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Off the grid in Squamish

This post about the two of us driving on unpaved roads in Squamish is going to be different. For the past few weeks I’ve been writing about the amazing experiences with our clients in the past season. But life is not all work. At least it shouldn’t be. And that’s exactly what this post will be all about. How sometimes life gets in the way. Of anything and everything. And how we try our best at coping with it. And as a teaser: you’ll find out why you always see photos of me (Jelger) in nature, and not Tanja.

For the past few years, Tanja and I have been gradually tapping into a typical Canadian hobby: hiking. We genuinely love getting out in nature to counter the hustle and bustle of being wedding photographers. Especially in peak season (April through October) when we’re consistently working one to two weddings per weekend on top of our usual weekday workload.

Working that much easily sneaks up on us, in that we don’t get ‘off of work’ anymore. In those moments, it’s easier for us to say “I’ll quickly take care of this email” or “I just want to finish up this batch of editing” than telling ourselves it’s ok to take time off. Which is why we’ve made Mondays our mandatory day off. And ideally, we spend those Mondays out in a patch of BC’s beautiful rugged nature. Ideally.

What I didn’t mention before is that when our lives get stressful, it’s often easier to find refuge in the online world than to go out and climb some rocks or dangle our feet in a river. Social media are always available and willing to serve us the random nuggets of gossip and uninteresting information that apparently our brains crave. It’s the perfect solution. Until you put the phone away. Which brings me back to the ideal scenario.

Ideally every Monday morning would greet us with sunshine and birdsong, prompt us to energetically jump out of bed, whip up a healthy breakfast in no time, and race to our car. Next we would enthusiastically drive to a lush forest or a babbling river. And of course all the while we’d be accurately documenting things in photo and video so we can share the hell out of it. If only…

Usually our life looks more like this. Wake up with a sore body from all the standing, walking, running, squatting, stretching, crouching and lying that creative photography requires. Shuffle to the kitchen while huddling ourselves in the first piece of clothing (or blanket) that crosses our paths on the way to the coffee machine. Nestle into a cocoon-like pose in our loungy cushion corner while letting the espresso do its job of mentally unfurling us. An hour goes by glancing at a phone or book.

Finally either one of us (usually Tanja) says: “we should go on a hike”, which is consistently followed by “sure, sounds great” by the other (usually me). Silence fills the room until I’ll say: “where?”. Which is when either Tanja knows a random location she’s picked up, or we sighingly grab our phones and hope to find a location online. As soon as we’ve settled on a location, it likely takes us another hour to scrounge together whatever we need before actually leaving. But the good news is that once we’ve hit the road, we are enthusiastic about getting out in nature.

The documenting part is still a mixed bag though. Often the stress and fatigue leave me feeling that a camera is the last thing I want to touch. So it’s Tanja taking the photos. Which is why there are so many photos of me, and not her. And it’s also why I like to hunker down in cave-like spaces, looking like a wounded animal.

On one of these trips, we decided to explore one of the unpaved roads in Squamish we’d discovered in Google Maps. Additional bonus: no cell phone reception. Which would force us to remain unplugged.

We had no idea where we were going. And neither did it matter. Doing things completely different is often the best remedy for being stuck in a rut. Exploring nature, instead of Facebook. it was rough to get there, mentally that is, going through the above scenario. But what mattered was that we did it. And sometimes, that’s enough.

Ps. on our way home, the sun was setting so we did a pitstop at one of our favorite provincial parks: Porteau Cove.

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We went back in the Fall…

 

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