I’ve spent the last few years intentionally creating a life I don’t need a vacation from, a job I love, a home environment I want to live in and a family that’s passionate about being together. It’s shaped the way I travel and see the world around me and I get so much more from each experience approaching life this way.
This trip started as a business trip for me, I was headed to photograph a wedding just outside of Bern, Switzerland. I decided to arrive a week early and bring a good friend of mine along to shoot with me. Upon arriving in Munich, Germany we decided to turn our trip into a bit of a last minute adventure… so we grabbed a map, rented a fiat and quickly routed a gigantic circle that would take us throughout Europe and land us back in Switzerland in time for the wedding.
We didn’t pre-plan our route or the stops we’d take, which is one of my favorite ways to travel. We took 4 days and traveled 1300+ miles starting in Germany then went through the Alps of Austria, into Venice Italy, then crossed down into the wine country of Cinque Terre along the Mediterranean coast, and from there we shot back up into Switzerland.
One of the things I love about travel is finding unique places to stay, usually through airbnb or a friend but, for this trip specifically, we opted to go a different route and sleep in our rental car, all six feet of it. Our open air (meaning the roof opens) Fiat 500 was tiny to say the least but the cool night temps made sleeping comfortable and the size made parking in small tight spaces super easy! I actually really enjoyed staying in the car, it made us spend more time out and about seeing things, swimming, eating, etc. In Manarola we ate pie (aka pizza) for three meals. There’s a little hole in the wall that makes to-go pies called Discovolo and it was so good!
We picked up the Fiat in Munich and headed straight for the Alps, a few hours of majestic mountain views, small country towns and a few scattered castles on the hillsides. Six hours later we were in Venice sleeping in the Fiat in a parking garage. We caught sunrise over the grand canal and then wandered our way to St. Mark’s Square where we watched the city come alive. We stopped in for pastries and coffee at Caffe Del Doge just as the rain started to dance along the stone walkways. We proceeded on our journey across Italy to Cinque Terre where we spent a few days on the Mediterranean coast. We spent our days swimming, cliff jumping, lounging on the beach, and watching the sunset while drinking wine cliff side.
If you’re planning a trip to Europe think about how you’d like to experience it, we’d tell you renting a car instead of using the eurail was our best decision. We actually saved money and got to see so much more by having a vehicle and creating our own routes. We also didn’t have to travel on a pre-set schedule, meaning we had more time where and when we wanted. If you go that route, bring a car converter to charge batteries and electronics. If your phone is unlocked, (call your carrier after your minimum contract is up, buy a local sim card at a convenient store. This will give you the ability to use your GPS, facetime your family or friends and find wifi hotspots, cafes, etc.
I suggest saving phone calls for when you have wifi and can use skype or a third party app as international calls eat up data pretty quick. Lastly, write down some of the main words and phrases, you’re bound to need help somewhere along the way. Don’t be afraid to spark up conversations, whether it’s with locals or other travelers. Chatting with locals will get you inside knowledge on your location you otherwise would miss out on. Plus drinking alone is no fun and almost everyone has a good story to tell.
I'll leave you with this quote - "The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." ~Gilbert K. Chesterton__
A Wedding photographer for the wild at heart. Based in Texas and telling stories nationally. Married the girl I met in high school and a dad of three. I believe love has the power to change us and am captivated by the connection people share.
To view more of Joel’s work, visit him here.
The turquoise waters of the Bahamas, the dramatic Rocky Mountains, the vistas of Iceland- endless romantic images pop into our minds when we think of destination weddings. And that is why, almost every wedding photographer at some point wants to give them a go.
So we’re going to tell you how to find them, book them, and prep for them.
The formula is simple.
clients you love + photography you are excited about + doing it your way = happy photographer
We think a shift should be made in photography. A happiness shift. You likely got into photography because you love taking photographs. And then the reality of making a living at it started to creep in, and you became bound to jobs you didn’t really want to do, because you needed the money. We’ve been there, and yep, it stinks.