This is the most personal work we have ever shared. Only, it’s not work. No brides. No grooms. No SLRs. No flashes. This is just us, and the two most important things in our world. It has always been our dream to travel the world with our kids and we’re having the time of our lives doing just that right now.
When Australian photographers, Matt & Katie, approached us about coming to speak at the Zero Regrets photography conference in Melbourne, Australia, we knew it was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up. We told ourselves right then and there,
“If we’re flying half way around the world, we’re sure as heck going for more than a few days, and we’re sure as heck going to bring our kids along.”
We dreamt up the idea of turning it into a 4 month adventure with our kids, travelling throughout Australia and then Greece and Croatia.
Truth be known, we couldn’t really afford to. Dropping everything to take 4 months off isn’t exactly the most intelligent of business moves. Not to mention, Lanny needing to initiate a leave of absence with the Calgary Fire Department. BUT at the same time, we couldn’t really afford NOT TO.
The name of the conference that initiated this whole crazy idea, “Zero Regrets,” is ironically fitting. It was our opportunity – our excuse – to drop everything and just go for something that we’d been dreaming about since before Madelyn and Timmy had even come into our lives.
The last few years have been extremely exciting for us for so many reasons. Our business has taken us places we never imagined possible. We consider ourselves so fortunate to be in the position we’re in, however, in the midst of all this excitement and opportunity, it was becoming too easy for us to just react, react, react. We felt, at times, that we were losing sight of what’s really important, and how we wanted to live our lives and spend our time. This trip has been an incredible opportunity to reconnect with what we truly value in life, and to refocus on the life we want for ourselves and our kids.
We intentionally left all of our professional camera equipment at home so that it would be impossible for us to succumb to the temptation to take on a wedding in a new and exotic location. Saying no to so many incredible inquiries around the world was probably the most challenging part of freeing up these 4 months for us and our family. But we’re so glad we did.
Armed with two small mirrorless cameras (Fuji XT1 and Sony RX1), two pieces of carry-on luggage between us, and one small backpack each, we set off on a 4 month adventure. Our first leg of the journey took us to and through Australia for two months of traveling and exploring (including three days at the Zero Regrets Conference, which was incredible).
We absolutely fell in love with Australia. It was perfect for us for so many reasons. Here are just a few of our favourite memories:
• Renting a hippy-style camper van for 2 weeks of galavanting from Sydney to Brisbane via Jervis Bay, the Blue Mountains, Nelson Bay, Byron Bay, the Gold Coast, and everywhere in between.
• Beaches, beaches, beaches! More than we can count and more incredible than we can describe. Perfect for barefoot running and floating on the breeze.
• Exploring the Binna Burra and Daintree Rain forests.
• Exploring the world’s largest sand island by 4WD.
• The Sunshine Coast, possibly our favourite part of Australia!
• Experiencing the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef through the eyes of a 5 and 7 year old.
• Driving the Great Ocean Road.
• The world’s best playgrounds – Seriously, the best playgrounds in the world are in Australia.
• The coffee! – Australia’s coffee culture is remarkable. So is the coffee.
• The world’s worst internet – We swear Australia has the world’s crappiest internet. This was perfect for unplugging.
• Journaling – Madelyn and Timmy wrote and coloured in their journals every day. It became such a nice daily ritual. It was so cool to watch them create their unique artistic impressions of their experiences. We’ve included a few of their entries below.
• Friends! – Reconnecting with (and meeting) so many awesome photographers and people. We especially loved our time with Lanny’s best friend, Jayd, on Fraser Island, and our time with a very special group of photographers at James Day’s beach house (well, his wife’s parent’s beach house, actually). Madelyn and Timmy especially loved their time reconnecting with their babysitter, Jenna, and her boyfriend, Sam, who took them on adventures in Melbourne during the Zero Regrets Conference.
• Shooting from the heart – This trip has made us appreciate and love photography more than ever. When it comes to photos, our kids have often been neglected, like “the shoemaker’s kids.” Shooting the loves of our life has become a daily pleasure for us. We just shoot when we’re inspired to do so, and have been having a ball seeing the world through their eyes.
Click here to view more of Two Mann Studios photos from Australia, and stay tuned for our next blog post from their trip to Greece.
Photos by Erika and Lanny. Illustrations by Madelyn and Timmy.