North Carolina to Iowa
It was early 2018, we had just added our second (and final) baby to our family at the end of 2017 and my husband proposed that he switch back careers and work towards a goal he had started with several years before. In addition to switching careers it would require us sell my childhood home we had made our own, likely give up my photography business and leave our hometown to move halfway across the country. North Carolina to Iowa.
And the crazy thing? Despite never being to Iowa before we moved, it felt right. I said yes with little to no hesitation. My husband had supported me for years and years in my photography dream by helping me with location scouting, holding my reflector, driving me up the mountains for shoots, watching our son, and cleaning and cooking when the summer golden hour pushed shoots late into the evening. I knew this was my chance to show him just an ounce of that support for his own big goal with Chick-fil-A!!!
A Year in Iowa
When we moved here we were unsure of what, if anything, was to come of the goals we had. I continued my business while in Iowa, but didn't take on local clients because the very short term plan wasn't to stay over a year.
Instead, we enjoyed all the parks and fun things about the new area around us. Being close to the city, but also close to huge areas of wide open land. During that first year here I got on my first ever plane and began the pattern of flying out of Des Moines for the weddings, engagements and bridal sessions I had booked prior to our quick move.
Tennessee. Asheville. Boone. Hickory. Valdese. Washington, DC. Hands down some of my favorite photos were taken during that crazy year. Many of them are featured on this site!
Retired for Chicken
But I ultimately felt called that the goal we were working toward, my husband's two year full-time travel job for Chick-fil-A that the kids and I would join in on, needed me fully present.
The Summer of 2019 rolled around, and he landed the job!!! We planned our exit from Iowa and head wherever chicken called across the USA!! I finished up my final few commitments and shifted to capturing our life and adventure in mostly videos! It was so fun to learn this new way of creating with a camera!
We shared our adventures with many people and I truly loved it! We met so many wonderful new people on the road and saw unreal places that I had never dreamed we would get to travel to or live in!
Travel During Covid
Unfortunately, COVID hit while we were about 8 months into life on the road. We still found immense joy during that season, but we definitely lost some momentum as it stretched on. While it was once second nature for me to be able to pick up my camera and see the vivid colors, the glowing light, and the joy in the world. It had become so difficult for me to do that with and at times even without the camera in my hand. It was truly an unprecedented time for our family and we fought so hard to keep moving forward and find the good around us!!
Where to Next?
As we continued pushing forward and traveling in 2020 and 2021 we faced a season of hardships with a surgery and general difficulties. Life felt so up in the air as we neared the point where we could chose to settle down or continue traveling a bit longer. Ultimately we felt settling down was the wisest choice for our family as my husband pursued the next step in this journey!!
After our year here, we knew we wanted Des Moines, Iowa to be our next home as we let the rest of our journey play out. We moved back here in 2021 and slowly started putting down roots again.
We're thankful for the journey we were on, but waking up each day to the same four walls and in my own bed has been a wonderful change of pace. We are still very much in a state of wondering and waiting, but can't deny the connection we feel here. Gaining small bits of normalcy back has been revolutionary in so many aspects of our life, including my creativity and photography.
Life off the Road
Enter mid 2022, we've been back nearly a year and I began to feel a longing toward wanting to do my own thing again. For months and months and in many conversations, I kept my desire buried under deep, deep layers of denial and apathy towards that being a possibility in our "unknown" season. After years of living a lifestyle of constant flexibility toward where we may need to pack up and move as soon as the next day, feeling settled and secure enough to start my own business again felt like an enormous weight that I was unsure I even remembered how to take on...
But then I remembered being the very scared and very young mom who took a chance and opened my own business in July 2012. I remembered being an equally scared mom with a new 3 month old baby packing up my childhood home to sell so we can move away from all our friends and family to a state we've never been for a big chicken opportunity that might not work out. I remember putting on my brave face in March 2020 while sitting with my kids in our hotel room home when this thing called "coronavirus" started making the rounds and and I worried how this would impact the journey we were on.
It made me realize that every big, scary business risk I've ever taken a chance on hasn't always worked out the way I envisioned it. Yet, every big, scary risk I've taken has always given me something to be joyful and thankful for when looking back.
So I'm writing this... a decade since I first opened my business in North Carolina, except now I am starting again in Iowa! I'm truly thankful for any small growth here and excited for the possibilities that are in Des Moines, Iowa to create photo memories for others, encourage their skills and express myself creatively. Thank you so much for reading!