Magnolia Plantation / Day 37 of 365

Yesterday, I was digging through an old hard drive and found some pictures from Magnolia Plantation in Charleston. Thought I’d share some pictures of the magnolias and Spanish moss. Hope you are all having a wonderful start to the week!

Day 37 of 365

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Do you ever look back at an old photograph and disassociate who you are now from who you were then? This image was taken when I first arrived in Charleston last March. I feel like a totally separate person from then.

Sure, we have the same interests but the last year has changed me. I’ve fallen in love with both the people around me and the city I live in. My heart has broken and healed. My view of art and expression has changed. How I interact with others is incredibly different from when I first arrived.

None of this is for better or worse, it just is. In ways, I feel like I was less tainted, or held down by the world. When I first got here, my main goal in life was to create. I blogged daily, I vlogged, I took photographs, and I explored everything around me.

As I prepare to leave again, I can’t help but miss the old me. The one who drove downtown and ate at restaurants alone. Who’s purpose in life was to be enthusiastic, and filled with joy. Who knows where he’s gone to now. All I have left is this photograph of him.

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Exploring Cypress Gardens

firstA few months ago, my car died and I’ve been stranded with a poor public transportation system. The only times I go out are when friends make trips to the store or when others let me use their car. So when I woke up to a text, “let’s explore something today”, I jumped out of bed at the offer.

My friend Cory and I decided to explore Cypress Gardens, a local area that offers 170 acres of gardens and swamp. The park is a series of trails that surround a wooded swamp. When I first arrived in Charleston, my friend Kate recommended I go to the gardens for photography. While nothing was blooming, I had the opportunity to photograph Cory instead.

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This swamp was filled with trees, lily pads, and apparently…

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Cory is from California and I’m from Minnesota. Neither of us have seen an alligator outside of a zoo. Now we’re going to walk trails that could have them laying next to us! Maybe we should have known from Cypress Gardens’ logo, or the map they gave us, or that we live in South Carolina.

Nonetheless, we drove a half an hour to visit the park. We weren’t going to leave just because of alligators or “other animals” (still wondering about that).

IMG_8008This trail was marked with the sign from the earlier photo. As you can see, it’s wide and clearly defined. Having no previous experience with southern wildlife, we both cautiously started on the trail. On the left the swamp is about 3-4 feet from the path. This means easy access for an alligator to grab us and drag us to our premature deaths.

Around 200 feet down, the trail narrows and becomes less defined. This is where people reevaluated their decision to walk down the trail. I don’t blame them because there was another two less official signs, one read “CAUTION Alligators and snakes may rest upon trails. Never approach an alligator.” The other probably said, “Walk this trail and you’ll surely meet your end!”. It may as well have.

But, we weren’t going to be deterred from a great experience!

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If you didn’t know, alligators sound like bullfrogs, or at least that’s what I’ve been told.

As we walked down the ever-narrowing trail, the sound of bullfrogs became clear. It was like everything was quiet so we could focus all of our attention on our inevitable doom. I don’t understand why the trail was so close to the swamp, it’s like they were trying to feed us to the alligators.

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This of course didn’t stop us from occasionally pausing for photographs.

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The trail felt like it lasted forever and it didn’t stop narrowing until we got much further ahead. Bushes and fallen trees obscured the path so we didn’t always know where to step. It was evident that this trail wasn’t frequently used because there were spider webs all over the place.

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It looks innocent enough… but how about closer to its actual size…

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After seeing one, we realized that there were spiders covering bushes along the entire trail. Then we stepped into a web that stretched 4 feet wide, as if the spider had hopes of catching a bear. There weren’t any bear encounters on this trail thankfully.

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Occasionally the trail would dart right and it would look like it was coming to an end… but it wasn’t. It only brought us closer to the sound of bullfrogs and other potential predators.

The end of the trail was completely covered in bushes, half-downed trees, and broken bridges/walkways over the swamp. It brought us to large mounds of dirt that we’d have to climb around. Oh, I forgot to mention the caution tape.

Along the way, in the middle of the woods, there was caution tape between trees or shrubs. Parts of the trail walked directly next to this stuff, which reminded me of police investigation tape. So while we were hearing bullfrogs, dodging giant spiders, and trying to stay on trail, we had to observe caution tape… on a hiking trail with alligators…

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Eventually our adventure came to an end. We found an opening back to pavement, as if a blessing from the gods. It was abrupt and opened into a wide, and heavily traveled, path. Our trail almost vanished behind us with how obscure the way was.

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From then on we sailed smoothly through the rest of the park. Joyous that mosquitoes weren’t gnawing at our legs and that the spiders were gone. Here’s a few more images from rest of adventure…

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This was a burial site right after we exited the woods. The cross stood 15 feet high with three gravestones at its base.IMG_8153

Look at how happy we are to be out of the woods!

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If life gives you a trail of alligators and spider webs, I would suggest finding bug spray and wearing pants before going on it. No matter what happens in life, you’ll always have an adventure. Bug spray or not.

This morning I woke up to an invitation to explore something new. I darted out of bed in anticipation of finding that new experience. This is how life should be; waking up with the excitement to explore the world and going out to do it. Days like today remind me that I’m alive and that there’s plenty of the world left to explore.

I hope all of you find that in yourself each day and go out into the world to fulfill it. Right now my legs itch (hopefully not from poison ivy) and I’m exhausted, so I’ll cut this off here. Have a wonderful night everybody and don’t let the sound of bullfrogs scare you away! Life is too short to skip adventures like this!

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Another Charleston Evening


After a long Saturday evening I’m ready to sleep in Sunday morning! I spent the evening with one of my good friends exploring Charleston even further. We found a fantastic pizza place off the main roads and saw Captain America (The Winter Soldier).

The movie was great! Sebastian Stan didn’t have as much of a role as I anticipated but Chris Evans was perfect. I won’t spoil anything for you but you should definitely go out and see it. It was better than Avengers and about par with Ironman 3!

Sorry for the late night post but I spent so much of my evening out then editing video to post on here for you guys! I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

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Exhausted

 

Today I went out to Downtown Charleston with the family again for one last time before they head home. We ate out at a nice seafood grill and got some amazing food. It seems like every place I’ve been to out here has great food!

Unfortunately I got back to my room late again and I don’t have time to edit anything again. My life is literally blog, vlog, photograph, edit, repeat. I’m working on balancing all of my free time right now but I’m doing a lot of projects. Please excuse me while I try to find that balance.

If you want to see some of my older work, check out my Flickr account! For now, I’ll work on editing and creating!

Goodnight everyone!

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Let’s go to Charleston!

Public speaking is not a strong suit of mine and any time I speak, a chain of “uhm”s is certain to follow. Awkwardness is exaggerated when you place a camera in front of me. Then push me out onto the streets to film and you’ve got today’s video. Straight from downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

Earlier this week my dad and sister drove my car down across the US. When they arrived today, we ran downtown and explored as much as we could. Market Street, King Street, restaurants, cafes, and briefly to the College of Charleston. Anyways, go watch the video. I’ll post it here as soon as it’s finished uploading.

If you’ve never modeled in public for photos or video taped yourself walking down a crowded street, go do it. By getting yourself exposed to other people’s looks teaches you a lot about yourself. It teaches you to be aware when you’re nervous, shy, everything.

Eventually after holding my camera for long enough today, I got over how other people were reacting. It was as if I had broken through and it no longer mattered what other people thought of me. The attention I was getting was boosting my confidence because I knew I was introducing other people to something new.

It had some sort of a shock value – it made people come into the moment and acknowledge that something different was going on. “Hey, that weirdo is walking down the street talking to a camera”. Maybe it didn’t have an effect or anything, but I feel like I mixed some stuff up today.

So far, vlogging has been a pain and a lot of fun! I’m excited to continue to work on it for the next week and a few days!

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Exploring Charleston for the first time!

Days like today make me feel truly alive. One of my old friends Kate has been living out in Charleston for a couple years now and decided to take me out to explore downtown. Everything about the city is so invigorating. The smell of the ocean, the tourists everywhere that flood the streets, the older style of architecture and brickwork – everything is so full of energy.

The streets are filled with art galleries and the community that supports them. Art brings the city culture and expression, along with the cobblestone streets. There’s just something about old America that has charm and old memories tied to it.

One of my favorite things was how unique and different the windows are on some of the building. The galleries may have giant windows that expand 10 feet tall, while others maybe more rustic and decaying. Each building was unique and held it’s own value if it’s difference from all the others.

After touring the streets for a couple hours, we went to the Noisy Clam for lunch. The seafood was incredible! I tried oysters, flounder, grits, and crab cakes for the first time. All of which were amazing, and cooked perfectly! I feel like I could have stayed there all day!

The tiny shops that line market street lend it a more European charm. With fudgeries and candy stores that flood the sidewalks with an alluring perfume of sugar, it’s hard to keep on the streets.

You have to watch your wallet out here though, the city can eat it quick. I bought some fudge at $17.50/lb. and the restaurants aren’t cheap! The luxury stores that dot the street combined with all the tourism can kill your bank. If you’re looking for some nicer food, a little out of downtown you can find places like Saffron’s Bakery. They sell a lot of different baked goods and I was happy to get some cheaper sourdough bread there.

It was exciting to explore the city and I can’t wait to do it again. It’s so fresh to see someplace new and to get out with old friends. Charleston is a nice place and I’m excited to spend a few years here!

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Here’s some photos from today in no particular order!

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After we explored the city, we went over to one of Kate’s friend’s houses and played an amazing board game! We cooked homemade pizza and had these amazing recess peanut butter cup stuffed cupcakes! “Everything is so perfectly damnably well.”10014546_1402621893337260_336633085_n 10003028_1402621843337265_1316159592_n 1098088_1402621823337267_1251985507_n