sharing bits of their Norwegian adventure and simple living. As one of our 'favorites to follow' we were able to chat with Hailey about their life and heart behind those little squares. 

What brought you from the U.S. to Norway?
My husband. We met in the U.S. while he was there studying chiropractic. He always knew after he graduated that he'd be moving back to Norway. We wanted to stay together, so making the move was a given.

Tell us a little about living in Norway.
Norway was a country that I didn't really know anything about prior to meeting my husband. When I made the move four years ago, it was my first time stepping off U.S. soil. It was January and Norway was in the middle of winter. We lived on the west coast during this time, in a small place called Voss.

Fast forward a year and a half and we moved 45 minutes away to an area near Bergen. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and one of my favorites. We lived there for a year and during that time, we had our son, Leo. When Leo was 3 months old, we bought our first house and moved to where my husband is originally from. Located about 1.5 hours from Oslo (the largest city in Norway) and close to family and friends. 

Life in Norway hasn't been easy. Despite the fact that it's been a long, challenging journey, the rewards have been like nothing else, and that has made it worthwhile. 

What is your favorite thing about Norway?
The magnificent fjords, northern lights, vast mountain ranges, old, charming wooden homes, the sunrises and sunsets.  

What has been your biggest challenge with transitioning? 
Homesickness, definitely. Feelings of loss and vulnerability. In the beginning, you're sort of floating between these two places and you can't go back to where you're from. Often times, I had a conflict feeling of, "Where do I belong?" My homeland, where my family is, where I'm familiar with, and a new land, of hope and excitement, but also, unfamiliarity and uncertainty.

Biggest reward of the move?
Living abroad is full of cycles, and each one teaches you something, leaves it's mark, and makes you grow. I think my growth as an individual has been my biggest reward. It's made me more patient, more flexible, more understanding and it has also helped me learn to adapt easier. 

Any advice on how to embrace the changes of such a big move? 
"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance." -Alan Watts

What big cultural difference have you experienced? How did/do you deal with them? 
The language. Learning Norwegian as an adult has never made me feel more vulnerable. That feeling of not wanting to say something because you think it will sound completely ridiculous. Being nervous every time I want or have to try and speak in Norwegian. 

Are there cultural challenges/differences when it comes to parenting? 
Yes. I think because Norway is such a small country, there's a lack of variety here and that has been the hardest difference for me. In America, there are many different parenting styles, but here, there's a sense that there is only one right way and the majority do that one way.

What do you do when missing The U.S.? 
Make a trip home and indulge in all things American usually helps. My mom makes it out here once a year and that helps a lot, too. Sometimes it's something as simple as taking a walk or watching American television or movie or keeping busy. As the years go by, it gets easier and episodes of missing my homeland get less frequent. 

All photographs by Hailey Haugen

Goddess-Inspired Bride in Costa Navarino

Beautiful destinations like Costa Navarino, Greece, can serve as effortless and beautiful inspiration for a bride. While at the Boheme Workshop, photographer Alexis Rose captured a simple and elegant bridal inspiration session. Here is what she had to share with us regarding the goddess-inspired style.

"As part of the recent Boheme Workshop, this bridal shoot was inspired by the Goddess Aphrodite - the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and desire. The portraits were meant to feel soft and romantic, so we kept the focus on our bride’s femininity, as if she were a Greek sculpture. Simple and beautiful.

The location - a long stone wall at the luxury Romanos: Costa Navarino Resort - was chosen for its simplicity so that we could focus solely on the tiny details of our bride: the drape of her gown, the color of her lips... 

The beautiful florals by Celsia Floral were kept neutral, with white flowers and lots of cascading greenery in the arm-cradle bouquet. Her delicate Alexandra Grecco gown was perfect for the breezy outdoor setting and coupled with the gorgeous headpiece by Jannie Baltzer, I think the overall look epitomizes an Aphrodite inspired bride."

Artistic CreditsPhotography by Alexis Rose Photography Concept by Vasia Weddings and Artiese Studios for Boheme Workshops Creative Direction and Styling by Tahnee Sanders Gown by Alexandra Grecco Hair Pieces by Jannie Baltzer Floral Design by Celsia Floral MUAH by Frantzeska Koukoula Ribbons by Stella Wolfe ModelMarina Maloy LocationThe Romanos Collection: Costa Navarino, Greece 

The Elevated Wildflower Meadow-Inspired Workshop and Dinner with Floret Flowers, Part Two

We are overjoyed to share Part Two of Floret Flowers Workshop and Dinner with details from owner Erin Benzakein. Read Part One here.

“After gathering these unique botanical ingredients, the students then utilized their new design skills to create lush centerpieces and floral installations for an Elevated Wildflower Meadow-Inspired dinner party within the barn studio. 

Long arches of flowering branches and greens framed the entry, creating a lush indoor garden feel which transformed the space into an ultra-romantic candle-lit dining room filled from floor to ceiling with flowers.

Elegant fruitwood Chiaveri chairs lined the long King’s table, which was set with Villa pattern dinnerware, hemstitched linens, etched crystal glassware and tall bone-colored taper candles in brass candleholders. The tablescapes featured natural elements including chunky pieces of honeycomb, golden plums on the branch, bowls spilling over with fresh fruit alongside Floret’s fresh-cut garden roses, vines, grasses, dried seed pods, dahlias, cosmos, amaranth, hydrangeas and zinnias artfully arranged in earthy terra-cotta vases. 

With a menu created specifically to the season and unique venue, the creative chefs at Bellingham-based Ciao Thyme prepared a farm-to-table feast utilizing local, seasonal produce. The menu featured: 

Coal roasted beets and potatoes with Shropshire blue and whole grain mustard vinaigrette
Roasted carrots with white bean and tahini puree, parsley-mint chimichurri and fried carrot tops
Grilled flatbread with preserved lemon lebnah, fava beans, peas, green garlic, and pickled shallots
Heirloom tomato and melon salad with tamarind vinaigrette and feta
Alder smoked grilled salmon with edible flowers, olio verde and smoked salt
Burk Ridge flat iron steak with cherry-apricot relish
Passion fruit-berry trifle with ricotta pound cake

The celebratory dinner served as the finale for the three-day workshop--a veritable feast for any flower lover’s mind, body and soul.”

Artistic CreditsPhotography by Heather Payne Flowers & Event Styling by Floret Flowers Menus & Name Cards by Brown Linen Designs Vases, Bowls & Planters from Campo de' Fiore Chairs & Dishes from ABC Special Event Rentals by CORT Candles from Creative Candles Linens from La Tavola

The Elevated Wildflower Meadow-Inspired Workshop and Dinner with Floret Flowers, Part One

Earlier this year we shared Floret Flowers as one of our Founding Editor Katie O. Selvidge's favorite follows on Instagram. The story behind the farm of owner Erin Benzakein and her family is one that resonates deeply with Cottage Hill's mission to pursue wholehearted living. What began as a small garden is now thriving business, design studio and learning center. With the learning center, Erin teaches farmers, florists and other creatives from across the globe about small scale, high intensity flower production and the art of natural floral design. 

Today, we are sharing Part One of last year's Elevated Wildflower Meadow-Inspired Dinner beginning with the workshop aspect of the experience. Read more details from Erin below and return here on Friday for Part Two featuring the dinner. 

“Surrounded by tulip fields in Washington’s verdant Skagit Valley sits an unassuming red barn. Once on the verge of collapse, the structure was rescued from ruin, lovingly restored, and now serves as a special event space, artists’ studio and a learning laboratory for some of the country’s leading floral designers. 

On a warm summer day last July, the barn at A.J. Johnson Farm was abuzz with activity as two dozen people from across the country and as far away as Australia gathered for a Floret Workshop to learn about the hottest trend in flowers: natural floral design using local, seasonal blooms. 

Led by Floret owner and entrepreneur Erin Benzakein, Floret workshops are part floral design training and part retreat. The three-day events attract designers, creatives and flower lovers eager to learn natural floral design utilizing the best of what’s in season—most of which comes from Floret’s nearby two-acre flower farm and cutting garden. 

This past July, Floret’s fields were ablaze in color from thousands of cosmos, zinnias and other blooms. As part of the workshop experience, attendees were set loose in Floret’s extensive cutting gardens to select from dozens of varieties of organic flowers, as well as fruiting branches, wispy, romantic vines, and fragrant foliage. 

Workshop participants wandered the paths gathering flowers, foliage plus other airy elements from the field including grains, grasses, pods, vines and seedheads. Another highlight of the July workshop: the opportunity to harvest armloads of creamy ‘café au lait’ dahlias – a hard-to-get variety coveted by designers for it’s large size and unique soft blush color.” 

Artistic Credits: Photography by Heather Payne Flowers & Event Styling by Floret Flowers Menus & Name Cards by Brown Linen Designs Vases, Bowls & Planters from Campo de' Fiore Chairs & Dishes from ABC Special Event Rentals by CORT Candles from Creative Candles Linens from La Tavola

The Long Way Home from The Pioneer Issue

They say it is not the destination, but the the journey that matters most. Yes, it is rather cliché and overused sentiment, but the older I get, the more I understand. The more I move through my career, relationships, experiences, I see that the goal is not always where you end up, but what you learn along the way.

In celebration of life’s journeys, we turned to you, our readers, to inspire us with what you think it means to take the long way home. We asked you what sort of journeys made the destination worth it. In response, we received some of the loveliest and most poignant poems and shared work by Christie Drozdowski, Nicole Renee Jordan and Julie A. Rankin in The Pioneer Issue. Check out their work and more in our latest issue now on news stands. 

Photography by Tara Butterworth of Tara Lynn Photography :: Creative Direction & Styling by Kae Yelchaninov :: Calligraphy by Jenny Sanders of Graceline Art

Nepal - Humanitarian Photography Workshop Becomes More than an Adventure from The Pioneer Issue

Celebrating the New Year often lends itself to well-intentioned goal setting and resolutions - all focused on ourselves. While we believe self care is important as we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others, sometimes we can forget the second part of the idea - caring for others. This year, we wanted to start our 2016 journal entries with something focused on exactly this. 

Pulled from The Pioneer Issue, now on news stands, this story and imagery by Jessica Parker of Jessica's Photography takes us to Nepal where her experience with The Beyond Workshop became so much more than just a photography workshop. 

When I graduated from college in 2007, I started to travel, and I got addicted and somehow Nepal was placed on my bucket list of places to go before I turn 30.  I didn't know much about the country, but the people, the colors, the food and the mountains were calling my name.  

On February 27th I boarded a plane to Nepal for three weeks. I never thought that I would ever make it to Nepal. It had been one of my goals for nearly 10 years. In December I saw a post on Instagram for a photography workshop that was part styled wedding shoots, part documentary photography and humanitarian work. I had never heard of the photographers that were putting it on, but as soon as I saw this post, I knew that I was suppose to go. I waited a couple of days to decide if it was really right for me to go, and I prayed sincerely on Saturday night if I should go or not.

The next day we had to speak in church. The couple that spoke with us answered my prayer. The man who spoke talked about his experience in Nepal… As soon as he said Nepal, I turned to my husband Cole and said, “There is my answer.” Who talks about Nepal? Who has actually been to Nepal? It was as clear as could be, and everything else lined up perfectly for me to make this trip. Nina and Wes Photography hosted The Beyond Workshop and it was an experience that I will never forget.

On April 25th, 2015, just five weeks after I came home, Nepal was hit with a devastating 7.8 earthquake and the death toll, well over 5,000 people. As I have watched the coverage of this devastation, I can’t stop thinking of all of the people that I came in contact with. I have been in touch with many of them through Facebook. They are terrified, scared and many have lost their homes. I was at a loss at what to do for them, words can not help the dire circumstances that they are facing.

In May I celebrated 10 years of businesses, and wanted to do something, so I hosted a silent auction for the people of Nepal. Even though it’s small compared to the devastation, every small act of kindness counts. Now months later, these people still hold my heart. By sharing these images from my experience, it is my honor to introduce you to the amazing, kind and resilient friends I made on my adventure.

Read more in The Pioneer Issue, now at Barnes & Noble. 

Bridal Inspiration from Tuscany

Today's bridal inspiration comes from Italy captured by Olga Plakitina and designed by Blush Pink Events. We love seeing work inspired by a location, history, architecture. Here is what Olga had to share with us about the meaningfulness behind this story shoot. 

"We were inspired by the amazing mediaeval city San Gimignano located in Tuscany region, Italy. The second name of the city - 'City of a hundred towers.' The historic city center of San Gimignano, in 1990, was included in the UNESCO. Old stone streets, majestic towers, all immersed in the atmosphere of the Middle Ages.

We had the idea to create a story typical of the time. Young girl medieval princess waiting for her knight in a stone tower. She walks around the castle, olive groves, rereading all of his letters and really loves him and waiting.

We have tried to create an image of a clean and deep. Only love is driven by it. She dreams of the day when it is seen on the horizon of his beloved.”

Photography by Olga Plakitina :: Planner, Blush Pink Events :: Gown Designer, Bluebells :: Headpiece, Romantic Art Life

Austin Travel Guide

A few weeks ago the Cottage Hill team packed their bags for a trip to Austin, Texas. With photo shoots to attend for our upcoming issue, The Captivated Issue, and Silver Cup artists to meet we were thrilled to have the chance to hit the road and follow the mission of Cottage Hill. Along the way we met up with Silver Cup artist Emilie Anne Photography who joined us for a day of visiting local shops and stops.  Here are just a few of the places we loved!

We started our morning with coffee and doughnuts of course! Lucky Lab Coffee Co. is a food truck completely dedicated to handcrafted coffee with all in-house made syrups! Husband and wife team Ron and Courtney shared stories of their five pups that inspired their truck, and thrilled us with just how tasty their coffee is!  With their unique appreciate to a food truck they even do special events and weddings, or maybe they can just come and sit outside of the Cottage Hill office!

We also stopped by Gourdough’s, an airstream food truck devoted entirely to the art of over-the-top donuts! We filled our bellies with scrumptious Granny Pie Doughnuts covered in banana, caramel, and graham cracker crumbles. Among their extravagant combinations we were informed not to miss the Flying Pig complete with bacon and maple syrup icing. This was a treat to say the least!

In case we hadn’t had enough caffeine we had to pop in Houndstooth Coffee. It was the perfect relaxed environment to meet with artists and enjoy a morning cup of Joe. The baristas quickly poured beautiful designs into our cups and despite our reluctance to sip them and destroy their work that rich coffee was worth it.

We were excited to try a few Austin restaurants as well! If you are a newbie to oysters like me, head to Clark's Oyster Bar. This adorable restaurant not only has an amazing variety to pick from, but the environment was enough to want to stay forever! 

This lovely ivy covered building count our eye! We couldn't leave Austin without popping in! The Epicerie Café and Grocery is a wonderful stop for specialty cheeses, chocolate, or other treats! 

If you are interested in a bit of shopping Feathers Boutique serves as a great stop for vintage finds and artisan jewelry. With an entire wall devoted to vintage cowboy boots and cabinets filled with artisan jewelry we were excited to look through their unique collection! 

Just in case we hadn't had enough treats, we stopped at Elizabeth Street Café. This quant restaurant and bakery was a perfect stop for pastries! Taking a peek into the glass display case we couldn’t say no to a few French macaroons!

Whistler Wedding by Christie Graham Photography - The Love Story + Ceremony
Cottage Hill Whistler Wedding

As much as we love creating stories, nothing beats a true story which is why we love real weddings. This simple, organic Whistler wedding by Christie Graham has us smiling from ear to ear from the joy and love that is so evident between Katie and Nathan. Here is what Christie had to say about their wedding:

Katie and Nathan's day was filled with thoughtful details inspired by the colour palette of Nita Lake and it's surroundings. Bringing the outdoors in, tables were adorned in foraged greenery, moss and gorgeous florals. The bride's lace gown paired with the flowing blush bridesmaids gowns, and the groomsmen's dapper grey suits. Guests were taken care of with delicious food and wine, as well as cozy blankets to keep them from the spring chill. During the outdoor covered ceremony, the rain set in creating a magical feeling for everyone gathered.

Nathan and Katie live in Vancouver, but escape into the mountains every chance they get, so their choice to celebrate in Whistler felt personal and comfortable. A mini escape from the city, the mountain town provided the perfect backdrop to this couple's wedding day.

Enjoy these photographs of their ceremony and join us tomorrow to see the reception and full gallery! Want to share your real wedding with us? Submit here - we can't wait to read your story!

Photography by Christie Graham Photography :: Planning and styling by Celebrate Events :: Flowers from Billies Flower House :: Bouquet hand dyed silk ribbon from Froufrou Chic :: Nita Lake Lodge as wedding venue :: Makeup by Artistry by V :: Hair by Salon Cordeiro, Leanne Cordeiro and Jackie Lutar :: Bride’s Dress is Allure from Lisa’s Bridal :: Bride’s Shoes from Kate Spade :: Bride’s Jewelry by Elsa Corsi from Jeweliette Jewelry :: Bridesmaid’s Dresses are also Allure from Lisa’s Bridal :: Bride’s Robe from Nordstrom :: Bridesmaid’s Robes from Pretty Plum Sugar :: Groom’s attire by Kenneth Cole :: Invitations from Wintons :: Ceremony Music by Colin Bullock :: DJ, Darren Butler :: Film Scans through Caribou Film Lab

Boston by Ever + Anon

This time of year our bags are constantly packed and ready to go be with our family and friends who may not live down the street anymore. There's a certain excitement that comes with traveling that feels like Christmas morning. The anticipation of new sights to behold or hugging the special someone that waits for us after reaching our destination makes our hearts giddy.   

It's a double feature today for Silver Cup Artist Jessica of Ever + Anon Photography. She visited Boston, Massachusetts this year with her husband and young son. Her husband's family is from Boston, so while they were there they introduced their son to his great-grandparents; a moment in their legacy that I'm sure will be remembered forever. Jessica remembers the trip fondly, "Orchards, sailboats lining the coast, and the cool ocean breeze captivated my heart and will call my name until our next visit."

Africa with Landon Jacob

We love seeing the world through the lens of talented photographers, but what we love even more are the stories that go with the beautiful images. Landon and Jordan of Landon Jacob Photography recently traveled to Africa and are sharing their story with us today!

Where in Africa did you visit?

Lusaka, Zambia and Victoria Falls in Livingston, Zambia

Why did you decide to go to Africa? 

We went to Africa to help with an organization called Clothed In Hope. A friend of ours, Amy Bardi, created the organization a few years ago. Their mission statement explains what they do best: "Our goal is to provide hope to vulnerable women in Lusaka, Zambia through training in sewing and business, in an effort to alleviate poverty at the grassroots level. We believe hope means much more than financial assistance. By empowering women through life-skills training, we want to play a role in renewing their confidence, impacting their culture, and inspiring women across the globe."

What were your first impressions about the land, atmosphere and people? 

Zambia is a beautiful place, but a very different beauty than is seen here in the states. It was the dry season while we were there, so most of the land was golden brown. Rolling planes with the lone, classic African tree was a very common site as we drove through the country. Because the weather was extremely consistent during that time of year, there was never a cloud in the sky. Which made the sunsets absolutely stunning. They caught us by surprise every evening and we couldn't help but stop and take it in.

Zambia is known and prides itself in being a peaceful country. If we were to compare Zambia to other African countries, we'd say the lifestyle and attitudes would be similar to the "southern charm" of the South in the States, but with obvious African flare. The atmosphere is easy going, and no one goes by a watch. The Zambians we encountered are happy completing just a few ordinary task a day, as apposed to measuring their daily success by how crammed their schedule is. All in all, it was a breath of fresh air, albeit very dusty!

Surprisingly, by the end of our trip, our perception of Ng'ombe changed drastically. We realized that what initially seemed at "terrible conditions" were only terrible to us because we have a different definitions and expectations of life. We realized that living in Ng'ombe could actually be really fun. Everyone lived extremely close to each other, so their were crowds of kids everywhere playing all sorts of games. We were reminded that the major difference between a bad place to live and a good place to live is not the location, it's the community.

Share a few stories about your trip that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

 At Victoria Falls there are wild Baboons EVERYWHERE. It was like a scene from Jumanji. We weren't in the park 5 minutes before a baboon started chasing us around and was only scared off by a security guard and and his AK-47. It was 100% the scariest thing that has every happened to me (Jordan). They were frighteningly smart. We would watch them sneak up behind tourists, snatch their soda, and unscrew the top like any human. These huge Alfa Males would walk right up to you and grab food right out of your hand. You learned to just throw whatever you have on the ground before they challenged you for it. We asked the park ranger if the Baboons always behaved like this and he said, "No, they are being extra naughty today."

If you are visiting the compounds of Zambia, or the people who live out in the bush, just know that sometimes your "help" could actually cause harm. Americans tend to come to these places bringing clothes, food, and shoes. A lot of times they don't need these things at all, and at best it's a temporary fix. Kids choose not to wear shoes, not because they don't have them, but because they just don't like wearing shoes. We learned that in bringing these things, we can actually hurt their economy or their self-image. I think as Americans we typically go to countries like Africa with a savior complex. We think we can do such great things for these people, when in reality we can learn much more from them.

What would be your recommendation to people who are visiting Africa? Where should they go, what should they do and see? 

You have to go to Victoria Falls in Livingston! It is one of the natural wonders of the world and simply breathtaking! We recommend staying with the Jolly Boys in Livingston. They have tons of safari's you can book with them. Go play with lions or ride elephants (which is what we did)!

Marfa by Cody Hunter Photography

Wide open spaces. Marfa, Texas, looks like a place one might stumble upon in the old wild west. From the endless landscape that gradually fades into the sky to the quaint town with Spanish architecture lining the main street, Marfa is a place seemingly off the map filled with everyday adventures.

The center of town is only a few blocks long and all directions from locals seem to be given based off of the town’s one stoplight or gas station. A must-do in Marfa is a grabbing a bite to eat from local food truck. The Food Shark serves up unique Mediterranean dishes customers can enjoy on community sized picnic tables.

Take a trip back in time to the simple days and visit this little Texas town. And the best part is, getting to Marfa is only half of the journey!