What's really going on in Oklahoma City?

The humidity was slowly subsiding as we reached the beginning of America's desert lands, but the sun was pounding down, hot as ever. The asphalt blended with the horizon, sizzling hot for the last hour of the flat drive, watching the skyline of Oklahoma City slowly getting bigger and bigger in the distance. We pulled up onto a dusty road with a few gas stations and restaurants and checked into our apartment hotel room. We sat on the bed and looked at each other and laugh-cried; Home sweet home.

 We found a beautiful park in Norman, Oklahoma this summer.

We found a beautiful park in Norman, Oklahoma this summer.

I guess we're used to it. Moving so often has taught us to roll with the tide more than against it. Our professional future, starting July 5th, seemed to be in the hands of the Federal Aviation Administration, but we knew God was at the wheel. We signed up for four months in middle America, Oklahoma City where my husband would study to become an Air Traffic Controller. As I write this, in three weeks the journey will send us somewhere new, again. So from the start we had to build up the thick skin to be vulnerable and make friends, but also give our full attention to where was leading next. It has been the hardest balance.

So, I’m here to tell you what’s ‘really’ going on, right? Well, I’m panicked and frustrated and feeling like I missed the mark on so many milestones during these past 15 months of transition. I wanted to be a marketing photographer or photojournalist and have the credentials to prove it, but I couldn’t wait for the perfect job so I took another, and another, and now I feel light years away from that path. Many friends from each stage of life have moved away or enter new stages and are unable to stay connected. I look at myself in the mirror often and feel uninteresting and invaluable. Even after 4 months of what I thought would be a good break I find myself incredibly lonely, disconnected, and incapable. So in summary: If you’r reading this, thank you.

But…the positives, right? There’s got to be a silver lining!

In the first few weeks we got connected to an old friend of my husband; Isaac Elder and his wife Riley. They introduced us to Henderson Hills Baptist where we have been able to hear and live out christ-centered teaching. The Elders also taught us through their own unique path that there is no normal story to this life. God has a grander plan and he’s not about making our lives easier; he’s about making us the best tools for his glory. The Elders also introduced us to the Heard on Hurd festival in downtown Edmond, Oklahoma. I got to experience some delicious pizza and snap a few photos of them.

 Riley and Isaac Elder at the Heard or Hurd monthly festival in Downtown, Edmond Oklahoma

Riley and Isaac Elder at the Heard or Hurd monthly festival in Downtown, Edmond Oklahoma

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“God has a grander plan and he’s not about making our lives easier; he’s about making us the best tools for his glory.”

About a month into our stay I found a job at a Dog Daycare facility here that truly loves and takes care of their clients and dogs. It has not always been easy learning new jobs, but I will say that I am proud of myself. I pushed through a lot of anxiety and disappointment, and had to come to terms with ‘just getting a job.’ I learned a lot and had meaningful conversations with people that were truly different than me, and God used that in my life to understand how deep his love is for every person.

Within two months we found a few good restaurants like Waffle Champion in Midtown Oklahoma City, and Louie’s Bar and Grill right across the street. We enjoyed mini golf, Hurts Donuts, and $1 ice cream cones from Braums. I got to explore coffee shops like I did on our road trip across America and talk to strangers. I got to even met an old friend and Liberty University Alumni, Hannah, at a delicious Mexican restaurant on Automobile Alley.

 The beautiful street art and murals along Automobile Alley in downtown Oklahoma City

The beautiful street art and murals along Automobile Alley in downtown Oklahoma City

 Waffle Champion, in Midtown Oklahoma City.

Waffle Champion, in Midtown Oklahoma City.

In four months I have developed great exercises habits and discipline with medicines that I take. Even if I don’t make the progress I want to see, I know I’ve made some great changes. I have learned to cook in a very small hotel kitchen that only stocks two of everything; two knives, two spoons, two plates, two glasses. I have learned to move to a new city for the second time this year, and it has shown me how to adapt and change as I prepare for another new city in November.

In September we mourned the death of our only pet, and our best friend, Amelia. It was very difficult, but we have learned to shed want we want, and work towards what God wants. We often don’t understand his plan, and even right now I have no idea what will happen to me in the next months of my life in New City, but I know he will bless my socks off if I open up my eyes to see it.

“[GOD] HAS ANSWERED WITH HIS DIFFERENT AND ALWAYS BETTER SOLUTIONS.”

 Josiah, my husband, who is graduating Air Traffic Control school in just a few short weeks.

Josiah, my husband, who is graduating Air Traffic Control school in just a few short weeks.

I’m on this wild adventure, and its absolutely nothing like what I have expected in my life. I spend so much time fighting my circumstances instead of embracing them, and I forget that God has given me so much more than I ever dreamed. We prayed to be used outside of our college town and God gave me many homes and states to live in. We prayed for two years that Josiah would get into Air Traffic Control School and now he’s about to graduate in 3 weeks. We prayed for a good church to remind us of our mission and we’ve had three! We prayed that God would strengthen our marriage and he has refined us raw and then built us back again. We prayed that God would grow our family with children, and he has given us countless friends and mentors in so many states and countries. God is not here to answer my specific requests and prayers. But, he has answered them with his different, and always better solutions.  

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker

 

 

 

 

Alex Reed and Muddy's Grindhouse | Memphis, TN Brand Lifestyle Session

"Let's talk about it."

Alex Reed is a woman not afraid to tackle the issues, and shake off the stigmas attached to her profession as a dietitian. You can even find her website here. 

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When I first moved to Memphis, I immediately looked up the Memphis brand of Tuesdays Together, a group of like minded men and women who create, build, and support eachother through small businesses and hobbies. Its a unique sort of networking, as it focuses on lifting each other up for the sake of the bettering Memphis as a whole. Their motto? Community Over Competition. 

Alex, also known as @NotAFoodCop on Instagram, talks bluntly and openly about the confusion that surrounds food in 2018. The Diet Culture that has consumed the American Woman (and man), can seriously mess with body image and stress. Obsessively counting calories, demonizing foods, and needlessly restricting make for a stressed out individual that can barely eat an ice cream cone without some serious guilt. And Alex is out there to help you, and whoever else wants to read or listen, debunk some serious diet myths. She writes as a dietitian for GirlBoss, and you can find her speaking at foodie events and leading food tours here in Memphis and in Nashville. She's a powerhouse.

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When she approached me about getting portraits, I instantly knew that she wanted to showcase her relaxed and fun outlook on food. She chose Muddy's Grindhouse, a memphis icon, for her shoot and I knew it was going to be a good session. We got there on a Saturday morning this fall and shared some coffee and pimento cheese scones while talking about some great Memphis finds. (Thanks for helping that new-to-memphis girl out!) She's a natural in the front of the camera, and introduced me to one of the best coffee shops in midtown.

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 Muddy's Grindhouse has some of the best coffee, in the cutest mugs. 

Muddy's Grindhouse has some of the best coffee, in the cutest mugs. 

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 Pimento Cheese scones are one of their specialities, and a delicious one at that!

Pimento Cheese scones are one of their specialities, and a delicious one at that!

Thanks again, Alex, for a great time at Muddy's Grindhouse, and for being a familiar face in Memphis when I'm exploring the city for myself. 

Best of luck out there-

Kaitlyn Becker Johnson

Do you know any businesses that need their photography updated for their website and social media? I'm your girl! Send off this blog and refer them to contact me here: CONTACT KAITLYN!

Sunrise Couples Session Memphis, Tennessee

Lindsay and Kevin Julian are what you'd call a "Power Couple."

 

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Yes, they live in a bustling city with interesting jobs, a beautiful home, a fur baby kitten, with building projects and fun possibilities on the horizon. But that's not the kind of success and power that I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of power couple, the kind of marriage, that can make it through anything that life throws at them.

This year Lindsay and Kevin started drawing up plans for new projects they wanted to build this year and next, but they also suffered confusing and relentless injuries from herniated discs, back and neck pain, and more. It was a hard year for them, but I've never been more proud of how they have handled it as a couple; with even more relentless prayer and patience.

As family of Lindsay and Kevin, I can say that they are great models to me and my husband. I am so thankful for them.

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 A little bit of the sunrise behind the Autozone Building.   

A little bit of the sunrise behind the Autozone Building.

 

The two were such troopers to get up before the crack of dawn to drive downtown and take pictures on top of the Autozone Building in Downtown Memphis. Ever since Kevin started working there and showing us the beautiful skyline at the top of his home office, I wanted to do a session there.  

It was a dark, the wind was howling, and it was dipping into that dangerous "below 30 degree" zone that made your bones shiver. But, Lindsay and Kevin dressed as warmly (and quite fashionably) as they could and braved the cold. I'm so glad they did! Take a look at these great moments in the Memphis sunrise!

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I love these two so much! And the blessings they bring to my life! I couldn't have asked for a better family, or a better shoot, despite the cold! 

My prayer is that you also see the things in your life that God is working together for His good. Comment below what small things God has been faithful in in your life!

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker

 

 

 

P.s. Here's a few fun phone photos from The Arcade, where we had a delicious breakfast afterwards.

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The Newbie Guide to Memphis, TN {Part Two}

It's the middle of November, Josiah and I have moved into a rental house, and we've bought a planet fitness membership. Not too bad. Since everything is still new and we're still bobbing around in new waters without an anchor, the small things like a gym or a familiar couch to relax on, make all the difference.

If you haven't read about our first months in Memphis, be sure to check out my first memphis blog, and the Part One of this series.  

We've continued to explore as much as we can, and I've done a bit of exploring on my own as well. Check it out!

Shelby Farms Park & One and Only

I could easily break these up into two groups, but for the sake of these pictures, they go together. 

My husband and I love all sorts of food, from Tex-Mex to Barbeque and Memphis has no shortage of Barbeque. One and Only is right near us in Cordova, and conveniently located near the lake at Shelby Farms Park. We had a quick date of sandwiches and laughing until loud sirens told us that sunset was kicking us out. We ended up finishing dinner on the porch at my sister's house.

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 Maybe this is his real smile, maybe its not. ;) 

Maybe this is his real smile, maybe its not. ;) 

Tamp & Tap on Poplar Avenue

This was a fun little stop on a Saturday morning. I was so happy to meet a new friend, Sarah Sherlock, for some coffee, and a breakfast sandwich. Of course, by around 10AM I was so ravaged with hunger that I ate it too soon to even remember to take a photo. It is a smaller version of the Tamp & Tap in downtown Memphis. I got a delicious iced americano and got to finally have a conversation with this beautiful lady who I found on LinkedIn (yes, people still used LinkedIn), who in turn gave my resume to a recruiter that helped me get my current job. A small connection that God worked together for his glory.

Sarah Sherlock is a spunky and intelligent person that you just have to know! She moved here over a year ago and just a few minutes into our conversation I realized she was determined to be a "Memphis Local!" Sarah and her husband, like me and my husband, both met at Liberty University and ventured out to what God had for us somewhere else. It was such a happy coincidence to see that other LU grads were in Memphis. Sarah told me about the great opportunities to be involved in ministry; God had truly provided for her family and it was encouraging to see someone really love Memphis like she does. She's an amazing public relations employee for St. Jude's ALSAC and head of the Memphis chapter of PRSSA. What a go-getter! Thanks again for meeting for coffee, Sarah!

City & State Coffee Shop, and Broad Avenue

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I was a bit too excited for coffee at City & State. 

I had looked at their new fall menu of drinks that included maple, pecan, caramel, and pumpkin as well as flavors like matcha and charcoal. I had been liking every post on instagram of theirs, and even figured out different routes I could use to get there. This was one of my "holy grail" coffee shops. As an amateur coffee connoisseur who appreciates good baristas and artistry (have you seen my coffee documentary?), I went for the first recommendation of both the barista, and my new friend Katie Davidson. I got the Iced Bon Bon coffee, which was like a creamy americano with a splash of cinnamon. YUM. Katie, got the hot version, above, which has a tactile experience; you have to pour the shot into the mug of the other half of the drink yourself. Fun! All together some amazing drinks!

 

City & State also has one of those instagram-worthy shops attached to the front. Selling all local artisan wares from clothing to stationary to some of the best all natural body products. What was great about the store was the variety. It wasn't just a few candles and a few gifts scattered in a nice display, but a robust amount of product. You knew if you left and were thinking about something later that you could definitely come back. Definitely a store you would need to check out on a visit to Broad Avenue.

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The best part of City & State was the company. Katie Davidson is another great story.

Katie came to me by the friendship of her friend and former bridesmaid, Kati Long, who ended up living in the upstairs apartment of our little house on Langhorne Lane in Lynchburg, Virginia. Kati worked in Marketing with me, and as soon as she was searching for a place to live, I knew she, and her husband Micah, would be great housemates to have. When I started the move to Memphis, Kati was gracious enough to connect me with her old friend over text message. When new Katie and I started texting, and I mentioned trying out City & State, she was already sold. It was one of her favorite places already! After some coffee and breakfast, she suggested looking at some of the cute shops along Broad Avenue. 

Falling Into Place Shop

This store is one of my favorites in Memphis. I'm a sucker for small gifts and local treasures. I like a store that has a well-crafted card section, simple art, and products that were intentionally picked to add to the overall feel of the store.  Your in store experience is just as important as selling. I only bought a few cards, but I'll definitely be back. I recommend Falling Into Place to so many others looking for a Memphis-local shop that is perfect for holiday gifts for friends....or yourself.

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 One of my favorite Memphis banners.

One of my favorite Memphis banners.

 Also part of "Falling Into Place."

Also part of "Falling Into Place."

Overall, another great exploration of other roads, alleys, and spots in Memphis, TN. 

I'd love to hear your suggestions on what I should see, where I should eat, or who I should meet next! Leave a comment and tell me below!

 

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker

 

 

The Newbie Guide to Memphis, TN {Part One}

I have been here two months. Whoa.

 Shelby Farms' FedEx Forum attached to Kimbal Musk's The Kitchen.

Shelby Farms' FedEx Forum attached to Kimbal Musk's The Kitchen.

As someone who loves cities, tourism, coffee, food, festivals, and meeting people, everyone in my life expected me to "do just fine" in Memphis. I'm a natural people person who likes to be an open book and invite people in, even when I have no place to invite people to. But, there is also a real thing called sickness, depression, and time, and some real obstacles have pushed me to change my big dreams of exploring, to tentative driving and occasional adventurous meals. I'm not in Lynchburg. I don't know the culture, where to park, or how to interact. I'm a conservative 20-something with the dreams of a passionate vivacious networking personality and the actual guts and bravery of a timid kitten. But don't count me out, my bravery will come.

Germantown Fest

This was a great "welcome to Memphis" starter festival for me and Josiah. We had my sister and brother-in-law as guides to the part of town nestled in between Collierville and the millennial-havens of Midtown and East Memphis. This was just outdoorsy enough to be a festival, and just organized enough to be an arts bizarre.

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Booths were filled with "Happy Fall Y'all" metal pumpkins, organic honey, booths of fresh apples from Whole Foods, and a scattered few LulaRoe booths. Hidden behind the hundreds of booths in the wider open space, was the Festival part of Germantown Fest. Corndogs literally brushed with gobs of ketchup and  mustard, called Party Dogs, along with local Mem Pops, organic pizzas next to local beer brews. 

The line of cars to get into  the festival was truly the only barrier. The sheer numbers of people getting out on a nice hot end-of-summer September Saturday was impressive. Heat doesn't keep Memphians away from a reason to celebrate.

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 These are "Party Dogs" in Memphis!

These are "Party Dogs" in Memphis!

Cooper Young Festival

Cooper-Young was the festival that we were 'warned' about.

Co-workers around my age told me to get there early and then just hangout in a restaurant or bar for the afternoon to watch the game and stay out of the crowds. People in the generation or two above us told us to just avoid it all together; or at least wear fanny packs, bring water bottles, and bathe in sunscreen. We took most of this "Warning: Prepare or Die!" advice, and did some research. We decided to bike to the festival and park a mile or two away. We had heard there were bike racks in the heart of the revelry that we could park, and we were right. So far so good. Except for the part where I opened up my backpack to realize I only brought my Instax camera and forgot my newly charged Sony A6000 back at home. I guess I had only 4 film shots to really capture the day. #HereWeGo

 My 4 Instax camera moments from the day. 

My 4 Instax camera moments from the day. 

Just a few seconds in, and it became obvious that we weren't in Kansa- ....Germantown Fest anymore.  The steel pan booth was the first booth we visited, quickly proceeded by the organic cleaning product booth where I bought the citrus orange all-purpose cleaner. It was a hot day, and I immediately downed my one water bottle and searched for the booths that gave out paper fans to passerby. But once we found a good (but overpriced! sigh.) quesadilla and strawberry lemonade to share, and sat down in front of a talented Flamenco guitarist, the heat subsided. 

We bought local Memphis t-shirts, and I grabbed stickers at the Choose 901 Memphis booth. This is the festival to go to if you want to dive in to what Memphis is all about. I even spun the wheel at the Opera Memphis booth to see if I could get free tickets and ended up singing a poorly composed version of Happy Birthday to them. Oh well.  It was still an amazing experience, where I got to meet local artisans and makers in the Tuesdays Together Memphis group, and eat delicious food.

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Overall, this festival is not as "crazy" as others made it seem. We arrived around 11Am and left at 2PM (the cool part of the day....) and walking was fairly easy, lines were reasonably short, and food was plentiful. I totally recommend attending the festival and going in the evenings if you can for the local music, something we didn't get to do.

Enough about festivals- now on to the local attractions and foods around Memphis! 

City Silo Table + Pantry

City Silo landed in my lap by a long train of happy accidents. 

When I first heard I was moving to Memphis, TN I immediately looked up this creative networking group that I had been somewhat a part of back in Lynchburg. If I was going to find other photographers, designers, or creative people this would be where they are and lo and behold- it was. I started following the Instagrams of a few solid businesses in the group and struck up a comment-friendship with dietitian-extraordinaire Alexandra Reed. A few days later I got an email from my website (which is the best thing to get in your inbox...someone used my contact form! YAS. ) asking to meet up and discuss portraits and life together at none other than a beautiful healthy but delicious City Silo.

This little place is not tucked in between two Waco, Texas Magnolia-esque sillos, but in a quaint  shopping strip in the Sanderlin Center. As soon as I got inside it was clear that the creators put a lot of thought into how the brand's "clean and healthy" messaging was placed. The "pantry" aspect lines the far left wall with local coffees and other amazing tidbits that are perfect for stocking stuffers or professional coworker gifts, or just to eat yourself, to be honest.

But let's get to the food. This isn't your run of the mill "farm to table" overly-organic place, but a place that strives to deliver locally grown comfort food that even a fast-food loving, deep-fried-pickle connoisseur would like. I got a Green Goddess smoothie bowl that touted the health benefits of kale, avocado, and other super foods. It tasted delicious and I felt so satisfied that I was barely able to finish. My new friend Alexandra got a mushroom burger that made my mouth water just looking at it. 

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Definitely go here for your casual friend dates, a business meeting, or even those ever-so-awkward online meetings that you want to attend in public places that fall between hit and run coffeeshops and sit down 5 course dinners. This is the place to go to satisfy all sorts of palates, tastes, and allergy needs while not breaking the budget. My dinner was no more than $10.50 with tax. 

Muddy's Bakeshop

This was also a happy accident. Thanks again to expert networker and brave soul Alexandra Reed (Go read her stuff on Girl Boss and on Instagram: www.instagram.com/notafoodcop), she convinced me to grab a tea or cupcake over at this local icon. There is apparently another Muddy's in the heart of Midtown Memphis, but I'm glad I got to get a taste for it at a not-as-busy location during a quiet Thursday evening. 

I grabbed a Mint Grasshopper cupcake, and a bag of locally brewed coffee made specifically for Muddy's (a gift for a friend back in Virginia!)

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Overall, the first few weeks of exploring were fun, and showed us so much about how Memphis has a good time. Most cities have a heartbeat for making life better for its inhabitants, and Memphis has a big one. The city is full of the Memphis Grizzlie's motto "Grit and Grind", and from the neon glow of jazzy Beale Street to the sunshine and party dogs of Germantown, there is some serious Grit and Grind going on. A buzz, a hum of people working behind the scenes to make businesses, create spaces, and invite people in to the adventure this is Memphis.

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker 

 

 

COMMENT BELOW!

I'd love to hear your favorite parts of your favorite city in the comments! Give me more ideas on what to go to next! The farmer's market? The jump trampoline park? A local sports team game? What are your favorite things in your favorite city? 

How to survive a 2 week road trip across America

When I told my coworkers that my husband and I were driving across America to see as many national parks as possible, a wedding, and more....in just 2 weeks, they thought I was crazy.

Shucks, they still think its crazy. I had my boss look me at me and say "Sounds nuts, Becker. Good luck." Queue the eye roll.

Not many people get excited about road trips, hiking, camping, and roughin' it like Josiah and I. We had a very close group of friends that loved it, but at the end of the day, we were still the couple that would fully prepare for a campout. We have it down to a science of how things are packed, in what order, and what foods to bring. Honestly, we should be professional campers. Is there such a thing?

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In march, when we were looking at flights to California for my brother-in-law's wedding, Josiah looked at me and said "I'll prove to you that driving out there is cheaper. Gas, food, National Park pass, campsites. I'll prove it." So, he made a list of everything he could think of, and even with a little wiggle room we thought...we might as well do this now!

So on June 26th, we headed off for Knoxville, TN towards Memphis, TN (at this time, mind you, we had no idea we would be looking to live in Memphis.) and on to route I-40. We traveled across Texas through Amarillo, then to Holbrook Arizona, Kingman Arizona, and then to California. The way back was a slightly more northern route through Arizona, Las Vegas, Utah, Denver Colorado, Omaha, Illinois and then back home. Its was an exhausting 2 weeks, but absolutely amazing at the same time. I took tons of video, which got made into this lovely montage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsYes0JolQw

 

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All said and done, its was a huge undertaking. I do wish I had photos of each piece of planning we do prior to the trip, but I do have the words to tell you, so here it goes!

 

  1. Plan your route and what to see
    1. We did precise calculations of how long it would take to get to each stop. We made a list of places we couldn't miss,  and places we would go to if we had time but could be cut. It was so important to have that communication of expectations.
    2. We are National Parks people. We wanted to see the unique landscape and treasures unique to that region. Because of that, we bought a national park pass that's good for a year. Definitely a plus for us. We aren't big city people so even though we passed through places like Denver and Las Vegas, we weren't spending a lot on sightseeing there.
  2. Plan your accommodations
    1. Plan on camping, using hostels, or staying with friends if you're trying to go the economical route. At the beginning of our trip I posted our list of locations to friends, and a few volunteered a night's stay. #Worthit. Some nights we stayed in KOA cabins with air conditioning which was like a luxury hotel for us. Set your expectations early on.
  3. Plan your gas
    1. Get a gas card or a travel card. OR, if you don't want to be limited to a certain brand, just wing it and look for the cheapest gas. BUT DO NOT wait until your tank is empty. Fill up in cities before you get to the expensive desert regions.
  4. Find ways to make it fun for everyone
    1. My husband just wants to see the natural landscapes. He's an explorer. He wanted to get to every national park and then some. 
    2. I am a photographer. I needed a project to work on. So, I bought a portrait lens for my Sony A6000 and in every state or big stop, I took portraits of the baristas that served me coffee. It was awesome, and I'll write a blog about it soon. I even plan on creating a educational talk about starting conversations with strangers. It was the only way to keep my creative mind at ease while being cooped up for 15 days.
  5. Don't be ambitious with food. Plan to eat out a few times
    1. We cooked almost every night. We were doing this trip to actually save money, so we bought food along the way that we could cook on our own camp stove. We didn't cook over a camp fire to save time, which was a very smart choice. Make compromises where you need to, and communicate what local foods you want to try.
    2. Try local food that you can't get anywhere else.
      1. In Moab, Utah I wanted to try the local drive-in and nitrogen frozen ice cream. Those were worthy purchases. 
      2. Colorado has a famous restaurant called Beau Joe's Mountain Pies. The crust end is so thick and roll-like that they make honey dipping sauce to go with it. Its a must try.
  6. Establish standards for your comfort, cleanliness, and timeliness
    1. For us, we knew that the car would get dirty and possibly smelly, so we invest in deodorizers. I can't stand bad smells, so that was a priority to me. 
    2. We kept the car in order for the most part. Dry goods and cooler were in the same accessible place every day. Snacks, maps, fan, and water were in the same place everyday. Establish a system that you can loosely stick to and not get mad when your car mate changes it up or improves upon it on day 3 or 4.
    3. Keep a good bed time. Especially if you're traveling through the heat and need to be at certain places before the 12-4pm heat hits. We were quite bad at this. We would stay up too late and leave too late. Plan for sunrise or sunset moments because you might never see that landscape at that time again.
  7. Keep a visual record
    1. For us, that was in the form of my video taking and picture taking. You don't know when you're going to be back, so take so many photos. I take a lot of photos of moments that weren't particularly about the locale, but about the people. I'm bad about including myself in photos, so I missed a lot of my own reactions and moments.
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But preparing for a road trip is not just a list of practical things to check off. Because frankly, I did everything in the above list, and things did not go as expected.

You know why?

Well, after two weeks on the road Josiah and I had changed. We had encountered a world of possibilities where people of all social classes, backgrounds, languages, and financial means were traveling together on the open road. We had changed, but time seemed to have stopped in our little home town. We wanted to scream out "Does no one else see how different I am?!" "Does anyone realize what else is out there?...WHO else is out there?" Our eyes had been opened to everything we can do, and could do, if we followed God's call to leave the comfort we were in. 

We let the experiences change us, and we learned from them. I met people I would never talk to because I put myself out there in new ways, creating imagery through coffeeshops (more on that later). We climbed mountains in sweltering 115 degree heat, and ate Colorado Mountain Pies. We've stood at on top of the mountains of Virginia, the edge of the Grand Canyon, on the cliffs of Horseshoe Bend, and at the shores of California to come to the realization that God is greater than our wildest dreams.

A road trip is an amazing experience. Its not a resort, there are no massages, and showers might be hard to come by, but I recommend doing it, and doing it well. 

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So what's the secret to surviving a 2 week road trip?

Letting go of your expectations and letting yourself be open to change. Don't hold on to the plan too tightly, and plan on drinking lots and lots of coffee.

Let God be in control, and you'll find yourself finally at peace with the world.

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Becker 

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