URBAN NOMAD: Lovers in Virginia

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November 6th 2011
Published: November 6th 2011
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Sharing stories, knowledge, friendly encounters are characteristics of travel that create the experience, and indeed shape the memories of new places. On Friday, I headed down to Springfield, VA to meet with the bride and groom of a wedding I shot last month. It hadn't felt like fall yet until I went beyond the city limits into the red and gold leaf lined roads of Virginia. Spending time growing up in the mountains of Vermont, I was so happy to see green again.

After the photo review and dinner, we headed over to Top Golf, a two floor driving range with waitresses to bring food and beer at your request. Top Golf is a frequent hang out for more mellow nights with friends when the effort to brave the bars is just not there.

Getting out of the city even for a night is always a renewing experience. I had been itching to get out, one of the more redeeming qualities of moving around so much is it punctuates the time I spend in the city with quick escapes to the country. Mallory and Ben invited me to stay at their home, a gorgeous estate enveloped
The ChurchThe ChurchThe Church

Mallory made those wreaths!
in stretches of woods. I have to thank them not only for their wonderful hospitality and patience waiting for their photos when my deadline needed to be pushed back a few days; but also for always unknowingly giving me exactly what I needed.

The wedding had been a God-send and I was happy to do it. Participating in the photography world by mostly editing and retouching at this point, I hadn't shot my own work for weeks. The wedding allowed me to move and work with my hands as a photographer once again. The two of them had embraced my photography from the start and always continued to support me in my craft.

Last night, once again, they gave me my travel fix with friendship, rich conversation, and fresh perspectives. I listened to Mallory as she told me about their honeymoon, gossiped about the wedding, and reported to me how Ben and she built the love they have now. I learned much more from hearing the challenges and accomplishments of these two people trying to navigate the world together that I would ever take in from a self-help book. (Although I did ask Mallory if she had one written somewhere secretly!)

What do we bring back with us from our travels? Often the most memorable souvenirs are not the colorful beads of Mardi Gras or the "Ole!" shot glass from Cabo, but the lessons we have learned from others that shape us into who we are now. Sitting here drinking my pumpkin spice coffee with nothing but the rustling of trees around, I have Mallory and Ben to thank for giving me a piece of autumn before frost sets in and room to breath in the claustrophobia of stress and the city.

They are two people with such overwhelming positivity and kindness. It was through meeting and getting to know them that I was confronted with wisdom only the veteran hearts of a married couple in love could offer to a romantically lost soul learning to balance all other relationships with her demanding first love; travel.

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