Let’s experience adventure together – Christina Beam

I ADORE this post from Christina Beam because of the intimacy of the images she shared and the story behind it.  I’ve never gone on an adventure quite like this…..Christina, you’ve made me wish that I had.  Go check out Christina’s blog to see more of her family’s camping adventure.

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The backstory:

“In August my family of five flew from Wisconsin to Orange County, rented a vintage VW camper van, and took a two-week road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway.

When we told friends and family about our plans, they always said, “Wow.”

“Wow,” as in, “That sounds amazing… I would love to do that with my family.”

And also, “Wow,” as in, “All five of you are going to be camping in that van for two weeks? You’re not staying in any hotels? And you have no reservations anywhere, you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re going to do?”

Yes. Wow.

It was important to my husband that if we did this that it be a true adventure. That we relent to the unknown. That we not only trust that we will be okay, but that if we leave room for the unexpected, we will be rewarded with beautiful, heart- and life-changing things.

And as always, he was right.

I decided before we left that I would only bring one camera (my 5D Mark ii), one lens (my 24-70mm, because I knew I’d want wide-angle shots inside the van), and that I would never once tell my three kids where to be or how to look when I took their photo.

The resulting images are both authentic and scary-intimate, but in a way they show my little family at what I think is our very best: Loving on each other. Drifting apart for little individual moments and mini adventures, then drawing back together by the common pull that makes us The Beams.

It’s not all pretty smiles and perfect poses. We’re unshaven, we’re scratched and dirty, we’re in unwashed clothes, but we are so, so happy.

In the van, my husband and I slept on the fold-out bed in the cabin of the van with our daughter, and our boys slept in the tent that popped up from the roof.

Whoever woke first would dangle their feet — or better yet, their all-smiles upside-down head — from the loft above.

And on mornings after a cold night I would see the condensation from our collective breath on the windows, evidence that we had generated our own warmth, together, in our little temporary home.

We would cook a simple breakfast over the campfire or in our little kitchen in the van, and eat outside and drink opaque French-pressed coffee and smell the sea.

And then set off and see what we could find on that day’s adventure.

Trusting that things would work out let the universe open up to us.

We argued less when we lived in a van for two weeks than we did in our four-bedroom home, and I recognized what I think I had known for some time, and a truth I think these images reflect: There’s so little a family really needs.

A roof. Some beds. A little space to cook and eat food.

Most of all, each other. Charging into the world like a game of Red Rover, arms linked, a united front, looking for adventure.”

Thanks so much for sharing this incredible journey with us Christina!


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