I wrote a blog two years ago of my adventure with Natalie in Portugal, but we originally met at the University of Plymouth in England. I studied abroad for one year studying photography. Natalie was from Bath and was also in the photography program. Our friendship began at the front line of adventure.
Our first outing together was a plane ride to Paris for a school trip. I look back on that trip from more than 6 years ago and I shake my head now, because little did I know that the trip to Paris was only the beginning for us.
After I left England, it was really hard to say good-bye. Two years later, she came to visit me for more than 3 weeks and we traveled around the USA together. Two years after that, I visited her in Portugal. And two years after that, she and Max came to see us in Atlanta…which brings us to this blog! I hugged her good-bye at the Atlanta airport this time fully intending to see her in the next year or two in London, but little did I know that I would be engaged on my birthday. three weeks after she left which means I get to see her THIS September for my Bachelorette Party and then our wedding!! Yay!
Natalie and her partner Max own their own photography company in London. Check them out here!
So, naturally we took A LOT of pictures during their stay here in November 2016. To maximize our time in the short one week that they were here, we did A LOT in a short amount of time. In fact, I picked them up at the airport at 9:30pm and we drove straight to Savannah (David joined us after Savannah) and we arrived to our hotel on River Street just after 1am.
I studied abroad for a lot of reasons, one being that I love learning about new cultures. But, what I didn’t expect, was the amount of appreciation that grew for my own hometown and surrounding areas. Not because I experienced anything negative overseas, but when you are acting as a host and tour guide for two foreign friends, you really look around at the same place you look at everyday, with a new set of eyes and I think that is the neatest thing.
Front porches, sweet tea, words like, “y’all”, mountain towns, low country boil, Bar-B-Q, S’mores, Chick-fil-a…become the little things that make up something big… OUR southern culture. It’s comforting, it’s “normal” and it’s home.
We walked all of Savannah in ONE day with a Ghost tour that evening and we headed to Tybee Island that next day and Natalie and Max swam with dolphins! They came up semi close to shore and Natalie took off running into the ocean. This was probably her most favorite part…the unexpected non-planned part 🙂 We changed clothes and headed back to Atlanta in our sandy state. David had pizza and salad waiting for us when we returned! We sat around the table discussing the different British terms as the Americans tried to figure out their meanings. Natalie and Max came with us as we voted for our next American president, we went to the shooting range, Natalie and I got our hair done while we drank mimosas. We had a bonfire with s’mores and a photo shoot..sharing tips and tricks with each other. We were hosted by Shelby and Brandon in Athens. We had a picnic in Atlanta, walked the Beltline and had a drink on top of Ponce City Market overlooking the city. We went to Dahlonega, my old university, and visited the highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald.
I enjoyed taking time out to visit my own city…because let’s face it, life moves fast and I wouldn’t have taken the time out to lay in the park in Atlanta having a picnic or enjoy the sunset over the mountains in Dahlonega. But, most of all I was so happy to spend quality time with Natalie and Max. I walked away with the best friend in all of England and I’m so happy that our paths crossed. The time she takes to keep in touch from such a long distance means so much to me. You’re such a wonderful best friend and I cant wait to see you THIS year, Nat! xxx
Abby Byrd is a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Atlanta specializing in joyful film photography