Friends, I have something to tell you. Our trip to Argentina was awesome, like knock your socks off amazing, inspiring and life changing. Every day was new and exciting. I loved learning Spanish with my tutor in the most beautiful cafes in the city; eating alfajores and watching my kids play in Plaza Armenia at sunset; and drinking Malbec and eating provoleta with Steph into the wee hours of the night. But when I came home, our family went in different directions (as in school and work) and I was stuck behind my computer editing photos and eating a lot of junk food! Our adventure was over and my spirit died a little. It was sad, and even though we weren't abroad very long, it was challenging for me to re-enter as the same person with the same routine and outlook on life. I thought a lot about what is next for me in my life, what exactly am I contributing, when we can go on our next adventure and what makes me the most happy? How can I find meaning in my work to make my life as fulfilling and exciting as it was when we were abroad exploring a new country? I listened to Ted Talks and a lot of self-help books on Audible, I found inspiration by watching the entire Chef's Table series on Netflix, and thought a lot about turning 37 years old! During this time, I looked at social media and felt more social isolation than connection. One day I said to myself "look at me, I am actually physically alone on my couch liking photos". By myself! This is just not acceptable to me anymore! If there is anything I took away from our trip to Argentina, it was watching people be engaged in the moment, in a conversation at lunch with a friend, being engaged in their own life, without the distraction of technology.
So here is what I propose. Here is my heart song. I love capturing moments for people and the joy it brings them when they can see those moments come to life. I love creating, it moves me and fulfills me in a way I never knew was possible. I love adventure and I love being with people! There is no reason why I cannot always be on an adventure with my family, friends and new friends, even in my small town of Charleston! So what if for the year, I push myself to take pictures of these adventures! Not on an iphone but with my amazing cameras, and invite people to come on this journey with me! I have a few ideas in mind already and would love to hear what you would like to do as well! I feel that by organizing these outings, my adventure will live on! And I will be connecting with people in real life, in a real moment and have a REAL experience! Isn't that what life is all about? Actually living it instead of liking it on a computer screen?
So who is with me? Some adventures will be for Moms, some for Moms and children, some for couples and some for the whole family. Some ideas I have so far are to go flounder gigging, do a beach bonfire series, travel to Bull's Bay, paint en plein air...some will cost money and some will be free. But here is the catch: these adventures are my gift to you. I want you to live in the moment and to feel a distance from technology. If you want to Instagram images immediately, this experience is not for you. I will take the pictures and you can Instagram them later, or keep them to yourself. Most of my adventures (not all) will also be alcohol free, only because I want you to go home feeling refreshed and inspired and have a productive weekend with your family. If there are any proceeds from these events, the profit will go directly to the Lowcountry Maritime Society
(more on them in a later post). I look forward to shining a light on this incredible new organization. I feel so good about this! I already feel like I am living a more meaningful life and I haven't even started! I feel like I am setting a good example for my children by encouraging them to get outside and learn something new. I will be pushing myself in my own photography work and I cannot wait to see my portfolio after a year of adventuring.
Here are the deets for the first adventure:
Saturday, October 8th
Meet at Huriyali
downtown for a meet and greet!
Eat delicious Acai Bowls!
Travel together to Folly Beach for a 2 hour surf lesson with Kai at Sol Surfers
Have an inspiring time together in the water, cheer for each other, take it all in!!!!
Dance party on the way home
Jean shorts and trucker hats encouraged!
No phones (if you can)!
First come first served - I honestly have no idea what kind of response I will get here! (eek!) 14 people max!
Cost is approx $200 for lesson, food and transport with all proceeds going to Lowcountry Maritime Society
You will have some awesome pics of yourself on adventure, new friends and a whole heck of a lot of fun!
Holler back with your adventure ideas and let me know what you'd like to do and learn! Absolutely cannot wait to have an adventure with you! XOXO, Char
PS: I am still taking wedding clients, doing portraits and a crazy amount of commercial work. I absolutely love my work and this adventure series is an extension of that love, it is a passion project I am doing in my free time for my own soul.
Our last week in Jose Ignacio was quiet and blissful and was a perfect way to end the trip. We relaxed at the beach, hit up our favorite restaurant La Huella one more time, played at the beach house (in the pool and the trunk of the car). The electricity went out one night which made for a super cozy evening. This was the night we had a babysitter and Steph and I went out to dinner, it was lovely. We tried out a new coffee shop and played at Playa Mansa for sunsets. Our grand finale was a visit to Francis Mallman's restaurant Garzon
, which was absolutely fabulous! We had dinner overlooking the olive fields and the kids ran all over the beautiful property. The morning we left, I took my little G bug out for one last little drive to the old town Garzon and we got some pics of cows and the dusty old town. It was a perfect ending to the most incredible adventure. Steph and I are working on a "Best Of" list for both Buenos Aires and Jose Ignacio so I'll post something for you all soon in case you wanted to escape to South America for bit.
This was easily the most ambitious trip I took during our time away. Jose Ignacio was COLD and RAINY for a while and we got cabin fever quite badly. Steph had to work every day and couldn't really help me so I had to get out of there and go see something new. I realize this was a little selfish but I was not going to let the kids stand in my way of seeing something new in Uruguay. The other option was going to this little bouncy house thing in a strip mall and I chose Montevideo instead. Steph booked a cute little hotel for us in the historic part of town. The hardest part was timing the trip so that they would (hopefully) both be asleep for the long car ride without car seats. Luckily, this worked out quite nicely and they woke up when we were about 20 minutes away from the hotel and were so excited to see the "big city"! The trip took about 2.5 hours and we parked right outside of our hotel. We checked in, got a map and headed straight to the closest playground. It was getting dark so we left the playground for a little walking tour of the historical section. (I had one baby on my shoulders and one in my arms for most of this walk). It wasn't ideal but we made it with only 1 meltdown and 1 bribe (they each got a lollipop for holding hands and not running away). I attempted to eat with them at a restaurant but that was no good so we got some street food and took to back to the hotel for dinner and a shower. The next morning we had a lovely little breakfast in the hotel (we had to remove all of the fine china from the table) and then we went to the playground again. Here are a few pics from less than 24 hours in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay!! (Also, I think my computer put some weird little filter on these photos but I don't have time to re-export them)...
The kids just needed a change of scenery and SO DID I!!! Sometimes you just have to go with the wind, you know? Get out and do what you want and the kids will love it too!
Little sleepy heads on our morning walk!
Here's our little hotel in Uruguay.
Kids needed a city playground! Oh how we were missing our Plaza Armenia! Got our fix at this one...
Here we are on our night walk, hit up a few historic sites!
Typical pic of me trying to get G to pose in a photo....the man in the bottom right hand corner was so concerned with this little escape artist that he ran out the door after Graham and then took him inside to show him an old telephone on the wall.
Oh man, we look like hell here but we did it!!! We made it work!
I am the worst Mom, I am not letting him have M&Ms (or Rockets as they are called in Uruguay)...so he is melting in front of this Kiosko.
The morning we left, we were able to check out the Mercado del Puerto (the market of the port), which is densely packed with parrillas. This is a meat lovers dream come true, I am so sorry Steph missed this! We ordered a chorizo and some papas fritas then hit the road.
Overall, we loved Montevideo and I am so glad I was able to see the capital of this sweet little country, albeit we only really saw the Ciudad Viejo (Old Town). The trip was tough with my two in tow and no stroller or car seats but we did it and now we can check that off of our list!
Here are a few pics from our day trip to Cabo Polonia. If you are up for a little exploring, I would recommend this little day trip from Jose Ignacio. It was a cloudy day so we didn't mind being in the car and discovering something new. We took this trip on a Saturday so Steph could be away for a whole day. We drove about an hour to this small terminal in Cabo Polonia where you purchase a ticket to take a dune buggy out to a very rustic little town on the beach...read: RUSTIC...hostels and makeshift homes in a National Park. The dune buggy itself was such a fun adventure for the kids since it bounced up and down and we got to ride on the beach. Once we reached the town, we hopped out and walked to the lighthouse. We were told that there was a colony of sea lions living there and sure enough, they were there and the kids loved to see them! We then had a light lunch on the beach (Lulu slept through it), took a little stroll through the hood and took the buggy back to our car. We then drove about 20 more miles north to a little surf town called Punta Del Diablo. Steph and I had caipiroskas, fruit smoothies and empanadas. We walked around a bit and talked to some locals and then headed home. The kids were exhausted, it was a perfect way to spend a rainy day.
We are having such a peaceful start to our time in Jose Ignacio! We are here in the off season and it is quiet here, there is not too much to do, which is kind of the point and a drastic change from our busy city life in Buenos Aires. It actually took me a few days to adjust here, I was a little worried that we had timed it all wrong! But after speaking with some locals, they assured us that this is the best time in Jose Ignacio, when all of the craziness dies down and the weather is perfect and only the most fabulous restaurants remain open. Here are just a few images from our first week. Pictured below is Lucie chowing down on a medialuna and a chocolate milk before takeoff to Montevideo. The flight was only 45 minutes long, maybe less, so it was a breeze, thank goodness!
Here's our first walk on the beach. We are staying in rental in a private club called Club de Mar. It's within walking distance from the town (we can walk to this lighthouse in the distance) and has the club amenities like chairs and umbrellas and a lifeguard, which is lovely.
Here's our first Limonada con mentha y jenjibre (lemonade with mint and ginger)...yummy! We have been sampling these all over Buenos Aires and our loved our first frozen pitcher at La Huella
. (Do click on this hyperlink, this restaurant is off the charts!!!)
Some days we meet Steph for lunch at the restaurant for ceviche and lemonade while the kids play in the sand, it is so lovely! And they have wifi so Steph can be in touch with his office.
Our beach house ROCKS! We are loving this breezy, bright home and have made ourselves comfortable here! Our favorite things are the fire pit on the back porch and the view of the ocean! There are not a lot of bugs or mosquitos either so we can open the doors and let the breeze in.
It rained on our second and third day here, which was kind of a bummer but it didn't stop us from exploring! We went to the lighthouse and climbed on the rocks and dug holes in the sand.
The kids spent a lot of time in the hot bath with all of G's superheros and we cuddled up inside for some shows on tv. Here is Graham's Christmas list that he made for me (below).
Of course back to La Huella
for some more yummy treats!!!
Fast forward to the future....these two were dancing and laughing at each other while pretending to drive. I have it on video.
Natch, Lulu making sure all of the dogs are taken care of in Jose Ignacio. She is drawn to each and every one of them and will also make sure I am quiet if she stumbles upon one sleeping.
We have been going to Playa Mansa for sunset. There is a little beach bar set up by a boutique hotel, Posada Del Faro
right on the beach, as well as a ton of kids playing. Steph and I get caipirinhas while the kids run around and get tired.
Make sure you check out my next post about horse back riding at Haras Godiva