Girl sitting on rock, overlooking ocean, taking a photo of lighthouse in Crescent City California

Taken by: Krysta. Edited by: B+B

Busy B, Becs here. 
We've all been here.
You plan months ahead, 
Life happens.
You debate canceling plans.
I ended up keeping plans, and returning but delayed actually writing out the growth that occured, why? 
Because how odd is it to go from calling someone and saying
 “hey, guess what I learned” 
to writing to a small online audience. 
It is very weird. 
I used to always tell my Grams how much I should do a weekly blog over her two cents. 
She always said, “nah, they don’t listen anyhow.” 
Maybe this is why my blog/our blog life is so small, we don’t believe anyone is listening. 
So here is to making noise, even if no one else hears it. 
Here is spreading the advice that has gotten me through life, and each growth season that brings growing pains.
Black and white photo of jewelry of wedding day, taken in Crested Butte Colorado.
Let’s tell this tale, then… 
hold on, it is going to be filled with an emotional ride.
So coming in another blog is a life update, here is a blurb: 
April 2019, Ben got offered his favorite job; 
May 2019 we spent packing to leave, helping people move in, and saying goodbyes; 
June 2019, we move states… and we get a diagnosis, for a loved one that scares us we also made travel plans. 
July 2019, we lost a loved one. 
August 2019, Travel plans were prepared for, cold feet happened, a breakdown while listening to music and editing happened, and losing spark happened. 
September 2019, travel and wedding season officially began. 
😳 ☹️ 😐
Two weeks from home, started.
 The adventure that followed...can be easily summed up, as traveling to find myself. 
You see, when you move you are in a transitional time period anywhere from 3 months to 12. You see when you lose someone, you lose a part of you. 
When you run a business, you don’t have time for any of this. 
You box it up; you begin to cry while editing and text your mom a no on calling, because you are crying yet she calls you anyways. And she convinces you, that a trip is exactly what Grams would have wanted. 
That she would not have wanted me to stay in and just work, she would want me out and doing what she raised me to do– living, exploring, learning, and teaching others. 
So I packed a bag, researched one location, and let the rest be bygones.
 Here is how traveling solo or with a long distance friend, helped me rediscover parts of me that I swore were taken to the grave.
Vivacious vintage color landscape artwork of Crested Butte Colorado.
 “Life doesn’t stop for you, Life is going to keep going whether you like it or not… What are you going to do {about it}?”
Let me say, this is probably the most quoted thing to me growing up.

 Bad day?
 “Life’s going on baby, what the F*** are you going to do about it?”
Good day? 
“That’s great baby, what about tomorrow? What are you going to do about it?”
Let me stress, my Grams did allow you to feel your emotions, and process. 
She just didn’t let you mope or gloat. She kept you humbled and kind. 
She was the matriarch of the family. No one trifled with her, and no one dared cross her. If you did pop off, just because “you were having a bad day”? 
Didn’t matter.  
Remembering one of our last phone calls being about this trip; how happy she was that I was returning to what I always have wanted to do–traveling. 
She was already going over all the traveling alone tips: don’t sit with your back to the door, don’t leave your drink, always have your phone charged and act like you are meeting up with someone, if a car follows you for more than traffic–head to the police station, and never let your tank get below half. 
Just a few for example, and I chuckled because I have been told these a few times. 
She knew she could never (even if she wanted to) cage me. 
So she just taught me precautions and encouraged me, because “life doesn’t stop for you, what are you going to do about it?”
female driver, showing off adventure tattoo on arm, in the redwoods of california.
Yet, after losing my first adventure buddy, I wasn’t ready for this chapter. 
I was not ready for the adventure. 
Who will be there to hear about the frustrations of roads from afar? Who will sit there and tell me to mind my surroundings? Who will be there to be the leader of the adventure?
 Sure Ben was still here, but he was still new compared how long Grams had been around listening. He didn’t hold “hey remember you got through this by doing x, y, and z, did you try that?” 
This would be my first “on my own” adventure. 
No husband, no Grams, only a long distance friend that would be free after work and when we headed to Cali, and another friend on the way until we split for our own adventures!
To go from nearly two months leading up to this adventure: just co-shooting and working on the back end of the website, and just plowing through life… planning wedding shoot lists… anything and everything to keep from focusing. 
Friends checking in with “she was your person… how are you holding up?” 
Me saying fine, to avoid facing the onslaught of bottled emotions; figuring one emotional cry was all I needed.  
The time came to pack bags and think about canceling. 
I had to think about who I am, and where I want to go (in life and during this trip), because “Life doesn’t stop for you, what are you going to do about it?”
Lightening behind engaged couple in the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah.
Now there was a slight itinerary, I was a co-shooting with another traveling photographer. 
They had gigs here and there, so starting off was a wedding in Crested Butte, Colorado
It was fun, and allowed me a few moments to capture artwork for future clients of ours to know what to expect. It also allowed us to show a full intimate wedding can be done in less than 200 photos. 
Anyhow, after that wedding it was an overnight drive, to Bonneville Salt Flats, for a daybreak engagement session. This allowed B+B to learn how they would set up photos against crazy wind and make notes for our what to wear blog (there are many blogs coming after this roadblock of a blog).
Wedding couple, bride and groom, walking with Crested Butte moutains behind them, vintage film black and white.
Then the drive to the west coast commenced. 
Then the start of de-shelling began. 
You see, I thought I handled the whole passing of my grams way better than anyone expected.
Was there an epic music moment where I lost my control on my waterworks? 
Will never be able to listen to “Dying in L.A.” by panic, without being reminded of that moment. 
Did my mom call me during that moment? 
Was this apex of a moment during editing? 
Duh, I am an artist with a camera who created vintage inspired modern artworks from her emotions.
Was it my best edit? Ah. No. 
Sadly tear-filled squinted eyes do not make the best judgement calls.
Did I think this was the moment to end all other moments, to push me forward in moving on? That this would be the only moment, the only non-controlled moment that would prevent any other effects?
Naively, yes. 
I didn’t see myself pushing myself into a safety shell. 
Shrinking back, regressing into a version that was just there. 
Doing, being, breathing, all in the futile attempt to glaze through grief, gracefully. 
You see, you can breathe, be and do things automatically. 
Where you can check out, mentally and glaze through life. 
Many people live their lives like this. 
This is very normal. 
Routines can cause this. 
Having a life where you can do this, is nothing to be ashamed of. 
As for me though, it was very unusual. 
You see Grams always had me be present, note observations, live in the moment. 
Chastise me for being on my phone too much, or working through my life and not actually doing anything with it. 
“Great you can work, but what else are you doing?” “Great you left the house, but what did you do, what did you see? Did you talk to anyone?” 

Taken by: Krysta. Edited by B+B.

Yet in the months after my Grams passed, I stopped outside of work reasons.  

I got good at faking at being extremely passionate present to being the direct opposite.
 “K” “good for you” and “do what you want” replaced any and all advice answers. 
I found myself not having energy, not being motivated and even more oddly not caring about my friends. 
Silence became a favorite place to be. 
Even Ben saw a difference, his once vivacious wife who would sass you into next week, suddenly just wanted everything to be silent, sass was forced at best, and the need to just work overtook everything. My practical to emotional balance, went straight to practical… if it wasn’t time-saving, efficient, productive… I wasn’t here for it.
 If it wasn’t our routine of working, it wasn’t happening. 
See our routine is extremely balanced, and easy to glaze in and out of. 
It was easy, to fake friendship hangs in designated times, it was easy to be okay 10:30 bedtime. 
It was easy. 
It took little to no effort, to get the mind right to process and be productive and “peaceful”. 
Peaceful in the sense, when there aren’t emotions to go through and process, when there is no need to feel… you are just floating. 
Not really at peace… just really good at avoiding topics, or emotional time. 
That changes when you ditch your routine, to “float” afar. 
It lasts for about,  well, two days. 
Road rage in places you never driven kicks in, first and foremost. 
And once you let your rage in, well, there is really no stopping emotions. 
This time I got quiet in thoughts, feeling a shift in my energy. 
That mellow, non-caring, floating version of me… met rage. 
Met frustrating moments, met disappointment, met a spark.
Now this is probably the moment everyone was waiting on. 
All those check ins, “hey how are you? She meant the world to you, I'm surprised you are in such good spirits… reach out if it ever changes.” 
Well, shit changed really quickly when emotions came flooding. 
Words were being bitten because I could sense they were misdirected. 
Foggy overwhelmed this head, heart and body, all because a jerk decided to get on the road. 
Ah, spark + projection, might not be the best combo.
Then the eerie silence, came next. 
Anyone who has bottled or not worked through emotions can tell you, the silence you used to cling to that brought this floating peace, is now piercing your heart and mind. 
Is so thunderous and raving, bringing guilt. 
Guilt that you weren’t caring to be you. 
Guilt that while you faking, and giving wonderful advice, you weren’t taking it. 
Guilt for wanting to be perfect and peaceful, instead of human. 
Guilt for not honoring their death. 
I’m sure my travel companion realized a change. 
Bubbly went to brewing, calm became tense, and smiling became neutral. 
The itinerary had us destined to split, and meet up later. 
And I think they realized it must have been a good thing.
Watch dead, phone nearly dead, laptop needing some charging, and being informed that in Oregon they catch you on your phone it’s an instant high dollar ticket… 
I clung to my last comfort. 
Starbucks coffee shops. 
Clean bathrooms, outlets, and no one talking to you.
 I am that person to mobile order, while sitting in a cafe, just so I don’t have to rattle off my order to the poor barista. 
Heading to a Starbucks only 10 minutes away, i thought this would be easy. 
I come from Houston drivers, nowhere is worse than Houston drivers. 
I can navigate any town, city, because Houston drivers. 
Houston bees, can relate to several iconic exits that have drivers cutting 4 lanes over to exit right now. As well as the suicidal drivers who will not wait to be let in or over, either you make room for them or you both crash.
So with my haughty mindset, need of space from myself, this 10 minute drive was going to be a breeze. Or so I thought.
 Nearly 40 minutes later, downtown Portland had proven to be a formidable foe.
 Phone dying upon arrival… very good ironic timing for my mind and heart. 
Every tucked-away outlet table taken, leaving the seats by the line open: where baristas are there looking, people stand beside the table as they wait in line, metaphorical setting of my emotions lining up to order a round of time to be dealt with uniquely. 
Begrudgingly I set up, yanking out chords, and laptop to be able to listen to music and be able to message Mr. B that I made it safely, and touch base with the friend I was going to meet up with and stay with.
One by one, the line dwindled down as I stuffed down the feelings that needed to wait to be dealt with. 
No need to make a cliche movie scene happen: the one where what looks to be a college kid crying over their laptop and 5$ coffee. 
Or would that just be a meme of society?
Once everything was charged up, and once I got the times to go see friend 2, I took her advice and went to the library in Vancouver, Washington. 
Arriving at the Vancouver Community Library, my heart pumping– not from the drivers anymore. This library is gorgeous, modern, artistic, and nestled with clouds. 
It was an instant hit.
Snapping a few photos of clouds and people in moments, before opening up my laptop and to begin keeping tabs on travels and editing and website work! 
Procrastinating and promising bottled emotions, time when I got home.

Called Ben once I got to my friend's neighborhood to check in and catch up. 

Then met up Krysta and her lovely pups. We stayed up late, chit chatting and getting used to one another. Online friends can take a minute to get used to, seeing in person. 

Sleeping in a different bed, in a different state, can take time getting used to… unless you are sleep deprived and exhausted.
Waking late, I showered, grabbed a wet weather local day outfit. 
Krysta stated due to the weather being dreary to head to Powells in Portland.  
Let me stress, I don’t do wet driving. 
I don’t do slick roads.
 I especially don’t do them on bridges. 
But Uber was out of the question, and Grams didn’t raise me  to give into fear or anxiety. 
She raised me to face it. 
The exact opposite of what I had been doing in the wake of her passing.
 Love when life happens and it is ironic to those battles you have been secretly facing, and again that spark came out. 
A little bit stronger, this time.
So nerve-ridden and taking the wheel to drive over to Portland. 
Once in downtown Portland, trying to find a place to park, a nightmare. 
Once finding parking, I got so turned around on which block was where, and the closeness of buildings had my super smartwatch rerouting every 5 steps. 
So out of floating and glazing peacefulness, and drenched in familiar rain of resourcefulness– I relied on lessons of my grams while traveling! 
Ducking into stores to lose any creeps, keeping track of where I wandered, and sticking to places well lit, expensive, and with cameras.
Did I feel like the biggest target of a tourist? 
Did I add “dummy” when I realized how close I parked to Powells? 
Did I completely forget all that, when I entered Powells? 
What was I just saying???
Powells is a gift to every book lover.  
Blocks upon levels, in house coffee shop, bakery too, and SO MUCH PEACE. 
Busy, but the right amount of bustle.  
It is like a creator visited every college bookstore, every library and made it modern, welcoming and freeing place. 
One does not leave Powells without purchasing something. 
I purchased some divine coffee and flakey croissant, found a person who wanted to model (surprisingly a worker, who knew exactly where to go in store). 
Then a little thrift store shopping, then Krysta texted saying how her and her friend Cody wanted to introduce me to a dinner place. 
While at dinner, Cody gave good coffee places to try. Returning back to base, Krysta said we needed to get to bed because the next day would be wicked fun and busy. 
Waking the next morning; thinking about Cody's suggestions for a few coffee shops to try on my blogging day. 
Then about the adventure scavenger hunt by Krysta, along with some hikes that her and I were going to do once she got off from work. 
My day sounded easy, and living like a local.
Beginning to get in my head... coffee screamed as a need. 
Grabbed coffee, Rlvnt put Starbucks to shame. So smooth, so perfectly roasted and it did not need much sugar! 
Almost got a ticket but was warned instead, even if you are only going to be parked for 5 mins pay for your spot. 
Heading back to the library, after quite the start to an adventurous morning. There was something calming about the library that was needed. The low hush of noise, and the humongous pearly clouds sky view…There I blogged notes to remember this trip by: coffee ratings, adventure notes and journaled those pesky feelings. 
Stolen from.
Feeling abandoned, left behind, alone. 
My Grandma was my first roomie, my first travel buddy, biggest supporter, and the best friend that was my person. 
I could have 20 girlfriends, but none of them could hold a candle to the wisdom my Grams would give. 
She would listen, but she was big on asking questions that would make you think. 
Not being able to call her, man, that is a lonely feeling. 
When your go-to person passes… it leaves quite a few holes.

As well as feeling invisible or forgotten.
Forgotten feeling comes from the fear that you won’t matter to anyone as much as you did to your person. 
Don’t get me wrong, I know I matter to Ben, but the love between me and my Grams… was irreplaceable. 
Sitting in a library, over two thousand miles away from the library Grams used to take me to… wondering how I will get over feeling forgotten, led to..
Why did I have to lose her? 
Why couldn’t it have been a criminal who got cancer and died? 
Why did I (and my family) have to suffer, right now?
 Why not on the timeline I wanted??
 Isn’t that the biggest frustration of life though? Things not happening on the timeline, you planned for? Human nature, we plan for a life we want, and get frustrated when there are roadblocks. 
So why is death one of those roadblocks that is so hard to get around or over? 
Short version: we feel stolen from.
 We feel jipped out of time with our loved ones. 
We feel jipped by no longer keeping comfort in knowing our person is there. 
 The no longer “till next time”.
 It is just finally a really depressing, “Goodbye.”
Now here comes grief. 
The grieving of coming to peace with the last time. 
The last good time. 
The last phone call. 
The last goodbye. 
The grieving of letting go. 
I thought that a good cry would prevent all of the grief from hitting. I thought that was how you were supposed to grieve. 
Cry, say they’re dead, and move on.  
That’s not how it works though. You can’t box it up. You can’t control it. You can’t ignore it for long. 
You can’t say “one cry and done.” 
You’ll wind up taking a grief trip, in a literal sense, then you’ll be sitting in a town you have never been to, being swept into a tidal wave of emotions. 
You’ll stop running. You’ll start healing. 
When you grieve.
Warming me out of the shell that I had became; seeping color back into my gray world. 
These emotions I spent time running from all had their course of me during this trip, and now coming to terms, and processing (not boxing), they are loudest in a library. 
The wakening in me, blooming and shining like the sun coming out of the clouds. 
Sitting in a library, three stories tall, filled with knowledge, and yet the lesson I just got reminded of, came from nothing there. 
I wish I could say it came from the clouds above, the wind, the sun…but it came from the echoes of past memories of a wise woman, who had a library of stories herself, dripping in lessons from a life well lived.
For the first time in months, I felt my spirit rustle, that spark growing evermore. 
I cared about how I felt, and how I hurt, and I didn’t care to just sit back on autopilot anymore. 
It was okay to care about me. 
The main important lesson my Grams taught me: I matter. 
The fear of no longer mattering to her, had me blinded to the whole lesson, she taught me, time and time again. 
I needed to matter to myself. 
No one is coming to rescue me. 
No one matters if I don’t care about me. 
Yes have faith, but don’t put all that faith into others.
Making note of the atmosphere, emotional balance, and the breath of fresh air that entered me– I message Krysta for the start of my scavenger hunt of a day. 
Time to take the peace and confidence that filled me on their first adventure. 
Again, enjoying the oh so wonderful symbolical timing from nature: a sunny breezy day. 
Exploring Vancouver as Krysta sent places to check out, and then researching some of the things locals do on sunny days, and partaking in them. 
If you ever get to live like a local in a place that isn’t home, do it. 
Site seeing is wonderful, but finding a home away from home? Unforgettable. 
Although I think the northwest was more of a burial ground. Giving me the peace to let go of my physical want for my Grams, and allowed me to return back to how she would have wanted me to live.
Meeting up with Krysta once she got off work, we hopped on to the road to Oregon, and the gorge, and went chasing waterfalls and found a simple yet extremely incomparable hike. 
Did a small adventure shoot of one another, chasing the fading sun. 
Entering my head a few times when Krysta tried to take photos of me, and finally she asked a question my Grams always did when I would be in my head too much.
I burst out laughing, little did my friend know just how much she was an echo to the whispers of lessons given long ago.
 The pressure that arose due to the fear of not living enough, was silenced by an aged question. 
In laughing to respond to the question, the pressure was deflated like a popped balloon! 
If those pesky yet needed emotions from earlier, were visible they would be bubbles just floating and popping away around me. 
Driving off into the sunset with a traveling bestie, chasing waterfalls, belting to lyrics, does anyone see the unexpected movie scene? 
I do. 
And it was magically needed. 
I slept like a baby, not from exhaustion, for the first time in months!
Waking the next morning, Krysta advised that I take a lazy day and prepare for our adventure to Cali the next day. 
She told me a show on Netflix, a place to doordash food, and oh did I mention she has two cute furry babies? 
And it was another rainy day?
 Pretty sure in another life, Krysta and I were married. 
In this life we are traveling sister souls.
I sat down to edit, blog notes and enjoy cuddles, devour a bagel and some coffee. 
I felt like myself, and there was a smile on my face that was not faked, forced or small. 
Facing all those feelings I was afraid of? 
Wasn’t as bad as I thought. 
Draining, but it was a good day to be lazy and recover.
Next evening after Krysta got off work, we headed out and down to Cali. 
We stopped after driving for most of the night. 
We were going to sleep in the car, until we heard a gunshot nearby. 

Then we booked a hotel room.
Next morning we were driving through Cali. 

Both of us belting to Pink, being in awe of the redwoods, and enjoying the winding roads. 

Our air bnb was beyond perfect. 

We did the long drives on this day, exploring redwood drive, drive thru tree, and hit some beaches, and then turned in. 

Honestly, what is better than a day spent exploring new territory with a clear head?
Next morning we woke, it was going to be misty, so we decided to do small trailheads and explore.

It was so much fun, baptismal, and refreshing. 

The smells, the atmosphere, not being weighed down, living a little, and etc.

Washing off the old, and starting fresh as a beautiful stormy sunset glowed. It was beautifully symbolic. 

And the Thai food after, was adding the spice back into our lives. 
Next day was the day we needed to head back to base, and complete a few more hikes on the list. 
Storms were supposed to hold off till 2pm, we would be long gone by then! 
So we thought it was perfect timing.
Starting off on the longest hike of day, we were chasing a big tree and waterfall. 
 Thunder rolled, as if warning we had to return to normal life soon, we carried on. 
Mist came down, as if washing away the idea of we could stay, we carried on. 
Rain came down, we carried on. 
Stubborn women, are strong women. 
Thunderstorm rolled in, pounding us with warnings. 
We persisted. 
How does that quote go again? “She knew she could so she did.” 
Maybe we should have listened to the song lyrics of “DON'T go chasing waterfalls” instead though. 
Passing the point of where the waterfall should be, running out of time to hit other hikes we regretfully turned back. 
Planning on chasing this invisible waterfall again, for future travels.
Heading back to the car, the weather eased as if saying, “finally you listen.”
 To us leaving? To me listening and healing from emotions? Both?
We hit a few beaches and trails on the way home. Not getting in till a little before midnight. 
Preparing to regroup with another friend the next day, and to return to my normal life, I was sad to be leaving Krysta and her family. 
I was sad to be leaving a place of growth. 
I was sad to be leaving a place that came to feel like a place that was home. 
Yet there was fire back in me, and that was the best keepsake I could bring back from this trip. 

That maybe, by mattering to myself it is not about how many are listening, but rather having the courage to speak. 

Maybe instead of calling one person, and saying “guess what I did/learned”, I let that fire burn and spread the lessons from adventures. 

Maybe instead of just posting highlights in photos of trips, I write what they taught and brought out in me. 
Maybe instead of relying on a person other than me, to ask the questions that cause me to connect dots– I listen to what they have been teaching my whole life.
It’s not about who you matter to, if you don’t matter to yourself. 
If you show up in your own life every day, and do things which make you: proud, joyful, think, bolder, and better… then that’s all that matters. 
Because in the end, when the light fades during your last sunset, you won’t look back and say 
“oh how I need Suzy lulu peace”. 
You’ll be proud of your own peace, your own life, and just how far you have gone on your adventure, how loud you have preached your lessons.
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” 
“Does the ocean roar and have bellowing waves, if no one is around to see it?”
“Even if you are feeling invisible, and think no one notices you, should you still use your voice?”
You still matter even if no one is acting like it.
The main lesson from Patricia, “Grams”. 
Why did it take her death, and grief trip, for me to learn it? 
Possible answer: so I would write about it, act on it, and share the seed of knowledge with others. 
“Life doesn’t stop for you, 
what the f** are you going to do about it?”
Care for. 
Matter to.
Be present for. 
Bring joy to. 
Live for. 
Send 🎁
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

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