This trip could not have come at a better time. In March of 2012, my mother passed away from cancer, and everything moved very quickly afterward. If you’ve ever experienced the death of a family member or any loved one, know that feeling; it’s kind of an out-of-body, numb, floating around, feeling/situation.
In the following months, countless friends and family were surrounding and supportive. One friend in particular, whom I am very glad was in my life, was my friend from Knoxville, Tennessee, Amber.
I studied at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN, and I lived in Knoxville for a year after graduating. I took a job at Wyndham Vacation Ownership after graduation with the hopes of being a high-flying, money makin’, timeshare salesman. It seemed like a good idea at the time and a 23 year old’s dream job. I just quickly learned that I didn’t know squat about selling and didn’t have the brass to talk to complete strangers about spending $29,000 after a 90 minute timeshare presentation. That said, there were plenty of sales reps that were great at it, and made their living that way, so I’m not trying to take anything away from their work.
What I gained through that job was humility; I learned quite a bit about myself and my temperament, but most importantly I gained some amazing, amazing friends. I hold a very special place in my heart for my Wyndham family and hope to see them all again someday. I met my friend, Amber, while working at Wyndham. She was (is) this sweet, sassy, Southern girl with charm, charm, charm, and inescapable blue eyes. Amber wills her way into your life and you just can’t say no, and you really don’t want to either. She’s beyond lovable. Amber and I spent a lot of fun time together in Knoxville and then I broke her heart by moving back to Connecticut in 2008. Thanks to Facebook, Amber and I were able to keep in touch. She would always be sweet and randomly post things on my wall like, “It’s Wednesday and I love you!”
During 2009-2012, I was deeply into my life in the Northeast. I was trying to make a career in Hospitality work, then I found that I was more interested in Photography. I started to shoot a lot of wedding and events. Eventually my mother was sick with cancer and that required a lot of focus and energy…needless to say, I did not get out of CT that often, if at all. But Amber, and other friends from the south would often keep in touch wondering when I would visit or come back to the south. I did not know.
Again, in March of 2012 my mother would pass away. I didn’t know where to go from that point. I was floating. Thankfully, something that did not change was my friendship with Amber. On March 29th, 2012 she boldly posted to my wall:
“Here is the deal! I need some you in my life! What can we do to fix this???”
I truly believe in God, and that He sends you exactly who and what you need at exactly the right time…
After her post, we started a message thread and she continued, “we can meet halfway!” She was still living in Knoxville at the time, and I was in Stamford, CT, so I replied, “Washington DC?”
Amber and I had had many conversations like this over the years, about reuniting, but then sadly, life would always get in the way. I figured this time would be the same, be we continued to plan it anyhow. She said she would take the MegaBus, and I said that I would use the Wyndham timeshare points that I owned to get us a place to stay….
And it actually happened.
In early June, I headed south on I-95 and it felt like a new chapter was beginning. The vacation was the first time in 4 years, since 2008, since moving back to the northeast, that I had been south of New Jersey to see friends, not for anything work related, but just to have fun. I felt free. I spent the night with some friends in Baltimore, MD. I then headed to DC where I would eventually pick up Amber from Union Station. She had a blast on the MegaBus and we were ready to hit the streets of DC.
Amber and I stayed at the Wyndham resort in National Harbor, MD, but it was an easy drive each day into DC proper.
I didn’t do a good job of remembering everywhere that we went and each statue or monument that I photographed. I was just excited to be traveling and seeing my friends. From the ages of 3-6 I had lived in Arlington, VA and was always fond of DC. It feels like home. Amber was really excited for a trip through history and planned out each of our tourist destinations. We made stops at: The Old Post Office Tower, Pershing Park Fountain, The Boy Scout Memorial, The White House, The Washington Monument, The National Archives, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
I've actually never shared these images before, not even to Facebook, and I share just about every image I create to Facebook. For this week, I had a new Nikon D90 with me and oh my goodness, it was very clean and sharp. It was even cleaner than my D700 (which means I need to clean its sensor):