Sam & Sarah

Even though this shoot was from over a year ago, These two still are one of the most genuine and joy-filled couples I know. Love you two!

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Julia

 

So much spunk, and a jawline to die for.

Julia and I lived together in Seattle and now she’s graduated and taking on the world.

Here’s a throwback to when we ran around at dusk and took senior portraits.

You go girl.

 

Charlie & Jen

 

My friends are gems. I’ve known Charlie since high school, back when we were occasionally lab partners in bio and would eat monstrously large burritos during lunch on the quad. He met Jen a few years ago, and as soon we met her, we knew that she was the one. These two have been such a joy to be around, whether its while we slay board games or fight at the Cheesecake factory, their love for each other and the people in their lives is evident. It was such an honor to shoot photos for these two dear friends. Enjoy!

The Camino de Santiago Pt.1 : One Way Tickets

About a year ago I graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a BA in Development Economics and a minor in Art: New Media. Which means much of my time in undergrad was spent in the art center or the library, or somewhere sleep deprived in my house furiously creating in hopes of making the deadline. My last semester of college was characterized by about 4-5 hours of sleep a night and doing my best to stay sane until graduation.

And so graduation came and went with a flurry of family and friends and relatives and trips and smiles and congratulations. I lined up a summer internship with Helm & Harbor, a little creative company based out of Fremont that did photography and videography for NGOs and Non- profits. With them I got to meet with and create with more creative minds in Seattle and Denver and Jordan (yes. The country). But there was still something in me that needed to do something spontaneous and celebratory and for myself.
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 A few years ago I lived and studied in Bilbao, Spain at the Universidad de Deusto for a semester. During my time there I was able to experience the Camino de Santiago for the first time. I had seen the movie “The Way” and read a few random articles about this trail, and now I was living in the country that held this ancient tradition. So I was able to convince a few adventurous souls to do a three day portion of it with me from Pamplona to Logroño. I fell in love with the trail and the community and then spiritual journey. This was stuck in my mind, and I tucked it away in a back corner for a later time.

 


Brief History of the Camino de Santiago:
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In English, “The Way of St. James”, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, where legend has it that the remains of Jesus’s apostle Saint James the Elder lie. The Camino has existed as a Christian pilgrimage for well over 1,000 years, and there is evidence of a pre-Christian route as well. Throughout the medieval period it was one of the three most important Christian pilgrimages undertaken. Indeed, it was only these pilgrimages—to Jerusalem, to Rome, and to Santiago de Compostela—which could result in a plenary indulgence, which frees a person from the penance due for sins.
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Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela reached its peak during the Middle Ages and it is safe to say that it constituted a major cultural aspect of that period of history in Europe. The medieval peregrino surely almost always was undertaking the arduous journey that was the Camino for serious religious reasons. The modern peregrinos‘ reasons for walking surely span the range from the religious through spiritual to historical and cultural to sport. Where the medieval peregrino was seeking forgiveness for sins or for the Saint’s assistance in some matter, most modern peregrinos will, for whatever reason, be looking to earn thecompostela or certificate of completion of the Camino from the cathedral in Santiago. To accomplish this the modernperegrino carries a pilgrim’s credential or passport which is stamped in the various cities and villages passed through. This record serves as proof that the route has indeed been walked or bicycled.

This was that later time. I really had no idea what in the world I wanted to do after college. The concept of getting a full time job right out of school has not been very appealing to me, and so one random Wednesday in July I bought a one way ticket to Paris, to set out on my first completely solo trip, and to walk the Way of St. James.
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That was about the extent of my thought process when I booked my ticket. But I also made a decision chart. And though it may a bit morbid and melodramatic, I would say it reflected my thoughts well.
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My decision became pretty dang clear by the time I finished filling out the sheet, and so I acted slightly spontaneously and purchased my airfare, telling myself that I can figure out the rest of it later and to not become too concerned. After all, I had a month and a half to go, and a few more countries to visit before then.
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Why a one – way? Because I didn’t want to limit myself to a specific time frame so that I could take full advantage of whatever came my way.

Blossom Beauty

 

Everything about her is fierce. From her pink hair down to her frolicking in the fields. She is one of the quirkiest humans I know and also one of the most thoughtful. She brings so much joy into my life and so many others and I’m honored to have been able to capture some snapshots for her senior portraits. You da best Julia Lippert. I can’t wait for you to graduate and show the world what you can do.

let’s get it started in here

#chewsyouradventure

Whether it be chatting with that stranger boppin their head to the music at the bus stop, or buying a spontaneous one way ticket to Paris, choose your adventure. You could end up making an awesome new connection, or making your way through a new country with only the vague semblance of a plan but only to follow what your gut tells you.

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Sup. I’m Steph Chew, a curious creator who dislikes being tied down to one place for too long and walnuts (because they make my tongue feel all fuzzy). I love to sketch, climb rocks, and trek through mountains. If you can’t find me (or if I purposely left my phone in the car), you can probably find me at the gym training for the impending zombie apocalypse or soaking up all the sun possible in a city like Seattle.

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Over the past couple of years I have gained a reputation for being a bit of a traveler, explorer and artist. Much of that is due to the time I have spent working in Belize and Jordan, living in Spain, road tripping around Iceland, capturing video and living among the redwoods, and trekking  900 km across France and Spain on the Camino de Santiago; all over the past three years while I was in University. My childhood was full of volunteering and traveling to around a dozen different countries on 4 different continents with my family.

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Burgos, España

 

I have grown accustomed to assimilating and adapting to various cultures and lifestyles while still holding a curiosity for each one I enter. I have learned how to pack efficiently and at a minute’s notice. I have learned how to get around Jordan despite my knowledge of the Arabic language.I have learned how to travel cheaply, lightly and independently. I have learned to read maps and navigate public transportation like a local. I have learned that people, no matter the continent or culture,  are inherently kind more than anything else.

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Jerash, Jordan

 

More recently my friends and family have been coming to me for advice on how to travel on their own. Some are solo female travelers, some are solo male travelers, and some are just looking for someone to nudge them out of their comfortability. So I’ve decided to create something that could function as a way for me to keep in contact with friends near and far when I am not available to take rattle off reviews of backpacks in REI or sit down to help map out public transport in Japan.

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This will be a space for tips on traveling, encouragement to get outdoors and out of your comfort zone, random musings from what goes on in my head when I get inspired to create, and a few stories about the people and places I have become infatuated with. Let’s be real, there will probably be quite a few photos and haikus to go with it all.  My hope for this project will be that any reader will leave encouraged and inspired to choose their own adventure. You are a capable, creative and awesome human. Si se puede!