Changes in Life, Love and Passions-Part I {10 Day Adventure | Kentucky, Ohio, Vegas}

Happy Wednesday! If you have been a part of Erika Hopkins Photography over the years you may have noticed significant changes over the past week or so. The change is deeper than "Erika Hopkins Photography" it is a change to ME, "Erika Hopkins". Many parts of this journey will be left to share with my family but there are parts of this journey, I will be sharing with you: my loving friends/clients and future friends.

I would like to share what has sparked this change, in 3 parts.

Part I

There is no way I could have imagined what this trip would have meant to me, way back in October when I committed to go to the photography convention in Vegas. I thought it would be a great way to meet with other photographers, learn lots of new awesome ideas, tips and just get revved up for 2012!

Planning the trip really didn't really cross my mind since I was knee deep in the best Christmas season to date! {Which I can't thank you enough!} So after all the holidays, 2 surgeries and 1 sad sad Orange Bowl loss, it was time to start planning. If you don't know already I am a super duper saver and was hunting around for the best deal and after searching high and low through the regular travel sites, I had a very creative idea...

Fly to KY, then Vegas, then KY and home. This would be the perfect way to make two trips out of it, educational and family bonding. Thanks to the great folks of Allegiant Air this was all possible; for the same price range of a round trip ticket to Vegas.

This would be the first time I left my fiance, my baby {Golden Retriever} and my clients for 10 whole days. So you can imagine there was a lot of planning and super last minute packing involved. Dashed to the airport and begin the exciting adventure. At that point, I really hadn't had time to think about my overall goals, visions, and ideas for the trip. It really didn't hit me until I was making the drive from Lexington, KY to Cincinnati, OH that this was going to be a trip of true soul searching, finding "me" and growing as a person.

While driving through the mountains of Kentucky with my Diet Ale8One and camera beside me, I begin to imagine sitting in the passenger seat listening to my monthly history lesson. As a child, on the drive back to my mom's house it was a requirement to my dad to teach me something new and exciting about American History. I can't remember a single lesson but I can vividly remember him spending most of the 3 hour trip teaching. These "teachings"  rooted my passion for American History and my desire to teach and share.

While in KY, I stayed with my younger sister which is always a blast and was also able to see an old Florida friend, who moved back to the Indiana area. We had a great time exploring the "happening" town of Covington, KY. A little more "happening" than our experience back in 2010. {That's a whole other story!}
The highlight of my KY trip was getting to drive to my hometown of Wilmington, Ohio. It had been 8 1/2 years since my last visit and I was just excited to see what had changed what had stayed the same. Isn't that what we all do? We look for memories in streets, shops, houses or even that sledding hill that looked so BIG when we were kids.

So with my Pro Camera in one hand and my Iphone in the other {goofed and didn't bring the wide lens, so the Iphone became the official wide angle camera lens} I began the drive through Wilmington. To be honest, not sure how I didn't alert any officials...driving through town sitting in my car taking pictures of buildings, houses, fields and signs. Once we made our rounds through town it was time for a classic Wilmington meal and dessert, Damon's Restaurant with the Onion Loaf and a United Dairy Farmers Milk Shake.
Since I have always considered Central Florida my home, it was a very interesting experience driving through Wilmington. It sparked many memories from performing at The Giant Peach to walking to get hot cocoa after a long day of sledding. The time had come to depart the cute little quite town, back to KY to see a few more family members and off to the airport to Vegas...

Thank you for taking a few minutes to be a part of my journey. It's true, our past shapes the people that we are, but more importantly new experiences help to sculpt and model the person we strive to be.  

Check back next Wednesday for Part 2: VEGAS. Time to share some of my favorite places:

Left to Right/Top to bottom
1. Yellow Old House: The awesomely old house I spent many years growing up in
2. Street Sign: Street I lived on
3. Clinton County Swim Club: Where my swimming career began and the first place I ever set swimming records.
4. Historic Theater: The theater where I performed ballet and participated in plays
5. Corn Fields: The everyday life of living in the mid-west
6. Dairy Queen: Where the VERY FIRST Banana Split was made. YUM!
7/8. St. Columbkille Catholic Church: Where my mom's family spent many of years as well as myself
9. Mom's House: The house my mom and her 12 brothers and sisters lived in
10. Grandma Donna's House: This was the house I used to walk to
11. Sledding Hill: The hill that seemed so BIG when I was a child

I would love to hear from you: Tell me about an experience that became more than you could have ever imagined. Some of your comments may even be shared on this week's video blog!

About Erika

Erika is a published photographer who focuses primarily on newborn and family photography. She shoots natural light portraits across America while maintaining two central locations in Orlando, FL and Charleston, SC. Erika's work has been featured on television (ABC and NBC), charity billboards, national print magazines, and editorial family and wedding blogs.

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