Last month I got to tag along on Alice and Carl's honeymoon in South Africa documenting their epic adventures. As soon as I got off the plane, we hopped on a 4x4 and drove out to the Atlantis desert dunes. The ride into the dunes was so exhilarating. We were all holding onto the back of the truck as it shook us left and right. It's the type of ride that will send you flying if you don't hold on tight! I loved the adrenaline and we were laughing every second of it. This is the first of our many adventures during the week. Enjoy!
The wonderful thing about this life being a mystery, is that sometimes the mystery leads you to something better than you planned yourself. Courtney, Beck and I made plans to drive in their Volkswagen camper to the Columbia River gorge to watch the sunset. In my mind, I pictured a session filled with beautiful lookouts and mountains. The VW camper had something different in mind. Before we even left the garage it began making strange noises that C + B hadn't heard before. We decided getting stuck hours from the city wasn't something we wanted to risk, so we had to come up with another idea. I remembered that what really mattered was Courtney and Beck's love for each other, not some mountain backdrop. Plus, this time of year Portland is like a giant rose garden so every street is filled with a stunning palette of pinks, reds, and whites. We didn't even have to leave their neighbourhood to find a beautiful spot to shoot! We had so much fun walking around the streets and admiring all of the flowers and trees blooming. Things turned out exactly how they were supposed to, actually - even better. Love you friends!
South Africa is hands down my favourite country I've been to. There are so many beautiful places in this world but I think a place is made even more special by the people you meet there. I know my experience wouldn't have been the same if it wasn't for Ryan and Nick from Local Knowledge Tours showing me around.
Exploring the Atlantic Coast:
We hopped on a bike (me!) and longboard (ryan!) and explored the ocean boardwalk. I was definitely in my happy place doing what I love, with great company, and a beautiful ocean view.
Trying to multitask riding my bike and taking portraits. Harder than it looks!
Next stop: ciders in a secret cave on the coastline.
Here we are sitting in the secret cave! I told Ryan I wanted a few photos of him here, and that's him laughing when he realized I was already tipsy from the cider. Thankfully my photos didn't come out blurry!
We then went to a spot where you could do cliff diving. To be honest when we started the trip and Ryan told me we could do that, in my mind it was a big hard no. I had watched too many national geographic documentaries about sharks in South Africa and was uneasy swimming in such a turbulent ocean. As someone who didn't grow up near the ocean, I guess I am hyper aware of all the things that could kill me in it haha. But once Ryan jumped in and reassured me there were indeed no sharks lurking at the bottom, I chose to try it. I'm so glad I did! The scariest part was the jump. As soon as I got in the water I felt super calm albeit swallowing so much sea water I couldn't speak. Thanks for being such a rock throughout the whole thing, Ryan!
The crazy waves we jumped into (left) and my minor battle scars when climbing out (right). A huge wave almost took me out when I tried to get back to shore but surprisingly I felt super calm on the inside and just held on until it passed. I didn't even know I had a scratch until I was drying off.
Before we started a pub crawl, we went to the beach again to watch the sunset.
Crystal Pools Day with Ryan, Nick, Jenny and Andrew:
The crystal pools are these natural fresh water pools you can swim in. We had to hike to get to them and the views along the way were super pretty (top, right).
These are the pools (below), and more cliff diving. It wasn't so much the height that scared me, but that no one knew how deep it was. Something about seemingly bottomless pools and the mysterious creatures that could be living so deep underwater (my imagination, obviously) made me skip on jumping this one.
I loved this little moment (above), of Nick and Ryan hanging out while I was busy photographing Jenny and Andrew. So sweet!
Our final stop. A picnic on a cliff by the ocean! Thank you for bringing the most delicious, healthiest wraps for us & more amazing drinks. Still dreaming of the avocado mayo quinoa wrap. Here are some iphone shots of the views:
And, more cliff diving (of course). Something I love about Nick and Ryan is how they take the time to enjoy their surroundings and notice little things. For example, when Nick was helping me climb down from the crystal pools, he stopped to show me the moss on a rock that looked like snowflakes. It was such a tiny detail that could have easily been missed. I love that he paid attention to it!
And thanks Ryan, for being so attentive to helping me out with climbing, carrying my heavy stuff (sorry, photographer problems), and just being so kind and friendly!
Our picnic spot:
I wish these two the most success with local knowledge tours. It makes me so happy to see that they're both doing what they love! I hope our paths will cross again soon. My heart kind of sank when I had to say goodbye. See you again, beautiful South Africa.